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Some steaming advice


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Evening, 

Just looking for some milk steaming advice, I am generally happy with steaming milk and playing with late art but having installed a 155deg thermostat on my Classic I find my late art gets better the further down the milk jug I get... 

To explain, I first pour off the top of the jug for little ones babychino, then I pour two flat white sized drinks, I never really get any definition on the first drink, but the second using the final half of the milk jug is great... (pic below, drinks are made left to right). 

Am I creating too thick microfoam and so need to stretch the milk further? Any advice would be greatly received

(not sure why there are so many shadows in the picture oh and also ignore the couple of grinds that managed to jump onto the drink whilst I was cleaning down) 

ThanksIMG_20201218_071130__01.thumb.jpg.29ee7079dedad88756abf16e05d70516.jpg

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So I can't tell how much foam you have overall, maybe a bit too much. But to get a similar texture between drinks you can share the milk between two jugs. This video is pretty much the basics of it, although it does take a little practice to get it to work:

 

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12 hours ago, Coffeenoobster said:

Not an expert and may even be entirely wrong. But seems like the foam isn’t incorporated well enough so you have like a cap of foam. This seems to be due to spinning the milk rather than rolling. Solution would be to have steam wand less angled and more vertical. 

This makes sense as the cap of foam taken mostly off by the babychino less so with the first coffee and then gave decent incorporated milk by the time oi get to the second. 

So kept the steam wand more vertical this morning and the milk did roll more than spin and it's not perfect but the first is much better. Need some more practice me thinks! 

Cheers! 

IMG_20201219_071146__01.jpg

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11 hours ago, InfamousTuba said:

So I can't tell how much foam you have overall, maybe a bit too much. But to get a similar texture between drinks you can share the milk between two jugs. This video is pretty much the basics of it, although it does take a little practice to get it to work:

 

Cheers, there was certainly too much foam yesterday and this mornings effort was a lot better! 

Going to perfect the new steaming technique with more vertical wand and then try this two jug method. 

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Are you using one large jug for all three drinks? Might be worth trying a smaller jug, never more than half full. You need space to get the milk rolling around etc or it won’t mix as well.


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14 hours ago, Gav86 said:

Evening, 

Just looking for some milk steaming advice, I am generally happy with steaming milk and playing with late art but having installed a 155deg thermostat on my Classic I find my late art gets better the further down the milk jug I get... 

To explain, I first pour off the top of the jug for little ones babychino, then I pour two flat white sized drinks, I never really get any definition on the first drink, but the second using the final half of the milk jug is great... (pic below, drinks are made left to right). 

Am I creating too thick microfoam and so need to stretch the milk further? Any advice would be greatly received

(not sure why there are so many shadows in the picture oh and also ignore the couple of grinds that managed to jump onto the drink whilst I was cleaning down) 

ThanksIMG_20201218_071130__01.thumb.jpg.29ee7079dedad88756abf16e05d70516.jpg

You would have done quite well in the Latte art comp with those...especially in the final, where peoples pouring arms had given out. 😉

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Nothing here...

 

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44 minutes ago, richwade80 said:

Are you using one large jug for all three drinks? Might be worth trying a smaller jug, never more than half full. You need space to get the milk rolling around etc or it won’t mix as well.


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Yes one larger jug for them all, less than half full. I think I stopped steaming a bit too early with those this morning. 

I find in a smaller jug, the milk gets to temp too quickly, but also I just don't like the spout on the small jug! 

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39 minutes ago, DavecUK said:

You would have done quite well in the Latte art comp with those...especially in the final, where peoples pouring arms had given out. 😉

Ha! I think I would have done awful in a comp! The classic is not the machine to have made that many shots and milk, accounting for the dudds... 

Upgradeitus is starting to take a firm hold tho! The forum gauge arrived today so checking pressure is needed this weekend. Am I right in thinking 9bar is actually 10bar at the portafilter?

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22 minutes ago, richwade80 said:

Oi!

I had pourers elbow that day.


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Ha, you did very well indeed.

I haven't mastered the multiple levels of art yet just the one fern as well as lots of apple shaped blobs! I need to watch some more videos and try not to get too caffeinated whilst practicing

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Just now, Gav86 said:

Upgradeitus is starting to take a firm hold tho! The forum gauge arrived today so checking pressure is needed this weekend. Am I right in thinking 9bar is actually 10bar at the portafilter?

