If you can find one, go for it! Make sure you use a non pressurized portafilter and a good grinder with it (or modify your Starbucks Barista Grinder as I have)
Positive Product Points
great espresso machine, fantastic price
Negative Product Points
I have been into espresso for some years now, I have owned a Starbucks Athena (which I have replaced with this Starbucks Barista machine and the Starbucks Barista grinder. I had to look hard to find this machine for 99 bucks (they are sold out everywhere since they are being blown out by Starbucks)
Here is how I have turned my espresso into great espresso with this machine. I got a non- pressured portafilter off the net (used for the Saeco Via Veneto) - check out Saeco parts Also, I got a 52 mm stainless steel tamp made by barista basics with a very slight curve - almost flat. I put felt pads on the rear rubber pads only to move the machine on my counter , yet provide stability with the front rubber pads. I modified my Starbucks Barista grinder to a finer grind (by moving the ring inside counter clockwise two holes from the factory setting .. (look up Starbucks Barista grinder hack on Google) I don't have the machine tamp anymore, the grind is so fine.. a light tamp from my barista basics tamp is good enough, I don't have to tightly tamp the portafilter on the machine. I preinfuse the coffee until it just starts to drip out and slows down on the pull. I don't pull a one ounce shot from one shot of ground coffee .. I pull 1/2 to 3/4 oz - this gives me oily, thick, rich espresso - about as good as the shots I get from my local espresso shop I now don't feel the need to spend lots of bucks on a higher end espresso machine and grinder
great, except I had to really look hard to find a new one .