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2doubles
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Jan 2004
Posts: 44
Location: LaConner, Washington
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Starbucks Barista
Grinder: Starbucks Barista
Posted Sat Apr 2, 2005, 7:38pm
Subject: Starbucks Barista steam problems
 

My Starbucks Barista machine is about 2 years old and lately I've been getting erratic steam performance.  I usually let it warm up a few minutes with my favorite cup on top to warm it a bit.  Then I hit the steam button to let it warm to steam temp.  After it hits steam temp, I press the coffee button and draw a blank into my cup to get it good and hot.  Because I like lattes, I usually do the coffee first and then steam the milk.  Erratic performance occurs when I want to steam the milk.  I hit the steam button and wait for the ready light.  Then I purge the wet steam from the wand until the light goes out.  After 20 seconds and before the light comes back on, I start steaming the milk.  Sometimes this works great, but recently about half the time I have no steam power--it just seems to run out of gas and I can't get that necessary swirling motion needed for decent microfoam.  Like I say, sometimes my routine works great, sometimes not.  Any idea why I'm getting such erratic steam production?
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barngal
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Mar 2005
Posts: 23
Location: Sacramento
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Expobar Brewtus
Grinder: MACAP M4
Posted Sun Apr 3, 2005, 2:49pm
Subject: Re: Starbucks Barista steam problems
 

I put away my old Barista, at a similiar age, for the same reason.  This was before I had discovered the online coffee community. I hope someone has an answer to this--the Barista is made by Saeco, right? it would be nice to fix up the old machine...
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jawatkin
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Feb 2004
Posts: 76
Location: New York, NY
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia
Grinder: Rancilio Rocky DL
Roaster: iRoast
Posted Sun Apr 3, 2005, 4:36pm
Subject: Re: Starbucks Barista steam problems
 

2doubles Said:

My Starbucks Barista machine is about 2 years old and lately I've been getting erratic steam performance.  I usually let it warm up a few minutes with my favorite cup on top to warm it a bit.  Then I hit the steam button to let it warm to steam temp.  After it hits steam temp, I press the coffee button and draw a blank into my cup to get it good and hot.  Because I like lattes, I usually do the coffee first and then steam the milk.  Erratic performance occurs when I want to steam the milk.  I hit the steam button and wait for the ready light.  Then I purge the wet steam from the wand until the light goes out.  After 20 seconds and before the light comes back on, I start steaming the milk.  Sometimes this works great, but recently about half the time I have no steam power--it just seems to run out of gas and I can't get that necessary swirling motion needed for decent microfoam.  Like I say, sometimes my routine works great, sometimes not.  Any idea why I'm getting such erratic steam production?

Posted April 2, 2005 link

Mine had done that once or twice in the past, as well... Like you couldn't get the relay to kick over and turn the boiler on again, right? What I did when that happened was to shut off the steaming and press the brew button for a second or two and the boiler would switch back on and I could continue steaming (after it gained some pressure).  I just bought a Sylvia and she's shooting milk across the kitchen, not used to the power!
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lattejunkie
Senior Member
lattejunkie
Joined: 14 Nov 2004
Posts: 15
Location: van nuys, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Factory 16
Grinder: Rocky doserless
Roaster: Paradise
Posted Tue Apr 5, 2005, 6:22pm
Subject: Re: Starbucks Barista steam problems
 

I have had two of these machines, one at  work (black) and one at home (stainless) since they came out.  It sounds like your machine needs a real cleaning...descaling the inside. Whenever mine started to act up like steaming problems, after cleaning the mineral deposits out the steam was back on target.
Between the two machines I'll bet I've several thousand latte's and they are both still going strong..........good luck...............Lj
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2doubles
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Jan 2004
Posts: 44
Location: LaConner, Washington
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Starbucks Barista
Grinder: Starbucks Barista
Posted Wed Apr 6, 2005, 5:54pm
Subject: Re: Starbucks Barista steam problems
 

Thanks for the tip.  Any special procedure work better for you when descaling?
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GoDucks
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Dec 2003
Posts: 20
Location: Portland, Oregon
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Starbucks Barista
Grinder: KitchenAid ProLine
Drip: Starbucks Barista Aroma...
Posted Wed Apr 6, 2005, 7:51pm
Subject: Re: Starbucks Barista steam problems
 

