The Mininova doesn't disappoint -- pulls fine shots easily and consistently.
Positive Product Points
Produces a terrific espresso and easily supplies multiple cuppas, lattes, or americanos. Machine and portafilters are professional weight, heat well, and appear built to last forever.
Negative Product Points
Resevoir and drip tray (I have pour over vibratory pump) are smallish and awkward to fill/empty. Hot water rocker switch is also awkwardly placed.
After 10 years with an Olympia Cremina (single boiler lever machine), I rcvd the pour over vibratory pump mininova as a birthday present a month ago. I had mastered the olympia and could produce a sweet ristretto or foamy cuppa/latte with ease; I feared that "upgrading" to a semi-commercial pump would compromise the quality of espresso I could produce. I'm happy to say that after a week of intense brewing, I was able to get comparable quality espresso out of the mininova, and now I can do so consistently, relatively quickly and at much larger volume. The Wega heats up quickly (10 minute warm up has been true for me) but quality improves when it's on longer. Temp appears quite stable, but I've noticed it does cycle fairly quickly (I may look in to insulating the boiler). The portafilters are huge and heavy, and it is a great bonus to have 2 of them. Pump/refill noise is moderate. My three complaints are: the hot water tap is operated by rocker switch and the steam from the hot water burns your hand when you hold down the rocker (I use a rag/sponge to block the steam); the resevoir is smallish (I need to refill every day or 2) and it is awkward to fill (I'm short, it is located towards the back of the machine, and if you miss the resevoir you pour water on the machine's internals); and the drip tray is a bit small and awkward to remove (b/c of plump-in fixtures, which I am considering connecting). After research on mininova, ecm giotto, and pasquini livia 90, I concluded that none of these three leading semi-commercial machines is perfect. That said, I'm really happy with the mininova and would buy it again in a second.
My wife gave me the machine as a surprise gift and had some trouble with ordering/delivery b/c of this. In the end, Espressoparts made an extra effort to make the surprise happen. Unfortunately, the unit was damaged in shipment. Espressoparts NW handled the replacement w/new machine quickly and professionally.
Three Month Followup
After 8-9 months of fairly heavy use, my view of the Mininova is even better than when I wrote the original review. Here's why. I've compared its weak points (noted above) w/comparable machines (such as the Livia) and noted that the Mininova actually is a bit better in those areas. I started roasting my own coffee and that has _greatly_ improved the quality of the coffee I'm making here at home. I have also played around a bit with the pressurestat of the Mini--lowering it a bit to prevent burning. And finally I replaced the burrs on my Rocky grinder. The burr replacement actually probably helped the quality of my shots more than all the other changes combined, so there's an important lesson in that. I'm still lusting to plumb it in and maybe sometime in the distant future I'd like to replace the vibe pump with a procon. But I can't see any reason the Mininova won't continue to satisfy for years to come.