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So I've just got myself a second hand Classic, model 18161/40, and managed to pull my first shot - yay!

 

 

 

However, I've not been able to create any foam with the Rancilio steam wand and now I've run out of milk. :o The milk warms up but stays the same consistency. I was using cold semi-skimmed and probably had about half a pint in the frothing jug.

 

 

 

Anyway I'm off to get some more milk and look for another tutorial on Youtube but any pointers welcome.

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The longer you leave the tip of the steam wand on the surface of the milk, the more you will "stretch" it (aka create bubbles), once you got the amount of bubbles desired, you need to find the whirlpool (most people just tilt the jug so it goes in a circle, which isn't right). The whirlpool should spin the milk, but also swallow the bubbles in, creating glossy textured milk.

 

That should help ;)

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Posted (edited)
Thanks for your responses. Would full fat milk be better?
Slightly, but a couple of things i found that helps.

 

Small amounts of milk as mentioned by @Jollybean i think is the main one, the Gaggia doesn't have a lot of steam power and you have to get the air into the milk quickly before it gets warm. I use a little Rattlewear jug to make a cup at a time.

 

Jug and milk as cold as possible.

 

edit: forgot - need a thermometer to know when to stop.

 

Make sure you have the boiler at steam temperature before starting. A PID to get the boiler really hot helps get a little more power.

 

Flush out any condensation before starting.

 

Fresh milk, i have tried a few different types (organic etc) but fresh seems to be key, rather than type.

 

Practice with water and a drop of detergent, to work out where the tip and jug works for rolling the milk - watch videos. Getting the tip in exactly the right place is probably a millimetre or two either way.

 

I still can't get a lot of perfect microfoam - but enough... :good:

Edited by Agentb

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Feel like I read somewhere that someone did some experimenting and worked out that you should flick the steam switch, purge after 27 seconds and start steaming at 35 seconds... Might be worth a try to catch the steam power at the right point.

 

I have found with the classic that I need to stretch the milk a little longer at the beginning to get the right amount of foam, probably because it doesn't have the steaming power of a better machine.

 

Just take s a bit of experimenting!

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On 18/05/2019 at 16:30, jaffro said:

Feel like I read somewhere that someone did some experimenting and worked out that you should flick the steam switch, purge after 27 seconds and start steaming at 35 seconds... Might be worth a try to catch the steam power at the right point.

I have found with the classic that I need to stretch the milk a little longer at the beginning to get the right amount of foam, probably because it doesn't have the steaming power of a better machine.

Just takes a bit of experimenting!

I'm also trying to nail down a consistent timing / high steam power. 

The problem I see with the above is you could be flicking the steam switch anywhere in the boiler's temp range, so to properly control for that you need to flick it when the light comes on, which means more waiting.

Another thing I read was to do a long steam purge, e.g. 10-15 seconds, until the light goes off. This apparently empties some space in the boiler for more steam to be made, because the Gaggia Classic does not refill the boiler after steaming (only the brew/pump can do this). That simultaneously gives you an event that you can start timings from, e.g. wait 15s after long steam purge and then start. I'm still experimenting with this time to start steaming milk just before the light comes on. Something like 10-20s seems to be the right range.

Edited by Michael87

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I'm also trying to nail down a consistent timing / high steam power. 
The problem I see with the above is you could be flicking the steam switch anywhere in the boiler's temp range, so to properly control for that you need to flick it when the light comes on, which means more waiting.
Another thing I read was to do a long steam purge, e.g. 10-15 seconds, until the light goes off. This apparently empties some space in the boiler for more steam to be made, because the Gaggia Classic does not refill the boiler after steaming (only the brew/pump can do this). That simultaneously gives you an event that you can start timings from, e.g. wait 15s after long steam purge and then start. I'm still experimenting with this time to start steaming milk just before the light comes on. Something like 10-20s seems to be the right range.
Fit a 155° steam stat or better yet, a PID.
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Laissez les bons temps rouler

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1 minute ago, ashcroc said:
35 minutes ago, Michael87 said:
I'm also trying to nail down a consistent timing / high steam power. 
The problem I see with the above is you could be flicking the steam switch anywhere in the boiler's temp range, so to properly control for that you need to flick it when the light comes on, which means more waiting.
Another thing I read was to do a long steam purge, e.g. 10-15 seconds, until the light goes off. This apparently empties some space in the boiler for more steam to be made, because the Gaggia Classic does not refill the boiler after steaming (only the brew/pump can do this). That simultaneously gives you an event that you can start timings from, e.g. wait 15s after long steam purge and then start. I'm still experimenting with this time to start steaming milk just before the light comes on. Something like 10-20s seems to be the right range.

Fit a 155° steam stat or better yet, a PID.

PID is on the Christmas list. The 155 stat looks like an easy and cheap upgrade but a few forum posts have said they didn't see an improvement (but they may have had a separate issue). I'll give it a go this weekend.

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16 hours ago, ashcroc said:

Fit a 155° steam stat or better yet, a PID.

I concur with a PID, you can set the steam temp accurately and get strong enough steam.

Im yet to have any issues with steaming Milk or Soy milk

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When I used my classic, I had a pressure gauge installed and could see when the boiler had max pressure/steam. Worth thinking about!


1995 'Coffee Gaggia' with full Gaggia Classic conversion, DIY PID Controller, OPV set to 9bar, Silvia steam wand, Botomless PF, VST 15g Basket, Motta 58mm Tamper and Ascaso I-Mini grinder

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