This is definitely a BEGINNER machine. A good grinder will do leaps and bounds for the overall product this puts out (as it does any machine). Treat yourself to a Silvia instead.
Positive Product Points
Ease of button use; deeper drip tray than Silvia; everything about the machine is easy to access; steam wand lacking in stamina; heats fairly quickly
Negative Product Points
Terrible portafilter; the place where water is poured tends to shimmy loose and can rust where the plastic enter the water tank; steam wand not quite long enough for steaming just a little amount of milk
I got this from an aunt who had to give up coffee for health reason. I've made espresso for a living for years but this was my first machine (can't afford anything). It was sitting in a garage and had to be taken apart to be cleaned in depth. Six screws and you're inside the machine. Finally got the grind right and let her rip. Espresso is alright at best and may be better with an upgraded portafilter. Love the deep(er) drip tray. Definitely steam your milk first and then temperature surf it up to the correct temperature for shots. Overall I'd recommend this to someone who enjoys flavored lattes and such, not for the seriously espresso aficionado.
Free from relative. I didn't have to be told twice to take an espresso machine for free.
Three Month Followup
After pulling shots on this almost everyday for the last three months my opinion is about the same. Steaming is lacking but feasible, shots are decent but not great. Cleaning is always easier after being around the machine for a while.
One Year Followup
After a year of use I have some tips on dialing in shots on this machine: I have been using a finer grind than most machines. The grind I would normally use for ristretto shots on a commercial machine seems to give me this best results in a shot of about 20 seconds, too much longer of a shot time and this machine steeply goes downhill ride of over-extraction. I find that using a 12 ounce pitcher works perfectly if you steam your milk to about 135 degrees. You have to swirl the milk constantly to keep it from separating while you get the temperature perfect for pulling shots. I think I've found this machine's niche. I still would recommend a Silvia over this any and every day.