Starbucks Barista Teardown



Teardowns provide a look inside a device and should not be used as disassembly instructions.

We're taking apart Starbucks' brew-it-yourself Barista Espresso Maker to take the mystery out of these relatively simple espresso machines.

This espresso machine uses pump pressure to brew concentrated coffee, and steam pressure to make frothy milk. A steam wand found on nearly every espresso machine allows the operator to froth and steam milk to make drinks ranging from the simple cappuccino to the addictive macchiato. Let's dig inside Starbuck's most popular model to see exactly how it makes these wonderful caffeinated beverages we love so much.

Tools (continued)
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Edit Step 1 Starbucks Barista Teardown  ¶ 

  • The Starbucks Barista Espresso Maker is marketed for home use and is generally regarded as a good beginner's espresso machine.

  • The Barista will allow you to:

    • Brew espresso.

    • Steam milk.

    • Lose your masculinity.

  • We started the teardown by removing the accessory drawer, drip tray, and water tank. All three parts simply slide out of the frame.

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Edit Step 2  ¶ 

  • Remove the six Phillips screws securing the chrome rear panel to the Barista.

  • Once the chrome panel is gone, you get a pretty comprehensive look at what makes the Barista boil. Major components include:

    • A reciprocating pump.

    • A pressure release valve

    • A boiler (with an internal heating coil).

    • A steam valve which, as you guessed it, allows steam into the steam wand for making frothy milk.

    • A bird's nest of wiring supplying power to everything.

  • Remove all the Phillips screws holding the AC power cord and distribution block to the frame.

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Edit Step 3  ¶ 

  • Our first target was the pump.

    • The pump is responsible for drawing water up from the reservoir to keep the boiler supplied with water... to boil.

  • First, remove the two clear plastic hoses from the barb fittings on either end of the pump.

    • When removing hoses from barb fittings, it is helpful to use a probe (the tip of a spudger in our case) to separate the hose from the metal fitting before pulling it off.

  • One hose is responsible for drawing water up from the reservoir and the other returns excess water if the boiler is filled to capacity and reaches the preset pressure of the pressure release valve.

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Edit Step 4  ¶ 

  • Use a wrench to remove the boiler hose from the pressure release valve.

  • Remove the two slotted screws securing the pump brackets to the frame of the Barista.

    • The simple angled rubber pump brackets are designed to absorb vibration from the reciprocating pump.

  • Disconnect the two female AC power spade connectors from the pump and slip the thermal fuse out from its holder on the body of the pump.

    • The thermal fuse is a normally closed protective switch that opens the circuit once the pump has reached a critical temperature, thus shutting it down before the coil melts.

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Edit Step 5  ¶ 

  • Remove the two Phillips screws from the pump manifold and lift it off the end of the pump, minding the two locking tabs near its base.

  • The pump used in the Barista utilizes the electromechanical properties of a solenoid to pump water up from the reservoir.

    • An iron core placed in the center of a cylindrical coil of wire is reciprocated back and forth through the coil when AC voltage is applied to it. Springs on either end of the core absorb its kinetic energy.

    • The core is attached to a plunger (outlined in green) that fits tightly into a cylinder on the pump manifold which creates the pumping action when the core moves back and forth.

    • The pressure difference between the inside of the cylinder and the water tank causes water to be drawn up from the reservoir into the pump, whenever the steam valve is opened, to assure the boiler is supplied with water.

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Edit Step 6  ¶ 

  • Disconnect the spade connectors from the digital switch near the steam valve knob.

    • When you open the steam valve knob (to steam your milk), a cam attached to its shaft presses the digital switch, closing the circuit. This either starts the pump, gives power to the heater, or both, to produce steam (we don't have a circuit schematic).

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Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • Disconnect the two large connector blocks.

