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Date: 29 Sep 2006 08:28:21
From: feeman_4_life
Subject: Starbucks Barista: De-Pressurized Portafilter vs Non Pressurized Portafilter
So I bought my machine a few weeks ago from Starbucks and after reading
coffeegeek, I've took out the spring mechanism for the "crema
enhancer".

My goal is to get the thick syrupy crema filled shot to do some super
latte art. But after a week or two after, I still couldn't get it with
pre ground coffee, so I got the Starbucks Grinder (Solis 166
apparently), and did the tweak, set it 4 stops back.

And I still can't quite get the golden syrupy shot that I'm looking
for. I think I got my grind and tamp okay now, but I *think* the
problem *may* be the portafilter. I've read somewhere that the little
hole and the extra plastic may prevent that crema shot, so I was
thinking about getting the official NPP from Saeco.

But before I do that, I figured I should post and ask for some
opinions. Can somebody help me out here?

*********Will there be a difference with the official non-pressurized
portafilter?********


Thank you very much. The espresso blend that I'm using right now to
experiment with is Intelligisia's Black Cat.

..... on another note, for the people who did the grinder tweak, has
anybody had it clog up a lot? Mine seems to be doing that, maybe I'm
doing it *way* too fine.

Thanks again for any help!





 
Date: 03 Oct 2006 06:19:26
From: shane
Subject: Re: Starbucks Barista: De-Pressurized Portafilter vs Non Pressurized Portafilter
I have pulled shots side by side with both porta-filters, the
pressurised has more crema, but the crema has a different feel or
quality to it.

Steam and pull shots at the same time? That is what I would look for in
a new machine also. For that ability a machine has to have a heat
exchanger or a double boiler. Making a machine with either of those
features, that is home sized, seems to start compounding the issues.
The new La zocco G3 looks nice :)

The Starbucks grinder suffers from the fatal design flaw of many
grinders in its range, plastic mounted burrset. After looking and
thinking about it for a couple of years, I bought a Bartaza Virtuoso
and a few months later bought a Mazzer Mini, as the Virtuoso just does
not cut it for espresso. I kept having to gradually move the grind
setting tighter. I decided to bit the bullet and get the Mazzer.

Later, Shane

feeman_4_life wrote:
> I think I will use my modded-to-be-non-pressurized-portafilter until it
> dies, then get an official one. It's so plasticy and flimsy, I don't
> think it'll last very long.
>
> Thanks for the insight, me, working at Starbucks, I do agree the
> customer service is unbelievably crazy. The only place I know where
> people can returned opened CDs, trash their mugs and get a new one etc.
>
> The bit with buying a retail price machine struck a chord with me too.
> I got it on a massive sale, with a massive discount... same with the
> grinder. I payed well below regular price, I think my upgrade (who
> knows when down the road) will *have* to be at least a machine that can
> steam and pull shots at the same time.
>
> I think the only thing that will hinder me is the grinder, but I
> honestly can't see too much of a significant difference between a
> silvia and a barista aside from the "professional" 58mm diameter
> portafilters.
>
> Just starting to truly skip along the yellow brick road to the land of
> coffee. =)
>
> PS shane, I think you should pull a shot with both your modded
> pressurized and official non-pressurized portafilter and tell me
> results ;)
>
> shane wrote:
> > I have had a Starbucks Barista for approaching five years. I recently
> > purchased a Mazzer Mini grinder. I priily make espresso.
> >
> > I am consistantly able to get better shots from the Barista than any of
> > the coffee establishments in town. The only modification I have done
> > in purchase a Saeco non-pressurised portafilter. It has more metal
> > than the pressurised portafilter. Is it better than a modded
> > pressurised portafilter? Is it worth $25? I think the exrta metal
> > helps. The pressurised model has plastic spouts, non-pressurised is
> > all metal.
> >
> > The biggest factor in quality home espresso, in my experience, has been
> > the beans. I have been home-roasting Sweet ia's blends. I have had
> > the best luck with the 'Liquid Amber' blend. However, the best coffee
> > I have used has be "Dolce" from Espresso Vivace. I cannot seem to
> > screw up a shot made with it.
> >
> > The key in the debate to answer the OPs question is price paid for the
> > machine. I got mine barely used really cheap. If I had paid anything
> > near retail I would have gotten a Rancilio Silvia or Gaggia. If one is
> > on a budget and can get a Barista cheap, do it. Starbucks customer
> > service is great. Recently I lost a dispersion screw, I called their
> > service line and told them I had a 2nd hand machine, bought a few
> > years ago, well out of warrenty and I needed a part, they sent me a new
> > dispersion screen assembly at no charge.
> >
> > I could see where using the Barista for a lot of milk based drinks,
> > would create more issues.
> >
> > I don't think one could get a signicant, key word here is significant,
> > upgrade in performance to the Barista without spending close to $1000
> > or even well over $1000 retail. I am planning on using the Barista
> > for a while and only upgrading if it dies or an affordable temp stable
> > dual boiled machine hits the ket.
> >
> > Later, Shane



