Starbucks Barista

An easy to use home Espresso machine created by Saeco and rebranded for Starbucks. This machine is excellent for every day espresso drinkers and has an excellent build and product life.

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Can't get my machine to prime

I haven't used the machine that often, the last time I tried to prime it the motor goes but does not draw up the water, maybe an air pocket in the line?

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11 Answers

Most Helpful Answer

You can use a turkey baster/ear bulb/etc to force-prime the pump; often they get airlocked when sitting for a long time. Fill the bulb with water and fit it into the water intake hose, then with the pump running squeeze the bulb to force the water in. As soon as the water starts to flow easily turn the pump off, put the hose back into the water tank and continue priming.

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Mine had been in storage for 3 years. I used the bulb filled with water to get my pump primed. Thanks Henry !

by BillyBob99

Eureeka! Everyone in the family tried in vain to fix this machine, with no luck. I had it boxed up last Christmas to send to Vancouver repair person and just yesterday 10/28/2013 I researched again - bought a $.99 suction bulb and it worked!! Thank you!!!

by Cosette

Opening the steam wand did not work for me; and I was not able to force water into the pump hoses from the exterior. I had to disassemble the bottom (in my case only 4 screws) to access the water tubes. Then using a basting syringe I forced water into both tubes and because I had heated the unit before I could hear the water hit the hot tank inside. I reassembled and made a great cappuccino!

by Thelda Shearer

the bulb worked! i forced water up the hose and now it's working again! thanks...one problem though...water isn't that hot :O(

by Deborah Von Hausen

It worked! Yippee! I surely thought it was broken.....good friend gave me her old machine and it had been sitting for about a year and it flushed it with a tiny syringe and its working great now! Thanks!

by Roz

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This answer was originally to another question.

My machine does the same thing. I found by turning the steam knob on and off a few times while the pump is running helps to prime the pump and get water flowing into the boiler.

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The steam knob is the answer. The machine should be turned on, with the steam button "out." Turn the steam knob on, and allow steam to flow until water is discharged from the wand. Easy to do and works like a charm. Especially helpful when you run the tank dry.

by AnEspressoFiend

Yep, the steam knob worked for me as well! Glad it was such an easy fix :)

by Jocelyn K

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This answer was originally to another question.

The priming worked well. I did not have a small enough baster but, used a squeeze bulb. Once the pump turned and one firm squeeze, the pump primed and started moving water.

THank you.

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This answer was originally to another question.

Our machine at the office hadn't been used for 3 years. Once the executive who'd purchased it left, nobody was that interested in making espresso. My boss was going to be out of the country for a while, so I thought it would be a nice surprise to get the machine running again. I'm no handyman: it took me a while to diagnose the problem as an airlocked pump, and several hours to get it going again. The pump wouldn't prime after long stretches with the water valve open. I whittled down the nozzle of a squeeze bottle to feed the pump, but that wasn't enough. I propped the line up so gravity was helping the water drain in and the air float out. And I did a lot of blowing on the tube. When the pump started pulling water ever so slightly, and then faster, and then took a big gulp, I felt like I had brought a person back from the dead. Thanks everybody for the tips--you helped save a life today!

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I had to resort to blowing on the tube filled with water while the pump was active... similar results. Now, enjoying my Egg Nog Latte for the holidays!! Thank all of you for contributions.

by InDaEther

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This answer was originally to another question.

Guys and Gals, just follow the directions given by Starbucks: the approved and simple method for priming the pump dies not require turkey basters or ANY tools. Turn the machine on but leave brew and steam switches on right OFF. Place a cup under the steaming wand. Open t he steaming valve. Now, although we did not heat the boiler for steam, the wand has this second function, namely priming the pump. When the valve is opened but the boiler is not heated for steaming, the pump kicks on and primes the pump. When the water from the wand is flowing in a continuous stream (3-5 seconds), shut the steam valve. You may now heat the water to steam or brew.

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Yes, this is the correct procedure to follow when the machine is new or has had it's boiler otherwise purposefully emptied. However, when the machine has sat unused for a long time the pump can become dry-locked and then it requires either water under pressure (via a turkey baster or similar tool) or compressed air to be forced through it to began working properly again.

by Henry H

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This answer was originally to another question.

I didn't have a turkey baster. In fact, I all had was a tiny 1 ml. syringe. It worked. I squirted it up the tube with the knob in the open position. It took a couple of tries, but then I popped the tube back down into the water tank and, voila. It worked like magic.

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The Barista has been the best appliance I have ever purchased. Bought it in 1997 and used it every day until about a yr. ago. Had a craving for a latte today but to my dismay the prime would not work. Thanks so much for your remedy of squeezing water up the uptake tube. After a couple of tries it finally worked and I am now enjoying my latte. So good I will probably leave the Barista out again for daily use.

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This answer was originally to another question.

My Barista was in the attic for 13 years. Pulled it out...no prime. Found this web site and tried to blow air into to hose. no luck. I went and bought a turkey baster. Used it and VOILA it worked. My Barista is like new. Thank you for this super bit of advise!!

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This answer was originally to another question.

Well nothing is working for me. I have tried blowing with water in the tube and also trying to force water with the bulb. Makes a lot of noise but no movement. I feel like its stuck and needs a swift kick. The new pump is $25.00 and I am afraid it will do the same. In the past if the pump went dry it would run for a minute and then kick in. I keep thinking it will now but beginning to have my doubts.

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This answer was originally to another question.

Judy, did you try turning the steam knob? Stick a cup under the steam wand, turn the knob on high and let it run for a little bit.

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This answer was originally to another question.

These comments have been very helpful. So Thanks. The water tank went dry and the pump stopped working when water was added. I had good instructions to take the pump all apart, clean and reassemble, which I did. Spent a good part of a day on it. Pump still would not pull up water. Lifted the inlet tube and forcing water with the turkey baster, but still would not pump water. Thought I needed another pump. Then, as suggested above, opened the steam valve and presto, just as described. It's fixed! I'll sleep well tonight.

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Pam Mullis will be eternally grateful.

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