Overall this is a good basic coffee machine for daily espresso, cappuccino, latte etc but, after using it for 6 months it just stopped working. Just like that! No warning signs, just stopped working! changed the fuse, cleaned all parts but still, nothing, and then things got ugly.
Gaggia has been bought by phillips and so after calling phillips customer care I discovered that as it has only been 6 months my product is still under the retail warranty and I could get a replacement machine at comet where it was purchased. Alternatively they could arrange a collection & repair which all together could take up to 14 days. Sighhh...
I called comet catford, where my machine was purchased and discovered that this product is now discontinued and only available for purchase online.. They only had a display model in stock & my best bet would be dartford, where they had 2 in stock but I would have to take my faulty machine there myself and collect the new one. They could not arrange an internal delivery to catford store as this was "not allowed", the only other option was to get a refund and I could buy another machine.. After spending weeks last year looking for the perfect coffee machine and finding it only to have it breakdown 6 months later... double sighhh...
My advice to anyone buying this product; be careful where you purchase it from because if it breaks down - which I hope it doesn't and it shouldn't - I would hope a replacement service is in place which serves the inconvenienced customer, Comet definitely doesn't have such service in place.
For these reasons I give this product a 4* because it is a good machine; when it was working. It's probably worth spending a bit on after-sales-care if purchased from Comet.
Now I wait for the collection service to repair my machine and hope it doesn't conk out on me again..
I'll be back to report my experience. In the meantime, it's back to coffee shop coffee, at least I get the 9th one free.. Or is it the tenth..
We have owned the Gaggia Cubika for a few years now and like most kitchen gadgets it is used periodically and then ignored for a while, until you pick it back up again and use it for another period of time. During its time it has proved itself to be a quality machine, which makes a good cup of coffee. HOwever, it does have its flaws!
The Gaggia Cubika, as its name suggests is a cube shaped coffee machine, which makes espresso coffee. It has a flat top, which heats the espresso cups which you can store on top. A large tank to hold the water for the coffee and a milk heater/frother. The water tank is quite hard to remove inorder to fill it as you have to make sure that the water pipe is placed back into the tank. It also has a ridge which you must lift the tank over, making it quite awkward to navigate. The milk frother is operated by creating a pressure in the tank which is then used to heat and froth the milk. THis does make a fantastic froth, similar to what is achieved in a cafe.
The Cubika makes espresso coffee using either ground coffee, or you can buy coffee bags from certain suppliers. The coffee is placed in the holder which is then attached to the machine. To achieve a perfect creme you must turn the handle as far to the right as possible. THis is another one of the machines awkward features as it can often be quite hard to turn the handle far enough. Often creating a weak creme.
All in all it is a reasonable coffee machine, that operates using 'proper' normal ground coffee. Rather than the expensive pods which are used in other machines. However, it does have a few awkward features which means it isn't used as often as it should.
I'm a lover of a well made Espresso and always wanted to have that little bit of Italy in my home. I don't know why I'd never really bought one before, but after reading many reviews I settled on one of these..... Gaggia is a well known brand that makes some of the larger, commercial machines that you'll find in coffee chains and cafés all over the world. I figured if I wanted an espresso machine, it was worth atleast spending enough for a reputable brand. These kind of things are a little more specialised than say, a kettle or a toaster. Companies like Gaggia and Krupps have patents on the way in which they function, so depending on what you buy will depend on the qualities of the machine, and therefore, the resulting coffee.
When I got it home and took it out the box I imediately wanted to play with this new toy and see what I could get out of it. It feels fairly sturdy, certainly alot more so that the flimsy automated things one can buy where you stick the plastic pod in and it gushes water through it making you your coffee. It certainly sits well in amongst the rest of the kitchen appliances. Somewhere inbetween the blender that I've used once and the toaster.
The setup is fairly simple, you put water in the resorvoir and run it through a few times to clean out the insides of the machine from any deposits leftover from its manufacture. The thing that alarmed me most was the noise that came out when I turned it on.... this is normal, and they all do it but gosh it was loud, I suppose in coffee shops the noise is masked by the noise of people in the shop. Also it vibrates an awful lot....... id be careful where you left the machine. The picture shows espresso cups balanced ontop to warm them.... this is not really the case. They giggle about so much that they occasionally fall off.
When I actually put groud coffee into the ...thing (the handle that the coffee goes into that has the hole the espresso comes out of, aplogoies for my lack of tecnhical speak, I am no Barista) ... the espresso that came out was of decent quality, it had the golden "crema" on the top that enthusiasts go on about so much. Sadly it was a bit on the waterry side. Basically, its the old situation of a tradesman blaming his tools.... you need to play around with it for a while before anything of a quality comparable to bought espresso will come out.... Be carefull not to tamp the coffee too forcefully into the strainer thing.... when you try getting espresso you'll just cause too much pressure build up and the whole thing will break on you.. (yes i speak from experience). Another point is that you really need to invest in good quality coffee... Consider how much an espresso in starbucks costs.... spending 1.20 on cheap coffee isn't going to get you a good espresso no matter how much you try. ILLY coffee is of a good quality and produced, IMHO, the best espresso, although I believe that Costa and Starbucks now also sell the coffee they use for use at home.
