Learn how to setup the different parts of the Gaggia Magenta Plus and Magenta Prestige, as well as how to install and activate the water filter, how to adjust the grinder, and how to prime the machine.
How to: Initial Setup & First Use of the Gaggia Magenta Espresso Machines
This article is will cover the initial setup process for Gaggia Magenta series of espresso machines, which includes the Gaggia Magenta Plus and Gaggia Magenta Prestige. All topics covered apply for both machines, unless stated otherwise.
These topics include the accessories that come in the box with your machine, as well as the setup of a Mavea Intenza Water Filter. Use of a water filter is optional, yet highly recommended. It will protect your machine from scale build-up and help purify some of the taste of your water, especially if you don't use some sort of pre-filter before filling your reservoir.
Basic menu navigation will also be covered to ensure you understand how to customize your machine to your liking before you start brewing!
In the Box Accessories
Once your machine is unboxed, you should take a look at the treasure trove of accessories that come with it!
First is the dual-purpose coffee scoop and grinder adjustment key. On one end of the coffee scoop you’ll see a hexagonal socket that's used to adjust the grind setting. On the other end is a measured scoop, which is used for brewing with pre-ground coffee. On the scoop end, there are also plus and minus icons which let you know if you’re making the grind finer or more coarse when turning the grinder adjustment key end.
Next is the water hardness test strip. Instructions on how to use this can be found below in the “Setting Language & Water Hardness” section of this article. The water hardness test strip is used in conjunction with your machine's water hardness settings to allow you to easily program in the hardness of your water. By programming your water hardness into your machine, you are telling your machine “Hey, my water is this hard,” which in turn allows your machine to alert you when it’s time to descale. To conduct a water hardness test, simply dip the included strip into water from the source you plan on regularly using and you should get a result in a matter around a minute.
Third is the brew group lubricant. This is a food-safe grease that is used to lubricate the mechanisms inside the machine's brew group where your coffee is actually ground and brewed. It also keeps the mechanisms inside the machine sliding properly. Re-applying lubricant is something that you’ll need to do on a 1 to 4 month basis, depending on how frequently you use the machine. You can also use the lubricant for a trick with the water reservoir to make it a little easier to insert and remove from the machine.
Last is an accessory exclusive to the Magenta Prestige, a water spout that installs in the socket where the auto frothing carafe is inserted. This spout is used either to dispense hot water from your machine, or to cover the socket and preserve the aesthetics of your machine when you have your carafe stored in the fridge.
After you've gotten your machine and all the included accessories out of the box, the next thing you need to do is get your machine plugged in!
An easy to overlook difference between the Magenta Plus and Magenta Prestige is that Magenta Plus does not have a physical power switch, while the Magenta Prestige has one on the back of it. This means to turn on the Magenta Plus, you just plug your machine in. To turn on the Magenta Prestige, you also plus your machine in; just make sure you also flip the power switch on!
With your machine plugged in and turned on, the last thing you want to do before actually using it is to remove the protective sticker on the main display screen. Each Gaggia Magenta machine ships brand-new with a protective sticker to keep the screen safe during shipping. Once you’ve received your machine and placed it where you want, the sticker is no longer needed. Feel free to remove it and dispose of it.
Something else to take note of when powering on your machine is that there is a bit of a delay from the moment you touch the "ON/OFF" button, and the audio and visual notifications that your machine is, in fact, turning on. Just make sure to touch and hold the "ON/OFF" button for a second or two until you hear a beep and see the "GAGGIA Milano" emblem appear on your machine's main display.
Once your machine turns on, you will see a "Heating Up" progress display. This won't take long, and once it has completed, your machine will prompt you to add water to the water reservoir. Before doing that, continue reading the "Priming the Machine" section of this article, below.
Priming the Machine
As is the case for any new appliance — or anything that will regularly come into contact with food or water, for that matter — you want to rinse out your water reservoir before you use it. If you're facing the machine, the water reservoir is located on the top-left side. The top-right side is where the grinder is located.
To remove the water reservoir, there is a little tab on the side. Pick that up and lift up to remove the reservoir. This is easier if you lift with both hands. Once the reservoir is removed, take it to the sink, add water, then pour the water out to finish rinsing it.
