Great espresso maker - if only they could make one that lasts me more than 3 months!
Positive Product Points
Makes great coffee!
The top gets warm so is be used as a cup warmer, which is a nice touch.
Negative Product Points
Build quality variable. I'm about to take back my second faulty machine. Each has lasted about 3 months (using the machine twice a day, making a couple of cappuccinos each time).
After operating the steam button it can take a little while for a head of steam to build up. This can mean the coffee is cooling by the time milk has been frothed.
The crema is light - the machine may benefit from the optional "perfect cream" accessory.
First let me say that I was really pleased with my stainless steel Gaggia Cubika when I was given it for Christmas. It appeared to be a robust, all-metal, machine. The coffee it made tasted first class, which, after all, is why we bother with these machines. It was my first espresso maker so I don't have anything to directly compare it with but I quickly found myself able to produce reliably good espressos and cappuccinos.
Unfortunately the build quality seems suspect - both the first machine I had and a replacement developed faulty switches which jammed in the off position. (The way the switches are mounted means they can also be difficult to turn off even when not faulty, as they go in behind the front panel when you press on them and catch behind it.) The first machine was much noisier than the second and it's wand position also made the water tank difficult to get in and out. By the time of it's return the steamer valve on the first machine was not turning off properly either so the steam wand was dripping most of the time.
It can take a while for enough steam to build up to froth milk. This is probably because the Cubika is a 750 watt machine - many of Gaggias others are 1425 watts.
The Gaggia Cubika is supplied with single and double filters, a measuring spoon and a double-ended plastic tamper. The instruction book mentions an optional "perfect cream" device - this is not supplied with the machine.
Whittard are excellent. They provide helpful advice from experienced staff trained in the products they are selling. The after-sales experience was good too - they exchanged the faulty machine without a quibble and even gave me some free coffee. I dealt with the Windsor branch, just downhill from Windsor Castle. Whittard have a website at http://www.whittard.co.uk.
Three Month Followup
1) I gave up on the Cubika after the second faulty machine and bought a Gaggia Carezza instead.
2) The new machine made me realise the boiler on the Cubika is under-powered. Most cappuccino machines seem to be about 1400 watts. The Cubika is only 750 watts, which means it doesn't really generate enough steam.
3) Which explains my original comment that coffee cools by the time the milk has frothed.