 
Date: 02 Oct 2006 22:36:11
From: feeman_4_life
Subject: Re: Starbucks Barista: De-Pressurized Portafilter vs Non Pressurized Portafilter
I think I will use my modded-to-be-non-pressurized-portafilter until it
dies, then get an official one. It's so plasticy and flimsy, I don't
think it'll last very long.

Thanks for the insight, me, working at Starbucks, I do agree the
customer service is unbelievably crazy. The only place I know where
people can returned opened CDs, trash their mugs and get a new one etc.

The bit with buying a retail price machine struck a chord with me too.
I got it on a massive sale, with a massive discount... same with the
grinder. I payed well below regular price, I think my upgrade (who
knows when down the road) will *have* to be at least a machine that can
steam and pull shots at the same time.

I think the only thing that will hinder me is the grinder, but I
honestly can't see too much of a significant difference between a
silvia and a barista aside from the "professional" 58mm diameter
portafilters.

Just starting to truly skip along the yellow brick road to the land of
coffee. =)

PS shane, I think you should pull a shot with both your modded
pressurized and official non-pressurized portafilter and tell me
results ;)

shane wrote:
> I have had a Starbucks Barista for approaching five years. I recently
> purchased a Mazzer Mini grinder. I priily make espresso.
>
> I am consistantly able to get better shots from the Barista than any of
> the coffee establishments in town. The only modification I have done
> in purchase a Saeco non-pressurised portafilter. It has more metal
> than the pressurised portafilter. Is it better than a modded
> pressurised portafilter? Is it worth $25? I think the exrta metal
> helps. The pressurised model has plastic spouts, non-pressurised is
> all metal.
>
> The biggest factor in quality home espresso, in my experience, has been
> the beans. I have been home-roasting Sweet ia's blends. I have had
> the best luck with the 'Liquid Amber' blend. However, the best coffee
> I have used has be "Dolce" from Espresso Vivace. I cannot seem to
> screw up a shot made with it.
>
> The key in the debate to answer the OPs question is price paid for the
> machine. I got mine barely used really cheap. If I had paid anything
> near retail I would have gotten a Rancilio Silvia or Gaggia. If one is
> on a budget and can get a Barista cheap, do it. Starbucks customer
> service is great. Recently I lost a dispersion screw, I called their
> service line and told them I had a 2nd hand machine, bought a few
> years ago, well out of warrenty and I needed a part, they sent me a new
> dispersion screen assembly at no charge.
>
> I could see where using the Barista for a lot of milk based drinks,
> would create more issues.
>
> I don't think one could get a signicant, key word here is significant,
> upgrade in performance to the Barista without spending close to $1000
> or even well over $1000 retail. I am planning on using the Barista
> for a while and only upgrading if it dies or an affordable temp stable
> dual boiled machine hits the ket.
>
> Later, Shane



 
Date: 02 Oct 2006 13:24:03
From: shane
Subject: Re: Starbucks Barista: De-Pressurized Portafilter vs Non Pressurized Portafilter
I have had a Starbucks Barista for approaching five years. I recently
purchased a Mazzer Mini grinder. I priily make espresso.

