I love my Linea Mini...
it's one of my most prized possessions, which I'm sure was obvious in my year one review. So when I sat down to write this two year update on my ownership experience, I really dug deep. Thinking about the times I was frustrated, or annoyed with the machine trying to leave out things like human error, or just not-so-great coffee. This proved very difficult, and found myself coming up pretty empty with complaints. Most of which are more like little annoyances than any kind of issue with the Linea Mini itself. Since I have so few issues, I'll start with those and finish up with the positives.
- Harder to Clean Over Time - Some of the pieces that are cleaned regularly are becoming harder to clean. Specifically the steam wand and the drain tray. I'm not sure if as you use it and clean it those pieces become rougher or more porous, but regardless the milk tends to stick to the wand and the drain tray requires scrapping to remove the coffee mud layer at the bottom.
- Heat Damage on Reservoir - Since I currently rent my apartment, and San Diego has notoriously hard water I use the built-in reservoir on my Linea Mini and Crystal Geyser bottled water. This piece is a hard plastic base with a softer plastic, removable top. The softer plastic on the front side of the reservoir is up against discharge tube which is often spitting out hot water and steam. This has caused the softer plastic to pull away from the harder base.
- Steam Wand Knob - If you plan on steaming multiple drinks in a short time, the knob will progressively get warmer and warmer until it becomes pretty hot. This is normal, it's basically just thin plastic so it makes sense. Thinking of investing in some new maple knobs from Pantechnicon Design for the aesthetic and to absorb a bit more of the heat.
- Minimal Cost Of Ownership - Twice a year replacing the group gasket, screen, portafilter basket, and overall health check is easy. If you feel comfortable doing this yourself these are relatively simple checks and the parts are found easily online. Or, you can support your local service company. This service, barring any other issues shouldn't cost you more that $200.
- Unparalleled Reliability - Having worked for a service company for a couple years I was concerned when picking up a Linea Mini that I'd be left machineless on a regular basis for service issues. I mean, it is basically a Ferrari in your kitchen and they aren't known for their daily reliability. But thus far, the machine has been bulletproof. Using the minimum of basic maintenance, weekly back-flushing, and proper water quality has in turn made my machine a daily driver.
- Invaluable Experience - Having a Linea Mini has quite literally changed my life. Without it I wouldn't of had the confidence to complete at my local Latte Art Throwdowns and make valuable connections within the community. I also wouldn't of been able to gain the skills necessary to step into a cafe as a barista trainer without ever working in a cafe. All of these things have culminated in getting my dream job as a Director of Coffee and Head Roaster.