Great Italian design that stands out of the mass. Pro coffee from the famous E61 / heatexchanger combination.
Positive Product Points
Great looking machine! I was looking for an E61 machine with heat exchanger, and I found many that all looked the same (Isomac, ECM, Quickmill…). All steel and square design. I think this Cuadra stands out of the mass with the rounded, colorfull, streamlined design. But that’s only personal of course! Too bad theres only 1 photo... You can choose between colors, I believe the Cuadra comes in red, yellow, black, grey, all chrome. I bought the red one. The coffee is outstanding; I love the espresso!! My wife likes the features for steam and hot water for tea, choco.
Negative Product Points
Hardly any, at this point (after 4 months use). Sometimes I've to polish the chrome E61 grouphead, my wife won't ;-( The driptray could be more solid
The Cuadra is a new machine of La Nuova Era, an Italian company near Venice. They wanted to do something different with the design of a “standard” HX machine. They produce commercial machines and machines for home users like me. All products look like high quality with E61-group and heat exchanger. I think the Cuadra is a great machine for people who want commercial-grade coffee in their home and like Italian design. I made the upgrade to the Cuadra from a Quickmill 820, because I wanted better espresso and greater steam ability. Plus better looks with the E61 grouphead! I must say that the upgrade from a consumer machine like the Quickmill is very rewarding. The coffee flows like lava with tiger streams in my cup....hmm. The temperature is more stable. Steam power is awesome…I need better steaming skills, otherwise the milk is all over the place! The hot water tap with boiling water works great for guests & family who want to drink something else. I also got a Macap grinder which is fantastic for the fresh smelling coffee ground and lots of tasty crema on my espresso. In my opinion, buying an E61 machine without a good grinder, is a shame... For a few hundred euro more you get really fresh coffee, everyday! And coffee beans are economic in daily use, so in time you'll find out it's not all that expensive.
The Cuadra has some nice features that works fine in our daily use: 180 degree free movable steam and hotwater wands, big water reservoir (3 lts), big cup warmer on top, cool handles for steam/water, well placed pressure meter.
I was originally looking at a Rancilio Silvia to buy, but after seeing one in action and reading about the work that goes into producing a good shot from one, I quickly realized that this was not really what I was looking for. Not much better than the Quickmill I owned. Right now I wanted a machine that I could essentially walk up to and brew a professional shot with as little effort and time involved as possible. The answer was ... get an HX with an E61 grouphead. Because this is the best combination you can buy nowadays. For the one and only real Italian coffee! It seemes like the E61 grouphead makes for a bit more latitude or forgiveness in technique, and still get consistently good shots. This is true for me as well. So, this means that you don't have to be a professional to make good coffee with this machine. For people just starting with espresso, it will also work out fine. And the good thing is that you are able to grow (if you want) to an enthousiastic barista, serving all sorts of Italian coffee.
Yes, I really like this machine until now. I will pull out shot after shot after another, and almost every one (90%) is a winner. The steampower is also much better than I was used to. I can make a latte for my wife and a double for me, then another double for me in the same time it took with the Quickmill to brew one decent shot. The machine has no problem serving up drinks to a group of people. Seriously, its just a great machine. It is an semi-pro machine with good looks that will last me a long time.
I saw the Cuadra in Australia for the first time, during a holiday trip. The quality and design of the machine looked beautiful. But I didn’t bring it home to Holland ;-). I found out that the Cuadra was a new product and also available in Europe, on internet I found some websites with dealers in the UK, Denmark, Italy, and so on. I bought the Cuadra in Holland of the E61 specialist Casa Barista. I saw their products on www.casabarista.nl. They have a few shops in big cities around Holland. With quite a new selling concept which I liked: you make an appointment with a barista and have personal service at their home. There you can see and try their products and buy the machines directly. They are coffee franchisers and know a lot about E61 machines. They were a great help with good communication. I could choose from different colors Cuadra’s which they had on stock. I also bought a service package for cleaning my machine and water filters. They explained carefully how to work with an E61 HX-machine, because this was all new to me after the Quickmill. It’s not that difficult, but making a good espresso and steam milk takes some techniques that I'm learning and practicing everyday. I think about going to a barista workshop...and learn some more.
I hope there are other enthousiastic users of the Cuadra around worldwide, please let me know!!