Having been around our share of contractors and construction workers, the java flows rather freely. In fact, it’s hard to recall any of our morning appointments and encounters not involving some form of coffee beverage. That got us thinking—exactly how much time and money is wasted on that morning Starbucks run? We’d wager quite a bit. We wanted to figure out the best espresso machine for construction offices looking to benefit their employees and encourage a bit more time at the office—and a lot less standing in line at the local coffee shop. After weeks of research, the Gaggia Cadorna Milk espresso machine rose to the occasion—and to the top of our list.
Don’t let the price scare you off. The Gaggia Cadorna Milk espresso machine can pay for itself rather quickly if you factor in the aggregate time lost to coffee runs and those $6 cappuccinos or lattes.
First of all—you need a machine that covers all the bases. If you can’t get a latte or make a true cappuccino, your office workers won’t change their habits. They’ll just keep going to the local Starbucks and you won’t win them to the office. We researched lots of machines, from simple percolator-type espresso brewers to fully-automated, plumbed robotic baristas. In the end, the best espresso machine for construction offices has to combine a fully-automatic espresso machine with semi-automatic milk frothing and delivery. The Gaggia Cadorna Milk provided exactly what we wanted.
Here’s a quick overview of the Italian-manufactured Gaggia Cadorna Milk features:
Because the Gaggia Cadorna Milk does so much, it covers nearly every type of beverage you’re likely to want. Using the LCD screen and buttons you can choose from ristretto, espresso, espresso lungo, coffee, americano, cappuccino, café au lait, latte macchiato, frothed milk, or just hot water.
And, yes, we’ve tried them all.
Just because an automatic espresso machine makes many different beverages doesn’t mean it does that easily. The full-color LCD screen puts all of the available beverages front and center. It also lets you store, edit, and retrieve your favorites. We found the interface easy to use and intuitive. It also tells you every step to make when brewing. Plus, it alerts you when it’s time to perform any filling, emptying, and cleaning functions.
The Gaggia Cadorna gives you 4 different user profiles. As we mentioned above, here is where you can store, edit, and/or retrieve all of your custom beverages. We happen to have 4 full-time staff in our office, so it works out perfectly.
Rather than having to manually froth your milk under a steamer, the Cadorna does it for you. Select a milk-based beverage like a cappuccino, and the espresso machine draws milk from the included container, froths it, and pours it directly into your glass or cup. You don’t even need to move the cup or glass from under the coffee spouts.
We love the slide-out espresso tray. It lets you use smaller espresso cups without forcing the spouts to have to drop coffee further than normal. In addition to the tray, the spouts adjust for height. Between the tray and the adjustability, you can go from a 2-3 ounce espresso cup to a 16-ounce mug or glass. No matter what you brew, you get the perfect cup with perfect crema and no splashes.
One of the biggest reasons we think the Gaggia Cadorna is the best espresso machine for construction offices has to do with the grinds. Seriously—it uses ceramic grinders that resist overheating and burning. You can really customize your espresso from the finest grind (strong brew) a coarser grind that works really well for light coffee roasts. Even better, the entire brew assembly comes out for easy cleaning under the faucet.
I have to be honest—most of the time we stick to whole beans and let the machine handle the grinding. Sometimes, however, an employee brings in a favorite ground coffee flavor they want to try. For that, we use the single-serve access hatch. It lets you select your own grounds in lieu of the whole bean coffee loaded into the machine.
As I mentioned, we tried every type of beverage the Gaggia Cadorna Milk makes—including putting frothed milk atop traditional coffee. This coffee maker heats up quickly—possibly due to the aluminum and stainless steel body. The end result is that it takes very little time from when you make your choice to when you’re enjoying your beverage.
Coffee and espresso had an excellent amount of crema. We tasted a really wonderful and full flavor from both the Gaggia Espresso 100% Arabica we tried as well as some of our favorite whole coffee beans. It was also nice to have the option of dialing in the roast and then saving the results to a preset.
Cappuccino really came out great, though you do have limited froth from the mechanism as opposed to a manual frothing system. We found that 2% yielded a good amount of froth—even compared to whole milk. Combined with a couple of pumps from our white mocha syrup—we had a regular “cappuccino factory” going in no-time.
About the only difficulty on the Gaggia Cadorna Milk espresso machine comes with the drip tray. Since the machine rinses before and after every extended cycle, it can fill up quickly. Since it’s also large—that means you may have to do a balancing act to dump out the water. With a large, close-by sink, you should have no difficulty. If, however, you need to walk it down the hall, you may want to make sure not to let it fill up all the way.
Do the math at $5/cup (minimum) and you quickly find that the Gaggia Cadorna can pay itself off in just 300 pours. In our office that took less than two months. No joke—we love our coffee. Now, you can add in creamer, the cost of beans, and the milk or creamer—but the payoff is there. Plus, how much time and money do you save by keeping your key employees on-site and productive?
That might be the biggest benefit of all.
You can pick up the Gaggia Cadorna Milk at various online retailers for around $1,500.
Get more information about this and other automatic espresso machines at the Gaggia website.
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