I am consistantly able to get better shots from the Barista than any of
the coffee establishments in town. The only modification I have done
in purchase a Saeco non-pressurised portafilter. It has more metal
than the pressurised portafilter. Is it better than a modded
pressurised portafilter? Is it worth $25? I think the exrta metal
helps. The pressurised model has plastic spouts, non-pressurised is
all metal.

The biggest factor in quality home espresso, in my experience, has been
the beans. I have been home-roasting Sweet ia's blends. I have had
the best luck with the 'Liquid Amber' blend. However, the best coffee
I have used has be "Dolce" from Espresso Vivace. I cannot seem to
screw up a shot made with it.

The key in the debate to answer the OPs question is price paid for the
machine. I got mine barely used really cheap. If I had paid anything
near retail I would have gotten a Rancilio Silvia or Gaggia. If one is
on a budget and can get a Barista cheap, do it. Starbucks customer
service is great. Recently I lost a dispersion screw, I called their
service line and told them I had a 2nd hand machine, bought a few
years ago, well out of warrenty and I needed a part, they sent me a new
dispersion screen assembly at no charge.

I could see where using the Barista for a lot of milk based drinks,
would create more issues.

I don't think one could get a signicant, key word here is significant,
upgrade in performance to the Barista without spending close to $1000
or even well over $1000 retail. I am planning on using the Barista
for a while and only upgrading if it dies or an affordable temp stable
dual boiled machine hits the ket.

Later, Shane



 
Date: 01 Oct 2006 05:53:45
From: LF
Subject: Re: Starbucks Barista: De-Pressurized Portafilter vs Non Pressurized Portafilter

Johnny wrote:
<snip >
> The Barista's problem has everything to do with poor design but it's not the
> 53mm pf , temp controls, or basket shape that are the main culprits, it's
> the cold water inlet to the boiler. For some stupid reson they have the cold
> water coming in at the same height as the hot water goes out to the
> showerscreen. <snip>

Johnny,

Thanks much for the insight. I thought of a possible work-around.
What if I used an immersion coil to pre-heat the water in the tank?
(The clear plastic tank that hangs off the back of the Barista.)

The immersion coil I'm thinking of is just the simple cheap one
intended to heat single cups of water -- like this one here
<http://www.goinginstyle.com/gis/body_individual.asp?dept_id=7&pf_id=108 >.
Those show up at yard sales; can often found right next to the
hampster cage. Then there is always the fancy precision scientific one
that also stirs the water
<http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=320029057200&category=48733 >.

Might this help somewhat, or is it more apt to just create a big mess
and lead to other problems?

All the best,
Larry



  
Date: 01 Oct 2006 10:43:13
From: Johnny
Subject: Re: Starbucks Barista: De-Pressurized Portafilter vs Non Pressurized Portafilter

"LF" <fieman@gmail.com > wrote in message
news:1159707225.552780.251840@c28g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
>
> Johnny wrote:
> <snip>
> > The Barista's problem has everything to do with poor design but it's not
the
> > 53mm pf , temp controls, or basket shape that are the main culprits,
it's
> > the cold water inlet to the boiler. For some stupid reson they have the
cold
> > water coming in at the same height as the hot water goes out to the
> > showerscreen. <snip>
>
> Johnny,
>
> Thanks much for the insight. I thought of a possible work-around.
> What if I used an immersion coil to pre-heat the water in the tank?
> (The clear plastic tank that hangs off the back of the Barista.)
>
> The immersion coil I'm thinking of is just the simple cheap one
> intended to heat single cups of water -- like this one here
> <http://www.goinginstyle.com/gis/body_individual.asp?dept_id=7&pf_id=108>.
> Those show up at yard sales; can often found right next to the
> hampster cage. Then there is always the fancy precision scientific one
> that also stirs the water
>
<http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=320029057200&category=48
733 >.
>
> Might this help somewhat, or is it more apt to just create a big mess
> and lead to other problems?
>
> All the best,
> Larry
>

