D4F Senior Member Joined: 15 Mar 2012 Posts: 1,897 Location: USA Expertise: I like coffee
Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID Grinder: Preciso
Posted Tue Nov 27, 2012, 4:39pm Subject: Re: Can the Starbucks Barista Machine make a good shot of espresso?
I think as the question was asked, the answer is yes. It is an SBDU with those limitations and it may not be the easiest machine to use. It has less mass than some and may be more difficult to temperature control. From what I have read on this machine, and my limited SBDU experience, I believe it can. The learning curve may take a while for temperature surfing and control, but the queston is about machine capability.
I am not suggesting that it is the machine that I would recommend, but it is already owned. I see Gaggia Classic recommended as a good price starting machine and have one based on reading and recommendations here on CG. Add a PID and it gets fairly easy to use.
My point in rephrasing the question is the machine plays only one part in making espresso. How and if it can consistently deliver 200F 9 bar water to the coffee is a good start. These are the fundamental machine issues, the most difficult to achieve with this class of machine. Can the operator figure out how to squeeze such performance from the Starbucks Barista? I don't know.
TriHard Senior Member Joined: 24 Feb 2011 Posts: 36 Location: Silver Spring, MD Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Rocket R58 Grinder: Compak K10 Fresh
Posted Tue Nov 27, 2012, 6:17pm Subject: Re: Can the Starbucks Barista Machine make a good shot of espresso?
I used to own this machine and I can tell you first hand that it can make a decent shot of espresso, but you are going to have trouble being CONSISTENTLY able to make a decent shot of espresso. Getting a good grinder and removing the pressurized components for the PF are a good start, but the temperature issue is a big deal. If you are just making lattes and caps you will have much more success as you can hide more of the faults in the pull.
This machine is more than adequate as a first machine and a good way to go for someone who wants to see if this hobby is for them.
Posted Tue Nov 27, 2012, 10:29pm Subject: Re: Can the Starbucks Barista Machine make a good shot of espresso?
You can get a pretty good shot WITH a real espresso grinder. I'd go for a refurb Preciso. click here The Preciso will also do wonderful drip/vac pot, french press.
I also recommend Redbird, as they are VERY reasonable for their 5# bags. Just Google Redbird Coffee roasters. Veltons has great coffee as well. I reviewed his espresso blend here. With shipping included, around $52. Take out a pound, freeze the rest in 12oz Mason jars in a very cold freezer.
As far as temperature with the Barista, first off, you MYST bleed the steam wand when the brew light goes out. (or whatever is the indicator, it's been a long time since I put mine away).The machine will THEN come out to it's set brew temperature. i've heard of folks modifying this machine to get it hotter. The bottomless PF would be a great idea, as it's a 53mm, I believe and thus will work with a few other machines, or you can sell it easily should you go to a different sized machine.
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