Greatest Machine ever! The Barista makes the the best shot ever and is easy!
Positive Product Points
Easiest machine to use. Pulls outstanding shots. Warms up quick. Better then commercial machines! Great steaming wand! No need to tamp. I have had it for 3.5 years and pulled over 7000 double shots with no problems!
Negative Product Points
I can't find anything wrong with this. The single shot filter is a bit to small for a single shot. They recommend the drop in pods from starbucks, that coffee sucks! I wouldn't use and starbucks beans in this machine.
I used to work in an espresso cart and I live in Seattle. Espresso is in my blood! I have traveled the world tasted the best and spent untold thousands on my favorite habit. My friends consider me the goto guy when it comes to coffee. I take pride in making the best cup of Joe possible and I have gone so far as to study chemistry and botany to learn more about making the best coffee.
I have owned 6 espresso machines. Ranging from the cheapo braun and Krups to plumbing in a 2 group Nuova Simonelli. During my quest I visited a friend who works for Starbucks and they made me a latte on their Starbucks Barista machine. I didn't expect much but was shocked when I saw a perfectly pulled shot and the nicest creme ever. All with the operator doing nothing. I spent the next 20 minutes pulling shots and learing the machine. Being a real coffee geek I have no respect for Starbucks, but this machine has changed all that! The next weekend I went to the Starbucks Garage sale and bought a stainless Barista machine. That was over 3 1/2 years ago. I pull (on average) 5 double shots a day. That is 6,387 shots pulled. On holidays and dinner parties I pull many more. I would guess 7000 double shots have been pulled. That also means I have frothed at least 4000 times. These are great numbers when you realize that I have not had one problem with this machine. The only problem is minor. When I go to pull a shot the steam wands drips a little and needs to be tightned. NO biggy. I just twist it a little tighter when the shot starts and it is done. I could probably just adjust the steaming knob but I'm lazy.
The quality of shot pulled is outstanding. Like I said the best I have ever pulled. The porto filter system is brilliant. Every shot comes out the same. Don't tamp these grinds. The best shots are pulled when you leave the grinds loose in the filter. The pressure does all the work. The steaming wand is great. Heats up in seconds and works as good as any commercial machine. I believe in this machine so much that I give them as presents to my family and friends. Once a month I do a total cleaning. I run lemon juice through the machine, pull out the screen, scrape out any grinds, and finish it off by running 3 cups of vinigar through the portofilter. Takes about 30 minutes and keeps the machine running smooth and the coffee delicious.
I suggest that you do not use Starbucks espresso as it sucks. My favorite to use in this machine is Vivace . http://www.espressovivace.com/ They make the best espresso beans in the world. (Remember I have traveled the world looking for the best!) My back up is Torrefazione and if I run out of those I keep a cheap Trader Joe pre-ground blend in the freezer.
I love this machine so much that when I take road trips I bring the machine with me. I have a plastic milk carton that I can put all my coffee stuffs into for travel.
When this breaks (if it ever does) I will run and buy another one!
Easy and I would buy this machine again 100 times
Three Month Followup
I bought this Machine in Dec 99 & I have used it every day at least 2 sometimes 3 times a day pulling about 5 dbl shots a day. The only problem since buying the machine happend two months ago. I over filled the porto filter and I broke the hollow handle by trying to force it. The plastic was almost 5 years old and used a ton so it was probably due. That and owner error for forcing a too full filter. I still have a wee drip from the steam wand when the machine is off. I'm sure can fix it by adjust ing a washer or something easy but it isn't that bad and I can just hold the know to stop it. The size of drip has not surpassed my laziness yet. I am planning on buying a new machine this Christmas. I will give the old one to the inlaws (who we visit often so I can have good joe while in the boonies). The Barista is still in perfect appearence the stainless is tough as hell. No scratches, dents, rust nothing.
As I stated a year & a half ago this machine kicks @ss and I would reccomend it to the Dali Lama or the Pope. I will buy another & another.
One Year Followup
I bought his machine ten years ago & have yet to have found a problem! I'm also a partner in a coffee shop and to this day I swear that the Barista makes just as good a shot as my Mirage Duette Classic that was a jillion bucks more. 10 years and she still makes me smile every morning!