Last machine I had was a baby Gaggia which made decent espresso but it broke many times and I gave it away. The Mini Vivaldi II makes espresso and froths milk as well as any machine I have had before. I make better espresso and cappuccino than 95% of restaurants (I have experienced fabulous meals in some of the best restaurants in NY that ended with mediocre or, worse, a bad espresso) I purchased a grinder from Chris Coffee for $500 (Compak K3 Elite), after I bought the Mini and it is definitely required since using even the best pre-ground coffee in this machine does not make a great espresso, only a good espresso. I normally have 2 espresso in the morning and I turn the machine on before taking a shower and then turn it off before I leave. I have no problem with filling the water tank. and like the idea that I can easily move it to a new location. I have been using Counter Culture Coffee beans, grind just enough beens for 2 short espresso and the result is espresso that reminds me of being in Italy. Un espresso con Crema perfetta. It only took about 2-3 weeks to get used to the machine. I brew and froth at the same time. One cannot get better quicker froth than with this machine.This machine is extremely simple to use, I have had no breakdowns, however, I should find out if any maintenance is required, however, I am the type that only changes oil in my car one a year. I hope this helps someone.
Chris Coffee was very knowledgeable about the machines they sell. Shipped out in 1 day.
Three Month Followup
After 6 months the machine still works fantastic, no problems at all, espresso and cappuccino are still as good as any I have ever had in the USA. The only better esspresso and cappuccino I have ever had were in Italy. I could not be more satisfied with this machine.
One Year Followup
The machine is still working great, not one problem with the operation, the only problem is that I now consume more caffine than I should.