Great way to start on real coffee, and will probably have this machine till the end.
Positive Product Points
Simple, easy to start with presurrised porta filter (discussed by others elsewhere in this site). Neet tidy robust. Flexibility to get a standard portafilter in the future.
Negative Product Points
Not a lot of steam before light goes out, need to let it heat up and run a bit of hot water through the head first as discussed elsewhere. Excellent for home use if you are patient enough to work to the lights.
Many of the comments in other classic Saeco espresso machine threads apply to this one also.
Let both the head and the steamer run a little water before you use either, to get it hot. Run this into a cup to save cleaning the tray.
Other wise still learning and enjoying it.
Have just realised after cruising the site that this machine in the US is the Starbucks Barista, and also an Estro model.
I have found that packing the pressurised portafilter 7/8 full leads to a firm puck and "espresso". A comment elsewhere on this site suggests that the US manual says not to tamp because this could put too much pressure on the pump in the machine. I would rather think that is not the case and I still have not got the extraction time out to more than 20 sec. Hard to find a supplier for a standard portafilter in Aus.
Bought in Australia at Scotties on Macq in Dubbo for $450. Had 1 hr in town to get a machine and lucky we thought to go to that shop. Only other option would have been a classic gaggia for $650. Scotty very keen to help, wanted to discount machine to clear stock, intending to take on more expensive machines.
He also said Australian service (for wholesales at least) is terrible. Currently their website is down.
Looks to me like this machine has been unpacked in Oz and a new plug put on it. Obviously a sophisticated relationship with the factory (not).
Poor instructions, no extras (bag coffee from Scottie).