A great deal at the current $99.95 with 2 lbs of Starbuck's own coffee.
Positive Product Points
Very similar results to the local starbucks. Almost exact if I use the proper amount of coffee ground and preheat the stainless steel carafe.
Negative Product Points
The lit for the stainless steel carafe cannot drain by itself, this is a minor problem. My workaround is always make a 2 cup pot of boiling water before the actual brew. This preheats the carafe as well as cleanse the machine before use.
The recent $99.95 price with 2 lbs (I gave away 1 to a friend) of starbucks coffee is a great deal as similar coffee makers at Williams & Sonoma will cost more.
I did not go through any rigorous "seasoning" routine with the Aroma. I simply boil 4 cups worth of fountain water 3 times, without any vinager or coffee cleaners, then I brew a pot of coffee with outdated ground. The second real brew after that was perfect!
With preheating and 3 heaping tablespoon of starbucks' own ground for every 2 distilled (fountain) cups of water, I have found the proper combination for that exact Starbucks venti experience!
The cleaning process is a little tedious, but not any more so versus other coffeemakers. Previous to the Aroma, I had solely used french press for a year, but this method does not work well at all with less than 2 cups.
With the negative experience one user had here, I specifically asked the owner at the local Starbucks for return policy.
Three Month Followup
After about 10 lbs of Starbucks coffee, this machine has held up well. I also bought the Starbucks burr grinder for their beans. The cleanup for the coffee maker is pretty easy, as I simply rinse the stainless steel holder and boil 2-4 cups of water; then letting the carafe drip dry for the next day.
The burr grinder takes a lot of effort to clean. I have started to hold it over the sink after each grind, and using my fingers to remove the coffee.
Still, the entire brewing and cleaning takes 10 to 15 minutes for 2 16oz cups, enough for my wife and I to enjoy that morning bagel, or an afternoon Godiva.