If espresso is what you want, this machine is hard to beat for $400. I think you need to spend a lot more for quality foam.
Positive Product Points
This machine makes an excellent shot of espresso without a lot of practice. Just use fresh filtered water, a decent grinder and a decent, freshly roasted bean. For the grind, I make sure when I pinch the grind, it forms a clump and when I throw it into the sink the clump breaks up. Too coarse or too uneven a grind (cheap grinder) and it won't clump. Too fine and it won't break apart as well. I prefer a medium roast. I get tons of crema. Also, the high pressure hot water pump makes an excellent foamy Americano
Negative Product Points
The unit is very noisy and rattles/vibrates when pumping and if you like a silky, micro bubble milk foam, I have not been able to achieve that. Works fine for lattes but not as well for cappucinos or tradiaonal machiattos
The machine was easy to use out of the box. I initially tried a cheap burr grinder but could not get a consistent enough grind to make decent espresso. Once I got the grind down, I played around with different beans until I found one I liked. I drink dark roast for filtered coffee but found that a medium roast works best for espresso. Since then, the machine has consistently cranked out great espresso and Americanos. My biggest disappointment with the machine is the inability to make a silky micro foam like the high end shops do for traditional machiattos. I have talked to Barista and tried many different techniques and it just does not seem to have the pressure to get the write foam. A mix of hot milk and meringure is the typical result.