I like the steamwand on this machine, it could make real microfoam just like on the Silvia if you know how to steam the milk properly. Lots of home machines has a turbofroth which always make big ugly bubles in your milk, this machine doesn't. The Starbucks Barista has a steamwand which is familiar to Silvia's. Some people said that this machine doesn't have enough steam pressure to steam the milk up to 160F. Well the trick is after you brewed espresso, press the steam button right away to let the machine get ready. Before the ready light goes on, open the steam to let all the water inside the boiler to go out, then start steaming the milk while the ready light still off. That way the boiler will be activated during the steaming process, you'll never run out of steam. Here's the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdHb_6Hs738 Note: In that video, when the ready light on the Silvia goes on, it means the boiler is heating up and when the light goes off, it tells that the machine is ready. The Starbucks Barista is opposite, when the light goes off means that the boiler is heating up but when it comes on, the machine is ready. Remember don't wait too long before you start steaming because this machine has a smaller boiler compare to the Silvia, so it creates the steam pressure way quicker. If the ready light comes on before you start steaming, then it means the steaming process fails, you have to do do something to make the ready light goes off again.
To make a good espresso on this machine, there's 2 things that you need. First you need a non-pressurized portafilter. You can either buy one online or you can make one your self. Here's how: Click Here (coffeegeek.com) Second you need a good grinder which can grind fine enough for espresso. Then just go online and search for the espresso golden rule and some technique on how to make good espresso. Also you need to leave the machine on about 30 minutes before you brew so the machine can get to the right temperature, and do a temperature surfing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhxvDusY3jk Note: In that video, when the ready light on the Silvia goes on, it means the boiler is heating up and when the light goes off, it tells that the machine is ready. The Starbucks Barista is opposite, when the light goes off means that the boiler is heating up but when it comes on, the machine is ready. Always make sure the beans you're using are fresh, that's one of the most important thing in espresso. Just don't ever go to Target or Safeway to buy a bag of beans. Buy your beans on some good websites like Lighthouse Roaster or Intelligentsia, but the best way is to roast your own beans.
Below is a link to my pictures of what came out of this machine:
Click Here (www.flickr.com)
Hope this review help. Good Luck!