Learn how to make milk drinks on the Gaggia Magenta Plus and Magenta Prestige, as well as how to dispense hot water on each model and use the milk system quick clean function on the Magenta Prestige.
How to Make Milk Drinks on the Gaggia Magenta Espresso Machines
Milk Systems Overview
In this article we will take a look at milk frothing on the Gaggia Magenta Plus and Magenta Prestige. Both machines are capable of providing you delicious café quality beverages from the comfort of your home.
The Magenta Plus has a commercial style steam wand, which will take a bit of practice to get used to. However, once you've mastered using it, you'll be able to get perfectly textured milk for all of your favorite drinks, in addition to trying your hand at latte art.
On the other hand, the Magenta Prestige instead features an auto-frothing carafe. This feature is why you might hear the Magenta Prestige referred to as a "one-touch" machine. All this means is that with one touch, and without moving your glass, you can produce a milk beverage from start to finish. Another convenient feature for the Magenta Prestige is that the entire milk carafe assembly can be removed from your machine and stored in the refrigerator to be saved for another time.
Manual Frothing (Magenta Plus)
With the Magenta Plus, you're going to use the commercial style steam wand to froth and texture your milk.
Before actually frothing milk, the first thing you want to do is find a container to use when purging the water condensed inside your machine's steam circuit. After pressing the steam button, press the start/stop button to begin. After pressing start/stop, the screen will display that your machine is heating up. This part of the process will only take a few moments. As the process goes on, you will see water purge out of the wand first. This is important because it keeps the non-steamed water from getting into your cup. Once water stops trickling from the wand and you hear a rhythmic "thunking" from your machine, that means you're at steam temperature. Once you've purged the water from your steam circuit, press the start/stop button again to halt the process. Then, remove the container with the purged water and dump that out.
After purging your water line, feel free to fill up your frothing pitcher with whatever milk you desire. There are a few things to take note of when you're filling the pitcher up. For example, if you want to make a 6 ounce drink, you should find the crease inside the pitcher where the spout is located and aim for about a fingernail's width of distance between the top of your milk and the bottom of the crease. It's also important to note that you can always dump a little bit of milk if thing you've poured too much into your pitcher!
You also want to make sure that when frothing for drinks you use the appropriate sized frothing pitcher for the amount you plan on making. By doing this, you are allowing yourself to get a "good roll" in your pitcher. A good roll is when when you can get the milk to fold over itself so that air gets incorporated. If you have a smaller amount of milk, it's much easier to do this with an appropriately sized pitcher. If you use a pitcher that's too large, it will be tougher to steam because ultimately it's harder to get a good roll when there's more space.
Before you start, please also be aware that steaming with these machines is a completely manual process. If you press the steam icon, your only two options will be to start or stop; there's no kind of programming that built into your machine to assist you.
With your steam wand properly purged, you are ready to begin! First, place the frothing pitcher containing your milk under the steam spout. To get the best froth possible, position the tip of the steam wand near the surface of the milk. You'll know you've done this successfully when you hear a tearing sound. This means air is properly being injected into the milk. You should also try to maintain a good roll of your milk, as previously mentioned above.
Check out our "Milk Frothing for Beginners" video for excellent advice on how to improve your milk frothing ability!
If you lower your pitcher while frothing, that means you're lowering the surface of the milk so that you can add more air. This is how you can create a difference in froth texture, say for something like a cappuccino which is very foamy, or a latte which is has a much more smooth creamy texture.
The goal is to get your milk to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, which you can estimate by feeling the pitcher. Typically, you want to froth until your pitcher is too hot to hold in your hands. By adhering to this rule of thumb, you are making sure the milk can stay nice and smooth. If you let it get too hot, you can rip apart the proteins in the milk and keep the froth from holding its shape.
