This product makes a great cup of Espresso...we are very happy with this product.
Summary: I like this thing so much I've made 9 lattes over the past three days. That's like $45 worth of Starbucks. By the end of the week I will have likely hit the cost of this machine.
It's really easy to use. Load the water. Load the coffee. Snap the handle into place. Turn the dial to coffee. Turn the dial off when you're done.
Frothing milk is also easy. Load a very cold stainless steel mug with very cold milk. Turn the dial to steam. Stick the nozzle in the milk cup. Froth until done.
Note: I got a 32oz. stainless frothing mug with a color-indicator temperature read-out on the side. If that wasn't there you would need a thermometer for the milk. This size is good for oversized drinks or two lattes. Were I making a small/standard size latte I think a 20oz (or close) mug would be better.
As I can tell, the science of using this thing comes down to two things: 1) The grind of your beans 2) How hard you tamp the beans. There aren't a lot of other variables you can control.
Grind: I've been using a grind that's supposed to be for espresso or coffee. It works OK. I think with a finer, strictly espresso, grind it will be stronger.
Tamping: I always fill the coffee to the top. If I tamp it lightly the machine will produce what I would call an Americano. Lots of water comes through and it's done in about 20 seconds. If I pack it as hard as I can I will get less than 1oz of DARK brown coffee coming out of the machine and I could let it run indefinitely with no more coffee. I think the happy place is somewhere in the middle, which I've hit a couple of times. Of course, I'm sure I'll have to alter my tamp strength when I switch to a finer grind.
machine makes very good coffee, easy to use. one Great cup at a time