A great machine if you replace the frother wand, use a decent grinder and take the time to learn what grind/tamp it likes.
Positive Product Points
The Novo design is attractive. Operation is straight-forward with only on on/off switch and mode lever. Once the machine is understood, it can produce decent, consistent espresso. With the auto-frother replaced with the wand from a Novo 2000, the machine can produce lots of dry steam and good froth provided that you allow the machine to warm up properly. The water reservoir is adequate and easily refilled. Cleanup is easy since the tray is removable and the black plastic looks good after a wipe with a damp towel.
Negative Product Points
As delivered, the auto-frothing attachment is useless. Anything would be an improvement. To preview the effect, simply blow some bubbles in a glass of warm milk with a soda straw. Ok, maybe it isn't quite that bad - but it is bad. The machine is very sensitive to grind/tamp and you don't just get bad shots when you are off. With too little or too much tamping the machine will leak and can be a mess. You can learn to avoid this.
I purchased the Novo to take a step up from a "toy" boiler machine. The Novo is a pump-based thermo-block system and comes with filters for ground coffee or pods. I've tried the pods that come with the machine and they worked well and the machine didn't leak as it can with ground coffee. The pod espresso was bitter, but who knows how long it had been in the box.
There are two lights on the machine - one that comes on with the power and another that goes off when the thermo-block is up to temperature for either brewing or frothing - depending on the position of the mode lever. The machine heats in a minute or two for either mode. HOWEVER - it produces much better shots when allowed to warm up 10 mins or so. Likewise - it produces it best dry steam if allowed to warm on the steam setting for a while after the light goes out. I warm the machine up in steam mode for 10 mins or so to start then froth the milk. I then draw a shot of water to warm the cup (and cool the too-hot-for-brewing thermo-block) and then draw the shot of espresso.
I had a lot of trouble with the grind/tamp at first. This machine seems to have two ways of leaking. If the tamp is too loose, the espresso comes through the filter too fast. This seems to fill the space below the filter basket and then espresso leaks out the back of the porta-filter where there is a weep hole of sorts. If the espresso is tamped too tight it also seems to leak - perhaps through a pressure relief valve or maybe just at the portafilter O-ring. Once you have had a bad leak the machine can get into a mode where it keeps leaking cup after cup. I think this is because grounds end up fowling the O-ring or blocking the relief valve (but that is only a guess).
Once I got a Solis Maestro Plus grinder and found the right setting (several notches towards drip from the espresso setting) I was able to consistently pull shots with no leakage. Some very negative reviews have focused on leaking. This is a fair complaint - but you can learn to avoid it. I also found that by using a very small amount of silicone grease (sold in dive shops to lubricate rubber parts) on the rim of the porta-filter basket once in a while that the portafilter is very easy to tighten sufficiently and comes off easily as well. Once in a while , after the machine has warmed up, I use a small brush to remove any grounds that may be on the O-ring that seals the portafilter. This may also be why I have had little trouble with leaks lately.
With regards to the frother attachment that comes with the machine: I defy anyone to produce decent froth with it. Worse yet, it can't be removed. I tried everything to get it to work; every position of the little valve, different milk, different milk temperature, etc. It seems to always produce some variation of wet foam. I suppose that it's better than nothing, but not much. When I drink capuchino I like the froth to last the whole cup. However, I found out how to get good froth. First, loosen the screw that holds the wand to the bottom of the machine head. Remove the wand /frother and put it in your trash can. Then call up the Krups parts department and order a replacement wand for the Novo 2000 since it has no auto frother. Install that wand and froth away. Both the original wand and the Novo 2000 wand are fairly close to the counter. It is fine for me since I use a single sized cup but I don't think a 16oz cup will fit easily.
It has taken some time, but right now I can produce shots that are better than I ever get on the street and I can do it almost every time. The machine produces great froth. I have no immediate desire for another machine.
I bought on Ebay and got a brand new machine, in the box , with all the original accessories for $75.