  • Several power leads connect to the three switches on the front face of the Barista for different operating modes. They include:

    • Device Power (On/Off)

    • Brew

    • Steam

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Edit Step 8  ¶ 

  • Use an 8 mm bit driver to remove the four hex bolts from around the perimeter of the boiler (only two are shown).

  • Remove the 2 mm hex set screw from the steam valve knob and pull it away from the piping to remove it from the Barista.

  • At this point, the boiler is free from the Barista and can be removed.

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Edit Step 9  ¶ 

  • We will now focus on opening the heart of the Barista: the boiler.

  • Remove the four hex bolts securing the brew head to the boiler assembly.

  • Lift the brew head off the boiler.

  • Remove the single Phillips screw securing the brew screen and gasket to the boiler housing.

    • The brew screen helps to evenly disperse water across the grounds in the basket.

  • Use a a large standard screwdriver (we used a washer and a pair of pliers) to remove the one-way valve spring retainer from the bottom of the boiler.

    • The one-way valve spring is tuned to only allow the valve to open when the pump is running. This prevents the brew head from dripping while warming up.

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Edit Step 10  ¶ 

  • Use a flat blade screwdriver to separate the two halves of the boiler. Inside the boiler, you can see the main components:

    • Boiler housing (to contain water and steam).

    • Heater coil.

    • Dual thermal sensors, presumably one to maintain steam temperature and one for max temperature shut down.

  • The bottom portion of the boiler housing has a rigid hose reaching toward the top of the boiler to draw water from the top to keep the heater coil immersed in water.

  • There are also two Klixon thermal sensors. The numbers stamped around their bases are:

    • 1NT01L-0036 L95-10 9910 M 10/250~T200

    • 1NT01L-0499 L127-15 9912 M 10/250~T200

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Edit Step 11  ¶ 

  • And there you have it: the dissected Barista.

  • No actual baristas were harmed during the teardown of this device.

  • Here's a huge version of the picture, just in case you'd like to use it as a desktop wallpaper!

  • Be sure to keep an eye on our Teardown page for an inside look at the latest gadgets.

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Comments Comments are onturn off

Very good. But, Please include schematic. It is crucial for repair.

Mike Trachtneberg, · Reply

The tear down instructions are very clear and easy to follow, and the photos are excellent. However, there is a basic misunderstanding, as to how the espresso machine functions. Steam has nothing to do with pressure needed to press the hot water through the espresso grounds. The pump not only draws up water to the boiler, it also develops 15 bar pressure, pumping the hot water through the filter. Steam is produced, for the purpose of steaming milk, by activating the steam switch.

Dave, · Reply

The 'Pump manifold' is actually a pressure release valve that returns water to the reservoir when the pump is working and the boiler is full and water pressure reaches the set point of the pressure release valve.

GM Putra, · Reply

The wiring diagram is found here:

Dave, · Reply

That's a (exploded) parts diagram, not a wiring diagram, not a schematic.

Rich, · Reply

Actually, the link is not working at all, which isn't surprising given that the comment is nearly 4 years old. Here's an updated link to the wiring schematic:

If and when that link stops working, you should be able to find all the Barista diagrams and manuals here:

Henry H,

The one way spring valve has nothing to do with the operating temperature or pressure. It is only there to keep the water from leaking out of the boiler until the switch for espresso, which starts the pump, is actuated.

Dave, · Reply

The screw holding the perforated plate in has burred and we can't get it out. Took it to an electrical repair shop and they couldn't budge it either. Any ideas?

nicki, · Reply

If the screw head is completely stripped out, as a last resort you can pry up one side of the brew screen with a flat blade screwdriver and turn the screen itself with a pair of pliers. This will usually turn the screw as well, and once it's out you can either re-flatten the screen or just replace it with a new one.

Henry H,

Help! The brew screen screw on my beloved Starbucks Barista has nothing to screw into. The threading on the boiler side (ie. it's the part you turn in step 10) is cracked and 1/4 of it is missing. Can this piece be replaced on its own or do I need to replace the bottom of the boiler shown in step 10?

