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Starbucks Barista - Will Taylor's Review
Posted: September 20, 2002, 5:05pm
review rating: 7.5
feedback: (1) comments | read | write
Starbucks Barista
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More About This Product
Arrow The Starbucks Barista has 163 Reviews
Arrow The Starbucks Barista has been rated 8.23 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 30, 2001.
Arrow Starbucks Barista reviews have been viewed 1,004,595 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Bam T 9.50
Carl Lobitz 8.67
Rick Wayne 8.22
Jim Pennington 8.00
Larry Holt 8.00

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 6.2
Manufacturer: ? Quality: 6
Average Price: $350.00 Usability: 7
Price Paid: $300.00 Cost vs. Value 6
Where Bought: Starbucks Aesthetics 6
Owned for: 1 year Overall 6
Writer's Expertise: Beginner Would Buy Again: Maybe
Similar Items Owned: none
Bottom Line: This is a decent machine, but you could get a Rancilio Silvia for a little more.
Positive Product Points

The Starbucks Barista can produce quality espresso shots.
It is mechanically solid, and should last many years.

Negative Product Points

The Starbucks Barista is expensive when not on sale.
The portafilter is the pressurized kind, and should be replaced or modified.
The boiler is small, but heats quickly.
There is no three way solenoid, which means you must wait for pressure to reduce after pouring a shot before removing the portafilter.
The diameter of the filter basket is a bit smaller than on better machines. (53mm instead of 58mm)
Other coffee geeks will make fun of you for having an espresso machine made by Starbucks.

Detailed Commentary

I want to discuss one particular aspect of this machine's operation that is often overlooked.  The dispersion screen on this machine is not very effective at distributing water to the whole filter basket.  At its worst this machine can nearly drill a whole through the center of the puck, resulting in a bitter and thin espresso.  The key to maximizing the dispersion area is to properly adjust the screw holding the dispersion screen in place. The tighter the screw is the smaller the dispersion area is, so it should be as loose as possible while still holding the screen against the rubber gasket.
Temperature surfing is another useful technique.  The idea is to keep the temperature of the water constant during the brewing of a shot.  The technique is to first lower the temperature of the boiler by dispensing hot water until the thermostat is activated.(Indicated by the light turning off.) Then wait a predetermined amount of time. (30 seconds usually works for me, but it depends on how long the machine has been on.)  Now start the pump before the light comes back on.  The light should stay off while the shot is poured.  (Note that in some other machines the light has the opposite meaning as on the Starbucks Barista.)
One more thing.  This machine comes with a pressurized portafilter.  I modified mine by taking out the pressurization mechanism.  I've heard that you can also replace it with a Saeco portafilter, which would look better, too.

Buying Experience

Bought it on sale at a local *$.

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review rating: 7.5
Posted: September 20, 2002, 5:05pm
feedback: (1) comments | read | write
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