Once you've got your reservoir rinsed, your might begin to wonder how much water is safe to add without over or under filling. To help with this, Gaggia has included a max fill line on the side of the reservoir to let you know how much water you should add.
Please note that this part of the process is something you'll only need to do during initial setup of your machine. Once you have removed your water reservoir from your machine, rinsed it, refilled it and reinserted it once, you can actually fill your machine from the top using your sink if you've got a spout that can reach, or with a small pitcher. Going forward, this will allow you to fill the reservoir without having to remove it from your machine.
Before doing anything else, place a pitcher or container under your machine's steam wand (or water spout for the Magenta Prestige) to catch the water that will be dispensed during the priming process.
With a pitcher under your wand/spout, go ahead and fill your reservoir to the max fill line. Then bring it back to your machine and turn it so the max fill line indicator is facing the back of the machine. Then, lower the reservoir back into the machine.
What's going to happen next is the machine will prime itself, which means water will be pulled in through the pump before being dispensed. When priming your machine for the first time, water is going to be drawn through that steam wand. This is why you should have already placed a pitcher underneath your wand/spout to catch any purged water.
Setting Language & Water Hardness
With the water reservoir rinsed and your machine primed, the next thing to go over are some of the other prompts you machine is going to give you. Most of these prompts can also be manually accessed by way of the cleaning and setting menus, which you can access by touching the CLEAN/SET button on your machine's front display.
Once you have pressed the CLEAN/SET button, you will be taken to the cleaning and settings menu selection screen. From here you can touch either the top-left "CLEAN" button to access the cleaning menu, or the top-right "SETTINGS" button to access the settings menu. These menus will give you access to the auto cleaning functions on your machine, as well as the deeper programmability settings.
First, let's go over to the settings menu. If you press the "SETTINGS" button and open the settings menu, first option that will appear is "LANGUAGE." With "LANGUAGE" highlighted, touch the bottom-left checkmark button confirm your selection and access your machine's language menu. This will allow you to set the language your machine will present all text in. Touch the top-left or top-right buttons to scroll up and down and select your highlight your language, then touch the bottom-left checkmark button to confirm your selection.
Back at the settings menu, you can touch the top-left or top-right buttons to scroll up or down and select different menu options. Using these buttons, scroll to, and highlight "WATER HARDNESS," then press the bottom-left checkmark button to open the water hardness settings menu.
Water hardness, by default, is going to be set to four squares on a brand new machine. The squares that appear on your test strip after conducting your water hardness test will correspond to squares that appear while at the water hardness setting menu. Check out this article's "Water Hardness Test & Filter Preparation" section below to learn how to conduct a water hardness test.
By properly testing and inputting the hardness of your water, you are telling your machine how frequently it should prompt you to descale. Descaling is the process of removing mineral buildup inside your machine's boiler. This is the number one cause of issues for your machine, so it's important to make sure that your water hardness is correct and that you are regularly descaling.
Water Hardness Test & Filter Preparation
Before actually conducting your water hardness test, it’s very important that the water that you test is from the same source that you’re going to regularly use to add water to your machine. For example, if you test water that has been pre-filtered in any way, make sure that you consistently add pre-filtered water to your machine.
To conduct a water hardness test, take the test strip included with your machine and submerge it in the water you are testing so that all four squares on the strip are in the water. Leave the strip in the water for a few seconds, then remove it and shake off any excess water. Set the strip down and your test result should appear after about a minute.
While waiting for your water hardness test results to appear, the next thing you should do is prepare your Mavea Intenza Water Filter for use. To do this, take the filter and dunk it in a bowl of water that is big enough to allow the filter to be fully submerged. While fully submerged, squeeze the sides of the filter to get some of the air out of it. By doing this, you are helping get more water into the filter, which will also weigh it down. Let the filter sit in the water for a few minutes to activate the layers of filtration.
Once you’ve gotten enough water into the filter that it will stay fully submerged on it’s own, you can leave it in the water until you are ready to begin the water filter installation process. This process is described in detail below, starting with the “Water Filter Install & Activation” section of this article.
