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Starbucks Barista - Jim Pennington's Review
Posted: March 21, 2010, 11:51am
review rating: 8.0
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
Starbucks Barista
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More About This Product
Arrow The Starbucks Barista has 163 Reviews
Arrow The Starbucks Barista has been rated 8.23 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 30, 2001.
Arrow Starbucks Barista reviews have been viewed 1,036,649 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Bam T 9.50
Carl Lobitz 8.67
Rick Wayne 8.22
Dave Jahsman 8.00
Kevin Bailey 8.00

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 7.8
Manufacturer: Estro Quality: 7
Average Price: $350.00 Usability: 8
Price Paid: $100.00 Cost vs. Value 9
Where Bought: craigslist Aesthetics 7
Owned for: 2 months Overall 8
Writer's Expertise: I love coffee Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned:
Bottom Line: Buy it cheap, learn the quirks, fix the portafilter, use it often.
Positive Product Points

Substantial build quality
Can produce good shots once you learn the quirks of the machine
Stock pressurized portafilter can be modified to standard portafilter
Large water reservoir
Relatively easy to use

Negative Product Points

Temperature surfing necessary
Steam wand pressure fluctuates wildly
Pressurized portafilter is a silly gimmick that could impede the process of discovering how to make excellent espresso

Detailed Commentary

My coffee journey to this point consisted of numerous moka pots, stovetop espresso pots and the pitiful bunch of Krups machines everyone tries before they know better.  I found a new in box stainless Starbucks Barista on Craigslist for $100 a while ago and figured it was worth that price to experiment.

With fresh beans, a stepless grinder and a determination to unlock its potential, this machine can create fantastic shots of espresso.

Don't be fooled by the pressurized portafilter's goofy fake crema. Rip that thing apart and learn how to properly grind, tamp, and temperature surf your way to consistently excellent shots.  I've been extremely pleased with the purchase. If you can find one in good shape for a good price, grab it. You'll be glad you did.

Buying Experience

Standard Craigslist transaction...I gave them money, they gave me the machine.

Three Month Followup

Used it almost every day for the past 5 months. Consistently inconsistent results. It's served its purpose and is worth the hundred dollars I spent. I'll be upgrading asap.

One Year Followup

2 years later- Overall, possibly the best $100 I've ever spent. Used it numerous times daily for a couple of years with no problems.

  I've been getting consistently inconsistent shots since day one. I use the best fresh beans and a super jolly grinder. I temperature surf/ guesstimate. I highly recommend it as a cheap first machine. You'll perfect your technique, pull relatively good/ ok shots, and when you upgrade you'll be ready to get the best out of a real machine.  

  I wouldn't recommend it at all if you want to drink espresso. Milk based drinks hide the taste of its inconsistent sour shots.

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review rating: 8.0
Posted: March 21, 2010, 11:51am
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