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Hi, I have an old 'traditional' machine with a 4 jet steam wand and normal steam pressure at 1 Bar. Whatever type of cold milk I use, frothing starts producing what I think you all call the micro foam. I personally find the milk to cool for my present taste and keep frothing longer until I hear the tone change from the steam wand. At this point the milk gets hit by lots of large bubbles and can rise to twice the starting volume, but the froth then seems too coarse with too much air and collapses quickly. I am generally frothing a small volume sufficient for a single shot cup or latte and I can get some better results starting with a larger volume of milk. Whatever I do, I can never get any improvement and produce a more solid froth for latte art, although what I produce seems to be like the coffees I get abroad in the run of the mill bars ( not Costa!).

 

Where am I going wrong? Is it a limitation of my machine? Do good milk frothers always use air injection or special steam tips or higher steam pressure? Another problem I have is the froth sticking to the inside of my stainless frothing jugs. I've checked inside and they are not highly polished which I think would allow the froth to slide out better? Are there better frothing jugs? I've noticed some commercial places spooning out their froth rather than pouring it.

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I'm not an expert but I suspect that part of your problem is using not enough milk.

 

Getting the right texture requires the right amount of air introduced and then the microfilm developed through swirling. If you use only one cups worth of milk, it will be hard to do this before the milk overheats. Overheating the milk will also impair the flavour and texture.

 

I'm not sure if this forum has a policy on adding other URLs but but hope I am forgiven for suggesting search youtube for whole latte love milk frothing, which I found really useful. I also appreciate that you may have personal preferences, but if you aren't happy with your current results, I suggest you start with the given recommendations to at least establish if you can get the results expected before introducing variance.

 

I fill my jug to just below the start of the spout (about half full) and judge temperature as they suggest by holding the jug, stopping as it starts to get too hot to hold.

 

Best of luck.


Rich

 

From Bodum > Bialetti Mokka > Gaggia Classic > MDF > Eureka Mignon > PID + Pimping > ECM Mechanika V Slim > Ceado E37J > The Grave :-)

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Change the steam tip for one with less holes / smaller diameter holes. Texturing very small quantities of milk is challenging.

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Thanks, that ties up when I said frothing 2 cup volumes seems better. But if you want just one cup of coffee, do you froth more milk and throw milk away? I suspect the best milk froth occurs when the milk is coldest and my small milk volume heats up too quickly? I think I will try some milk in my wine cooler which is at about 7 deg C and a lower temperature than the fridge. When I do the hand hold temperature check I find my coffee seems too cool? Perhaps that is how it should be compared to boiling water over instant. I was in Italy last year during Winter and the first Latte I had seemed too cold for my taste, but I was told the Barista had been taught by his parents over many years so I wasn't going to argue!

 

Does your milk froth pour out of the jug nicely or stick around the sides like mine?

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I don't throw away milk , I weigh what I need 80g in a Motta jug. I am not the best steamer haha


SAGE IS NOT A UPGRADE

 

 

:)

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Sounds to me like you're burning the milk, which changes the composition of the proteins and ruins the foam (and taste!). That is why properly made lattes aren't particularly hot compared to many other drinks - it's just a limitation of the process.

 

You can do your best to keep the temperature up by preheating your cup properly.


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Get a thermometer. That resolves one issue.

 

Post a vid of you frothing your milk then we can see exactly what you are doing and advise more helpfully then ;)


2019 L-R with hand turned Thuya burr handles and toggles / 1998 La Pavoni with NickNak single hole steam wand tip  / Monolith Titan Conical & MAX  / HG-1 / Kalita wave / Stag kettle / OCD / Joey Skateboard Handle Pullman Big Step & matching stirrer /  gold B Plus stirrer / Wenge Handle Lev Tamp / Push Tamper / Puqpress / 15g & 18g vst / IMS 35μM / LDT / Barista Gear Titanium 12oz pitchers / LW Bean Cellars & Caddy / Decent thermometer / Acme Evo 150ml cups / Espazzola / Hottop / embroidered by me bar towels / coffee bar towel logo embroiderer to the hoi polloi  / in the cellars: Steampunk, North Star, Foundry, The Barn, HasBean, Coffee Compass / 6 gorgeous guineas / a dog / a very lovely and understanding husband 

 

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You’re boiling the milk. Hence the sudden bubbling up & increase in volume.