You should now be able to go back to your water hardness test strip and read your results. You should read the results from left to right. For example, if the left-most two squares turned orange, and the two on the right are green, that result corresponds with a water hardness of two.
With these results, you can now return to the "WATER HARDNESS" menu (refer to this article's "Setting Language & Water Hardness" for more information) on your machine and program your water hardness. Match the water hardness number for your machine to the result on the test strip, then press the bottom-left checkmark button that corresponds with the check-mark icon to save.
Please note that you can always change/update water hardness by revisiting the "WATER HARDNESS" menu if you ever need to (ex. New home, change of water filter, new water source, etc.).
Water Filter Install & Activation
Before installing the water filter, return to the SETTINGS menu and select "WATER FILTER" to access your machine's water filter activation menu. Once at the water filter activation menu, highlight "ACTIVATE" and touch the bottom-left checkmark button to confirm and begin the activation process. By selecting disable, you're telling the machine “Hey, I'm going to stop using water filters.” If this ever becomes the case for you, it’s important that you change your setting to “DISABLE” because that will affect how frequently your machine will prompt you to to descale.
The next screen that displays will be the filter installation start screen. Please note that your machine will tell you this process takes 5 minutes. However, since you should have already prepared your water filter (see "Water Hardness Test & Filter Preparation"), the process should take less time than that.
To officially start the water filter activation process, touch the start/stop button. Your machine will then display a screen that will prompt you to have the water hardness setting on the filter correspond with the results of your water hardness test.
To do this, locate the the three settings on the bottom ridge of the filter: “A”, “B” and “C” (Each Mavea Intenza Water Filter defaults to “B”). These three options correspond with the results of the water hardness test you should have already conducted. The water filter options and water hardness test strip results match as such:
- A = 1-2 Orange squares, 3-2 Green squares
- B = 3 Orange squares, 1 Green square
- C = 4 Orange squares, 0 Green squares
For example, if the left-most two squares on the water hardness test strip turned orange, and the two on the right are green, that result corresponds with a water hardness of two, and the letter “A” on the water filter. To change the letter on the filter, grasp the grips on the side of the bottom ridge and twist so that the arrow lines up with the letter you require.
With your filter set up to match your water hardness, touch the bottom-left checkmark button to confirm and advance to the next step.
Your machine will now prompt you prepare your filter, which you should have already done (see this article's "Water Hardness Test & Filter Preparation" section for more information)! With this step already completed, you can move on to the final step, which is to insert the filter into the water reservoir.
Before inserting the filter into the reservoir, make sure that the reservoir is about 75 percent full. This is to make sure you have enough room to account for the water displacement caused by the filter
To properly install your water filter, lift the water reservoir out of the machine place it so you can see the filter inlet clearly. Luckily the reservoir is made with clear plastic, so this it should be easy to spot. Next, grasp the top of the water filter (NOT the end with the hardness letters A,B,C) and line it up with the intake. With both parts lined up, insert the filter into the intake by pressing it down into it until you cannot make it go down any more. With the filter now installed, lift the reservoir back up and reinsert it back into your machine.
Once the reservoir has been properly reinserted, make sure you place a pitcher or adequately sized container under your machine's steam wand (or water spout for the Magenta Prestige) before proceeding any more. This is because a lot of water is going to be drawn from the wand/spout and dispensed during the next step of the process, so you want to make sure you have something to catch the water. With a container in place to catch the any dispensed water, press the bottom-left checkmark button to proceed through the next few prompts until you get a progress display that says "ACTIVIATING FILTER." Once this process has completed, you have successfully activated your water filter!
Keep in mind that based on your water hardness, your machine will let you know when it's time to replace the filter, as well as adjust the frequency at which the descaling alert is displayed. So, if you want to descale less and ensure that your water tastes even better, it's strongly recommended that you install a Mavea Intenza Water Filter, especially when you're dealing with a brand new machine.
Menu Settings & Functions
Continuing on, let's take a look at the other options in your machine's cleaning and settings menus. If you touch the CLEAN/SET button to return to the cleaning and settings hub menu, then touch the top-left button for CLEAN, you can access the cleaning menu.