I also have one at home (4 year old Stainless) and one at work (3 month old Red - hey, for $120 new I had to get another one).  Anyway, sometimes they are weak on steam, so I often let the steam read-. light come on, then bleed it out until the light goes out, and then wait for it to light up again.  When I follow that procedure it comes back up with much more power and I have never had either of them lose power the second time around.  I am sure that I have made over 1,000 caps on my 4 year old machine and have never descaled or done anything major to it.  Don't know how, but would love to hear how, so hopeLJ will post again.
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lattejunkie
Senior Member
lattejunkie
Joined: 14 Nov 2004
Posts: 15
Location: van nuys, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Factory 16
Grinder: Rocky doserless
Roaster: Paradise
Posted Wed Apr 6, 2005, 7:55pm
Subject: Re: Starbucks Barista steam problems
 

I'm at the point where I can field strip my machies in my sleep. So the easy way is use the de-scaling solutions on the market following directions of the product.
Starbucks recommends using a fake lemon juice product.

How do I descale my machine?
We recommend using the Starbucks Barista Cleaner or a natural citric acid based decalcifying agent such as pulp-free lemon juice. Use 1 packet Starbucks Barista Cleaner mixed into one full tank of water. It is best to let the Starbucks Barista Cleaner dissolve completely in warm water prior to adding to cold water in tank. As an alternative, you can use 4 ounces of bottled, non-pulp lemon juice mixed into one full tank of water. Please do not use more then 8 ounces or 1 full cup of lemon juice. For best results, descale every 3-6 months. (Do not use vinegar.)
Read decalcifier agent directions. Put correct proportion of decalcifying agent into the water tank reservoir. Fill water tank with water, and mix thoroughly. Replace tank.
Remove the single screw holding the flat, round screen underneath the brew head area. The water will now come out in one solid stream. Place one cup under the brew head area and one cup, or other container, under the steam wand.
Turn on power and immediately run one cup of the solution through the steam wand and one cup of the solution through the brewing area. Please note: DO NOT wait for ready light to illuminate. DO NOT use the steam function during the descaling process (simply let the water flow through the steam wand).
Turn the machine off and let solution sit for hour (30 minutes). This allows the descaling solution to dissolve internal mineral build-up. Please note: do not let solution sit longer then recommended time.
Turn machine back on and run the majority of the solution through the machine, alternating between the brew head and steam wand. Please note: DO NOT run the machine out of water.
Turn off power (before water tank is empty). Remove the water tank. Rinse and refill the water tank with fresh, filtered water and reinsert.
Turn machine on and run 3-4 tanks of fresh water through the machine to rinse. Again alternate between flowing water through the brew head and the steam wand.
Turn off machine and unplug machine from power outlet. Let machine cool thoroughly.
Replace brew head screen in the brew head with the smooth side of the screen facing down. Please note: DO NOT use machine until brew head screen has been replaced.
Good luck..........Lj
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barngal
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Mar 2005
Posts: 23
Location: Sacramento
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Expobar Brewtus
Grinder: MACAP M4
Posted Thu Apr 7, 2005, 9:51am
Subject: Re: Starbucks Barista steam problems
 

Thanks a Latte Lj...those are great instructions....we were using vinegar every couple months, hope we didn't ruin anything (after the last time, couldn't seem to get the vingegar taste out, machine ended up in storage)...

Guess I'll pull it out, maybe take a look inside before I follow your cleaning instructions, and see where we are.

I'm inspired (yep, I'm easy)  thanks again  Jenni
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AWholelattalatte
Senior Member
AWholelattalatte
Joined: 24 Feb 2005
Posts: 71
Location: ma.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Marzocco 3 group linea...
Grinder: SJ mazzer
Posted Sat Apr 16, 2005, 6:41am
Subject: Re: Starbucks Barista steam problems
 

Latte Junkie,

That is a fantastic post.  I was wondering if you wouldn't mind posting a few pics of your process.  This would make visualizing the process easier.  My athena could use a major cleaning, and I would like to actually see how its done.


Thanks
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lattejunkie
Senior Member
lattejunkie
Joined: 14 Nov 2004
Posts: 15
Location: van nuys, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Factory 16
Grinder: Rocky doserless
Roaster: Paradise
Posted Mon Apr 25, 2005, 11:14pm
Subject: Re: Starbucks Barista steam problems
 

You really don't my pics on cleaning......I field stip mine once a year, take the whole machine apart . Like removing the heating coils so I can soak them in solution to remove the scale & lime deposits. You don't have to get this crazy, clean your machine every 6 month's using a scale cleaner following the instructions on the container. Shouldn't take you more than a hour and you don't have to take anything apart............Goodluck.........Lj
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