Learn how to navigate the menus and programming of the Gaggia Magenta Plus and Magenta Prestige, as well as how to customize coffee and milk drinks.
How to Use Menus & Customize Drinks on the Gaggia Magenta Espresso Machines
This article will cover programming drinks and the beverage menus on the Magenta Plus and Magenta Prestige. The great thing about the Magenta series of machines is that "programming" them is nothing more than simply crafting your drinks the way you want based on a plethora of pre-set drink options and fully customizable drink parameters.
A feature specific to the Magenta series of machines is something we've dubbed "programming on the fly." All this means is that w hen you select a drink from the beverage options menu, you'll be presented with all the customizable drink parameters for that specific beverage. These drink parameters include, but are not limited to, the total coffee volume, the beverage temperature, whether or not you want it to be a single or a double drink, if you want to use more coffee in your shot, and/or use pre-ground coffee.
Whenever you make a change to the drink parameters, you'll be presented with the option to save those settings on the fly. Hence the term, "programming on the fly." You can also save your customized drinks to multiple different user profiles, which is a fantastic feature to have for households with multiple people with multiple favorite drinks.
Once your machine has been powered on, it will display the main beverage options menu. This is going to be a similar screen for both the Magenta Plus and Magenta Prestige, albeit with a few different drink options available between the two machines.
One thing that's worth noting on these machines is that that there are multiple pages of drinks you can navigate between. To switch to the next page of drinks, touch the bottom-right button on the main display that displays a green dot and a black dot. These dots indicate which page of the menu you're on, so simply by touching the button will allow you to navigate between beverage menu pages.
Customizing Coffee Volume
If you select a drink from your machine's main beverage options menu by touching the corresponding face button on the main display, you will then be taken to drink parameters menu for that given beverage.
For example, if you select "espresso," you will be presented with a new menu that displays the customizable parameters for that specific drink. Drink parameters for espresso include: beverage volume, beverage temperature, the option to brew a single or double of that drink, and beverage aroma/strength.
Once you've selected a drink parameter, another menu will appear that will prompt you to set your custom preference. To customize a parameter like beverage volume, which is the amount of liquid that will be pressed through your puck of ground coffee, and, in-turn, how much coffee is actually going to be in your cup, you can follow the displayed prompts to increase or decrease the quantity of that given parameter. Once you have customized a given parameter to your liking, touch the button that corresponds with the checkmark to confirm.
Setting Coffee Temperature
Similar to the instructions in the "Customizing Coffee Volume" section of the article above, setting your beverage temperature consists of selecting a drink from your machine's main beverage options menu to be taken to that beverage's drink parameters menu, selecting the beverage temperature parameter, customizing the beverage temperature to your liking, then confirming your custom setting.
The difference between customizing coffee volume and setting coffee temperature is that unlike selecting a specific number for volume, you have just three options for selecting temperature: low, medium or high.
If you find that even the "high" setting is not hot enough for your liking (175-185 degrees Fahrenheit), we recommend pre-warming your cup or mug, as well as running a blank shot to get your machine's whole circuit primed before brewing.
Using the 2x Function
Just like the steps listed in the "Customizing Coffee Volume" section of the article above, using the 2x Function consists of selecting a drink from your machine's main beverage options menu to be taken to that beverage's drink parameters menu, then and selecting the top-right option that displays either one or two white cups. If done properly, you will see the cup image on screen change to an image of two cups. This process is the same for all drinks that have a 2x Function, which consists of any coffee drink that is ground and brewed, and doesn't have additional components like separate brewing of hot water or hot milk.
What the 2x Function does is have your machine automatically grind and brew two cups of the same type of drink one after the other. This is great when you have company over and two guests want the same drink! Another benefit is the ability to give yourself or one of your guests double the amount of coffee available in a single drink.
A trick to get stronger coffee is to halve the amount of liquid and double the strength of your drink, then make it a double. For example, if you normally make an 8 ounce coffee, you can make a double of a 4 ounce coffee with double the strength to get a drink that is the same amount of liquid with even more caffeine.
Adjusting Coffee Strength & Selecting Pre-Ground Coffee
As previously stated in the "Customizing Coffee Volume" section of the article above, adjusting coffee aroma/strength and/or using pre-ground coffee first consists of selecting a drink from your machine's main beverage options menu to be taken to that beverage's drink parameters menu. Once at the drink parameters menu, select the bottom-right option that displays a coffee bean surrounded by five bright or shaded dashes, as well as a small scoop icon. Each time you touch the button for aroma/strength, an additional dash should brighten. Each brightened dash represents an increase in coffee strength/aroma, so, five brightened dashes is maximum strength, and five shaded dashes is minimum strength.
If you look closely, you'll also notice a small scoop icon above the bean icon amongst the strength/aroma dashes. If you touch the aroma/strength button enough times that all of the dashes are shaded and just the scoop icon is brightened, this is how to use pre-ground coffee!
Pre-ground coffee goes into the bypass doser, which is on the top of the machine. It's worth noting that you cannot do the 2x Function if you're using the bypass doser because using it requires you to fill the group manually with coffee.