I dunno, try it and get back to us from the ashes of your house :-)
I'm no espresso machine design engineer but that won't stop me from
conjecturing on where the professionals have messed up ;-)

You seem already happy with your mano approach using the steam switch. Why
try and make a silk purse out if a sows ear?
Especially if you find the results already acceptable.

If you must experiement for the joy of it you'd first need some way to test
the results. A thermocouple just for a start. That way you can quantify
improvements at least temperature wise. Maybe then the other factors that
Joe mentioned might then dominate.

The heater in the plastic tank is inexpensive but I see all sorts of
problems with it. I don't think the pumps are designed to pump water at
around 190F but I don't know for sure.
They may not take the heat and I can't find any rating here:
http://www.ulka.it
and maybe the tube from the tank to the pump is the wrong material also.
Without some kind of thermostat how will you know when the tank is hot
enough?

You also run the risk of fire with your heater if you let the tank run dry.
Why not first test the temps on your Gaggia and your Barista?






 
Date: 01 Oct 2006 00:01:33
From: feeman_4_life
Subject: Re: Starbucks Barista: De-Pressurized Portafilter vs Non Pressurized Portafilter

Johnny wrote:
> "JoeP" <joe@internet-realty.com> wrote in message
> news:1159656170.913717.296340@k70g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> >
> > Wow!!! Even I wasn't that sold out for the Barista!!! Awesome you get
> > repeatable "real" shots from a machine with your modification????? That
> > hasn't been my experience and I doubt it is yours.
> >
> > It's amazing to me your claim that you own a SIlvia and a Gaggia and
> > yet you kept your Barista around?? Why? Seems like you have three of
> > same type of machine. That's pretty odd. To each his own. But if you
> > get "real" and repeatable shots from your Barista why do you say your
> > Silvia better??
> >
> > The Barista's problem has a lot less to do with its internals and temp
> > controls which aren't much different than the Gaggia or similar, and in
> > some respects are better IMO(SS boiler), But more to do with its group
> > and basket size/volume. It has a 53mm group which isn't the main
> > problem either (The Livietta I had was a 55mm and the La san co is a
> > 53mm the La spaz is around the same) But more to do with the depth and
> > basket shape. If you made the porta filter a naked porta filter and you
> > found someone who made a deeper basket you might stand a better chance
> > at pulling better shots in combination with your temperature flushing/
> > tamping routine. But unfortunately odd sized PF's (anything not around
> > 58mm) doesn't seem to be supported by cool accessories.
> >
>
> The Barista's problem has everything to do with poor design but it's not the
> 53mm pf , temp controls, or basket shape that are the main culprits, it's
> the cold water inlet to the boiler. For some stupid reson they have the cold
> water coming in at the same height as the hot water goes out to the
> showerscreen. Have a look here at the parts blow up
> http://www.partsguru.com/Page4.html scroll down to the boiler parts. The
> tube 39 coming up out of the bottom of part 40 is where the hot water goes
> to get to the brewhead. Now look at part 36 that screws into part 32 the
> boiler top half. That's where the cold water being delivered from the pump
> enteres the boiler. Duh! right next to where the hot water goes out. Duh!
> What were they thinking?
> The small Gaggias OTOH have the cold water coming in at the base and the hot
> water leaving up top some distance away see
> http://www.partsguru.com/GaggiaClassicCoffee.html where the cold water
> enters through part 35 -->37 -->38 and into the base of the boiler whereas
> the hot water goes to the brewhead via part 57 way up the other end. A much
> better design IMO.
>
> Larry has overcome the Barista falling brew temperature shortcomings as best
> he can by forcing the heater to come on using the steam switch as the shot
> starts so the temp doesn't fall off quite so rapidly as it otherwise does.
>
> FWIW Andy S. describes here over at HB how he uses a thermoblock from an old
> Krups to preheat boiler feed water to improve intra-shot stability on a
> silvia http://www.home-barista.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=785

wow...... never thought about even looking at the schematics. Oh
well, at the end of the day, you have to work with what you've got.