 

Would be good to see a video of exactly what you’re doing but that is my bet.

 

If you want a good quality smooth milk you will need to cut it before it boils.

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Thanks, that ties up when I said frothing 2 cup volumes seems better. But if you want just one cup of coffee, do you froth more milk and throw milk away? I suspect the best milk froth occurs when the milk is coldest and my small milk volume heats up too quickly? I think I will try some milk in my wine cooler which is at about 7 deg C and a lower temperature than the fridge. When I do the hand hold temperature check I find my coffee seems too cool? Perhaps that is how it should be compared to boiling water over instant. I was in Italy last year during Winter and the first Latte I had seemed too cold for my taste, but I was told the Barista had been taught by his parents over many years so I wasn't going to argue!

 

Does your milk froth pour out of the jug nicely or stick around the sides like mine?

 

 

I think your fridge should be nearer 5 degrees for food storage


Sage DTP | Santos #4

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As pgarrish said, your fridge should be

 

As others have suggested, get yourself a thermometer. It’ll help you no end with getting your milk to the correct temperature. Once you get used to the temperature required you won’t need to use a thermometer. Pull some hot brew water into your cup a few minutes prior to pulling your shot to warm the cup. Try a steam tip with fewer/narrower holes so you have more time to texture the milk, also, this is why the colder the milk the better so you have a wider window in which to texture your milk.

It is definitely easier to texture a larger quantity of milk than it is a a smaller amount. I drink flat whites and even though I will only use between 80ml - 120ml depending on the cup I use I will still steam around 180ml of milk. Any less and I find it really hard to get the milk right for latte art. Steaming hot 300ml in a 600ml jug is even easier and you have lots more time to get the milk right.

 

When I first got my Synchronika I tried and tried with the 4 hole steam tip but trying to texture such a low quantity of milk like 150ml is really have. You don’t get long at all as it’s so powerful and it all gets ahead of you really quickly and before you know it you’ve gone past the point of not return and it’s no good for latte art. I changed the 4 hole for a 2 hole and increased the steam pressure and I find it’s a lot more forgiving and gives me more time to get the milk right. I still get it wrong though and I’m still learning but I enjoy it.

Take some of the tips from people here and see how you get on and report back.


ECM Synchronika, Niche Zero, Pullman Bigstep Tamper, ONA OCD Distribution Tool, Decent Funnel, VST 18g & 20g Ridgeless Baskets, Aeropress, Aergrind, Acme Cups, Acaia Lunar Scales, LW Bean Cellar & Caddy

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Thanks, I've made a small step in progress: I do use a thermometer and aim for 65 deg. C & no more than 70C. I changed the steam wand tip from 4 hole to 2 hole. Most fridges of the Eco kind like ours set their fridges to 10 deg.C when the Eco button is pressed which is a trap for the unwary! I could drop the fridge temperature but the wine cooler will do 5 deg. C which is a smaller space and doesn't get the same frequent use as the kitchen fridge.

 

The problem as I see it now is my milk volume is too small for single cups causing the milk to heat up and aerate too quickly due to the small volume. The larger air bubbles are getting through faster before I get nice micro foam. The larger bubbles tear the milk fat apart and once this stage is reached there's no more micro foam . A larger pitcher gives better results because the frothing to final temperature can be slower and I'm doing good cappucinos, but the micro bubble froth for latte is still eluding me? Once the milk starts to froth I'm getting larger froth bubbles sitting like foam on top of the milk. Just for an experiment I've ordered a Breville auto frothing tip to try on my 10mm steam wand to see if getting air into the milk through a venturi tip design gives a better froth. I'm also aware that steam tips come in different hole sizes as well as the number of holes. I think my problems arise because I'm not in a cafe business frothing 1/2 litre of milk at a time. Just to give me an idea, how long should it take for a given volume of milk in your pitcher to reach temperature?

