A belated post this is, an update since my last post on making coffee with frothy milk, and i must say i have gotten better at making better coffee, especially better froth. My conclusion is that it does not really demand a lot of skill (unless you are really particular about your coffee), so take heart those of you just getting started.
On making froth, the most important factor seems to be the choice of milk. So far the one from Magnolia works for me and i have been able to consistently get decent froth from it. To make a cup of coffee, i use half a glass of freezer cooled milk (~120ml) and dip the steam wand two thirds deep into the milk. When it is working well, there will be a deep sounding whirr (in contrast to a high pitch sound which usually ends up not producing good froth). As for the espresso, it makes a difference when the coffee powder is tamped down hard, resulting in stronger and richer coffee. I get a decent enough cafe latte, but i must say it can never beat those from Spinelli, which is still my favourite. Next idea to try, a coffee bean grinder..