Question about Starbucks Saeco Italia Digital Barista Coffee Machine

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Can't prime new machine

I just received the machine. I primed according to instructions, but after a few drops no more water would come out. I called for TA & tried the turkey baster trick but still no luck. The green coffee and red water light just keep flashing. any other ideas?

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Re: Can't prime new machine

Experienced the "needs prime" message on my Starbucks Digital Barista, a 2004 model so now 7 years old. Hot water came out of the wand normally when I turned its control knob but "needs prime" message remained on the display. I ended up taking out the beans and removing the water reservoir, then laid the unit on its side and turned it upside down and gave it several slaps. I didn't really expect this to solve the problem but it did! Am at this moment enjoying my first post-problem espresso and it is fine.

Posted on Aug 10, 2011

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Re: Can't prime new machine

Yep, my new machine had the same problem, I tried everything for 4 hours. Finally took the back off the machine. disconnected the water tube, filled the water tube with water, hooked up a bicycle pump to the tube, (with an adapter for standard inflatable pool toys) put about 25PSI of pressure behind the water in the tube it to force water through it. re-assembled the unit and it primed right away. I have heard horrible stories about sending these back, waiting months, etc, so I was ready to try anything. I then went to square trade and purchased a 2 year warranty for $50. Even though I hate warranties, I think maybe its a deal based on what I read about this unit.

Posted on Jan 27, 2008

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Re: Can't prime new machine

Brand new machine you put water in the container prime it with turkey blast open the valve on the side off machine and it still does not work tank good for warranty cheers

Posted on Jan 22, 2008

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1 Answer

My machine reads "prime water system

The reply cannot be helpful if any explanation is offered without knowing the category, make and model of the coffee maker.
Basically the water flow in the system is slowed. The machine may need descaling.
If the pump is louder than normal, it is air locked and will need manual priming to let it pump normal.
The manual priming is to inject a few drop of water into the pump (just like a speaker needs a sip of water to continue his speech).
To manually prime the pump you can use a syringe, a Turkey bastor (if you are in USA) or use a hand pump made available with some makes (included as accessory with Saeco, Gaggia espresso machines).
For descaling you may use the link to order a reliable descaler:

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the message prime means the machine has lost it's prime or flow of water to the heating chamber. Lift the reservoir off it's seat then reseat it again. This will clear the prime message. If it repeatedly comes back then your machine has died. If in the year warranty, call Keurig and they will ship you a new one.

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My machine seems to be set on ventiate. it wil dispense hot water but that's it.

Having read the other reviews here, I was prepared for the cryptic "VENTILATE" message. (The manual refers to this procedure as "Loading the circuit", which doesn't help to clarify things.) Of course this refers to what Americans would call "priming" the machine. As mentioned in another review, there is a plastic hand pump supplied for priming, but that is only needed in the event that the electric pump fails to self-prime. All I had to do (following the quick-start instructions) was to select the Hot Water function; the internal pump quickly primed itself. I hope this helps , Lee Davidian

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What is the priming?

Prime refers to priming the pump. The error message means that there is air in the system which is preventing the pump from pumping water. To correct this, fill the tank with water, press the water button on the right side, and turn the water/steam knob to open. Allow the water to flow until the stream is steady. Press the water button again and your problem should be fixed

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You need to manually prime it using the priming bulb that came with it. Instructions are in the manual. Remove water tank. Fill priming bulb. Hold priming bulb on water inlet. They don't inter-connect, so just hold it on there as best you can. Turn the machine on, turn steam knob on, and gently, slowly squeeze the bulb to force water into the machine. It works best when the machine is cold, because you want to get liquid water in there, and not have it displaced by steam.

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Prime = letting some water out from the water/steam nozzle. Priming means that the machine has not water in the lines. By letting water come out, you are making sure that water fills all the components and is ready to use.

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Make sure you try to prime right when the machine is turned on, so that there is no boiler pressure making it more difficult to prime.

Johnny C

Sales & Service

Oct 21, 2007 | Starbucks Saeco Italia Digital Barista...

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