Makes excellent coffee. This unit and a good espresso machine (and freshly roasted beans and a conical burr mill) is all a coffee lover needs.
Positive Product Points
Makes excellent, smooth coffee. Consistent results. Easier to use than manual vacuum machines. Almost nonbreakable high quality plastic.
Negative Product Points
Quality control problems in early (before May 2001 ?) units.
Eric Evans wrote: "I decided to update my previous review. I went through three Utopia units before deciding to switch to the Barista Aroma. Poor seals that lead to leaks and cracking in the carafe were present on all three units."
I heard from several people that the early Starbucks Utopia had quality control problems, but I believe that by now, they have fixed the problems. Any vacuum machine makes much better tasting coffee as compared to the Barista Aroma. Our Utopia had a poorly made filter, but Starbucks replaced it by an "upgraded design" (that has goldish color as compared to the original whitish/silver), quickly and free. We have two of the Utopias in our family (ourselves and our daughter and son-in-law), both bought in early May 2001. They both make coffee that tastes great and is better and smoother than coffee made in French Press and MUCH better than dripped (filtered) coffee. I measured the brewing temperature and it is consistently in the middle of the recommended range. Yes, it is expensive, but in my opinion, worth the money. In couple of years, it will cost you "just pennies a day." If you love coffee, it is a great value. Just follow the instructions, including the amount of coffee per cup. It is much easier to use (and use consistently) as compared to "manual" vacuum machines. Although I often dislike plastic products, this (polycarbonate?) material does not generate any "plastic" taste and does not brake as glass would.