 
Date: 30 Sep 2006 20:36:20
From: LF
Subject: Re: Starbucks Barista: De-Pressurized Portafilter vs Non Pressurized Portafilter

feeman_4_life wrote:
<snip >
< I'm still trying to adjust a good grind, I have it set at 4 stops
back, but
> it produces super fine coffee dust which clogs the grinder, blah. So I
> think my cut off is at 3 stops.

One way to clean out a grinder is to run some white rice through it. I
hear minute rice is best (maybe it absorbs better than other rice), but
I just use what plain white rice I have around. I've even used brown
rice, when nothing else was available. Then run some (old if you have
them) coffee beans thru to get rid of the rice. I had a pretty crummy
burr grinder (Black and Decker) before I got a Rocky. It use to clog
so bad that it wouldn't grind. After running some rice thru it was
good as new -- and that's not saying much. Only that you can clean
probably unclog and clean out your grinder by running some rice thru.

I'm intersted in learning how to get the most out of what is available.
I've got a bunch of machines that I picked up at yard sales. In all
cases they were poorly maintained. Usually the dispersion screens were
covered with thick black coffee residue. I like cleaning them up,
getting them going, finding out how to get the most out of them that I
can -- eventually giving them away. The Barista can be coaxed into
pulling a decent shot, it heats up quickly, and I like the way it
looks.

I also like to repair and ride bicycles. In bicycling there is the
concept of "underbiking." This applies to riding a simplier bicycle
than what may commonly be ridden in that context. For example, this
guy rode a single speed rigid frame bicycle, competing vs. those with
multiple gears and shocks, during the Great Divide Race. The course
for this race is along the Great Divide, from the Canadian border to
the Mexican border. He fininshed the race riding the simplier bike --
some would say underbiking. Some of the other competetors
unfortunately failed to finnish, in part due to equiptment failure.

With all its faults and imperfections, you can reliably and repeatedly
coax an good shot from the Barista. Maybe it's "under-baristaing."

All the best,
Larry Fieman



 
Date: 30 Sep 2006 16:08:22
From: JoeP
Subject: Re: Starbucks Barista: De-Pressurized Portafilter vs Non Pressurized Portafilter

feeman_4_life wrote:
> JoeP and LF, thanks for the input guys.
>

>
> JoeP, I realize that the more money you invest in a system, it is
> easier to get results. But I'm a student, and my main money guzzling
> hobby is photography, so I'm trying to use the least amount of money to
> get the most results.
>

>
> That being said, I pulled out the crema enhancer, and the plastic
> disc... so I think scrap the official "non pressurized portafilter",
> save myself about 50 dollars (canadian), and keep working at it!
>
> Thanks for the advice again. =)

Well you did the right thing and just stuck with what you got but my
plan still makes more sense(for the long run) and really it wont cost
you a cent more unless you picked your machine up at a garage sale or
something similar. The site you show may show the most beautiful
looking shots in the world...but unless your there to taste it....??

Joe
www.greencoffeebuyingclub.com
freinds getting together splitting bags of coffee



 
Date: 30 Sep 2006 15:42:50
From: JoeP
Subject: Re: Starbucks Barista: De-Pressurized Portafilter vs Non Pressurized Portafilter

Wow!!! Even I wasn't that sold out for the Barista!!! Awesome you get
repeatable "real" shots from a machine with your modification????? That
hasn't been my experience and I doubt it is yours.

It's amazing to me your claim that you own a SIlvia and a Gaggia and
yet you kept your Barista around?? Why? Seems like you have three of
same type of machine. That's pretty odd. To each his own. But if you
get "real" and repeatable shots from your Barista why do you say your
Silvia better??

