Good solid machine, makes better espresso, and cappas than most Starbucks employees can pull. Hats off to those Starbuckies who know their way around a La Marzocco.
Positive Product Points
Good looking, solid machine. Even with the pressurized portafilter it makes a decent double shot, and even better cappas.
Negative Product Points
Bleed, steam, bleed, brew, clean. Not that big of a deal, but I'm kinda big on preventative maintenance and run a blank shot through the brewhead and shower screen when I'm done. Might be a bit much for some though
Reading the reviews on this page, and various other places on the web, the Barista seemed like a decent choice. Never having had anything even remotely close to a "god" shot, I was wary of laying down $400-$1000+ on an espresso machine. So I was travelling around and happened to stumble into a Starbucks while they were having their $100 off sale. No better time than the present, so I picked one up and the rest is history. No problems or complaints regarding the inadequate steaming and frothing that I hear so much of on this machine. Frothed and steamed a pitcher of milk in less than a minute, and immediately pulled a double shot, and made one the the better cappucinos I've had, ever. The espresso is also pretty decent, but like I said, I don't have anything to compare it to, other than the incredibly bitter shots you get from most of the Starbucks equipped only with full-autos, or my own Kru(a)ps Crappucino/Espresso wannabe. Now I'm ordering the non-pressurized portafilter, and hope to improve my technique as well as the quality of my shots (wish me luck). Overall, I'm extremely pleased so far.
Purchasing was a little more difficult. Extraordinary service from the Starbucks employees at the stores that didn't have the color I was looking for. Got the runaround from other misinformed stores 3 others to be exact, and finally settled on getting a black machine due to frustration (wanted the Graphite, but oh well) Also didn't get hooked up with any of the freebies you are supposed to get while the sale is going on, but oh well. There are Starbucks employees out there who know their stuff and take pride in their product, and others who leave a little something to be desired.