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Gaggia Cadorna Prestige Review

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Last updated: January 2, 2024

Quick Answer: I do not recommend the Gaggia Cadorna Prestige because the machine does not make good espresso. I’d instead recommend the Delonghi Magnifica Evo which has similar functionality to the Cadorna Prestige but produces better espresso and is typically cheaper than it.

The Gaggia Cadorna Prestige is Gaggia’s mid-priced super-automatic espresso machine.

Gaggia has a (well-earned) reputation for making high-quality semi-automatic espresso machines, but does this quality carry through to their super automatics?

In this Gaggia Cadorna Prestige review, I’ll explain why I do NOT think you should buy this machine.

I’ll also run through two machines that I think are better alternatives to the Gaggia Cadorna Prestige (spoiler alert: it’s the Delonghi Magnifica Evo and Delonghi Dinamica Plus) and explain why I think they are better than the Cadorna Prestige.

Should I Buy the Gaggia Cadorna Prestige?

I don’t recommend buying the Gaggia Cadorna Prestige, especially if you plan on drinking a lot of plain espresso (no milk) drinks.

The machine brews thin, watery espresso compared to Delonghi and Jura super-automatic espresso machines.

While I like its foamed milk, it’s about on par with what you’d get from a Delonghi machine with an automatic milk frother. The Cadorna Prestige’s milk foam quality does not do enough to make up for its poor espresso brewing.

Gaggia Cadorna Prestige
$899.00 $849.00

The Gaggia Cadorna Prestige doesn’t make good espresso because the holes in its brew basket are too big to allow proper extraction to occur.

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04/03/2024 01:27 pm GMT
Espresso Quality
Milk Steaming Performance
User Friendliness
Ease of Cleaning
Design and Durability
Value for Money

Gaggia Cadorna Prestige Pros

Its milk frother has a handle for easy removing/reattaching.

It allows you to adjust your drinks’ size and coffee to milk ratio more easily than other super automatics.

It has four user profiles.

Gaggia Cadorna Prestige Cons

It makes inferior espresso to most super automatic espresso machines (including many more affordable ones).

It only has a one year warranty (most super automatics have 2-3 years).

Its grinder dial is unnecessarily fiddly to adjust.

You should get the Delonghi Magnifica Evo If you want a machine with similar functionalities and at a similar price to the Gaggia Cadorna Prestige.

The Delonghi Magnifica Evo makes a better-tasting espresso than the Gaggia Cadorna Prestige. It is also typically cheaper than the Cadorna Pestige.

The two espresso machines produce a similar standard of milk foam. Take this all together and you get a far better deal with the Delonghi Magnifica Evo than with the Gaggia Cadorna Prestige.

Better Than the Gaggia Cadorna Prestige
Delonghi Magnifica Evo
$899.95 $649.95
The Delonghi Magnifica Evo makes a better espresso and costs less than the Gaggia Cadorna Prestige.
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04/03/2024 04:20 am GMT

Gaggia Cadorna Prestige Features

Here are the Gaggia Cadorna Prestige’s key features.

User Interface: Button-Controlled TFT Screen

The Gaggia Cadorna Prestige has a better user interface than most similarly priced espresso machines.

The machine has a color TFT screen that you control with buttons on either side of it.

All your options are labeled in plain language and with images (no random flashing lights and cryptic symbols like you find on many Delonghi super automatics).

I struggle to see how anyone can find the machine difficult to make a coffee with. Everything is laid out intuitively and signposted clearly.

Available Drinks: Black Drinks are Terrible, Milk Drinks are Decent

Here are the available Gaggia Cadorna Prestige’s available drinks:

I’m now going to give my opinion on each of these drinks. Please note that this evaluation is on my experience with my Gaggia Magenta Prestige which uses the exact same espresso brewing and milk steaming system as the Cadorna Prestige:

