Learn how to make coffee drinks on the Gaggia Magenta Plus and Magenta Prestige, as well as how to use the bypass doser for preground coffee.
How to Make Coffee Drinks on the Gaggia Magenta Espresso Machines
Brewing coffee drinks on the Magenta Plus and Magenta Prestige is as simple as pushing buttons on the main display screen using your machine's capacitive touch. As you might have already noticed, there are icons for each drink option on the main beverage menu; that's where the brewing process truly begins!
First Shots on a New Machine
If this is the first time you're using your machine, it's important to keep in mind that the first few shots you brew are NOT going to be terrific. This is because your machine's grinder needs to get used to the beans you add to it. To assist with this process, make sure you get the brew group properly filled with your correct dose. Once this has been done, that's when you'll start to notice the extraction of crema-rich espresso.
You'll find that by the time you've brewed your third or fourth shot of espresso, your machine's built-in Gaggia Adapting System, which is the algorithm inside the grinder, will have "learned" your coffee and you'll begin brewing very rich and delicious shots of espresso.
So, if your very first shot does not look drinkable, that is totally normal. Keep on brewing and you'll be making delicious shot after shot in no time!
When it comes to coffee drinks, a good beverage to start with is espresso. First, place an appropriately sized cup or mug under your brew spouts. Next, select espresso from your machine's beverage menu. From here you can set your drink parameters, which in this case are coffee volume, temperature, aroma/strength, and single or double shot functionality. Once you have set your drink parameters to you liking, go ahead and press start. Your machine will do the rest!
The process for brewing a double espresso is almost identical to that of a single espresso (as described in the article's "Espresso" section, above), albeit with a few differences.
As the drink name implies, you will be brewing double the amount of espresso, so the first thing you want to do is find a cup or mug large enough to hold the volume of your drink and place it under your machine's brew spouts. After that, select espresso from your machine's beverage menu. Once at the espresso drink parameters menu, the way to make your drink a double espresso is to touch the top-right face button that corresponds with the 2 Drinks button. You will know if a double drink has been selected if the icon in the center of the display changes from an image of one cup of coffee to two offset cups of coffee. With your parameters set, just press start and your machine will proceed to brew back to back shots at the coffee volume you have set.
Remember: if you set your volume to 1.3 ounces, for example, your machine will brew that volume twice, giving you 2.6 ounces of liquid. So, make sure you have a cup or mug big enough to account for that!
The next drink to highlight is another popular choice, an americano. This drink is preferable for times when you want a full cup of coffee, or at least more coffee than a shot of espresso can provide.
This is also a good time to highlight the cup riser built into every Magenta series machine. Each Magenta machine cup riser consists of a stainless steel piece with rubber grips across the top, which makes it perfect for smaller cups that might otherwise rattle or slide due to the vibration caused during brewing. The cup riser also helps eliminate the distance between your machine's brew spouts and your cup. Another nice thing about it is that it can be removed to allow you to easily fit a taller cup for a drink with a larger volume, such as an americano.
Continuing with the simplified process of making a "one-touch" drink, to make an americano you should first place an appropriately sized cup or mug under your brew spouts. Next, select americano from your machine's beverage menu. From here you can set your drink parameters, which in this case are coffee volume, water volume, temperature and aroma/strength. Once you have set your drink parameters to you liking, go ahead and press start. Your machine will do the rest!
Please note that you CANNOT brew a double americano on the Magenta series of machines.
What sets an americano apart from a drink with a similar volume, such as an espresso lungo, is how the beverage is prepared. True to how an authentic americano is made, your machine will automatically pull a shot of espresso, followed by the addition of hot water.
If you were to make an espresso lungo, this process will be different in that all of the water will pulled through your coffee. This can also affect your extractions. Brewing espresso causes your machine to focus on extracting the sweetest, most flavorful, and richest aspects of the coffee. While that sounds great — and it usually is — some people feel that this can result in a shot that's more harsh and more bitter.
With an americano, you get the best of both worlds; the best parts of shot extraction, but also a more smooth and even flavor.
Using the Bypass Doser for Pre-Ground Coffee
When brewing a drink using pre-ground coffee, the first thing you need to do is select your drink on you machine's menu screen, followed by selecting the "scoop" icon. Once you have the proper settings selected on your machine, the next thing you should do is use the coffee scoop included with your machine to get a nice scoop of coffee.
If your scoop is uneven, give it slight shake, then use your finger or the flat edge of a knife to level level off your coffee. You do not want a heaping scoop, as that will only get you into a heap of trouble! You should also avoid densely packing coffee into the scoop, as this can max out the pressure of your brew group and cause your machine to dump your entire shot.
Once your coffee scoop is leveled off, the next thing you need to do is open the bypass hatch and gently pour your ground coffee into the bypass doser on the top of your machine. After that, press start to begin the brewing process and set yourself up with a delicious, full-bodied and crema-rich shot of espresso.
When using your machine's bypass doser, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, make sure you are using preground coffee that is ground specifically for espresso. This is essential in guaranteeing that there will be enough back pressure and resistance to the oncoming water for your machine to extract a shot. Free ground coffee for drip will NOT work!
Secondly, while preground coffee can produce a really nice looking shot of espresso, it does lose it's freshness at a faster rate than whole bean coffee. What this means is if you plan to use the bypass doser sparingly, make sure the ground coffee you use is fresh. You certainly don't want to serve your guests coffee from a tin that's been gathering dust on the counter next to the cat food for months.
You should also keep in mind that the bypass doser is a great option if you've got a decaffeinated coffee drinker in the family or a late-night guest who can't handle any more caffeine. If you use preground decaf coffee in the bypass doser, you can give everyone what they want without having to change the beans in your hopper!