 

I didn't think frothing fresh milk for micro foam would be so hard. The boiler is putting out steam at 1 Bar with no water after purging the wand and the only thing left can be the tip, how air is mixed and my technique?

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At a guess I would say I steam my milk for around 10-12 sec total, but then my steam pressure is @ nearly 2bar.

 

If you find that you are getting too many big bubbles at the start then you’re injecting too much air. You don’t need a lot. Lower your steam tip into the milk a bit more so you don’t get big bubbles but you hear the sucking sound.

 

Another way is to submerge the tip into the cold milk so it’s just under. Turn the steam on and then gently raise the tip till you get the sucking sound and when the milk has risen slightly and sufficient air has been added, submerge the tip again so as to stop injecting air and then concentrate on getting a swirl with the tip just off from centre.

 

I use a 350ml jug and fill about half way with cold milk. Any less and I find it really hard to get good microfoam. Also it’s hard to stop the big bubbles forming when your trying to do it with less milk.

 

Hope this helps.


ECM Synchronika, Niche Zero, Pullman Bigstep Tamper, ONA OCD Distribution Tool, Decent Funnel, VST 18g & 20g Ridgeless Baskets, Aeropress, Aergrind, Acme Cups, Acaia Lunar Scales, LW Bean Cellar & Caddy

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Posted (edited)

Surprised no one has pointed you in the direction of the following... others are available but these show the process well with good explanation of what you're trying to achieve... a picture is worth and all that

Very contrasting presentations but the expected results are clearly explained.

Hope they help

And a way to practice without wasting milk or coffee care of @joeydirt24

Edited by MinesAbeer

It doesn't matter how you get there it's only the end result that matters

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¿ ǝsǝɥʇ pɐǝɹ ǝuoʎuɐ sǝop

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Thanks for the 'tips' (pun!), I've watched several videos but they don't tell you what to do when you don't get the same result at the end? My milk volume is 100ml which added to a single shot fills my latte glasses. That small milk volume might explain why I'm generating bubbles and coarse foam at the surface? I don't see why there should be objections to using a wine cooler? Mine is compressor driven with tight control of temperature, adjustable down to 4 deg.C, has a smaller space without the door always being opened for access to food and now we drink more coffee than wine.

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I don't think you have mentioned what type of milk you are using. I find Cravendale full fat milk to be the easiest milk to texture properly - some milk will just not work at all.


Londinium 1, Pharos, Ceado e37s, Gene Cafe, Aerobie

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I’m a total novice but thought I’d share something I’ve just found made a huge difference for me: giving the bottom of the jug a few *firm* taps on the worktop as well as a swirl. All of a sudden I am creating discernible patterns. 867cc66329b686049a10c8c40425fc41.jpg


__

Home: La Pavoni pre-millenium + Mazzer Major. V60 + MBK Feld2. Work: V60, Aeropress + Wilfa Svart grinder

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I don't think you have mentioned what type of milk you are using. I find Cravendale full fat milk to be the easiest milk to texture properly - some milk will just not work at all.

 

Regular supermarket fresh semi skimmed - Waitrose, Sainsbury - they all give me the same results. But I'll give the Cravendale full fat a try if they are using better cows. :)

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Sounds like you're either incorporating too much air into the milk or overheating, or both. I don't use a thermometer personally but if I did I'd probably stop at about 60c to allow for a delay in the response time and temperature loss until it reads when you finish. I assume it's a milk thermometer and you know it's accurate? You can try just holding the jug in your hand and stop as it begins to get uncomfortable to hold...

 

Do you hear hissing/tearing throughout steaming? How long does it take to steam your 100ml?


ACS Minima (Beta) -- Reskinned Ceado E8, Niche Zero --- Gene Cafe CBR101 with Dimmer Mod and Bean Mass Probe

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With the stock 4 hole tip it takes about 12-15 seconds for the milk to go from 7-70 deg.C steaming at 1 bar. I think I might be getting somewhere because I'm sure now my technique is fighting the huge amout of steam coming out and the fast temperature rise. Somewhere around 60 deg.C I start to get the large bubbles and after that large bubbles just keep coming.