ANYWAY... once i'd "mastered" espresso. I thought id get creative and make a Latté. How hard could it be. the problem with these machines is that they cant mutlitask.. you have to make the espresso, then wait, then steam the milk., A mild inconvenience I find. Also, the milk steaming nozzle is just a bit too short...... i emailed gaggia and they sent me a complementary free one that was longer, more similar to those seen in coffee chains that are long enough to plunge into a deep metal jug. so i made my espresso, then steamed my milk to the perfect consistency and poured into a tall cup.... the latté wasnt bad! Here, I should add that full fat milk is the way to go... Skimmed milk will not go thick.
Eventually however, my Gaggia broke after about a fortnight. I tried all the usual fixes, flushing water through, descaling, however it just didnt work. I opted to get my money back... unless you've got the patience to spend time learning how to make a good coffee, its really not worth the effort.... SADLY.
*Easy setup- you can just pull it out of the box and use it. The buttons are well labelled so there's no reading of the manual (although it helps)
*Half decent coffee- if you use your sense and buy quality products to use with it, the coffee is remarkably good. The machine is more than capable of producing a good espresso, the technology is the same used in some commercial machines, its more just about how you use it that counts
*Customer support- Gagggia are a really helpful company. When my machine broke their customer support people seemed genuinly bothered that their machine had broken.
*The noise- if youre hoping to wake up to a nice smooth espresso. You might want to get some ear muffs. the sound isnt pleasant at the best of times, let alone at 7am before work
*The Breakage- okay, the fact my machine broke is probably a one off. HOWEVER after 2 weeks of use there really is no excuse. After spending a few hours searching around forums the problem isnt unheard of, and for this, I think Gaggia need to take a look at their product and make it more reliable.
Love Coffee, Love Gaggia Cubika.
I was given this coffee maker as a Christmas present, Christmas 2007. As i love coffee, and consider myself very fussy and hard to please.
It takes a bit of getting used to with the milk frother but once you have experimented a few times its quite easy to use.
Its not too bulky either so fits into to our small kitchen without taking up too much counter space.
Very easy to clean, i take all the metal filters and handle and put into the dishwasher, though its real easy with hot soapy water. It comes with a measuring spoon for your coffee and has three sizes of filters for expresso, coffee for one or coffee for two.
Over all I would recommend this coffee machine for those who want simple quick coffee and will use it daily this is a very inexpensive machine that way.
Hope my review helps. Good luck on you purchase!
We purchased this espresso machine last new year as we were starting balk at the amount of money we were spending on Cafe Cappucinos and Espressos.
Being a huge fan of real, well made coffee, I wanted a real, well made espresso maker. I checked out the 'Pod' makers, but dismissed them as I felt that if the pods should become obsolete, I would be left with a useless coffee machine. In the end, we decided on a real machine to overcome this problem.
After searching around for quite a few months (financial constraints), we settled on a reconditioned Gaggia Cubika from the Gaggia website. At £99 plus 40 free sachets of coffee, we got a real bargain. It also came with a years guarantee, so we knew if anything went wrong we were covered.
It finally arrived a few weeks later, as good as new. We initially struggled a bit with the steamer knob as it was stuck tight, however, the user manual that comes with it actually addressed this problem and it is now fully functioning and indispensible.
The machine comes with a spoon, a tamper, two fittings (single and double) and the coffee handle. It also has an inbuilt milk steamer function, however, due to how low it is on the machine, you can only steam a small amount of milk at a time unless you have it hanging over the counter edge, and even then, the spout is quite small. Another point to note is that when you use the milk steamer, the milk tends to dry very quickly onto the metal nozzle. Unless you clean it up immediately it sticks tight. We clean it by placing it in a cup of boiling water until it softens then wiping with a damp cloth.
Although the machine is designed to make two espressos at a time, it is much easier and less messy to do one at a time. It can be quite time consuming even to prepare an espresso, but, providing you use good quality coffee (we either get Whittards of Chelsea, Illy or Lavazza), the final product is worth the wait. You can use any type of coffee however, the brands mentioned are our favourites. It takes some practise to get the perfect crema but it is possible! Using the controls to make coffee is very intuitive, it's hard to go wrong, but in the worst case, the machine comes with detailed instructions.
The only downside to this machine is that it takes some skill to get the water tank out to clean or refill. As the flexible water tubes are inside, and the coffee spout and milk frother tube obstructs movement, I often find myself having to ask for help to get it out incase I damage anything. It is also relatively heavy but this is down to the quality of the materials used.
Apart from that, the machine is excellent value for money and, as it is stainless steel, top notch quality. The body is easy to clean with a quick wipe down and to clean the insides we just run hot water through once every few weeks (don't forget if you leave water in the tank for some time without use it tend to go gunky and so you need to clean the machine thoroughly inside). There is also a removeable drip-tray which slides off easily for emptying and cleaning.