  • Espresso: The machine brews your espresso in about 12 seconds (not including grind time). This is not enough time for your ground coffee to properly extract into your brewing water. The result is a bland drink with no body. 4/10
  • Ristretto: This is brewed even quicker than the espresso. This creates a shot that’s so under-extracted that it’s undrinkably sharp. 2/10
  • Espresso Lungo: This is a larger espresso that’s brewed for around 20 seconds. The drink benefits from this longer extraction time and has a better flavor balance than the espresso. It’s still much thinner and less flavorful than what you’d get from a semi-automatic machine. On par with a moka pot espresso. 6/10
  • Coffee: The machine brews a “drip style” coffee in under 30 seconds. Drip coffee should be brewed for two minutes at an absolute minimum. Again, there is not enough direct contact time between your ground coffee and your water for proper extraction to occur so your coffee is very weak. 3/10
  • Americano: This is terrible. The machine makes an espresso and then squirts a bit of off-color coffee-tinged water into your cup. The result is an even more watered down watery espresso. 1/10
  • Cappuccino: This is decent. I like how the machine dispenses your coffee before your milk as this leads to better coffee and milk integration than if it’s done the other way around. The only issue with it is that the machine’s milk foam is slightly too thin for a traditional-style cappuccino. But all in all, not bad. 6/10
  • Cappuccino XL: This is a bigger version of the cappuccino. I phoned up Gaggia’s sales team and asked if they brew this with a single or double shot of espresso and they said they just use a single shot. So the coffee in it is going to be barely noticeable. 4/10
  • Latte Macchiato: Dispenses milk, then coffee. The machine doesn’t pause long enough to get as defined layers of milk and coffee as you would with a Philips LatteGo machine. Still, the milk texture is good so I can’t complain too much. 6/10
  • Latte Macchiato XL: Like the cappuccino XL, the latte macchiato XL doesn’t actually use any more ground coffee than the standard latte macchiato. It just uses more water and milk. You’ll only like this if you like coffee-tinged milk foam. 3/10
  • Cortado: This is the machine’s best drink. It’s an espresso mixed with an equal part of frothed milk. Think of it as a coffee-forward latte. The machine’s silky milk stands out with this drink. 8/10
  • Cafe Au Lait: This is a cortado but made with the machine’s drip-style coffee rather than its espresso. Because the coffee you start with is weak and watery, the drink lacks any real coffee flavor. 4/10
  • Flat White: This is a cappuccino made with a true double shot of espresso (the machine grinds two pucks for it). Again, the machine’s milk foam is slightly too thin for a traditional-style cappuccino, but I do appreciate the true double shot. This is basically a bigger version of the cortado, which I also like. 8/10
Note how you get much more definition with the Philips espresso machine

So in short, the Cadorna Prestige makes decent milk drinks but poor black drinks. 

It’s cortado and flat white are its best drinks by a distance.

Drink Customization Options: Easy to Make Changes and Four User Profiles

The Gaggia Cadorna Prestige lets you customize your drink’s size, strength, coffee-to-milk ratio, and add an extra shot with one button press.

The table below shows the Cadorna Prestige’s drink customization options:

Customization Number of options
Coffee length
Five settings of 0.38 oz (10 ml) increments
Milk size
Five settings, increments depends on drink
Coffee strength (amount of ground coffee you brew with)
Five settings, 1 gram increments
Brewing temperature
Three settings
Double shot
Double shot feature available on non milk drinks only
Pictured is my Gaggia Magenta Prestige: Gaggia Cadorna Prestige offers the same drink customizations

I particularly like how the Cadorna Prestige shows you your coffee and milk size in milliliters rather than just notches. This means that you aren’t going to accidentally overflow your cup because you don’t know exactly how large a drink you’re making.

The machine gives you options to save your settings for next time and has four user profiles so there’s no need to endlessly tweak your settings if you’re sharing with other people.

Espresso Brewing System: Its Brew Group Has Too Big Holes In It For Proper Espresso Extraction

The Gaggia Cadorna Prestige is powered by a removable “brew group”. This doses and tamps your ground coffee puck and has hot water run through it to brew your coffee.

Brew group in and out of the machine

The Cadorna Prestige’s brew group has one major problem: its brew basket (where your ground coffee sits during brewing) has too large holes in its bottom.

These holes are what provide resistance to your water during brewing. Too large holes means water runs through your ground coffee too quickly. This is why all the machine’s coffees are weak and watery.

You can see how relatively large these holes are in this side-by-side image comparing the Gaggia Cadorna Prestige and the Delonghi Dinamica Plus’s brew baskets:

All Gaggia super automatics have this problem (as do Philips super automatics, probably because Philips and Gaggia are owned by the same company).