Please also be aware that there is a slight delay between pressing the button to stop steaming and the machine actually stopping the process of steam. So, make a habit of keeping your wand submerged in the milk for just a second or two before pulling away. After pulling your pitcher away, you should also make a point of using your machine's hot water function. Using the hot water function after steaming will allows you to purge any extra hot water out of the boiler, while also giving the steam wand a good rinse. Once you finished frothing, you should also make sure to always wipe down your steam wand.
With your frothed, you can now go ahead and brew a shot of whatever coffee beverage you desire to use as the base of what you add your frothed milk to. After your coffee drink has been brewing, the next step is to pour your foam to make your milk-based drink. We advise pouring your base first, which means pouring the milk under the crema before anything else, then topping you beverage with the foam that remains.
Hot Water Spout (Magenta Prestige)
For the Magenta Prestige, the process of frothing is simplified to just a few button presses. Before beginning, make sure you have the included auto-frothing carafe and hot water spout on-hand.
The hot water spout simply fits into the front of the machine. It is useful if you want to dispense hot water, or if you have your carafe in the fridge and don't want to look at the open socket that the spout fits into. That way, you can preserve the aesthetics of your machine. Functionally, the spout allows your machine to dispense water; simply fit the spout on your machine, place a cup or mug under the spout, then select the hot water option from your machine's beverages menu.
How to Use the Milk Carafe (Magenta Prestige)
The Magenta Prestige's milk carafe has a little bit of nuance to it than the hot water spout discussed in the "Hot Water Spout" section of this article.
First, there is a "min" and "max" line on the carafe to use as a point of reference when filling it. More importantly, is how to properly insert the carafe into the machine. To find the correct orientation of the carafe for proper insertion, locate the small notch that sticks out of the front of the carafe and and make sure both are on the same side. The notch also lines up the tab on the drip tray.
With all three markers properly oriented, you can insert the carafe into the open socket on the front of the machine. If done correctly, the tab on the drip tray should hold the carafe in place. If done incorrectly, the carafe could potentially slide out during frothing, which will cause the beverage brewing process to be interrupted. You should also make sure that the top of your carafe is inserted properly before beginning!
How to make a Cortado (Magenta Prestige)
Next, we'll go over how to make a specialty drink like a cortado using the Magenta Prestige's "one-touch" functionality.
One thing to be aware of when it comes to making a one-touch drink on the Magenta Prestige is that the cup platform must be in the bottom position when you have the carafe inserted. You must also make sure the brew spouts are appropriately positioned for the height of your cup, and that you have the dispensing arm in position before getting started.
When it comes to making a cortado, it is a fairly small drink, so about 1.35 ounces of coffee and about 1 ounce is a ratio that we find works well. Be aware, however, that making milk based beverages is more of an art than a science, so feel free to tweak the volumes to your liking.
Once you have everything in place, your beverage option selected, and your drink parameters set, all you have to do is press start and your machine will handle the rest!
Quick Clean the Milk Carafe (Magenta Prestige)
From time to time, your machine will prompt you to do a carafe quick clean. Once this prompt appears, you will want to put a container under your spouts, then press start. Your machine will then purge some water through the frothing circuit. Just dump out the purged water from your container into the sink, and you're good to go!
With the circuit cleaned, you can put it back into position and safely remove your carafe so you can store in the refrigerator for future use.
How to make a Cappuccino (Magenta Prestige)
If you're yearning for a drink with a good amount milk volume, a cappuccino is the way to go. Similar to the steps described in the "How to make a Cortado" section of this article, making a cappuccino with the Magenta Prestige is as simple as pressing a few buttons.
Select cappuccino from your machine's beverage options menu to pull up the drink parameters menu. From this menu you can select the coffee volume and milk volume separately. The reason we are highlighting the cappuccino is to make note of the logic Gaggia programs into their machines.
In comparison to a drink like the cortado which consists of brewing coffee first, followed by hot milk, this order is automatically reversed by your machine when selecting a cappuccino to preserve beverage authenticity.