I bought the Hamilton Beach 40729 2 weeks ago as my first espresso machine. I'm new in the espresso world and I thought it might be a good machine to start with compared to steam machines.
I'm still working at improving each espresso I make and found few things about the machine:
1. The scoop they provide is approx. 7 grams of coffee.
2. The portefilter has marks for single or double shot. But when filling to those marks you need more than 7 g. (or 14 g).
3. When making a single shot with ground coffee, I prefer to use the portefilter for espresso pods. So far I've been able to go around 20-22 seconds with that portefilter. It's faster with the double one since there are more holes. Also the puck stays wet since there is room for water above it when stopping the pour.
4. I don't have a good grinder...I should say I don't have a grinder at all for espresso. So I buy ground coffee. The one (bulk) at superstore (Loblaws) is not good. The last one I tried is from Timothy's Coffee Shop and it wasn't that bad. I got to go with fresher ground coffee and better until I buy a good grinder.
5. The frother didn't impress me much or I'm not good at it. I do better froth using microwave and the frothing tool I paid 10$ for. And it could be a little bit longer. It's ok when using a 12 oz pitcher but short for a 16-20 oz pitcher.
Let me know if you decided to buy it we could exchange some tips.