Edie, · Reply

Upon further research, the part I'm referring to is the mushroom valve holder and it's # D2-45 on this site

Will I need to take apart the boiler to replace this part? I can access the part without opening up the appliance but I'm wondering if I'll mess up the lower parts of the boiler if I attempt to remove.

Edie, · Reply

Edie, that part should unscrew from the bottom of the boiler; taking the boiler apart won't gain you any more access to it then you already have. It's designed to come out so you won't mess anything up removing and replacing it, but make sure you don't lose the spring and nipple that are inside it. They are vital to keep the brew head from dripping.

Henry H,

Thank you, Henry. I'll order the part and attempt to replace it.


TI spun off Klixon to Sensata; their product page for the 1NT family can be found here:

They have distributor info linked at the bottom of the page.


DrZ, · Reply

One of the thermal sensors is for the normal brewing temperature and the second one is for steam temperature, and is activated by the steam switch. Both sensors turn on the green light, and turn off the heating element, when the appropriate temperature is reached.

Dave, · Reply

There's detailed drawing and parts breakdown with ordering info for all parts here.

Peter Quirk, · Reply

You can get the two thermal sensors, listed as the Saeco Brew Thermostat 95c, and the Saeco Steam Thermostat 127C, from Stefano's Espresso Care, At the site go to Parts>Home Line/Prosumer>Saeco, then scroll down page 2 and you will find the parts listed.

Taylor Arnicar, · Reply

Thanks for the marvelous tear down instructions. Question. I have this same mdl barista and the water/steam or whatever that goes from the machine into the coffee grounds doesn't seem as powerful as it once did. Do you recommend a full teardown and cleaning or is there something less intrusive I can do? Thanks!

bradi, · Reply

great instructions and pics. Problem with my machine is that after more than a year of almost daily use, water leaks from the steam wand while the machine is warming up and I can never seem to close that valve (using the knob) completely. I hesitate to take the machine completely apart as I know I'll never be get it all back together and working correctly!

What do I need to focus on in the area describe above?


The steam thermostat controls steaming temperature and consequent pressure. They may "drift" and change state (turn off) at a lower temperature, but that would be my second guess. My first guess is that the steam nozzle is clogged. You can use a safety pin to clean it out. The steam valve controls steam flow; it has a nylon seat and an o-ring. If it's not the nozzle or thermostat, I'd suspect that the valve seat is somehow jacked.


Thanks for this teardown; a colleague sent it to me because he know that I had ones of these handy kitchen appliances that I use regularly--not just for espressos, but also for steaming milk for hot chocolate. I often wondered how I could brew "the perfect shot!"

rpeters, · Reply

Quote from bradi:

Thanks for the marvelous tear down instructions. Question. I have this same mdl barista and the water/steam or whatever that goes from the machine into the coffee grounds doesn't seem as powerful as it once did. Do you recommend a full teardown and cleaning or is there something less intrusive I can do? Thanks!

Definitely take a look at your Barista Owner's Manual. It tells you how to clean your machine (without having to tear it down!). Hopefully that should take care of any problems.

By the way, you can grab a PDF version of the manual from Starbucks if you don't have your paper copy.

Miroslav Djuric, · Reply

Does anyone know if the thermostats control the pump operation at all? I am having a problem where the pump is on for plus/minus 5-6 seconds, stops, then after turning power switch off, after 10 seconds or so, there is an audible "click " (presumably a reset) and am able to do the same thing over again. This can be done again and again, but am not sure what is tripping that needs to be replaced. I would think the thermal fuses are like most fuses - they trip and are not reusable or resettable. Thanks in advance for any thoughts.

steveyum1, · Reply

They do not, they only control the heating element and what temperature it's at. The one thermal breaker in the machine is a fusible-link type, so when that trips it has to be replaced. Any chance you have the machine plugged into a GFCI outlet and is that is what's clicking off and back on again?

Henry H,

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