Just got the machine a few days ago. It is my first espresso machine. I have till now mostly been consuming my coffee via french press. By using the french press I have discovered that grinding the beans and using them immediately affects the quality, as well as a fresh and quality bean. Now I've discovered the importance of the grinder.
Initially I tried using the dual wall filters and I got crema, but the espresso was bad. I'm not saying I can tell the difference between good and great espresso but I know when it doesn't taste good. Then I started running all sort of experiments, varying tamp pressure, type of bean, grind size (using my Krups GVX). I was never able to get a good shot whether I used dual wall or single wall and I never got any crema using single wall. I bought some pre-ground espresso from the grocer and the results were no better. I was suspecting the grind quality was the problem so I tried to make my grind finer using a rolling pin. Mostly I was just hoping I could get it fine enough to clog the machine, since I haven't seen that yet, but no result. Definitely seen it run out too fast basically every time I used it. So today I went shopping for a better grinder, no store in Brandon, MB sells a conical burr grinder so I went to a coffee shop and bought some beans and had them grind them for me on 4 different settings around the "espresso setting". The finest 2 grinds clogged the machine. The 3 grind worked great, and the 4th was too coarse. Now at least the machine brews a shot that looks like it should, and it tasted way better, I was litterally shocked by how much better the shot was when I found a grind that was close.
I am confident now that this machine will produce good espresso if I get a good grinder and quality beans. However through extensive experimentation the last few days I have learned that the quality of the espresso is going to be very sensitive to the grind size and consistency. So if this is your first espresso machine, (like it is for me) don't even bother turning it on unless you have a quality grinder.