Miss Silvia taught me! Really! I only started about 3 months ago, when - thanks to the forums - I bought a Rancilio Miss Silvia and Rocky grinder. Silvia was shipped first, so I decided to practice the techniques I had learned on the forums, using my crappy blade grinder.
I kept reading about this wonderful, sweet espresso, and mine was nothing like that (and I had NEVER tasted good espresso anyway, and thought it was SUPPOSED to be bitter!) One day, I got discouraged and decided that I probably didn't really like espresso. I decided I was going to make a mocha, no matter how nasty the shot was. I was FED UP with temperature surfing, and weighing, and measuring my tamp on a bathroom scale, etc. So I steamed the milk first, then just ground the coffee the way I had been doing, plunked it into the portafilter, did the WDT, tamped it without weighing and took the shot when I was ready - instead of when Silvia was ready. It was slow to come out. It looked like molasses, and I just KNEW I had burnt it, but someone on one of the posts said to "taste every shot", so I did. IT WAS GOD! I never knew espresso was supposed to taste like THAT! It was sweet and spicy, and chocolatey, and complex. I didn't even use the milk! For days, I was in shock! But I had no idea how to replicate it, and I became obsessed!
So I have been chasing that "God Shot" ever sense, and with the continued practicing of "the basics", I have learned to make good espresso (and what good espresso tastes like, with the help of some local baristas). I will soon be taking a home barista class with Heather Perry, and she will help me to hone my skills, so maybe we can figure out HOW I got that "God Shot".
The thing I think is funny, is that Heather told me that the espresso I was using - her WBC Competition Blend - has a very narrow range to extract properly, So I started learning to make espresso with a finicky machine and a hard to master coffee blend. BOY did I ever set the bar high!