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I Need Help Using My Krups Espresso Machine.

Q: My boyfriend got me the 'Krups XP4030' Espresso machine. I've been trying to watch on youtube about how to make a simple Mocha or Cappuccino using the frothy milk & Espresso & froth, but I'm totally lost. I read the directions on how to make coffee in the pamphlet it came with but it doesn't really tell me how to make the good stuff like they do at 'Seattle's Best' or 'Starbucks'. On the videos I watched (I also tried looking up my model, but I couldn't really see what they were doing, or if it was my model), I saw that some people had those 2 shot glasses for the shots, but when i used my machine, it filled up my 8 oz cup. I know those little shot glasses were not 8 oz! also, some of the recipes were 1/3 milk, 1/3 espresso, & 1/3 froth, so how can i split all that up? but first, i would like to know how to make those shots of coffee, or if i'm supposed too. Is there a good site besides youtube that can help me? I would really like a barista to help me with this.

A: I have that same machine, and it works great. While it's true that you are not going to get the same coffee taste as, say, a $6000 machine, you can get excellent results with your 'Krups' machine. Here are my tips based on trial and error and some tips a friend of mine gave me: 1. Grinding - This is a crucial step. For your machine, you should finely grind the coffee beans. If you dont have a coffee grinder, you can take your coffee beans to Starbucks, and they will grind them for you. Ask them to make a fine grind, and always buy whole coffee beans instead of ground coffee. It tastes better and fresher that way. I have a Cuisinart grinder (about $30) and it works great. 2. How much coffee are you putting in the basket? I usually put two spoonfulls (using the black spoon/tamper that comes with the machine) and then I press it with the tamper. However, too much pressure and the coffee will not drip and the water will come out to the bottom drawer. Too little pressure, and you'll get weak watery coffee. Again, you'll have to go through a lot of trial and error (and spent coffee), But once you get it, you'll enjoy really good coffee every time. 3. Never use water from the faucet. It causes calcium deposits in the machine, and it wont work properly. 4. Buy good quality coffee beans. Starbucks coffee beans are not that bad, however, they are blends and sometimes they just have fancy names. Arabica beans have a really good flavor, not overly strong. 5. Let the machine go thru the heating cycle. That is what it does when you turn it on. Just turn it on a let it heat while you set up and prepare. You can heat the milk in the microwave at this time. Good luck, and I hope it helps. You have a great Espresso machine in your hands.