Starbucks Barista Aroma Review

March 25, 2005

Starbucks Barista Aroma
I finally sent off my beloved Barista Aroma Quattro 4 cup drip brewer to a good home, and upgraded to the newly revised 8 cup Barista Aroma.

I’m glad I did — and I’m glad I waited.

The previous revision of the Barista Aroma & the Quattro were both very simple coffee makers that made a damn good cup of coffee. Better (in my opinion) than most of the consumer coffee makers I’ve tried, mostly because they brew at an adequate temperature, and seem to do a good job of distributing water over the grounds.

The new revision of the Barista Aroma makes it essentially a smaller version of the 12 cup Aroma Grande, and it has inherited a few new features from the bigger machine, most of them to good effect.

These include a stainless steel housing instead of plastic, a removable reservoir with a water filter, swing-out basket access (instead of a flip-up lid), an LCD clock with timed brew and time since last brew feature, an included mesh filter, and an audible alarm when a pot is finished brewing.

I like the stainless steel a lot (easier to keep clean, in my opinion, and fits well with the rest of my kitchen). The removable reservoir is handy, and I like the water filter, although I’m not terribly sure how effective or long-lasting it’s going to be; better than nothing however.

I have mixed emotions about the swing-out basket. My upper cabinets set rather low, so the lack of a flip-up keeps me from smacking it whenever opening them for beans and filters, but it also makes the “showerhead” quite a bit more difficult to clean.

Typically, I don’t have any use for clocks on coffee pots. Another damn thing to set every time the power goes out or it gets unplugged, and I’d rather go without than grind beans the night before and start a pot with a timer anyway. The only thing about it that I rather like is that it tells you how many minutes have elapsed since the brew was completed. I don’t know why I’ll ever need to know that, but at least I do…. The beep-on-complete feature is cool in a gadget-geek sort of way too.

So much for the new features. On the whole, a nice set of refinements. But the real question is “does it still make a good cup of coffee?”

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