How Similar are the Saeco Estro Vapore and the Starbucks Barista?

There are lots of words on the internet about Saeco discontinuing sales of their Estro Vapore espresso maker in the U.S. and instead selling them through the Starbucks brand as the Barista. This side by side photo probably states it as clearly as anyone can: the machines are identical except for the decals.

7 Thoughts to “How Similar are the Saeco Estro Vapore and the Starbucks Barista?”

  1. Yup, looks like there’s twice as much branding on the Starbucks one. The question is, can you get a separate portafilter, cause I’ve heard bad things about the starbucks one.

  2. You can order a replacement (or upgrade) portafilter direct through Saeco or if they are out of stock on an item they will refer you to partsguru.com

    The portafilter that comes with the Starbucks Barista is the same as the “Saeco mechanically pressurized portafilter”.

    The “upgraded” version is the “Saeco Gran Crema pressurized automatic portafilter” which goes for $14 more.

    My old Estro Vapore came with the gran crema and it felt like a heavy-restaurant-quality part and it was only due to my carelessness when cleaning that I damaged it and had to order a replacement.

    As of summer 2007 parts guru was out of stock on the Gran Crema and Saeco was waiting for a boat from Italy with no ETA so I ended up with the cheaper replacement.

    In comparing it to the Starbucks I’d say the Starbucks is an odd frankenportafilter; it has the heavy duty rubberized handle of the Gran Crema but the cheaper filter mechanism (go figure). About a week into the new machine the EOM portafilter has been “seasoned” and the espresso is hot, heavy, and has a great dark layer of crema every time.

    So all this to say that the Saeco replacements are interchangeable with the Starbucks parts and you get the bonus of no decals or branding on the Saeco parts.

  3. Thanks a lot for the information. I’ve searched high an low for a replacement for my Barista as my office mates have wrecked the stock filter.

  4. Tom

    Being retired and on a fixed income I am both financialy and karmicaly tied to the Barista gifted to me as a “rescue unit” which I breathed life back into by replacing its heating element.
    For basically two hours work and $50 cash out of pocket and a little surfing on the net I started pulling shots like crazy! Steaming milk was a nobrainer for this little machine.

    I have to agree about the PF. I had to open up the bugger and heat press a steel post to replace the plastic one thet retains the spring. I haven’t seen the SAeco version but want to and want to see the guts before I buy.

    In my view it is a totally interdependet system and without the back pressure the pressurized PF provides the “crema” is thin and instant coffee like. I have enlarged the hole to the diameter of a tooth pick and that seems to be a happy compromise.

    Now, I have a question. I think I may have had an over heat, I don’t know quite how it happened but when on steam it never developes enough heat to really generate steam, it’s sort of “steam light”, the kind you’d get from an entry level Braun (no slight intended I was there once!). Additionally there is increased discharge from the group after the steam button is engaged for a few moments.

    Any comments are most welcome!

  5. mary bowen

    I have a barista..my daughter moved and she is the only one that operated it…How can I find picture instructions on how to operate?? I don’t even know which is the power button….help…

  6. Mike

    i actually have an older saeco model, and it’s not like either the estro, nor the SB barista in the sense that the Frothing wand is on the Right side, { which is where i’m thinking everyone would prefer it to be}
    Made the most incredible coffee, up until approx 1 week ago, now it seems the PF leeks like a bad convertible.
    I’ve meard of modifying the existing PF’s
    does anyone know how to make the pressurized one, a normal tampered kind?

  7. fred

    A word about the Saeco not producing enough heat to steam properly. I’ve found that if you beat the thermostat you can generate much more heat. In other words, start steaming a couple of seconds BEFORE the heat light comes on. Once the light comes on, the heat element turns off and it won’t come back on until the cheap thermostat registers a significant temperature drop. If everything is clean, I’m able to generate a continuous flow of steam and easily turn a pint of milk to succulent microfoam using this technique.

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