A decent mid-range coffee machine, the Gaggia Magenta Plus delivers great shots of espresso quickly. Milk frothing is a little fiddly, so those looking for better results may want to find a machine that handles milk automatically or has a proper steam tap. For those that largely drink regular coffee, this machine is a great choice.
- Simple to use
- Makes good espresso
- Easy to look after
- Steamer wand slightly fiddly to use
- TypeThis is a bean-to-cup coffee machine with a manual steamer wand.
Although the Gaggia Magenta Plus sits at the bottom of the Magenta bean-to-cup range, it’s arguably the more flexible of the trio, giving you manual milk frothing via a steamer wand.
This lets you froth your milk the way that you want it, giving you plenty of options to create a variety of different drinks.
Well built and with a nice interface, this coffee machine is generally very easy to use, but the steamer wand takes some getting used to.
Design and Features
- Simple and striking design
- Easy to reach bean hopper
- Simple interface
With its black body and red interface, the Gaggia Magenta Plus has an air of quality about it. It feels robust too, and a step up from cheaper entry-level machines, such as the Beko Bean To Cup Coffee Machine with Steam Wand CEG5311.
As with the majority of bean-to-cup machines, this one can take 250g in its bean hopper. That’s a standard bag of coffee. Inside the hopper is the grinder control, letting you adjust from a coarse to a fine grind. It’s worth adjusting the grind when you change beans to get the best quality each time.
On the other side of the machine, hidden under a flap, is the 1.8-litre water tank, which lifts up and out for refilling. You’ll need a decent amount of space above it to get the tank out, so may find it easier to refill using a jug or bottle. There’s no filter included, but you can fit one to improve the taste of your drinks.
Control of the machine is via the simple LCD and touch buttons. There are preset options for espresso, coffee (larger cups), steam, lungo (a larger espresso-style drink), americano (hot water added to espresso) and hot water.
Selecting an option lets you adjust the volume of liquid dispensed, although the defaults, such as 40ml of espresso, are about right.
There’s room underneath the spout for mugs up to 15cm tall, which covers most types, bar taller latte glasses.
- Pours a little fast
- Good espresso temperature
- Decent crema
As with most bean-to-cup machines, there’s little control over the flow of espresso. Even on the finest grind setting, I found that the Gaggia Magenta delivered espresso a little fast: around 20s is about right for a standard shot, but the Magenta was around 15s.
While you don’t get quite the same quality as from a manual machine, such as the WPM KD-270S, the Magenta is still pretty good. I found that the shot of espresso came out with a nice, flat crema that wasn’t too bubbly. The temperature was spot on, too, with my coffee delivered at 60C.
Dark in colour, the espresso looked good, too. It lacked the full depth that I’d get from a high-end manual machine, but the pronounced acidity and boldness were there. Given how easy it is to make espresso, the results are pretty good.
- Slightly fiddly to get right
- Decent results are possible
As a single boiler coffee machine, you can only steam or make espresso, not both at the same time. When you tap the steam button, the Gaggia Magenta takes a little while to heat up before it starts to eject steam from the wand. It also takes a few seconds to stop ejecting steam when you hit the stop button.
This makes it a little hard to eject water from the wand before you start frothing, which you should really do; with a machine that has a tap, you can use a steam burst to eject water before frothing milk.
It’s also a little fiddly to get a jug under the wand at the right angle to get the perfect milk results. With a little practice, it’s possible to get nicely textured milk with microfoam but it’s a little fiddlier here than on other machines.
When you’re done, I recommend pointing the steamer wand at the drip tray and turning steam on and off to get any residual milk out of the system.
If you don’t want to deal with milk manually, then the Prestige and Milk versions of the Magenta have automatic milk frothing.
- Easy to empty
- Simple access to brew unit
- Rinses itself
As with most bean-to-cup machines, the bin has to be emptied regularly. This pulls out from the front with the drip tray. I found that the used coffee pucks were pretty dry, making the bin easy to empty. A quick wash in soapy water, along with the drip tray, doesn’t go amiss.
Automatic rinsing helps keep the Gaggia Magenta in tip-top condition, but you should also remove the brew unit from the side and rinse it weekly. Gaggia recommends using its cleaning tablets monthly to remove built-up coffee oil, following the instructions in the manual.
When prompted, you’ll also need to descale the coffee machine following the instructions in the manual. The time between descaling depends on the water hardness level in your area. Gaggia provides a test strip in the box, and you can then set the level in the Magenta.
Should you buy it?
If you want a solid mid-range machine that’s great for espresso but can handle milk when you want it, this is a good compromise.
If you want more variety of recipes, including profiles for individual users, and automatic milk frothing, you may want to look elsewhere.
Generally, good espresso and simple maintenance make the Gaggia Magenta stand out from the cheaper competition. Manual steaming takes a little while to get used to in order to get give you the best results. If you don’t want to deal with this, then I recommend the Melitta Caffeo Barista TS Smart, which automatically froths milk and lets you create profiles for your favourite drinks. It’s a fair bit more than the Magenta.
If you’re considering a manual machine instead, then check out my guide to the best coffee machines for some ideas.
How we test
Unlike other sites, we test every coffee machine we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
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Used as our main coffee machine for the review period
Tested for at least a week
We roast our own beans for regular coffee machines, so we can fairly compare each machine; pod machines are tested with a variety of compatible capsules
Depending on capabilities, we test each machine’s ability to make espresso and cappuccino
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Yes, you can use the manual steamer wand and a jug of milk.
The Plus has the manual steam wand, while the Prestige and Milk will automatically steam.
It takes 250g, which is the size of a regular bag of coffee.