This machine seemed the least "cheap and plastic" feeling of all the department store models I looked at. In fact, it's quite solid.
Negative Product Points
Steaming milk takes longer than I'd like. Nozzle removal and cleaning is cumbersome.
I just wanted to get an entry level espresso machine "for my wife" (wink) for Christmas. Our church has a coffee bar and I operate a La Cimbali there and got hooked on espresso drinks. It does make a very nice shot that is on par with what I experience with the La Cimbali or any coffee house. It just seems to take longer than I'd like to steam the milk. Also, the nozzle has to be unscrewed (about 20 turns) after each use to be cleaned as it is an inverted cone shape. Because it is this shape you can't simply wipe it off as you can't adequately wipe the inside of it. I wonder if it is this shape so the novice can froth the milk. Better instructions on frothing and a smooth tip that can be wiped off in place would be better. I already am researching the next step up. I am not too sure from what I have read that I will really get more benefit to cost though. Maybe I'd be better off using one of those steam cleaning tools. Or...is that just not done? (Forgive me, I am not a REAL coffee geek)
After looking at Taget's website, I see they have a multitue of machines. I was really suprised to see so many brand name machines (over 60!) there from $24 to $5000! I don't know how their price stacks up against the machine only retailers. Target is a good retailer with a good reputation. If they had an equal machine in the price range of other sellers I definately would buy it there. No, I don't work for or own stock in Target.