No, on a machine with an expansion valve...the pressure is the pressure.

On a rotary pumped machine with pressure control in the balanced bypass on the pump, leading to a 1 way valve, with an expansion valve set to 12 or 12 bar...the pressure may jump to 9 bar or whatever the pumps set to...then after a very brief pause, rise to 10+ bar...this is because of the expansion of cold water introduced into the system.

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Nothing here...

 

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1 minute ago, DavecUK said:

No, on a machine with an expansion valve...the pressure is the pressure.

On a rotary pumped machine with pressure control in the balanced bypass on the pump, leading to a 1 way valve, with an expansion valve set to 12 or 12 bar...the pressure may jump to 9 bar or whatever the pumps set to...then after a very brief pause, rise to 10+ bar...this is because of the expansion of cold water introduced into the system.

OK great, thanks for the heads up, 9 bar is the target then! 

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^ this is useful, but a classic doesn’t have the same power so you need a slightly different approach to make sure you get the milk rolling around. Bigger machines can do this more easily. I assume you have the rancilio steam wand?

My top tips for what it’s worth

- all tips are nothing without practice unfortunately
- use the smaller jug for a while. It should be easier to get that all rolling around and more evenly distributed. A classic steams quite slowly (you might not think so) so you have plenty of time... with practice...
- ditch any milk thermometer. Use your hand and eventually you’ll never go back (after a few complaints about cold coffee) try holding it with the thermometer so you can get a feel for it. I usually have to let go and still keep steaming for a bit as it does end up being bloody hot.
- you should be able to find one position for the wand to start in and never need to move the jug. Ever. The tip probably being 5-10mm under the surface to start with. With practice you can find a starting position that get you the right amount of air before the milk expands and the tip becomes deeper embedded.
- hold the jug tight to the wand at the rim so it doesn’t move easily. I use the spout as a guide. If you use a large jug this might not be easy.
- the wand should be angled into the jug to direct the flow anti clock wise to promote it starting to roll.


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Well put. Yes, in comparison with a big machine and 2/3/4 hole tip, you've all day to get the texture right on a Classic. When I went from Classic with Silvia wand to my R58 my milk steaming went out of the window for a while (not literally but not far off!). And the R58 is only a 'moderate' steamer at 1.3 bar on the service boiler. Took a while to relearn but I can't imagine going back though. I steam 150ml at a time on mine, yes you do have to practice and focus but I make a better job of 150ml in a 350ml jug and fingers on the base than I do of 300ml in my larger "Milk2Perfection" jug with a temperature gauge on the side and a 'spin column' in the middle. 150ml milk in the little jug is done while the shot pours and is ready about the same time. +1 to your other observations.

That said, I went on a latte art course and they recommended steaming all the milk for the current set of drinks in a big jug, which gives you more time to massage the texture, then pour into a smaller jug to do the art, which is supposed to give you another shot at blending the microfoam as you transfer jugs. However, any adjustments to your routine will need relearning and I found it difficult to pour like they were telling us, so I reverted. Didn't learn all that much as a result but it was fun, and nice to play with a Mythos and LM Strada for a couple of hours.






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Jug starting position if it helps 

One more tip  

- swirl the milk in the jug after tapping out any big bubbles. You need space in the jug to do this so it can’t be more than half full - or you will end up with some thicker foam on top 

D5DA896C-8A2C-4C6B-9A01-9DCEF5B28394.jpeg

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1 hour ago, richwade80 said:

^ this is useful, but a classic doesn’t have the same power so you need a slightly different approach to make sure you get the milk rolling around. Bigger machines can do this more easily. I assume you have the rancilio steam wand?