 

This morning a Breville steam tip arrived. It's the one with the plastic push up and down sleeve to select hot milk or cappucino. It's short stubby 'L' shaped steam tube is 6mm OD whereas my Fracino is 10mm OD and 8mm ID. With some temporary silicone tubing, I attached it to my steam wand, plunged it into supermarket semi skimmed milk. It took longer and the temperature rise was slower but I got nice micro foamed milk from a small starting volume of about 125ml. Now I know this frothing tip is a designed venturi and sliding the selector just covers the air hole. I dismantled it and the single tip hole was about 1.2mm. I'm not trying these things to compete with baristas, but then single cup coffees with small volumes of milk with no waste is my challenge. If I was frothing 250ml + milk each time I think it would be easier.

 

I bought some Cravendale whole milk and tried it with the stock 4 hole tip. The cold milk swirled with more turbidity, but that might be expected anyway compared to semi skimmed. The small volume frothing result was similar but the foam seemed more stable and sat longer without collapsing, but then this milk is twice the price! So I'm back wondering about trying a single hole standard type steam tip first to give slower heating? I shall also be engineering the Breville steam tip with a more permanent connection to my standard steam wand and do it in a way that allows me to go back to the standard tip. Mods always need a revert back exit plan! I'll let you know with some photos how it's working out if I don't give up fighting the Captcha.

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Get air in and have it spinning until it's about body temp, after that just have it spinning until 60c. I'm guessing your thermometer is lagging or inaccurate. If the jug is too hot to hold afterwards you've gone too far.


ACS Minima (Beta) -- Reskinned Ceado E8, Niche Zero --- Gene Cafe CBR101 with Dimmer Mod and Bean Mass Probe

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Get air in and have it spinning until it's about body temp, after that just have it spinning until 60c. I'm guessing your thermometer is lagging or inaccurate. If the jug is too hot to hold afterwards you've gone too far.

 

So now I believe this problem arises using a commercial machine which is more suited to high volume coffee turnover in a busy shop? The volume of milk being frothed or steamed with microfoam will be a lot more than the single cup volumes I'm starting with. My Fracino Contempo 1E has a large 7 litre copper boiler, therefore plenty of steam volume maintained at the optimum 1 bar pressure. With their standard 4 hole steam tip and milk volumes around 125-150ml, the superheated steam volume and capacity to heat a small amount of liquid is huge.150ml of milk at 7 deg.C can reach 70 deg.C in less than 10 seconds.

 

Frothing requires the physical action of 'rolling' the milk. My standard steam wand has no air admittance port I could find to mix air with steam and getting the right air mix is down to tip technique. But such a high steam volume will cause rapid heating of the small milk volume first, allowing insufficient time to roll the milk and consolidate air into it before it reaches the optimum 60-65 deg.C. In the hands of an experienced Barista it may be possible to get these small milk volumes frothed o.k. But since I've started looking carefully at the quality of frothing and many online videos, I see there's a large variation in results obtained for cappucino and latte, which are not obvious just looking at the top surface of the finished cup.

 

I can make froth but microfoam, steamed milk that pours like Guinness looking active in a glass with micro bubbles rising upwards and stable has eluded me? Advice so far has been to concentrate on milk, temperature and technique. It's true that getting good results from a small milk volume is hard but why? - It's because the steam heating is too fast to control the amount of air through the milk stage at around 50 deg.C, although I agree it's possible with the right technique if you can work VERY fast.

 

I decided on 2 approaches to test my theory: My steam wand with a 4 hole tip pushes out steam fast and furious, so I can't see any issue with the boiler but I can easily change the steam tip. The second test would be to try a sophistocated steam tip designed to allow air to mix close to the tip. Ideally I wanted a commercial quality steam tip. I found a steam tip spare sold for the Delonghi ECAM 22.320.SB. This is mostly plastic with a 6mm angled steam tube, a single 1.2mm hole and clever nozzle and air admittance, but won't plug in directly to a 10mm OD wand. This was my first alternative test nozzle temporarily fitted to my steam tube with silicone pipe and clips. This nozzle is a concentric design. The steam jet itself is specially moulded and there's an outer tubular 'shield' through which air is admitted. I think the idea is you don't need to incline the tip, just sit it below the milk surface and the shroud draws in air above reducing the problem of large air bubbles forming and breaking at the surface. This is similar to how a gas blow lamp or bunsen burner works. In just 2 tests with no special technique I could produce gloopy long lasting Guinness like foam in 150ml of cold milk taking about 40-50 seconds.