This poorly made brew basket is why I’d always recommend a Delonghi or a Jura super-automatic espresso machine over one made by Gaggia or Philips if you are going to be making a lot of black drinks.

The machine relies on a thermoblock heating element which takes around 20 seconds to initially heat up when you turn it on and then a further 10 seconds to get to brewing temperature when you make a drink.

This heat-up time is fairly standard among super-automatic espresso machines. 

More expensive machines have two thermoblocks (one each for espresso brewing and milk steaming) but these tend to cost double the Cadorna Prestige’s price.

Milk Frother: Froths Milk Nicely But is Hard to Take Apart

I like how the Gaggia Cadorna Prestige froths milk. Its milk foam is silky and not too thick, making it perfect for a latte.

It compares favorably to the milk froth you get from Philips LatteGo super automatics which I think is too thick and stiff.

Its milk foam is nearly identical to what you get from the Delonghi Magnifica Evo.

From a usability perspective, I like how the Gaggia Cadorna Prestige’s milk carafe has a handle. The carafe is quite large and is heavy when filled with milk so you need a handle to carry it with one hand.

I find the carafe’s lid a bit tricky to remove. The lid has two tabs on either of its sides which you need to press in to detach it from the body.

Since the lid is quite large I struggled to press these tabs at the same time with only one hand. Doing this with two hands means you can’t hold the carafe’s body as you remove the lid so knocking it over is easy.

I wouldn’t recommend trying to remove the milk carafe’s lid while it has any milk in it – it’s too easy to spill milk if you do.

The milk frother comes apart into five pieces (the lid, body, the spout, a removable tab in the lid, and a rubber tube). You can put all of these in the dishwasher except for the rubber tube which you’ll need to clean by hand.

Milk carafe taken apart

Grinder: Grinds Well Enough But Changing Your Grind Settings is Fiddly

The Gaggia Cadorna Prestige has a flat ceramic burr grinder with ten grind-size settings.

While the grinder itself is perfectly adequate (grinders on super-automatic espresso machines aren’t as vital as if you’re using a semi-automatic machine), I don’t like how its grind adjustment dial works.

You need to use the back of the plastic coffee scoop that comes with the machine to adjust its grind dial.

If you lose the plastic scoop, then you can’t change the machine’s grind size setting.

This is a baffling design decision and the only justification I can think for it is Gaggia hoping it might increase sales of their scoop from people who lose it (I know this sounds a bit tinfoil hat-ish but I can’t think of any other explanation for this).

Rinsing and Cleanings: Nice Number of Cleaning Functions

The Gaggia Cadorna Prestige will automatically run a rinse cycle when you turn it on and when you turn it off. It also has four dedicated cleaning cycles.

These cleaning cycles are:

  • Quickly rinse the milk system: It prompts you to do this after every milk drink it makes.
  • Deep clean its milk system: Bear in mind that this just cleans the part of the milk system that’s built into the machine’s main body. You will still want to dish wash the milk carafe to stop it from smelling of sour milk.
  • Clean the brew group: You need to put Gaggia’s brew group cleaning tablets in the machine’s water reservoir to do this.
  • Descale the machine: You’ll need to put Gaggia’s descaling solution in the machine’s water reservoir to do this.
Photo taken from my Magenta Prestige. The Cadorna Prestige has the same cleaning functions.

The machine will prompt you when it needs to run brew group cleans and descaling cycles.

Water Reservoir: I Like How It Pulls Out From the Front

The Gaggia Cadorna Plus has a 53 oz water reservoir that pulls out of the machine from the front.

The water reservoir is tall and slim which makes it easy to carry when full without spilling anything.

It’s a big upgrade from the Gaggia Magenta Plus which has a flatter, wider reservoir that was hard to carry when full without water sloshing around everywhere.

Drip Tray and Used Coffee Grounds Container: Gaggia Says it’s Not Dishwasher Safe But I Beg To Differ

The Gaggia Cadorna Prestige has a plastic drip tray and a used coffee grounds container that can hold up to 10 coffee pucks.

