Great value for beginning to intermediate home pulls.
Positive Product Points
Appearance, overall quality of build, no internal aluminum, price point.
Negative Product Points
Haven‘t been able to produce a 20-second shot. Use of steam wand for hot water is somewhat unpredictable and undocumented in Starbucks lit. "Warming" rack worthless (probably why Starbucks doesn‘t discuss this either).
I paid $249 on sale. Note that if the machine is not on sale at Starbucks, you can order it as the Saeco model from a number of importers for a little less than the sale price at Starbucks.
If you use the Starbucks Espresso Roast correctly ground, you can replicate a Starbucks drink nearly exactly (if that‘s what you are after).
Difficult if not impossible to pull a 20-second shot. I average around 15 seconds. The crema produced is beautiful but can be misleading. Would like to try a traditional portafilter on it.
Quick to use, and easy to use. Clean-up fairly simple. Emptying grounds from portafilter not as clean as a larger unit since the grounds are most often fairly wet, I guess partly a result of the rapporto filter system.
Great for lefties as steam wand is on left and therefore more conveniently used.
The drip tray is rather small, and the drawer/tray pretty useless since water often gets in there. I would have preferred one large drip tray to replace the 3 plastic pieces it comes with.
Steaming is adequate as is size of the water tank.
Find and purchase something brightly colored that floats to place in the watertank - it‘s VERY HARD to see the water level in the tank as is. You might try one of those plastic "ice-cubes" sold at kitchen shops.