The Barista's problem has a lot less to do with its internals and temp
controls which aren't much different than the Gaggia or similar, and in
some respects are better IMO(SS boiler), But more to do with its group
and basket size/volume. It has a 53mm group which isn't the main
problem either (The Livietta I had was a 55mm and the La san co is a
53mm the La spaz is around the same) But more to do with the depth and
basket shape. If you made the porta filter a naked porta filter and you
found someone who made a deeper basket you might stand a better chance
at pulling better shots in combination with your temperature flushing/
tamping routine. But unfortunately odd sized PF's (anything not around
58mm) doesn't seem to be supported by cool accessories.

p.s. I have a Bezzera Nowadays. I am very happy with it, but I would
like to get a La zocco with a saturated group at somepoint. Still
all things considered making "repeatable" good shots is night and day
different from my Barista even with a good routine and a slight step
better than my Pasquini/Olympia.

Joe
www.greencoffeebuyingclub.com
freinds getting together and splitting bags of coffee



  
Date: 30 Sep 2006 22:16:26
From: Johnny
Subject: Re: Starbucks Barista: De-Pressurized Portafilter vs Non Pressurized Portafilter

"JoeP" <joe@internet-realty.com > wrote in message
news:1159656170.913717.296340@k70g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
>
> Wow!!! Even I wasn't that sold out for the Barista!!! Awesome you get
> repeatable "real" shots from a machine with your modification????? That
> hasn't been my experience and I doubt it is yours.
>
> It's amazing to me your claim that you own a SIlvia and a Gaggia and
> yet you kept your Barista around?? Why? Seems like you have three of
> same type of machine. That's pretty odd. To each his own. But if you
> get "real" and repeatable shots from your Barista why do you say your
> Silvia better??
>
> The Barista's problem has a lot less to do with its internals and temp
> controls which aren't much different than the Gaggia or similar, and in
> some respects are better IMO(SS boiler), But more to do with its group
> and basket size/volume. It has a 53mm group which isn't the main
> problem either (The Livietta I had was a 55mm and the La san co is a
> 53mm the La spaz is around the same) But more to do with the depth and
> basket shape. If you made the porta filter a naked porta filter and you
> found someone who made a deeper basket you might stand a better chance
> at pulling better shots in combination with your temperature flushing/
> tamping routine. But unfortunately odd sized PF's (anything not around
> 58mm) doesn't seem to be supported by cool accessories.
>

The Barista's problem has everything to do with poor design but it's not the
53mm pf , temp controls, or basket shape that are the main culprits, it's
the cold water inlet to the boiler. For some stupid reson they have the cold
water coming in at the same height as the hot water goes out to the
showerscreen. Have a look here at the parts blow up
http://www.partsguru.com/Page4.html scroll down to the boiler parts. The
tube 39 coming up out of the bottom of part 40 is where the hot water goes
to get to the brewhead. Now look at part 36 that screws into part 32 the
boiler top half. That's where the cold water being delivered from the pump
enteres the boiler. Duh! right next to where the hot water goes out. Duh!
What were they thinking?
The small Gaggias OTOH have the cold water coming in at the base and the hot
water leaving up top some distance away see
http://www.partsguru.com/GaggiaClassicCoffee.html where the cold water
enters through part 35 -- >37 -->38 and into the base of the boiler whereas
the hot water goes to the brewhead via part 57 way up the other end. A much
better design IMO.

Larry has overcome the Barista falling brew temperature shortcomings as best
he can by forcing the heater to come on using the steam switch as the shot
starts so the temp doesn't fall off quite so rapidly as it otherwise does.

FWIW Andy S. describes here over at HB how he uses a thermoblock from an old
Krups to preheat boiler feed water to improve intra-shot stability on a
silvia http://www.home-barista.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=785




 
Date: 30 Sep 2006 15:39:57
From: feeman_4_life
Subject: Re: Starbucks Barista: De-Pressurized Portafilter vs Non Pressurized Portafilter
JoeP and LF, thanks for the input guys.

