Definitely recommended if it's within your budget.
Positive Product Points
Easy to use for excellent tasting espresso at home. Beautiful enough for spouse approval.
Negative Product Points
Small, difficult to reach water reservoir. Espresso in cafes and restaurants is usually disappointing in comparison.
All you need is a good grinder (Mazzer Mini), fresh beans (Little City Espresso Roast), clean water (Brita), some nice cups (Illy Koons) and this machine for perfect espresso experience at home.
I've used a Saeco Vienna for 4 years and was happy but not excited with the espresso from it. I travel to Italy about once a year on vacation and after my last trip I decided I needed to raise my home espresso standards. I initially ordered a Livia, but after failing miserably to pull a decent shot from it, it was exchanged for the Millenium.
It's almost too easy to make a good shot with the Millenium. I would say it's very tolerant of variables in technique and grind, however it's pretty intolerant of bad beans - if your materials are bad, it will let you know.
I had a short period where it wouldn't make a good shot, but Chris quickly diagnosed that the small filter he provided for the water intake hose had gotten a air lock. Once the filter was removed, everything was back to normal.
I try to let it warm up for at least an hour before pulling shots. On some mornings it will bleed off the steam in the boiler automatically (you can hear it) but on others I will have to manually bleed the steam valve to make sure I don't have false pressure built up in the boiler.
For shot technique I use:
Preheat cups with the hot water arm
Run water through the PF while grinding (I use the overfill and scrape dosing method)
Shut off the pump, dry the PF, dose, tamp, tap, tamp-polish
Engage the PF
Start the pump and timer, dump the cups, and place them under the PF
aim for a 25-30 second shot
Dump the puck, run water through the screen to rinse it, rinse the PF, and replace
Enjoy your awesome espresso
I've had several parties where I've served 20+ shots in an hour and it's easy to keep up. I don't serve a lot of milk based drinks, so I haven't worked to hard on my frothing technique, however steam is definitely not in short supply.
The biggest drawback is that I have a hard time drinking espresso anywhere else now. It's amazing that nobody has taught these cafes and restaurants the 1-1.5oz in 20-30 second rule. I've started paying attention and seen some operators switch off the pump in 8 seconds!
I first ordered a Livia90 - had some problems with it - couldn't get a decent tasting shot from it. Chris sent me a new pump but it didn't help. He took back the Livia (never ever ship via USPS!!!) and credited me in exchange for the Millenium. Always willing to chat. Supported me after the sale with a different reservoir feed tube cap and a blind filter. Also purchased my Mazzer mini from him. Highly recommended.