Learn how to make milk drinks on the Gaggia Accademia, as well as how to froth milk, and dispense hot water.
How to Make Milk Drinks, Froth Milk, and Dispense Hot Water on the Gaggia Accademia
When it comes to frothing milk, the Gaggia Accademia is a "one-touch" espresso machine. What that means is you can make a specialty milk beverage simply by pressing a given drink's corresponding button on the front of the machine. After pressing the button of your desired beverage, your machine will automatically will froth and dispense milk without requiring you to press any other buttons or have to move your cup.
This is accomplished thanks to Accademia's auto-frothing carafe, a convenient accessory that locks into the front of the machine while in use. The carafe can also be removed from the machine and stored in your refrigerator between uses.
The Accademia also has a commercial style steam wand, which means it also offers you the ability to manually froth.
Milk Drink Parameters
Before delving into making specialty milk drinks with the Accademia, it's important to first take a look at the "BEVERAGE MENU" and customizable drink parameters offered. Similar to the process for customizing coffee drink parameters (See the "Coffee Drink Parameters" section of this machine's "Menus, Customization, and Brewing Drinks" article), press the center-right button on the row of four small buttons directly underneath your machine's main display — the button that corresponds with the cup icon above it on screen — the "BEVERAGE MENU" will display. This is where you can program the settings for each drink option.
The buttons to the right of your machine's main display screen also correspond to the specialty milk drinks offered on the Accademia. "CAPPUCCINO," "LATTE MACCHIATO," and "LATTE" correspond with the "BEVERAGE MENU" options for "CAPPUCCINO," LATTE MACCHIATO," and "HOT MILK," respectively. Please keep in mind that the "LATTE" button on the front of your machine will only provide hot milk.
If you scroll down to a specialty milk drink such as "CAPPUCCINO," for example, and push the far-right button on the row of small buttons directly below the main display screen corresponding with the "OK" option to confirm, a menu will appear that allows you to customize the parameters for that given beverage. For a cappuccino specifically, options include "COFFEE AMOUNT," "PREBREWING," "COFFEE TEMPERATURE," and "COFFEE LENGTH," as well as milk drink specific parameters like "MILK LENGTH," and "MILK FOAM."
"MILK LENGTH" allows you to set the volume of milk dispensed into your cup, while "MILK FOAM" is a feature unique to the Accademia that allows you to determine the amount of milk foam dispensed. Options include "MINIMUM," "NORMAL," and "MAXIMUM" and depending on how you set this parameter, your milk foam is going to range from airy and frothy (MAXIMUM), to similar to hot milk (MINIMUM).
One-Touch Cappuccino (With Different Froth Settings)
If you press one of the specialty milk beverage buttons on the right side of the front of your machine — "CAPPUCCINO," "LATTE MACCHIATO," or "LATTE" (aka hot milk) — these drinks will be prepared with the touch of a button. To successfully complete this, you'll need to use the auto-frothing carafe.
When using the auto-frothing carafe, which locks into the socket on on the right side of the front of your machine below the specialty milk drink buttons, it's important to note that the arm on top of the carafe needs to be swung outward to the left in order to take the lid off. There is a small clip underneath the arm that locks it in place when it is closed, so swing it outward, give it a quick pinch in the middle, and you should be able to lift it off.
There is also a notch in the drip tray that you need to line up with the carafe when attaching it. Your machine will beep to confirm when you have successfully done this.
Once the carafe has been properly filled and reattached to your machine, swing the carafe lid arm outward to the left and into position over your cup, and make sure your cup is lined up to catch the milk that is going to be dispensed. Next, push and hold your desired specialty milk beverage button on the right side of the front of your machine to begin the brewing process.
Please note, by pressing and holding the button of your desired specialty milk beverage on the front of your machine for 2-3 seconds, you will see the memory mode icon appear on the main display screen. This will prompt your machine to begin frothing. Once your machine begins frothing, you'll then see the word "STOP" appear in the bottom-right of the main display screen. Once you have your froth at a desired volume, push the far-right button on the row of small buttons directly below the main display screen to stop the flow of the beverage being dispensed. If applicable, your machine will then begin automatically brewing the coffee portion of your drink. Once your machine begins brewing, you'll then see the word "STOP" appear once again, but this time on the bottom-left of the main display screen. Once you have your coffee at a desired volume, push the far-left button on the row of small buttons directly below the main display screen to stop the flow of the beverage being dispensed.
It's worth mentioning again that when your machine is dispensing milk, the button to stop dispensing will be on the right side of the front of the machine. This varies from the button to stop dispensing coffee drinks, which is on the left side of the front of the machine.
After your machine has finished frothing and brewing your beverage, you will then get a notification that your machine is conducting a "RINSING CARAFE" cycle. This function can also be accessed via the Accademia's the "CARAFE AUTO CLEAN" option in the "MAINTENANCE SETTINGS" menu (see the "Additional Menu Settings" section of the this machine's "Initial Setup and First Use" article), which allows you to enable your machine to auto-clean the milk carafe after you're done making a drink with it. It's recommended that you have this setting ON.
When you finish making specialty milk drinks, you can simply remove the carafe from the front of the machine and store it in the refrigerator for future use. While the carafe is not attached to the machine, you can attach the included magnetic plug that fits into the socket where the carafe installs to preserve the aesthetic of your machine!
Manual Frothing & Hot Water
Manual frothing is another feature that the Accademia offers, thanks to its inclusion of a commercial style steam wand on the left side of the front of the machine below the coffee drink and hot water/steam options.
The steam wand is fairly short on the Accademia, so keep a few things in mind when using it: first, make sure you are using an adequately sized pitcher. Anything capable of holding 10-12 ounces will work best, as you're likely going to froth 6-8 ounces of milk at a time. By using a adequately sized pitcher, you are leaving the milk enough space to expand in the pitcher as it is frothed.
The other thing you'll want to do is purge the steam wand to get rid of any of condensation inside of it. To do this, press the final button option on the left side of your machine with a steam wand and coffee cup icon on it, and your display will show a prompt asking if you want "HOT WATER" or "STEAM." Push the center-right button on the row of small buttons directly below the main display screen corresponding with the steam wand icon to confirm. Your machine will then automatically proceed to begin the purging process.
With the steam wand purged, you can officially begin frothing. First, fill your pitcher up so that there is about a fingers width of space between the surface of the milk and the top of the pitcher. When it comes to frothing technique, you should position the wand inside the pitcher in such a way that you get a nice roll to our milk. With the pitcher in hand, guide the steam wand down towards the surface of the milk until it just the tip is submerged. You will know if you are frothing correctly if you hear a "ripping" sound. You'll know when it's time to finish frothing when the pitcher becomes slightly too hot to hold.
After you have finished, make sure to purge the steam wand again to get anything out that might have gone in during frothing.
Programming Hot Water
You can also have your machine dispense hot water only. To do this, press the final button option on the left side of your machine with a steam wand and coffee cup icon on it, and your display will show a prompt asking if you want "HOT WATER" or "STEAM." Push the center-left button on the row of small buttons directly below the main display screen corresponding with the cup icon to confirm. Your machine will then automatically begin dispensing hot water. Bear in mind that you can also program the volume of the hot water dispensed using your machine's "BEVERAGE MENU."
This is a great feature if you or a family member enjoy an evening cup of tea, or you prefer blending additional hot water with your shots to make something like a Café Americano.