I am a dingbat when it comes to making espresso, latte, cappuccino, never done it, didn't know how. I was tired of spending $ 8.99 + a day for a good stiff coffee drink at the local coffee shop to get me going. Long to short, my drip coffee maker died, figured I would give this a try and am beyond happy with the results.
I agree with other reviews here that the instructions are a bit vague, however, if I can figure it out, anybody can, just get familiar with all the little parts and what they do and where they go. Then, like I, seriously enjoy figuring it out, it's fun! It's awesome! It's saving me at least 18 bucks a day!
Perhaps I am doing things all wrong at this time with my learning curve, but if you want that decades old since you last had one, jolt in the morning, this is what I recommend!
Take the larger puck and fill it with a good finely ground espresso bean coffee. Pack it as tight as you can 1 cm below the top lip of the large puck with the included coffee measure/tamp. Attach the puck and handle contraption to the corresponding receptacle on the left side of the machine, push it to the right, firmly snug, a little right of center. I cycle the green light on the top left button three times to fill my mug 2/3 rds. the way up with coffee, espresso, the stuff that drips out of the puck. Remove my mug and fill it the rest of the way with sweet cream, the stuff that really does come from a cow. Fantastic! That wonderful jolt you used to get years ago with coffee in the morning is back with in 5 minutes after you start to drink it. That's my recipe and I am sticking to it! Oh, and it tastes a lot better than what I was getting from my local coffee shop!
As for the other aspects of this machine, clean up, maintenance, etc. I set it up to the right side of my kitchen sink as cleaning it can be a little messy, mainly filling the puck, and rinsing it out, so I like where I have it, plus things go faster if there is more than just myself in the morning. From what I can tell all the critical parts that need to be removed for cleaning can be removed, the biggest hassle is the milk frothier, getting the two parts re-oriented with my vision can be a little bit challenging, but in no way a deal breaker.
I do recommend following the instructions in the main user manual to descale the machine. I have not had to do this yet, and though my tap water runs through a filtration system it is very, very, hard water! So I anticipate having to descale both sides more often than recommended in the manual. To maintain longevity I will follow those rules to the letter, including DeLongi descaling solution.
Wrapping up I don't much care for the wire basket filter, on the drip side, extra rinsing required, but I think a #2 cone, brown, paper filter will help with that. For the price, and savings I am getting, I strongly recommend this machine! Especially if you have been years searching for that morning wake up like I have!