Solid consumer-oriented machine that brews good coffee.
Positive Product Points
Thermal carafe eliminates need to cook your brewed coffee on a hotplate in order to keep hot. Sleek, attractive design and easy to use and clean.
Negative Product Points
The thermal carafe often "dribbles" coffee at end of pour, so pouring can be messy. The retail price rather high- wait for sale.
The Starbucks Barista Aroma makes hotter and more flavorful coffee than did our previous machine. In the first month of use we have experienced no mechanical difficulties with the brew operation or the thermal carafe. The "showerhead" seems to spray water evenly in the filter basket during the brew cycle. The coffee grounds are thoroughly saturated and there's no evidence of "donuting." We did not measure the temperature of the heated water as we have no reliable means to do so. We use room-temperature bottled water, a permanent metal filter, pre-heat the thermal carafe with hot tap water (a fact of life for thermal carafes!), and grind fresh beans. We've used a variety of grinds and have not experienced overflows during brewing. The stainless steel carafe with the "brew-through" lid has worked well and keeps the coffee hot, but there is some "dribbling" during pours- gets messy pouring into a narrow-necked thermos. We don't use the timer function, nor do we interupt the brew cycle to pour ahead of time. Neither feature is of value to us, but are typically found on consumer-oriented machines.
Straightforward- waited for sale and visited our local Starbucks.
Three Month Followup
Continues to work well at three months; does a good overall job.