I've been using low-end home espresso machines for almost 20 years now, and know they don't rival the local coffee shop, but this one? Outright HORRID. I bought it to replace a similar Mr. Coffee espresso machine that died too soon (<2 years), but (once I learned its quirks) otherwise made a not-sublime-but-certainly-drinkable cuppa. Despite the longevity issues, I figured I'd give them another chance...but this newer model? It just failed and failed. Despite messing around with it for several weekends trying to get something better than coffee-flavored water out of it, I finally gave up on it altogether and bought a new one (different brand!). Unfortunately, I missed the return deadline, so I may as well have burned a couple of $20 bills as to buy this. Was I able to foam the milk? Yes. Not great, but do-able. The trick to that is to add more water than you need, turn it on the steam option, and let it just do its thing for several minutes until you finally get actual STEAM coming out of the wand. Turn if off just long enough to get your milk just under it, then turn it back on and start foaming. But, nothing will improve the under-extracted flavorless mess that the brewer part creates--the pressure just isn't there. And foamed milk is largely useless without a shot of rich (or at least semi-strong) coffee in it. :(
So do yourself a favor--don't think "user error", because THIS user is NOT inexperienced with machines just like this one. This one simply isn't good, or even very usable. The price makes it attractive, but it will be money literally thrown away because you will end up hating it and stop using it. Mr. Coffee isn't a terrible brand, but this model is a dud. Wait for the next model (if you want to take a chance that it will be better), or increase your budget to afford one of the other brands--Best Buy has several to choose from. You'll be glad you did!