Teardowns I've Worked On

Guides I've Contributed To

Completed Guides


  • Answer to: No steam pressure, steam/water comes from brew head waiting?

    There is a valve in the lower half of the brew head which is essentially just a silicone peg on a spring. Over time the spring will weaken and start to let water leak around it. This is worsened by the boiler being at steam pressure. It's an easy fix; turn the machine upside down and remove the brew screen with a phillips head screwdriver. The small round brass piece that the screen was attached to will need to be removed next, and you'll need a wide flat-blade screwdriver, coin, or other similarly-shaped tool to do this. It should unscrew, and under it you'll find the spring and silicone peg. Stretch the spring out, being careful not to deform it, and put everything back together the same way. That should stop your leaking, but if not, you may need a new spring or peg, or you may have some calcium built up that's preventing it from seating correctly and forming a good seal. A descaling should take care of that.
  • Answer to: What is this part?

    That doesn't look like anything out of a Barista, can you provide pictures from other angles? Is the item metal or plastic or ?
  • Answer to: Why won't steam come out?

    Did water come out of the machine when you pressed the brew button? If not, you may need to force-prime the machine to get it working again. Using a turkey baster or similar tool, squeeze water up the hose while the pump is running. Once the water flows through put the hose back into the water tank and allow it to run for another 10-20 seconds to ensure the boiler is full. Then it should be ready for use.
  • Answer to: Nothing is coming out of the machine

    If you can't get water to dispense from either the brew head or the steam wand then you may need to force-prime the machine. Using a turkey baster or similar instrument, squeeze water up the tube while the pump is running. Once the water flows through put the tube back into the water tank and allow the boiler to fill completely. Since the machine has sat for several years it might be a good idea to get it tuned up by a professional to make sure it's ready to be used again.
  • Answer to: Where can I Purchase a replacement pump?

    The Barista uses an Ulka EP5 pump; it can be found at partsguru.com as well as many other websites.
  • Answer to: Popcorn machine not turning on.

    If you're talking about the Paragon Classic Pop, I don't see any evidence of it having a fuse (in the spare parts list). If the machine has no power at all (ie. heat lamp doesn't turn on, kettle doesn't warm up, motor doesn't turn) I would first check the outlet to make sure it's working then work your way into the machine with a voltmeter, checking each connection to see where the current flow stops. It could be as simple as a bad power switch.
  • Answer to: steam wand loses steam power

    Are you waiting for the machine to heat up to steam temperature? The ready light should come on. If you're only getting a few seconds of steam then either the boiler doesn't have enough water in it, you have a clog that's preventing the steam from coming out or you have scale buildup inside the boiler that's preventing it from reaching the proper temperature.
  • Answer to: Groupdhead, where my portafilter fits leaks badly when brewing.

    Hi Vincent. That black plastic piece is one of the ramps that sits inside of the brew head. They catch the collars of the portafilter as you turn it and raise it to seal against the brew head gasket. Missing one of these ramps would create leakage on that side of the portafilter. If the plastic piece is mostly intact you may be able to glue it back in place; if you flip the machine upside down and look in the brew head it should be obvious where it goes (opposite from the other ramp). You'll want to clean the area of any coffee grounds first and use a heat-tolerant glue. If the piece is too damaged or it won't stay in you'll unfortunately need to replace the entire brew head collar, the ramps are not available for purchase separately. This does require opening the machine up and removing the entire boiler assembly as the collar is bolted to it.
  • Answer to: steam boiler heats water...has funny smell

    When steaming milk it's possible for some of the milk to be drawn up the steam pipe at the end of the process. If enough of the milk gets into the boiler it will cook on the heating element and result in smelly steam. The only way to get rid of it is repeated heat/flush cycles or replace the heating element. To prevent this, every time you steam milk, when you're done remove the pitcher and open the steam knob again for a few seconds. This will clean the wand out.
  • Answer to: NEed a new portafilter

    You can buy a new one here: http://www.shop.partsguru.com/Saeco-StarBucks-Pressurized-Portafilter-53mm-226551850SB.htm or here: http://www.buyphilipsparts.com/item/9704...


  • Starbucks Barista Teardown

    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.

  • Starbucks Barista Teardown

    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.

  • Starbucks Barista Teardown

    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?

  • Starbucks Barista Teardown

    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:


  • Starbucks Barista Teardown

    Chase, that points to a ruptured or otherwise compromised heating element. Luckily, it's replaceable and the part isn't very expensive.

  • The pump in this machine is actually not a common failure point, but it is the first thing many people assume is the problem due to their lack of troubleshooting experience and general operational knowledge of espresso machines. Given that a new pump can be had for as little as $30 and they often last 10-15 years we've found it isn't worth the time trying to repair a failed pump, especially since if one part has deteriorated to the point of failure then others are sure to follow. I can certainly understand the desire to fix what you've got rather then replace it though, it's what got me into this business in the first place.

  • www.partsguru.com has most of not all of the parts needed for the Barista.

  • The Barista does have a 15 bar pump but it is regulated down to around 9 bar, just like almost every other consumer machine on the market. More bars does not equal a better beverage.

    No matter what machine you look at there will be people eager to share their opinion about how it's the best machine ever or that it doesn't make "real" espresso". Unless you're planning on making coffee for them their opinions aren't really relevant. I would instead try to figure out what you don't like about your Barista and then select a machine that would improve on those qualities. Some examples might be: recovery time after pulling a shot (solution: larger boiler and/or heating element), time spent switching between coffee and steam modes (solution: separate steam boiler or thermoblock), inconsistent shot quality due to temperature variations (solution: electronic temp control / PID), incompatibility with commercial accessories (solution: 58mm brew head), etc. If you can't think of any then keep enjoying your Barista.

  • Try unhooking the pump from the boiler (the outlet side) and then see if it will draw water. If so, then the issue isn't the pump but rather something blocking the flow of water from reaching or passing through the brew head or steam wand. If this is the case then it's likely your original pump was just fine.

  • If neither the knob or coffee button will activate the pump, I would double-check that all the wires are in the right places and that your switches are working (check them with a multi-meter).