-It makes espresso and steams milk. -Gaggia makes decent quality machines.
Negative Product Points
-Not worth $300 - buy a refurbished model if you can find. -No 3-way valve. (more important than I thought it would be) -Drips a bit -Loud vibe pump. -You will not be able to get microfoam with this steam wand. You will have to modify or change the wand out.
You'll want to skip this machine and go right for a Gaggia Baby or better.
If you're not sure if you like espresso or you're only going to use the machine once in a while, then this is probably a good machine for you.
It's very hard to tell what mistakes you are making since you can't inspect the puck after extraction - it is a mud-puddle after brewing and if you leave it in during steaming it becomes a very brittle and dry lump that gives you little to no feedback. You can get a bottomless PF if you want to blow $50 to see if your dosing and tamping are any good.
Brew temp was either too hot or not hot enough. Boiler is very sensitive to water conditions and timing. You can do a PID which is $200 for equipment, or you can save your money and get a machine that doesn't need a PID.
My latest machine was a refurb from WLL. I was under the impression that WLL only takes returns after 30 days (could be wrong). So I was surprised that this machine had a good amount of scale built up already. Flow through the head was slow and steam valve wouldn't close all the way until I descaled TWICE. There are other places with prices just as good and much better prices on parts and cleaners. Since I had no real problems with the machine I had no need to deal with them directly but have heard great things about their customer service.
Three Month Followup
Still wish I had gotten a Baby or a Silvia.
One Year Followup
I descaled and flushed and descaled and still the boiler went on me. If you search for Gaggia Boiler issues on google you'll see what I mean. Be very careful about buying a Gaggia single boiler machine.