As I'm sitting here sipping on a cappuccino with milk perfectly steamed into microfoam and poured into a decent rosetta, it got me thinking is this art nescessary for my enjoying of an espresso based drink? Come to think of it, I spend a lot of time learning to steam milk. I started out using an inadequate Gaggia Evolution with its Panarello steam wand. I ended up having to take out the black plastic thing and use the bare wand to steam milk. By the end of my time with the Gaggia, I was able to produce very respectable milk that I can pour into something resembling a rosetta. I ended up selling the Gaggia on Ebay due to its limitation in espresso potential.
My next machine aquisition was a La Pavoni manual lever which present a whole new set of challege. Espresso pulling was a difficulty in its own but milk steaming was difficulty at a whole new level. The steam wand design of the Pavoni is inadequate at best and was harder to steam even on the entry level Gaggia. Then I follow an advise online and put a modified stteam tip on the Pavoni and after intense practicing for about 2-3 weeks, I got the best steam milk that I ever had.
The ability to pour nice arts into espresso shots correlated with milk quality; once I got the best out of milk, pouring it into something decent was not the hardest part. Additionally, every time I'm making a cappuccino, I look forward to having a great looking as well as aromatic and tasty drink.