Brings the best of vacuum coffee brewing and automation together.
Positive Product Points
Very high quality construction and innovative design. Brewing process is consistent and trouble free, and it yields very good coffee. Fast brewing (4 minutes for a pot) is a definite plus.
Negative Product Points
A bit too much 'mud' or sediment in the cup from the nylon mesh filter, but not a big deal. It also brews a bit too hot due the high powered heating element pushing steam up through the top bowl during the brew heating up the water.
I bought the Mini Santos after hearing about it being on sale at Amazon.com for $50. Not being able to pass up a good deal (and also suffering from the recent demise of my beloved Yama), I bought the Mini. It came in a beautifully laid out box with a neat video tape showing the 'how-to' of using the unit.
First impressions were of a quality product and a very nice looking unit (in the graphite blue color).
Brewing performace is very consistent, giving about 1 minute 'up north' times (ideal for the volume of coffee brewed) and quick kickdowns of the coffee when done steeping. There is no need to 'trick' the heating plate like the larger ESantos to get the proper brewing times.
It also heats up VERY quickly due to the 1200 watt element and only 750ml of water. This is also the only real downside of the unit - after the water goes up north, the 1200 watts of heat boiling the rest of the water in the lower bowl produces so much steam that it actually heats up the water up top close to 210F to 212F. This is a bit hot for optimum coffee brewing, but the short brew time does not cause too much flavor degredation and overextraction. However, cupping the same coffee in the Mini and in my Cona D definitely gives the edge to the Cona with a smoother cup with better varietal characteristics.
Nevertheless, the Mini brewes a superior cup to any drip brewer, and for that morning mug of coffee, it's FAST and pretty easy to clean up. At the $50 sale price, it's a great product. At full retail, I'm not sure I'd buy it, though.
Amazon.com was out of the clear color and cancelled my order w/o offering another color. By the time they cancelled it, the sale was over. A polite e-mail to them stating my dissatisfaction was met with an offer to buy another color at the sale price. I was quite pleased and ordered the graphite blue color. They definitely did right for me.