I know that my machine and grinder isn't the best, but pretty much the
only reason I got both is because I work at Starbucks (puts on flame
resistant underwear), and I got both for a *massive* discount... and
the fact that coffeegeek rated it pretty good.

after taking a look at this link: http://richlyons.org/coffee/ (which I
believe is essentially the same machine) it very much seems like it is
very capable of pulling a good shot, and I'm inspired to one day pull a
shot like that.

JoeP, I realize that the more money you invest in a system, it is
easier to get results. But I'm a student, and my main money guzzling
hobby is photography, so I'm trying to use the least amount of money to
get the most results.

LF, thanks for the great advice, I will definitely try the temperature
surfing thing on the machine to try to get the results I want. I'm
still trying to adjust a good grind, I have it set at 4 stops back, but
it produces super fine coffee dust which clogs the grinder, blah. So I
think my cut off is at 3 stops.

I'm fully capable of doing latte art (even at work when the crappy
versimo which always pulls underextracted shots)... and I have gotten
some okay acceptable results at home. I just need the shots right =)

That being said, I pulled out the crema enhancer, and the plastic
disc... so I think scrap the official "non pressurized portafilter",
save myself about 50 dollars (canadian), and keep working at it!

Thanks for the advice again. =)



 
Date: 30 Sep 2006 12:33:14
From: LF
Subject: Re: Starbucks Barista: De-Pressurized Portafilter vs Non Pressurized Portafilter

JoeP wrote:
> Okay a few things from a former Barista owner who was very satisfied
> with my machine until I bought a real machine- Pasquini/Olympia at the
> time.
> <snip>
It sounds like you want "real"
> espresso and unfortunately you can't create that with any repeatability
> with the Barista.

I beg to differ. I do get consistent "reall" espresso with the Barista
-- and my above posted modification. Would be even better with a PID.
I also have a Rancillio Nancy (same internals as Silvia) and Gaggic
Classic. Sure I like the Silvia better, and it steams milk much better
... but the Barista can be coaxed in to really good repeatable shots.

Oh, I forgot to mention in my earlier post: you have to boost the brew
temp to get a good shot. It helps to let the machine warm up. Pulling
a few blank shots can speed this up. Even warm, pull a few blank
shots. I like to grind and tamp the beans into a warm PF (portafilter).
Pull a blanc shot. Wait till the green light comes on. Immediately
turn on the steam switch (green light goes out). Time it for 22 seconds
(your time may vary). Pull a double shot.

After removing all of the crema enhancements, you can see real crema
and can be guided by it. Without the temp boost, the crema is pale
brown -- indicating too cold a brew temp. What you want is a reddish
brown. If you let the temp become too high, the shot tastes burnt.
Look for the minimum time with the steam switch on for a reddish brown
crema.

>
> 2. In order to achieve your syrupy shots your craving your going to
> have to upgrade at not only your machine but also your grinder.

I use a Rancilio Rocky grinder with the Barista. However, the Solis
Maestro grinder I have at work works great with my other thermoblock
espresso machine -- an ancient Braun. I'll bet it would work just fine
with the Barista too. If you can get a (double probably) shot in 25-30
seconds, your grinder is OK.

The main problem with the Barista, IMO, is that it doesn't heat up
enought water, so the temperature varies over the course of thee shot.
Not perfect, but OK. You can get better espresso with the Barista then
at most coffee shops. The cafes where you always get a better shot are
really worth going to.

Not only am I a Starbucks Barista owner (ok, I got mine at a yard
sale), but I am a former Barista.
(ok, I made lousy espresso in the 1960s as a Barista, but with the help
of this group and coffee geek, and lots of practice, I've improved.)
Yup, you can get good shots with the $bucks Barista. IMO, the steamer
is a little weak for latte art, but there are hacks for boosting that
too.

