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The Starbucks Sirena Thread
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > The Starbucks...  
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MichaelBoulder
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Jan 2008
Posts: 12
Location: Boulder, Colo.
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Starbucks Sirena
Grinder: Capresso
Posted Tue Apr 15, 2008, 12:29pm
Subject: Re: Has anybody purchased the new Starbucks Sirena?
 

Trial and error got me where I wanted to be with the coffee I have been using lately.  With a medium-ish grind and tamped coffee at the inside line I am getting very consistent shots of about 22-23 seconds.  My biggest challenge is getting the grinder back on the "just right" setting after cleaning it.  So, I probably don't clean it as much as I should!  From what I have read here, a Rocky would solve that problem because it appears that it's settings are precise and repeatable.  Is this true?
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Targeteer
Senior Member


Joined: 17 May 2008
Posts: 11
Location: New York City
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Saeco Sirena; Ascaso Dream
Posted Sun May 18, 2008, 5:07pm
Subject: Re: Has anybody purchased the new Starbucks Sirena?
 

You wrote an impressive review of this machine on coffeegeek. Iím a beginner, have had one for five months. Yesterday the water started pouring out around the portafilter. I gave it the descaling it was due for at the end of the month, cleaned the showerhead, tried it with and without the rubber disk for self-tamping (and checked the hole is in the rubber disk to be sure it wasnít blocked. It seems to work ok when portafilter is empty (though itís hard to tell with clear water), but when there is coffee in it itís a total mess. Any suggestions before I send it back to Saeco for repair? Return?
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roastaroma
Senior Member
roastaroma
Joined: 21 Nov 2007
Posts: 438
Location: San Francisco, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: PV Lusso, Bacchi
Grinder: Rocky Doserless
Roaster: Blue Bottle Coffee
Posted Sun May 18, 2008, 10:03pm
Subject: Re: Has anybody purchased the new Starbucks Sirena?
 

Ciao Barbara,

If it's started leaking around the PF when pulling shots, it may be that the group head gasket isn't sealing well enough. First question: Do you clean the gasket area daily? This rubber ring is hidden in the recessed area surrounding the shower screen. Coffee grounds will gradually get pressed into the gasket if it is not cleaned. A Pallo brush is ideal for the job, but to be thorough, I follow that with a dampened, folded paper towel. Other folks use Q-Tips. The "portafilter wiggle" is also a helpful cleaning technique, but by itself is not enough.

Also, it is probably a good idea not to leave the PF locked in when the machine is off. Over time, the gasket gets compressed by the PF until it no longer seals properly and must be replaced. This could be required annually, unless one is very conscientious -- but even then, one is just delaying the inevitable.

Also: Different methods of loading the basket are required depending on whether or not you use the backpressure adapter disc. With the disc in the PF, you dose up to the inner ridge & do not tamp. Without the disc, you dose to the top, level off, and tamp so the puck just meets the inner ridge (like a lot of machines, Sirena doesn't like updosing). If you ever tamp manually with the disc installed, that might create excessive back pressure, which you definitely don't want. Sorry if this distinction is obvious to you, but I can't assume anything.

If you have not been cleaning the gasket religiously, please start with that. If there is significant gasket compression, one indicator of that is needing to crank the PF farther to lock in, i.e., the handle no longer lines up with the arrow on the group head. If you're still getting leakage, call Saeco -- you're still under warranty.

Buona Fortuna,
Wayne

 
"Non Ť la macchina, Ť la mano."
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Targeteer
Senior Member


Joined: 17 May 2008
Posts: 11
Location: New York City
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Saeco Sirena; Ascaso Dream
Posted Mon May 19, 2008, 3:20am
Subject: Re: Has anybody purchased the new Starbucks Sirena?
 

Thank you, Wayne!! We have been using the folded paper towel technique. There is nothing in the instructions that says that you have to do that, but we noticed coffee on the PF rim and realized that we had a less than completely clean assembly. We've also left the PF in place and yes, it has to be pushed a good 30 degrees to the right of the arrow to lock into place. So the gasket probably needs replacement. The only happy part of this saga is that for some reason I kept that box and packing materials, so sending for repair will be less hassle....

Do other machines need with extra difficult cleaning move? I have an Ascaso "Dream Machine" in my apartment, which cleans up much more easily than this one....

Thanks again.
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E46Girl
Senior Member
E46Girl
Joined: 18 Dec 2007
Posts: 24
Location: Ontario, Canada
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Pavoni Europiccola
Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso Preciso
Posted Tue May 20, 2008, 3:07am
Subject: Re: Has anybody purchased the new Starbucks Sirena?
 

suzpat Said:

Hi

I went into the Starbucks store in Toronto to look at the Sirena.  It was a whopping $699 Canadian!  Can anyone tell me where can I find this machine at the reduced (and correct) price of under $500?

Posted April 5, 2008 link

Gotta love Canada, we get raped on everything.  Retailers conveniently forget that our dollar is pretty much at par with the US!  Everything from cars, to books, to greeting cards, to electronics is at least 30% higher than it needs to be.
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Targeteer
Senior Member


Joined: 17 May 2008
Posts: 11
Location: New York City
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Saeco Sirena; Ascaso Dream
Posted Tue May 20, 2008, 5:03pm
Subject: Re: Has anybody purchased the new Starbucks Sirena? I have. Aaaaargh!
 

