Vegetarian recipe ideas
Get plenty of meat-free inspiration with our easy, versatile recipes
Read our full review of the Gaggia Magenta Plus, a bean-to-cup coffee machine with plenty of personalisation features for your drinks
Established in 1930, Italian brand Gaggia has a legacy for machines that produce richly dark and delicious espresso. Its Magenta Plus model is a modern bean-to-cup machine, recognisable by its statement red accent and branded espresso outlet, which also features a steam wand for manual milk frothing.
The espresso outlet is height adjustable to accommodate different-sized mugs. We also love the pair of drip trays: the top is specifically designed with rubber grippers on both sides of the smaller one, which can support traditional espresso cups at the right height for splash-free brewing and a thick crema.
In the box is a warranty certificate, operating instructions and safety information. A plastic pouch containing a water hardness test, grease for the brew group and a plastic scoop is also included, though it's not clear what that's for on opening. The power wire is not connected, but you're guided on how this fits.
There's a 14-step diagram process for first installation in the instruction manual, but you won’t need it. The touchscreen interface walks you through each step. Inputting the water hardness level is one of the first steps – a test strip is handily provided – along with language selection, grind size adjustments and filling the water and bean tanks. It automatically senses when this has been done.
Accessing the water and bean tanks requires another 15cm of height, so the machine needs to be brought out fully from beneath kitchen cupboards for unobstructed clearance when removing the water tank.
The quantity of the coffees are all adjustable per cup, which is an excellent pro for personalisation. We brew an americano and are pleased to find the machine brews the espresso first before adding the water, preserving the crema.
The espresso lungo is 80ml espresso with a lightly coloured, silky crema, all rich in flavour. The single espresso is brewed with half the quantity of water. The only drawback of any coffee in this machine is that the two-cup setting results in unequally split cups, and takes two rounds of grinding and brewing. This means the espresso crema suffers.
With this machine, you can't brew and steam at the same time. The milk steam wand takes 15 seconds to warm up and has a 45-degree range of movement outwards. There's a heatproof silicone cover at the top, but it's tricky to move inwards again as it's hot to flush after use. It's manual start/stop, and to clean it, you dispense a bit of hot water. This comes out quickly, so make sure you have a spare container underneath. Two-cup options are available.
The instruction manual contains a table recommending when and how to clean each part of the machine. The brew group is removable for weekly rinsing, lifts out completely and can be cleaned under the tap. There are also elements to grease, so it's best to air-dry these as they may stain tea towels.
You'll also need to use a cleaning tablet, which doesn't come with the machine. When done without said tablet, the cleaning cycle does produce a noticeable amount of grounds, so it's worth doing this more often than monthly.
We love the fact that all the coffees are fully customisable. The brew group is removable for easy cleaning, plus the quantity of beans the hopper holds will last you a few days with multiple uses.
Before turning off, the machine auto-rinses, so be sure to have removed your coffee from beneath the outlets before turning off. It's easy to accidentally touch the on/off button when manoeuvring the milk steam wand, too.
Serial number: SKU R18702
Functions: Steam frother, duo-drip tray
Coffee options: espresso, espresso lungo, americano and hot water
Bean hopper capacity: 250g
In the box: machine, 500g bag Gaggia espresso Arabica coffee,
Water tank capacity: 1.8L
Dimensions: 22.4cm x 35.7cm x 43.5cm