Drip tray aerial and front-on

Although other reviews of the Cadorna Prestige warn you not to put your drip tray and used coffee grounds container in the dishwasher, I have done this many times with my Gaggia Magenta Prestige without damaging any components.

The Cadorna Prestige has the exact same design and materials for its drip tray and used coffee grounds container as the Magenta Prestige so I assume that these are dishwasher safe too.

Accessories: Lack of Filter and Cleaning Supplies is Annoying

The Gaggia Cadorna Prestige comes with:

  • A plastic scoop
  • A water hardness test strip
  • Some lubricant for its brew group

I’m annoyed that the machine does not come with a filter, brew group cleaning tablets, or any descaling solution.

Gaggia strongly recommends that you always use a water filter with the Cadorna Prestige and even manufactures a water filter for it. So I think it’s cheeky that they don’t include it with the machine (especially given its ~$1,000 price tag).

Specification Gaggia Cadorna Prestige
Super-automatic espresso machine with automatic milk frother
Milk System
Integrated carafe with rubber tubing
Available milk textures
User interface
Button controlled TFT screen
Number of available black drinks
Number of available milk drinks
Number of strength settings
Coffee size settings (per drink)
Milk size settings (per drink)
User profiles
Grinder type
Flat ceramic burr grinder
Number of grind size settings
Water reservoir capacity
51 oz
Maximum cup clearance
Dimensions (width x depth x height)
10.2″ W x 17.3″ D x 14.9″ H

Now that I’ve gone through the Gaggia Cadorna Prestige’s key features I will evaluate the machine along the following criteria.

  • Espresso quality
  • Milk steaming performance
  • User-friendliness
  • Ease of cleaning
  • Design and durability
  • Value for money

Espresso Quality

The Gaggia Cadorna Prestige makes watery, bland espresso.

As I said earlier, this is because its brew basket has too large holes in it to offer sufficient resistance against your water when brewing.

Water runs through your ground coffee too quickly for proper extraction to occur, resulting in a bland espresso with no body.

This problem affects all its black coffee drinks and also affects all Gaggia super-automatic espresso machines.

Espresso Quality Rating: 3/10

Milk Steaming Performance

The Gaggia Cadorna Prestige steams milk to a nice texture.

The machine’s milk froth is smooth and silky, like what you’d expect in a latte.

Its main downside, as far as milk steaming is concerned, is that it only steams milk to one texture. This makes all your milk-based drinks quite the same.

In fairness to Gaggia, super automatics that steam milk to multiple textures start at around 30% more expensive than the Cadorna Prestige (the Delonghi Dinamica is the cheapest one).

Milk Steaming Performance Rating: 8/10

User Friendliness

The Gaggia Cadorna Prestige is easy to use, even by super-automatic espresso machine standards.

The machine is particularly user-friendly because:

  • It allows you to adjust your coffee’s size by bumping up a button rather than having to put the machine in a special “customize mode” (most Delonghi machines require you to do the latter.
  • Its digital display screen is angled upwards so you can see it easily without crouching down.
  • The machine tells you exactly how much coffee and steamed milk is going into your drink. This means you’ll never accidentally overflow your cup.
  • The machine has four user profiles so you can save your drink preferences too. This means you can make a drink with the touch of a button even if you’re sharing the machine.

I will have to dock the machine one point for its usability because of its overengineered grinder dial. Lose the plastic scoop and you’re in trouble.

User Friendliness Rating: 9/10

Ease of Cleaning

The Gaggia Cadorna Prestige automates a lot of its cleaning and its removable parts are dishwasher safe.

Despite this, it’s still more difficult to keep clean than Philips Super Automatics because of its use of rubber milk tubes.

These crust up with sour milk and can’t be cleaned in the dishwasher because their holes are too small for your dishwasher water to go into them.

I keep mine clean by blowing hot soapy water through it with my mouth. You’ll also need to replace these rubber milk tubes regularly which adds to the machine’s total operating cost.

Ease of Cleaning Rating: 7/10

Design and Durability

The Gaggia Cadorna Prestige is ergonomically designed and feels a step up from the cheaper Gaggia Magenta Prestige.

I particularly like how the machine’s water reservoir pulls out from the front instead of the top. This was one of my complaints in my Gaggia Magenta Prestige review, and it’s something that Gaggia has remedied with the Cadorna Prestige.