Expert as you are on the Sirena, Wayne, I don't expect you to have any advice on this latest development, but I'm steamed enough that I have to tell someone. I got the authorization to send my Sirena back for repair--thanks in good measure to already having tried, at your suggestion, all the troubleshooting measures that might have led to an at-home solution. I took it to UPS, packed as instructed, with the mailing label Saeco faxed to me, and discovered that the shipping and insurance to send are MY responsibility, even though the machine is under warranty (a mere six months old). That seems fundamentally wrong: why should I pay more for a machine that doesn't work and of which I will be deprived for several (the faxed info says up to six) weeks of the prime summer entertaining season?

I fumed to the on-line retailer from which I bought the machine and they offered to pay the shipping. But if I could return the Sirena for a full refund at this point (retailer gives only partial credit after 30 days), I would. I like the machine, but it's proved finicky for me, and a company that won't take full responsibility for products under warranty is not one that I want to deal with.
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roastaroma
Senior Member
roastaroma
Joined: 21 Nov 2007
Posts: 438
Location: San Francisco, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: PV Lusso, Bacchi
Grinder: Rocky Doserless
Roaster: Blue Bottle Coffee
Posted Tue May 20, 2008, 5:33pm
Subject: Re: Has anybody purchased the new Starbucks Sirena?
 

Hi Barbara,

Sorry to hear about the inconvenience, but I'm glad you were able to get the vendor to pay for shipping. Depending on who you're dealing with, getting a new machine instead is not out of the question (other owners have managed to do this with Starbucks). The situation re warranty repairs/returns that you describe is not unique to the Sirena, unfortunately. The same goes for spotty workmanship, which seems to afflict the industry generally. It's startling to hear what some folks who pay $1000+ for their machines have to put up with -- you'd think paying that much would eliminate hassles like funky pressurestats. Welcome to Italy, in other words.

Take care,
Wayne

 
"Non Ť la macchina, Ť la mano."
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Targeteer
Senior Member


Joined: 17 May 2008
Posts: 11
Location: New York City
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Saeco Sirena; Ascaso Dream
Posted Wed May 21, 2008, 3:11am
Subject: Re: Has anybody purchased the new Starbucks Sirena?
 

Thanks, Wayne. Without your mellow perspective, my blood pressure would be a lot higher. The retailer is Amazon, and I must say that that was a pleasant experience. The computer generated call-back (no hold time! instant call when you press the "call me" button!) and the understanding agent who negotiated the "we'll pay shipping" deal were a nice surprise in a world of vendors trying to evade responsibility.

By the way, there was an interesting exchange with the Saeco rep. She tried to convince me that my problem was that I didn't have the plug below the pressure disk "lined up" properly. As far as I can see, there is nothing to line it up with (perhaps you can tell me differently), but when I pointed out to her that my problem persists when the plug and disk are removed and I self-tamp, she hit the roof and said that self-tamping is simply not allowed. For a moment I was afraid that she was going to say that I had invalidated the warranty.

Since I learned the self-tamping technique from you on this site, I thought you'd be amused to know that you are counseling people to break a law of Saecoland....
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rasnider
Senior Member


Joined: 16 May 2008
Posts: 1
Location: Portland, Ore., U.S.A.
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun May 25, 2008, 11:05am
Subject: Re: Has anybody purchased the new Starbucks Sirena?
 

I'm an espresso neophyte considering the Sirena but one thing I'm curious about is the "slightly more automatic semi-automatic" aspect of the machine, that is, the "one press" single/double dosing. Granted one must still grind, distribute, and tamp but having to "pull" the shot on *and* off is part of the overall romance/appeal for me.
I suppose I could just hold the button down and release when I'd like, essentially recalibrating with each pull(??) Or maybe I'm just being silly--feel free to say so.
I'm also looking at the Via Venezia (...S.B. discounts either way) which--while less powerful--is cheaper and more "manual" in this way...

Thanks,
Allen
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Targeteer
Senior Member


Joined: 17 May 2008
Posts: 11
Location: New York City
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Saeco Sirena; Ascaso Dream
Posted Sun May 25, 2008, 12:59pm
Subject: Re: Has anybody purchased the new Starbucks Sirena?
 

If you have a Starbucks discount and they are still selling the Ascaso Dream Machine, that would meet your need for fully manual and give you a very well-built and great-looking machine the bargain. It's my other machine. I got it from Starbucks on sale (which makes me wonder whether they are still carrying it), but if I had it to do over again, I'd get two Dream Machines and no Sirena. My frustrations with Sirena and Saeco are recorded above. (The Saeco problem you might not have to worry about--it's said that Starbucks, unlike Saeco, may give you a refund if the machine fails while under warranty.)

The Sirena is supposed to tamp automatically--the machine does it--though Wayne, the expert on this forum, has given instructions above for manual tamping if that is your preference. (Saeco hits the roof if you mention this variation, but Wayne says it works. My machine broke before I got to try it.)

Good luck. Sorry I can't tell you about the Venezia. But at the moment, I'm very down on Sirena and especially its manufacturer.
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