A few days in and I've already learned so much.
Lesson 1: It really, really wants fresh beans. At first I was using the now 3 week old beans I had left while waiting for the new ones, and they just didn't quite cut it. When the new beans arrived it was a world of difference.
Lesson 2: Never give up! It took a few days to really get an actual espresso shot, rather than watery strong coffee. Learning all the new variables was overwhelming but I got there in the end. Everything being so manual is such a cool process when you figure it out, it sure takes a while longer but it's so fun!
But oh boy when it all comes together it's amazing. Here's this mornings cappuccino (latte art is still a WIP), tastes great, although I'm finding myself having just double espressos most of the time cause they're so good.