While the machine does have some complaints of it not working out of the box, the number of these complaints is not significantly higher than any other super-automatic espresso machine model (around 2% of all reviews).

This again compares favorably to the Magenta Prestige which has many more complaints of this nature.

Still, I think a one-year warranty is stingy and its internal parts (especially its brew group) do not seem to be as well-built as Delonghi or Jura machines.

Design and Durability Rating: 7/10

Value For Money

The Gaggia Cadorna Prestige does not offer good value for money at all.

A $1,000 espresso machine should be able to make a decent espresso… well the Cadorna Prestige does not do this.

This fact alone makes it a poor purchase for the money.

Value for Money Rating: 3/10

Gaggia Cadorna Prestige: Product Alternatives

Three espresso machines that I often see the Gaggia Cadorna Prestige being compared to are the Delonghi Magnific Evo, the Delonghi Dinamica Plus, and the Gaggia Magenta Prestige.

I’ll give my opinion on how these machines compare to the Cadorna Prestige.

Gaggia Cadorna Prestige vs Delonghi Magnifica Evo

The Delonghi Magnifica Evo is cheaper and better than the Gaggia Cadorna Prestige.

The Magnifica Evo makes better-tasting espresso than the Cadorna Prestige due to its superior brewing basket.

It’s also cheaper than the Cadorna Prestige and has a two-year warranty to the Gaggia’s one year.

All in all the Delonghi Magnifica Evo is a much better purchase than the Gaggia Cadorna Prestige.

Better Than the Gaggia Cadorna Prestige
Delonghi Magnifica Evo
$899.95 $649.95
The Delonghi Magnifica Evo makes a better espresso and costs less than the Gaggia Cadorna Prestige.
Get it on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
04/03/2024 04:20 am GMT

Gaggia Cadorna Prestige vs Delonghi Dinamica Plus

The Delonghi Dinamica Plus is far better than the Gaggia Cadorna Prestige.

It’s more expensive than the Cadorna Prestige, but justifies this additional cost by:

  • Brewing better-tasting espresso
  • Offering three milk texture settings instead of one.

If you have the money then definitely get the Delonghi Dinamica Plus instead of the Gaggia Cadorna Prestige.

Far Better than the Gaggia Cadorna Prestige
Delonghi Dinamica Plus
$1,479.99 $1,399.99
The Delonghi Dinamica Plus makes better-tasting espresso and steams milk to a greater variety of textures than the Gaggia Cadorna Prestige.
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We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
04/03/2024 04:04 am GMT

If you’d like to find out more about the Dinamica Plus then please see my Delonghi Dinamica Plus review.

Gaggia Cadorna Plus vs Gaggia Magenta Prestige

Although the Gaggia Cadorna Prestige is more user-friendly than the Gaggia Magenta Prestige, I don’t recommend either machine.

They both use the same brew group with the poorly made brew basket, so both make thin, watery espresso.

Making a good espresso is the absolute basic requirement for an espresso machine, so I don’t recommend either the Gaggia Cadorna Prestige or the Gaggia Magenta Prestige.

Gaggia Cadorna Prestige Review: Final Verdict

I do not recommend the Gaggia Cadorna Prestige.

The machine doesn’t make good espresso which, for an espresso machine that costs around $1,000, isn’t good enough.

I instead recommend the cheaper Delonghi Magnifica Evo. The Magnifica Evo makes one of the best espresso’s of any super-automatic espresso machine, far exceeding its price tag.

Better Than the Gaggia Cadorna Prestige
Delonghi Magnifica Evo
$899.95 $649.95
The Delonghi Magnifica Evo makes a better espresso and costs less than the Gaggia Cadorna Prestige.
Get it on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
04/03/2024 04:20 am GMT

Delonghi Cadorna Prestige Review: FAQs

Where is the Gaggia Cadorna Prestige Made?

The Gaggia Cadorna Prestige is made in Italy. Gaggia’s main manufacturing plant is based in Bologna.

Is Gaggia Owned By Philips?

Sort of. Gaggia and Philips are both owned by the same parent company: Saeco. Saeco acquired Gaggia in 2009.

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