I should also point out that it vibrates considerably when in use which is especially noisy if you have anything on top, such as cups or attachments. In addition, despite the top being a cup warmer, you would have to leave the cups on the machine for a long time prior to use. We've found the easiest way to heat the cups is to run some hot water through the machine into the cups you will use, which both primes the machine for use (gets rid of any stuck coffee granules) and heats the cups at the same time.
A* for this product.
I'd wanted one of those fancy espresso machines for years but could never really justify the expense. Having had various filter machines and cafetierres cluttering up cupboards I also wasn't convinced I'd get any use out of it.
Last year, however, I finally gave up sugar and this has really changed my views on coffee.
Without sugar I found I liked real coffee (smooth, strong taste) and couldn't bear instant coffee (way too bitter). Six months later I still couldn't get a taste for instant and was buying more and more real coffee which can get quite expensive so I thought I would finally get myself a real espresso machine.
There are two ways to go with espresso machines these days. You can get machines that use prepacked coffee packets, like the Nespresso machines, or traditional units that use loose coffee, freshly ground from beans. I quite like the idea of making these coffees from scratch so looked at the latter option.
The next decision comes down to price. Some espresso machines can be horribly expensive, often running to several hundred pounds. I had no intention of spending that much and as I would only be making one or two cups at a time was quite satisfied to look at smaller machines. I wanted it to look good in the kitchen and be made by a company with a good reputation. Luckily Gaggia produce this model which retails at £150 on the high street and have an unparalleled reputation in this market.
I bought my machine from House of Fraser in Bluewater, which has a dedicated Gaggia stand, staffed by Gaggia employees. They offer reconditioned models, which have previously been returned and repaired, at a significant discount. I paid £99 for my one, it still had the protective cellophane on the stainless steel sections and if you'd told me it was brand new I would have believed you. It also comes with a 12 month Gaggia warranty.
In the box:
Along with the unit itself, the box includes the filter holder, one or two cup filter inserts and removable drip tray. You also get a measuring spoon and tamper.
Brief summary of Specs:
Capacity: 2 Litres
Pump: 15 Bar
Filter holder: Aluminium
Body work: stainless steel
The picture above will show you all you need to know, so I won't go into too much detail describing it. In terms of size it measures 26cm x 30 x 22 (L, H & D) which makes it a nice size but not too dominating. It will take up the same space as a toaster and easily fit under kitchen wall units. The body is brushed steel, with stainless steel on the drip tray and cup warmer. The three buttons on the front are quite large and perhaps detract from the overall look and probably could have been better designed.
The machine is surprisingly quick and easy to use, I'd had visions of spitting water and hanging around to get my coffee but this isn't the case. Starting from scratch, you can have a cup of coffee in your hand in about five minutes, which isn't much different from making instant.
At first glance, the instructions for making an espresso are pretty intimidating. But in use they make perfect sense. The machine does one job: it makes espresso, and that's it. What you do with that espresso is up to you but you can make cappuccinos, lattes or whatever takes your fancy.
Making an espresso turns out to be very easy.
1. Fill the water tank
2. Turn on the power
3. Prime the pump by running a cupful of water through, without the filter holder.
4. Put the ground coffee in the filter holder, tamp down and insert in machine.
5. Wait for water to boil.
6. Place cup(s) under filter holder and press Go.
7. Job done
While the water is boiling, you have plenty of time to grind the coffee and get cups, milk or whatever you need ready. It really is a lot simpler than I thought it would be, although it can be a bit messy with ground coffee and drips flying around.
Quite quickly I have been able to produce very good espressos (with lovely crema) and acceptable cappuccinos (which are harder to make than you might realise).
There is a steam spout which will froth milk, or top off your coffee with hot water. There is also a cup warmer, this is basically the flat top of the machine that gets comfortably warm when in use.
There are a couple of negatives with this machine, but nothing major. The only practical issue I have is with the buttons. In the past these have been a weakness in this model and a lot were returned with them broken. Gaggia claim to have resolved this problem and I haven't had any trouble in the month or so I've had the machine. However, they don't feel particularly robust and don't look quite right and maybe a minor design tweak could be in order.
Being a small machine, it will only make one medium strength coffee or two weaker coffees at a time. So if you have a few people round you could find yourself flapping around like a Starbucks barista trying to keep up, but if you think this going to be a regular problem you should look at larger machines.
With grinding coffee and dripping filters, making an espresso can be a bit messy. Don't get me wrong, it's not like making a cake but you will need a cloth at hand for mopping up spills and so on.
The final issue is that making espresso (and cappuccinos etc) is something of an art. The machine doesn't have an automatic cut off so you need to experiment with how much water you use to make each espresso. Likewise frothing milk for cappuccinos requires a knack that will take a little practice.
This is a very good little machine. Big enough to regularly make one or two cups easily, with a little practice and experimentation you will soon be producing perfect espressos like a professional barista. If you don't mind a bit of mess and fuss you won't go wrong with this.