This is the first time I'm using a soy milk machine. My friend recommended the SoyaJoy but when they came out with this I wanted to try it. I bought it directly from them so whatever I describe here is whatever came in the box from them. The first time I made the soy milk from the Laura beans sample they sent with the package and it smelled beany and strong. The instructions actually warned that it may have a metallic smell and to throw away the first batch if that happened. Well, I've been making soy milk since then and the smell/flavor is now milder. So I don't think it's the Laura beans, I think it was just the first batch. I experimented with different beans, rice and grains and had fun with the results. I do soak them first before I use them. At first, I added 1/4 tsp salt and 1 TBSP of sugar (they recommend 3 TSBP of brown rice syrup) but now we drink it plain. It comes with a wire mesh strainer but I also strain it a second time with cheesecloth because it is a little grainy to me. I don't use the plastic container it comes with for the straining because I wasn't sure about pouring hot liquid into a plastic container. I strain it straight into my own glass pitcher (for hot beverages). Clean up is indeed easy, like cleaning a blender. If I leave it out too long though before washing it, it would take a little more muscle to scrub it, but so would anything that was left to dry out and cake up. I buy my soy beans from a local organic store at around $1.75/pound. I think that means it costs me about 30-50 cents to make a batch comparable to a carton of soy milk that costs $2+ at the store. It makes less than 6 cups I would say. Maybe I'm not adding enough water, but usually I get more like 5 cups. I have been able to use the okara (left over "pulp") from the soy beans in soups/stews and pasta sauces. My family thinks I've been adding cheese to the sauce! I use it like ricotta/parmesean cheese in some recipes and also make okara burgers. Nothing has gone to waste. I freeze whatever I don't use. Honestly, I didn't like using it in "cheesecake" recipes. I still prefer using tofu for that. But it has been fun overall using the okara for more savory recipes.