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Topic: Saeco Starbucks Barista Espresso (10 msgs / 269 lines)
1) From: John M. Howison
For the price a a few mugs of coffee, I picked up a used espresso machine
which is apparently complete except for a tamper, which I could readily
fabricate.   From photos on the Barista web site, I believe that it is a
"Saeco Starbucks Barista Espresso."
Have long been satisfied with Clever drip, Yama vacuum, aeropress et cetera
for my morning cafe-au-lait.  Drinking espresso only when a coffee bar looks
promising, I've learned how easy it must be to produce a bad cup.
Is there any likelihood that a slow learner could eventually make decent
espresso on such a machine?  I don't need persuading that it would be nice
to do so.
Contra muros, mater rubicolla.
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2) From: Ryan M. Ward
I demoed a Starbucks machine once, I think it is the same one you refer to. The secret as I recall is to just use a really good grinder to get a consistent grind. Other than that practice makes perfect. As I recall the espresso pulled from the machine was not bad.
-- 
Ryan M. Ward
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3) From: Sandy Andina
With a good grinder, much is possible.  If you can get a non-pressurized portafilter for it (or if it's old enough to have one already), you can make really decent espresso and cappuccino with it.
On Mar 20, 2010, at 2:47 PM, John M. Howison wrote:
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Peace & song, 
Sandy 
www.sandyandina.com
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4) From: kevin creason
What sandy said, but I would add it is easy to depressurize the portafilter.
My Barista machine is the 'portable' espresso machine when we
borrow/rent/steal the uncle's  rv. I just got back from a short trip
and the first day's shots were terrible but then it came back to me.
I've been spoiled with the rancilio s24 machine on the kitchen
counter.
On Saturday, March 20, 2010, Sandy Andina  wrote:
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d portafilter for it (or if it's old enough to have one already), you can m=
ake really decent espresso and cappuccino with it.
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 looks
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nice
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mariascoffee.com
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ariascoffee.com
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-- =
-Kevin
/* Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and
beat you with experience. */
GoogleVoice 281-557-6229
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5) From: michael brown
John, it is possible.  Others might remember my many questions about my Est=
ro 410.  it's my understanding that the Estro was/is owned by Saeco and ver=
y similar.  First struggle was finding a tamper to fit, even though i measu=
red and remeasured, i ended up buying two before settling on a third that f=
its snug.
 =
Next was grinder upgrade.  I went with a Virtuoso.  Granted better espresso=
 grinders are available, but after calibrating the Virtuoso to grind finer,=
 i'm now able to use the same grinder for espresso, French press, drip, and=
 Clever Coffee Drip.  it was easier for me to justify a few hundred on a gr=
inder that i can use for all my at-home brewing versus several hundred or m=
ore for just espresso.  (I did end up with a Super Jolly for the shop with =
a Delonghi machine).
 =
Then i went about "unpressurizing" my portafilter.  I found 2-3 good youtub=
e videos about it and sent several emails back and forth with Sandy and sev=
eral others on the list.  I'm MUCH MUCH happier with my PF unpressurized.  =
I might recommend getting used to the machine and grinder/grind before maki=
ng that leap though.  Others might disagree.  I'm glad i went about it in t=
he process that i did.  I think i learned more this way.
 =
Have fun and enjoy the process!  Ask questions along the way, there's a lot=
 of wisdom and experience on this list.
 =
Michael B
 =
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6) From: Justin Schwarz
+1 on the non-pressurized PF and a quality grinder.  I had decided to take the PF apart to clean it once and what I found inside was truly disturbing, they don't go back together well and had to get a new PF for my parents.  The tamper is a 53mm and I bought one from Tom a few years ago.  With good barista skills it is possible to make decent espresso, but Intra-shot tepmerature stability is limited by the small boiler size so shots can really be hit or miss.
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7) From: g paris
John:
Yes, you can!!
you most likely have.
ginny
On Sat, Mar 20, 2010 at 12:47 PM, John M. Howison wrote:
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8) From: Sandy Andina
For milk-based espresso drinks, I always found that with small-capacity boilers it's easier and more satisfying to make a latte macchiato (steam the milk first to either latte or cappuccino volume) and "mark" the milk with the espresso instead of vice versa.
On Mar 20, 2010, at 8:57 PM, Justin Schwarz wrote:
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Peace & song, 
Sandy 
www.sandyandina.com
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9) From: raymanowen
" ...any likelihood that a slow learner could eventually make decent
espresso-?"
As the ultimate slow learner- my learning process is called osmosis- I had
completely dismissed the idea that the "espresso" ballyhoo was any more than
a Madison Avenue creation. When my friend/ barista/ Jazz club owner Carole
offered me a shot- "Try this, Ray, you'll like it-"
I had no such affinity for espresso, and that pretty much cinched it. I
forgot having home roasted 20 years before, and didn't realize the total
folly in choosing between the execrable products of a coffee roaster like
Daz Bog. Might as well have Archie Bunker roasting for her...
After seeing the beans and roasts extolled on this list, and Ginnie awaiting
her order of MAO Horse, I thought- "I'll put an end to this form of coffee
waste forever, and post my opinion." First, I'd have to learn from scratch
what's involved in brewing good espresso and try my best to do it right to
make a fair test of it.
Of course, it was going to be a failure. Why buy a Maserati just to go to
the store? A Mr. Coffee steam toy would tell me soon enough if espresso
would be the expected complete waste. After a little stumbling around with
pesky Solis Maestro burrs and accepting that PV=nRT, I made a little
progress. Not as bad as I expected, and I thought I might even do better
with a pump machine.
Mr. Coffee again, but I realized the independent temperature and pressure
could never overcome the grind inconsistency of the Scheiße Maestro Burrs.
The $149 S. Maestro Plus was quickly becoming a $200 POS. miKe had sent me a
pound of his Kona mélange roast, so I had to consummate a deal on a
coffee-grinding fire hydrant. (Mazzer Major- BUFF)
For $285, The beans didn't know from brand-new, with the new burrs from
Espresso Parts. The (likely previous *$) grinders showed up en masse on the
'Bay. The Mazzer burrs still felt wicked sharp, but another new set has made
for better-tasting shots and brews as of a few months ago.
In short,* It's The **Grinder, *if you didn't know already. *$ always knew
how to shoot themselves in the foot, selling adequate inexpensive equipment
in their shops. With a little intuition, you'll soon learn temperature
surfing and be brewing excellent shots on the little machine.
Cheers, Mabuhay -RayO, aka Opa!
Got Grinder?
On Sat, Mar 20, 2010 at 1:47 PM, John M. Howison wr=
ote:
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ariascoffee.com
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10) From: Mike Koenig
John,
You can produce decent shots on this machine with some work and a
non-pressurized portafilter.  Biggest downside is the small boiler, which
causes rapid temperature fluctuation.  You will probably need to
"temperature surf" it to get temp. in the range you want it (google
"temperature surfing" for more info).   You can measure temperature with a
thermocouple, or a cut-off styrofoam cup and an instant read thermometer
(and some gloves to prevent burning your hands).
Also, don't over-tighten the steam valve, or it will forever leak (I speak
from experience here).
good luck, and let us know about your espresso journey
--mike
On Sat, Mar 20, 2010 at 3:47 PM, John M. Howison wrote:
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