Gaggia brand and sexy looks for a sensible price. Resulting espresso pretty damn good for a domestic machine.
Positive Product Points
Gaggia brand for a sensible price. Stainless steel body looks v sexy. Makes pretty good espresso, and decent crema, with the right beans, pressure and learning curve!
Negative Product Points
Drip tray cheap plastic. Steam knob cheap plastic. Other reviewers have said build quality poor and breaks down after 3 months! Not had any experience of this myself, but only had the machine for a few weeks...
Imagine my horror when, after buying a new Gaggia Cubika, I logged on and enrolled onto the Coffee Geek website as a new member and read some of the reviews! A few talk about poor build quaility, unreliability, cheap looks, heating problems etc etc.
So far, however, I have to disagree (although I've only had the machine a few weeks). The machine heats up fine - it takes 5 or 6 minutes when you first turn it on, as would any - and the cup warmer by this time is also hot enough. If you're going to leave your machine on all day, as I do at weekends, then there's never a problem. In the week, whack it on before you go and do something else. The espressos I've made (as a semi-novice) have been pretty damn fine, with decent crema too if I use freshly and correctly ground beans and some heavy tamping.
I would agree with some of the comments about aesthetics, though: the drip tray is cheap plastic, as is the steam knob and the porta-filter handle. Would it really have cost that much more to have a matching stainless-steel drip tray, rubber steam knob and rubber handle? So these let it down. Also, so does the fiddly removal of the water tank - although, to be fair, you don't often need to do this as the slide-to-fill procedure is very handy and neat. All in all though, the overall good looks of the machine outweight these little niggles.
To conclude, this is a small-to-medium-budget machine (cost me £140 UK pounds sterling) - and for this you get the Gaggia name, gorgeous looks, and a prettry good espresso. That'll do for me!
Independent Kitchen Supplies retailer in my home town (Lancaster, England, UK) nice personal service with a couple of Gaggia espresso cups thrown in for free!