All the best,
Larry



 
Date: 30 Sep 2006 12:09:38
From: LF
Subject: Re: Starbucks Barista: De-Pressurized Portafilter vs Non Pressurized Portafilter

feeman_4_life wrote:
<snip > I've took out the spring mechanism for the "crema
> enhancer".

That's a good start. You can take out the rest of the enhancement
stuff too. A metal spring holds the rest in place. After pushing that
aside, the funny looking brown thing on the bottom with the tiny hole
in it will push up from the very bottom for removal. Then you will
have a stainless bottom with a nice large hole. IMO a great
improvement. Easier to clean. Better water flow. Drier pucks. Less
chance for backpressure when removing the portafilter. Last I checked
with Saeco, the brass portafilter for Barista's twin, the Saeco Gran
Crema, was unavailable.

>
> My goal is to get the thick syrupy crema filled shot to do some super
> latte art. But after a week or two after, I still couldn't get it with
> pre ground coffee, so I got the Starbucks Grinder (Solis 166
> apparently), and did the tweak, set it 4 stops back.

Get a bathroom scale, so that you can contol your tamp. With the
Barista, I tamp to 25#, but 30# is OK too. The main thing is to have
it uniform, so you can know how fine to grind the beans, and so that
you can duplicate it. The goal is to have a double shot in 25 - 30
seconds. Keep your tamp uniform. Adjust your grind so that you get to
the goal.

In any case you will also need fresh roasted beans -- use it up from 2
days to 2 weeks after the roast date. If you are buying $bucks beans,
they tend to be old. A local roaster is best. When desperate, I get
beans from Trader Joe (TJ) -- nitrogen packed with the roast date
stamped on the bottom. The first 3 #s indiacte the day of the year the
beans were roasted. So, 12306 = roasted the 123rd day of 2006. IMO,
$bucks and even TJs over-roast many of their beans.

> Thank you very much. The espresso blend that I'm using right now to
> experiment with is Intelligisia's Black Cat ..
Great beans, I hear.
>
All the best, cousin,
Larry Fieman



 
Date: 30 Sep 2006 11:55:18
From: JoeP
Subject: Re: Starbucks Barista: De-Pressurized Portafilter vs Non Pressurized Portafilter

Okay a few things from a former Barista owner who was very satisfied
with my machine until I bought a real machine- Pasquini/Olympia at the
time.

1. The NPPF is a waste of time and money. Its made cheaply and costs
$28 some here swear by them. I on the other hand would rather have my
efforts move in a much better direction. It sounds like you want "real"
espresso and unfortunately you can't create that with any repeatability
with the Barista.

2. In order to achieve your syrupy shots your craving your going to
have to upgrade at not only your machine but also your grinder. Your
grinder will work excellent for Drip coffee or for use in the PPF
basket for espresso that by starbucks standards is excellent. I
understand right now your probably tuning me out because your
calculating the money and saying "no way"

3. Good news!!- You can sell you current setup on CG or Ebay for not
much of hit in the wallet and a ton of knowledge gained on what you
really want. Then you can upgrade for not a lot more scratch. A basic
Gaggia would be an upgrade and obviously the things you want to look
for are a commercial quality PF preferrably around 58mm(IMO only
because parts accessories/support are easier for PF size). Then get a
real grinder be prepared to spend over $200 for a rocky(minimum) or get
a used Mazzer Super Jolley on Ebay for around the same price. But based
on what you probably paid for your current setup and what I am
describing they should balance out cost wise.

4. Okay for my recommendation(like you really care): Sell your current
setup, and by a Bezzera (used around $600) espresso machine. Its the
same thing as a Pasquini Livia 90 and buy a used Mazzer around $200 so
now you into it for $800 and you'll never need an upgrade. Or go back
to number 3 and possibly upgrade your machine at a later date.

I know you probably didn't want to hear that and now your going to hear
from all the NPPF Seaco dilusionals which will make it confusing.

Joe
www.greencoffeebuyingclub.com