Once at the cleaning menu, you will see two options: "DESCALING" and "BREW GROUP." Both options are automated processes that are used to either fully descale your machine, or to clean and rinse out the brew group.
It's worth mentioning that both functions are also used in conjunction with Gaggia cleaning accessories. For descaling, we recommend using a bottle of Gaggia Decalcifier Liquid Descaler. This is the only certified and safe to use decalcifier that we recommend for Gaggia espresso machines. Descaling is used to clean out mineral deposits inside the boiler from your water.
As for brew group cleaning, we recommend using Gaggia Coffee Clean Tablets. These tablets remove coffee oils and other coffee solids that can build up inside the brew group and on your spouts.
Please also keep in mind that on the Magenta Prestige there are also going to be added cleaning settings options for a full rinse or a quick rinse of the milk carafe.
With the cleaning menu options now covered, return to the cleaning and settings hub menu by touching CLEAN/SET, then touch the top-right button for SETTINGS to return to the settings menu. Let's go over the rest of your machine's settings options.
As LANGUAGE, WATER HARDNESS (See "Setting Language & Water Hardness") and WATER FILTER (See "Water Filter Install & Activation") have already been covered, let's take a look at the remaining options on your machine's settings menu.
"STAND-BY" is how long the machine will actually stay on before it powers down into a low power stand-by mode. Options include 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 60 minutes, or 180 minutes. By selecting a greater amount of time, you will reduce the amount of times the machine rinses. This is because when the timer expires, the machine will power off, which will, of course, require another power on, which requires the machine to rinse itself again. A tip we like to share is to keep a cup under the brew spouts when not brewing, which will keep the drip tray from filling up and prevent it from needing to be emptied as often.
"UNITS" is another option on the settings menu. If you're in the United States, you will probably want to set it to "oz" (imperial system). If you’re in Canada, you can set the default units of measure to "ml" (metric system).
"BUTTON SOUND" allows you to turn turn ON or OFF a sound your machine makes each time you touch a button. Whether you have the button sound on or off is largely preferential. Some users have made it clear that prefer the added silence of no button sound, whereas others have expressed gratification in having some form of feedback when touching the buttons on their machine.
"COUNTER" is an option on the settings menu that is more for maintenance, or for bragging rights. From the counter menu, you can view the total number of each drink you've prepared with your machine.
"FACTORY SET" is a settings menu option that will reset your machine back to its factory default settings.
Coffee Grinder Adjustment
The final step for setting up your new machine is to calibrate the grinder before adding any coffee. If you are facing the front of your machine the grinder for the Magenta Plus and Magenta Prestige is located underneath the panel on the top right.
With the panel raised and the grinder exposed, there are a few things to be aware of: the auger, which pulls the beans down into the grinder, the grind adjustment post, and the bypass doser.
For more information on how to use the bypass doser, check out the "Using the Bypass Doser for Pre-Ground Coffee" section of the article "Gaggia Magenta: How to Make Coffee Drinks," as well as the section of the same name in said article's featured video.
Please note that it’s important to get your grind set before adding beans. This is for a couple of reasons. First, it's much easier to access the grind adjustment post in the bean hopper. Second, if you wind up adding beans and making a few shots before making an adjustment, you can only make a single adjustment at a time before having to grind a new shot and then adjust again. If the hopper is empty, you can make adjustments freely without running the risk of damaging your machine.
To begin the adjustment process, locate the yellow adjustment post and line it up with the grinder adjustment key (as previously mentioned in the “In the Box Accessories” section of this article, above). There is a little arrow that points to what setting the machine is currently set at, represented by five dots that range from most course to most fine. To adjust, proceed in a similar motion to that of taking the cap off of a medicine bottle. If you press down and twist you can adjust the grind setting; if you simply try to twist it won’t do anything. Turning to the left makes your grind more fine, while turning to the right makes it more coarse. There's also a plus and minus indicator on the top of the scoop that serves as an additional point of reference. For the richest, most full-bodied shots, we recommend setting your grind as fine as it can go.
It’s also worth noting again that you can always come back to the grinder afterwards and make additional adjustments as you see fit. Once you've set your grind, you can add some coffee to the hopper and officially start brewing!