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Starbucks Barista - Java Man (Espressopithecus)'s Review
Posted: July 10, 2000, 9:02am
review rating: 7.3
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
Starbucks Barista Grinder
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Arrow The Starbucks Barista has 94 Reviews
Arrow The Starbucks Barista has been rated 7.89 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 465,552 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
D R 9.50
John Eubanks 8.57
JP Cordill 8.40
Mark Prince 8.33
Jim Robin 8.33

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 8.8
Manufacturer: Solis Quality: 10
Average Price: $120.00 Usability: 8
Price Paid: $0.00 Cost vs. Value 10
Where Bought: Aesthetics 8
Owned for: 1 month Overall 8
Writer's Expertise: I love coffee Would Buy Again: n/a
Similar Items Owned: Not entered
Bottom Line: This machine, the Solis 166, may be a very cost-effective grinder for you if you know it will grind fine enough for your machine.
Positive Product Points

Price, ease of use, consistent results, fine grind for great espresso.

Negative Product Points

Static

Detailed Commentary

I'm reviewing the Solis 166 version of this grinder, which, from reading other reviews here, I understand grinds finer than the Starbuck's version.  I Paid $110.00US from Sweet Maria's.  (Canadians--specify USPS when you order from the USA--it will save you a bundle in hidden UPS charges for customs clearance--in my case, over $60US!)

I was indifferent to having a doser, so this machine fits the bill for me.  I don't need a doser. I originally weighed beans and over time, compared weight to volume to "educate" my eye about what 14 g of beans looks like.  Now I use a coffee scoop to gauge the volume of beans required to get a 14 gm double.  I slightly over-dose sometimes, but once I tip the coffee into the portafilter, I strike off the exess into a container and save it for visitors who want drip coffee.  I know--it's stale by the time they drink it.  Yet, they rave about the quality of my drip brew.  Go figure!  No, Mark, I won't offer you drip when you come to visit!  :-)

The Solis 166 is easy to use, achieves a consistent grind, and leaves very little coffee hanging up in the chute and the burrs.  Its compact footprint makes it convenient to leave on the kitchen counter beside my espresso machine (an 8-year-old Italian ULKA pump-driven machine--a "Domena Splendida").  Other reviewers have written that the Starbuck's version of this machine does not grind fine enough for their machines.  I have not experienced this problem.  I consistently get a good, thick crema and a ~25 second double ristretto from a mid-range grind setting.  The results seem to consistent regardless of the beans I am grinding.  

Before buying the Solis, I used a Bosch blade grinder.  It was top-rated 10 years ago for grind consistency by CU.  I could never get good espresso with it.  The Solis 166 has been the biggest boost to the quality of my home espresso, although home roasting has also helped.  But home roasting will do no good without the grinder needed to get the fine, fresh grind you require for really good espresso.  My shots are now as good or better than 95% of the commercial espresso I have tasted.  

My only complaint about this grinder is the amount of static it generates.  This causes ground coffee to stick to the sides of the grind-catching bin.  It's very difficult to get the last gram of coffee out of the bin because it sticks to the sides.  This also makes the  kitchen counter around the machine a little messy, since some residual coffee always sticks to the innards of the grind hopper area, and gets scattered around the base of the grinder when removing and replacing the grind hopper.  It's easily cleaned up with a quick swipe of a damp cloth, but I'd prefer no mess at all.

After using this grinder for 2 months, I'm very satisfied.  But  I don't know whether it will grind fine enough for your espresso machine.  I suggest you post to alt.coffee to see whether people with your machine have successfully used the Solis 166.  If so, and if you don't need a doser, the Solis version of this machine is a winner.

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review rating: 7.3
Posted: July 10, 2000, 9:02am
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
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