Programming On The Fly
As previously mentioned, the Magenta series of machines do not have a programming menu in the traditional sense. The way that the Magenta Plus and Magenta Prestige work is that every time you select a beverage option, you are presented with customizable drink parameters specific to that drink.
So, if you ever make a change when you're customizing a drink before brewing and want to save the parameters you set for quick and easy access at a later time, your machine will prompt you with the opportunity to save those settings once it has finished brewing.
This means that the next time you access any drink you have saved custom parameters for, you machine will have the custom settings readily available. You don't have to press and hold any buttons and you don't have to go into specific menus; you can just change your programming on the fly!
Brewing a Blank Shot
Next, let's look at how to brew a blank shot. The trick to this is to select the pre-ground option on any applicable beverage, then hit the start/stop button.
There are quite a few different uses for brewing a blank shot, one of which is to preheat the circuit. To get the hottest coffee possible from your machine, brewing a blank shot before brewing your beverage of choice is the way to do it. This is because you are allowing your machine's boiler to get heated up to brewing temperature.
Also, because you are not adding coffee to the bypass doser, you are essentially running hot water through both the brew group and through the brew spouts. This is great for cleaning out residual coffee oils.
Programming Lungo, Steam, Hot Water & Americano
After covering how to brew espresso in the "Customizing Coffee Volume" section of this article above, the next topic to cover is how to brew some of the other beverage options on the Magenta series of machines.
Espresso lungo is similar to brewing an espresso or coffee, in that it is another ground and brewed espresso beverage, just with larger volume options. Similar to how you brew an espresso, to brew an espresso lungo you select "espresso lungo" from your machine's main beverage options menu, customize each drink parameter as you see fit, then press start/stop to begin brewing!
Steam is another option that is available from your machine's main beverage options menu. The steam parameters menu does not have any customization options, as it is only a start/stop function. If you press start, your will begin heating up to steam temperature, then dispersing steam. To halt the dispersion simply press start/stop again.
Hot water is beverage option offers customizable beverage volume. Once you have selected your intended amount of hot water, press start/stop to have your machine dispense water through the steam wand (or fitted spout that replaces the auto-frothing carafe on the Magenta Prestige). This is great if you enjoy making tea, hot cocoa, or another drink that requires hot water.
The most unique beverage offered on the Magenta Plus and Magenta Prestige is the Americano. What is so unique about it when compared to the other beverage options available, is that instead of offering a 2x Function, there is a fully customizable hot water volume parameter, in addition to a separate coffee volume parameter. What's unique with this drink option is that — true to the process of making of an authentic Americano — your machine will first grind and brew your coffee, then briefly pause before dispensing hot water separately into your already brewed coffee. You can also use preground coffee by way of the bypass doser to brew an Americano.
Customizing Milk Drinks on the Gaggia Magenta Prestige
This section will focus on customizing milk drinks specific to the Magenta Prestige, starting with a cappuccino.
If you select "cappuccino" from the main beverage options menu on your Magenta Prestige, you will be taken the that beverage's drink parameters menu. Similar to that of an americano (as described in the "Programming Lungo, Steam, Hot Water & Americano" section of this article above), the drink parameters for a cappuccino offer separate volumes for the two liquids included in the beverage. The difference between a cappuccino and an Americano is that unlike an americano, which brews coffee and hot water separately, a cappuccino brews coffee and hot milk separately. It's also worth noting that you cannot utilize the 2x Function for milk drinks on the Magenta Prestige.
This process will also be the same for all the other milk drinks offered on the Magenta Prestige.
When it comes to finding the right ratio of coffee and milk for you, we recommend brew the first couple of drinks with default programming to allow yourself to get a handle on how the milk foam actually expands to fill your cup or mug. Once you have a good idea of that, you can begin tweaking drink parameters such as beverages volumes, beverage temperature, and/or aroma/strength.
Another thing to notice is that the Magenta Prestige has four screens to navigate when it comes to the main beverages option menu. The process of navigating the different beverage menus is the same on both Magenta models: touch the bottom-right button on the main display that displays a green dot and three black dots. These dots indicate which page of the menu you're on, so simply by touching the button will allow you to navigate between beverage menu pages.
Some of the drinks specific to the Magenta Prestige are Café au lait and Flat White. Café au lait is a full cup of coffee that's about half milk and half espresso, while the Flat White is a unique drink from Gaggia. This is because when you choose to brew a Flat White on the Magenta Prestige, your machine will automatically complete two grind and brew cycles, then add in milk. The resulting beverage is a relatively low volume milk drink that provides very potent coffee with a high caffeine concentration. This is a great option for someone who wants milk in their drink without sacrificing the intensity of their coffee.
Carrying on to the other beverages specific to the Magenta Prestige, the Cafe Cortado is essentially a smaller version of the Café au lait, and the frothed milk option is for if/when you want your machine to just dispense hot milk. This is a great option if you are making hot cocoa or chai. All you need to do to utilize this feature is put milk into the auto frothing carafe and you machine will do the rest.