Did I get a dud, or are all Cubikas the same? Whatever, Gaggia is not a make I'd buy again.
Positive Product Points
Smart, modern look
Negative Product Points
Poor build quality and disappointing results.
For some years I owned a cheap DeLonghi Caffe Treviso machine. The results it gave were consistent and acceptable. I got a good crema on my espresso and the milk steamer gave passable, though not exceptional froth most of the time. I thought it was time to upgrade to a machine that would give more professional results. Before I could put my plans into practice, my dear wife bought me a Gaggia Cubika for my birthday. I was delighted to be given such a flashy-looking token of her love and affection and seized it with enthusiasm and delight. Sad to say, from the very beginning it proved a disappointment.
I wasted a whole pack of Lavazza coffee trying to produce a crema of any sort. Too small a charge of coffee and too light a tamp, resulted in the grounds adhering to the water diffuser when the filter holder was removed, so that the filter basket came out empty! On the other hand, a fuller basket and a tighter tamp choked the filter off to a slow drip - and still no crema. Try as I might, I could not get a decent cup of coffee out of the machine. Apparently, there is an 'optional' perfect crema adaptor. As this appears to be a cheap solution to the crema problem, why don't Gaggia supply it as a standard fitting? In an effort to hit on the perfect tamp/perfect charge ratio, I used pods for a time. The results were truly awful and watery.
When it came to frothing milk, again, the Gaggia didn't cut the mustard. It should not require a degree in the physics of fatty liquids to master the art of putting a few bubbles into a cup of milk - my Delonghi did it very readily. The Gaggia made a lot of fuss and a lot of noise to come up with a very unsatisfying mound of big foam. Yes, foam, rather than the nice compact small-bubbled froth beloved by cappuccino drinkers.
Of course, having the end fall off the filter holder on the first day didn't endear me to the Cubika. And finding out that the steam dispenser knob was difficult to turn with damp hands because it isn't knurled and has a tendency to stick,was slightly off-putting as well. But these little foibles would have been forgiveable had I had one decent cup of coffee out of the darn machine. But it was never to be.
I gave the machine away in the end. De Longhi, come back! All is forgiven!
Steamer Trading in Thame were very sympathetic, but they could not suggest any solutions. Unfortunately, although they offered to look at the machine for me, I was unable to take it into the shop because I live too far away. I tried the Gaggia helpline, but there was no reply. Life is too short to waste on excessive expenditure of effort to fix a malfunctioning coffee machine.