Good Machine to learn on. Good value once you learn to do it right. Here's what I've found.
Positive Product Points
The compact size makes it good for anyone who has space issues. With practice and experimentation, It WILL make a good Espresso.
Negative Product Points
It needs a lot of attention to make something good. It will make a very good cup of strong coffee without much effort but an espresso can be quite tricky. Repeatability is difficult. Also the carafe is VERY fragile. I have broken it once but I found a replacement at Bed, Bath & Beyond. Another thing is that there is a little rubber stopper for the metal tube on the Easy-Steamer attachment. This stopper can be a pain if it gets clogged or it gets lost. Both can make frothing very difficult.
After using this for 6 years, I have recently figured out how to make a good Espresso. The first couple of times you use this, you really should follow the directions. Then you will see that just following the directions can make it hard to get the same results every time. The directions tell you to NOT tamp the grinds. I believe they tell you this because the manufacturer is concerned with too much pressure. There is even a warning about misuse possibly causing the machine to explode. I took my chances. Tamping the grinds does slow the steam and water penetrating the grinds. There is a pressure switch inside the machine and when the pressure builds up too much, it seems to cut the power to the heating element. The water will stop boiling in the chamber and the pressure will subside. When the pressure goes down again, the element kicks on and the pressure builds again. I've found that to make a good espresso, fill the portafilter about 3/4 full and tamp it down to the 2 shot mark (more grounds than this will take too long and put more stress on the machine), add a little more water than what you will need to make the two shots. Turn on the machine. The first little bit that comes out will be a dark stream, but it will lighten up quickly. Because of the pressure, it will take a few cycles to make the two shots. You can use the steam wand valve to release the pressure to speed up the cycles. Concentrate on the espresso first, then foam the milk. Keep an eye on the color of the stuff coming out. I've found that if I have extra water that's not used for steam, it will begin to run lighter. Once this happens turn off the machine and open the valve to bleed off the pressure. I use an insulated thermos to keep the Espresso hot while I steam the milk. Add more water to the machine and swap the portafilter with the steam cap. Turn on the machine again. You will have to listen close and feel the top of the machine in order to know when the water is boiling. Open the valve to drain out any excess water then close it. You are now ready to froth the milk. A higher milk fat seems to work better. 2% milk will produce good froth. Move the milk so that the tip of the wand is just below the surface of the milk and swirl. Once the temp reaches 100-120F, put your finger over the hole in the rubber stopper on the Easy-Steamer and sink the tip deeper in the milk but not too close to the bottom of the froth pitcher. Keep swirling the milk. Once the temp reaches 150-160F, shut off the steam and the machine. Note: be sure to open the steam valve after you've frothed your milk and turned off the machine or you may not be able to get the steam cap off. Practicing this method will eventually yield the best Espresso this machine is capable of.
Service Merchandise was the place where it was bought from. The store doesn't exist any more and since I bought it 6 years ago, I'm not sure you could even buy the model I have.