 

My second approach was to try a Rancilio Silvia V3 single hole tip and compare results with the Delonghi frother. What I disliked about the Delonghi frother is its multiple components that are not so easy to clean as a standard tip and it's more domestic quality parts than solid all metal commercial. The Silvia V3 single hole tip produced the lower steam volume and much slower temperature rise I was looking for and therefore easy to find the transition temperature where the milk would roll and keep rolling a lot longer. As with other standard steam tips, it relies on technique to angle and position the steam tip in the jug, but it's far more controllable. For a commercial coffee shop, the steaming time of up to 50 seconds per 150ml is probably too long, but the foamed milk quality is excellent. The Delonghi frother still had the edge as it was pretty idiot proof and very little skill is needed, apart from looking at the digital milk thermometer.

 

I have decided to cut the standard 10mm steam pipe about 150mm up from the steam tip and fit a threaded stainless adapter. This will allow me to fit the Delonghi frother, revert back to the standard tube and different tips, or experiment with my own version frother using an outer shroud like the Delonghi.

 

I hope this helps those using commercial machines at home struggling with milk frothing to get good results. As I get more practice with the single hole tip, I may move back to 2 or 4 holes, but at the moment I like the control I'm getting with single hole and time to froth is less important to me than the result.

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Like I said before, it’s all about practice and experience. I went from a 4 hole tip to a 2 hole tip and it has helped massively. My machine outputs steam at approx 2 bar.

 

I steam enough for just a flat white in a 350ml jug and I can now manage it just fine. Sometimes I still mess up but I’m getting better.

 

I have also used a 2 group commercial LaMarzocco machine with a powerful 4 hole steam tip and used that to steam the same 350ml pitcher that was half filled with milk. You just need to be really fast with good technique. I tried about 6 times with that amount and only once out of those 6 times did I get the milk right with that volume for latte art. The barista I was with done it with ease so it’s just experience and skill.

 

Have you tried a 2 hole steam tip but plugging one of the holes so it’s effectively a 1 hole steam tip??


ECM Synchronika, Niche Zero, Pullman Bigstep Tamper, ONA OCD Distribution Tool, Decent Funnel, VST 18g & 20g Ridgeless Baskets, Aeropress, Aergrind, Acme Cups, Acaia Lunar Scales, LW Bean Cellar & Caddy

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Like I said before, itÂ’s all about practice and experience. I went from a 4 hole tip to a 2 hole tip and it has helped massively. My machine outputs steam at approx 2 bar.

 

I steam enough for just a flat white in a 350ml jug and I can now manage it just fine. Sometimes I still mess up but IÂ’m getting better.

 

I have also used a 2 group commercial LaMarzocco machine with a powerful 4 hole steam tip and used that to steam the same 350ml pitcher that was half filled with milk. You just need to be really fast with good technique. I tried about 6 times with that amount and only once out of those 6 times did I get the milk right with that volume for latte art. The barista I was with done it with ease so itÂ’s just experience and skill.

 

Have you tried a 2 hole steam tip but plugging one of the holes so itÂ’s effectively a 1 hole steam tip??

 

Thanks, I can try that. I agree it may be possible to find a technique and work fast, so I'm prepared to take longer then move up to more holes if I want faster steaming? I'll try blocking up a hole, but this will change the steam distribution as both holes are offset from the tip centre. With the single hole tip resting at the popular angle on the jugs pour lip, then moved to the side I'm getting a good swirl action in the milk without the ultra rapid fast temperature rise. I've been working on the principle that if I can produce plenty of good quality micro foam, I won't have a problem producing less, whilst tip depth can still give me heated milk without foam?

 

I don't want to hog a thread about milk when coffee aficianados concentrate on shots. But it's frustrating when you think milk should be the easy part.

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