We're very happy with the La Nuova Era Cuadra and would definitely recommend it. Congratulations to La Nuova Era for producing such a good machine at such a competitive price.
Positive Product Points
Superb crema and flavour of coffee. The crema is thick and dark and stays in the cup for ages. The Cuadra is a very stylish, compact machine. We bought the model with the chrome sides which matches the chrome Macap grinder perfectly. Also the Cuadra has superb steam pressure. Although we couldn't compare all the machines side by side, the Cuadra appeared to have the best steam pressure. Lastly price, we paid $1595 which was significantly less than the other options.
Negative Product Points
Nothing serious to date. Perhaps the build quality wasn't quite as good as the Rocket or Tea but I'm really splitting hairs and considering the price difference it isn't an issue.
My wife and I are both keen coffee drinkers, however we are by no means gurus. Until recently we've made do with a typical name brand espresso machine that one buys from the mall.
Recently a couple of our friends have bought one of the fancy new Italian espresso machines and swear by them. I have to be quite honest and say I was initially pretty sceptical, firstly how can they justify the not insignificant price tag and secondly how could espresso coffee made at home ever be as good as in cafes. Well boy was I proved wrong, the latte one friend made on his machine was so good I decided we had to buy one!
With a budget of around US$1500 we started doing some research on the web as well as visiting local coffee suppliers to checkout the machines they stocked. We looked at the Giotto Rocket Premium, Isomac Tea, La Nuova Era Cuadra and Rancilio Silvia. Feature wise they were all much of a muchness with one exception being the Silvia which was a non heat exchanger machine. Although this machine was held in high esteem it was a feature we didn't wish to forgo was removed it from our short list.
The machine we were the most impressed with was the La Nuova Era Cuadra. What sold us on the Cuadra was the price. It was by far the cheapest (just within our budget) of the 3 heat exchanger machines and performance wise was the equal, if not better, of the Tea and Rocket. The Tea was $300 more and the Rocket $400.
We made the big decision and bought the Cuadra. We've now owned the Cuadra for nearly 3 months and are very happy with our decision. One thing I must confess is that we were advised to buy a burr coffee grinder for the machine. Although this blew our budget out to just over $2000 it made a world of difference. The coffee which was ground with our old blade grinder seriously lacked flavour and the crema was virtually non existent. So after just 2 weeks of owning the Cuadra I forked out a further $400 for a Macap M4 burr grinder. The retro styling of the Macap grinder is a great match for the curves on the Cuadra and side by side makes quite a statement on our kitchen bench.
We use the Cuadra every day. We turn it on first thing in the morning, wait 15 minutes for it to heat up and make our 2 coffees. I make a latte, my wife a cappuccino. It stays on pretty much right through the weekend. It's taken us quite a bit of practice to make a decent brew but I believe we're just about there (how humble of me). One thing I didn't realise was the number of variables to consider when making espresso coffee, in particular the mastering of the grind setting. I feel now I have learnt a little about the art of making quality espresso but still have a long way to go!
Bought from Every Espresso Machine, Boston MA. Speedy service and great advice.