My top tips for what it’s worth

- all tips are nothing without practice unfortunately
- use the smaller jug for a while. It should be easier to get that all rolling around and more evenly distributed. A classic steams quite slowly (you might not think so) so you have plenty of time... with practice...
- ditch any milk thermometer. Use your hand and eventually you’ll never go back (after a few complaints about cold coffee) try holding it with the thermometer so you can get a feel for it. I usually have to let go and still keep steaming for a bit as it does end up being bloody hot.
- you should be able to find one position for the wand to start in and never need to move the jug. Ever. The tip probably being 5-10mm under the surface to start with. With practice you can find a starting position that get you the right amount of air before the milk expands and the tip becomes deeper embedded.
- hold the jug tight to the wand at the rim so it doesn’t move easily. I use the spout as a guide. If you use a large jug this might not be easy.
- the wand should be angled into the jug to direct the flow anti clock wise to promote it starting to roll.


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Thanks for the tips and advice, once I've adjusted the pressure down (just checked the machine and low and behold is at 12-13bar) I'll keep on practicing. 

Yes to having the rancillio steam wand, 

Will give the smaller jug a try. 

Jug is aways less than half full jut I think I have the tip at the surface for too long reading your advice. Agree with the milk thermometer ditched it a while back, but today as I had the angle of the wand different the place where I touched the jug must have been artificially raised because of the steam jet. 

Generally as the steam expands I lower the jug to keep it at the surface, looks like I need to hold still. 

Re holding the jug, wand is generally resting on the rim and my other hand is resting on the portafilter arm with just pushed against my fingers so I can maintain jug positioning. 

Previously I think I've had too much of a whirlwind in the jug and the swirling roll is what I had today with the different wand angle. 

Once finished I do swirl and tap on the surface before pouring. 

As you say, just more excuse to drink more coffee as practice! No bad thing. 

Thanks again for all the help

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Thanks all for the advice again, this afternoons attempt was getting better already... 

Just changing one variable at a time, this was still using the larger jug steaming two coffees worth of milk but with a more vertical wand (milk swirling and rolling rather than a whirlwind) and keeping the jug still rather than moving the jug down to keep the wand tip at the surface for a long time. I certainly don't get as much volume but do get much better incorporated milk. 

I have tried splitting the milk between two jugs but struggled on the second pour. The pic below is pouring from the one jug one after the other. 

Need to watch some videos to find some other pattern techniques so not to be a one trick pony! 

Thanks again all

IMG_20201220_155843__01.thumb.jpg.321f49bfcdf0fdb518718d04c1d15986.jpg

 

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wow, after all these years of steaming milk, i never knew it was supposed to be rolling like a wheel rolls on a road... I've been vortexing it like a tornado and always get a capp on some.. DARN...

My latte art skills have plummeted over the last 5 years, i used to be much better. I always blamed the unhomogenised/raw milk. Now I know better. 

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1 hour ago, truecksuk said:

wow, after all these years of steaming milk, i never knew it was supposed to be rolling like a wheel rolls on a road... I've been vortexing it like a tornado and always get a capp on some.. DARN...

My latte art skills have plummeted over the last 5 years, i used to be much better. I always blamed the unhomogenised/raw milk. Now I know better. 

I struggled steaming raw milk, Not 100% why. A quick Google said it should have worked!

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I struggled steaming raw milk, Not 100% why. A quick Google said it should have worked!
Bit pointless steaming raw milk anyway. In doing so you pasteurize it and kill off all the benefits.

Did someone say coffee?

:Gaggia Classic--> Nuova Simonelli Oscar--> Fracino Cherub—> La Pav Europiccola:

:Mazzer SuperJolly:

:Hario V60+aeropress:

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5 minutes ago, Missy said:
1 hour ago, Gav86 said:
I struggled steaming raw milk, Not 100% why. A quick Google said it should have worked!

Bit pointless steaming raw milk anyway. In doing so you pasteurize it and kill off all the benefits.

That is very true, read somewhere that you can get a range of different flavours / sweetness from raw milk, possibly just because it's a single source milk rather than a blend from different farms. 

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6 minutes ago, Missy said:
1 hour ago, Gav86 said:
I struggled steaming raw milk, Not 100% why. A quick Google said it should have worked!

Bit pointless steaming raw milk anyway. In doing so you pasteurize it and kill off all the benefits.

Genuine question: would steaming from 6C (say, fridge temp) to 65C in 30s or so and then poured into a relatively colder cup kill any bacteria? I’m not sure it would.

Current: Lelit Elizabeth / Niche Zero / VST baskets / Distilled water + 100mg NaCO3/L

Previous: Gaggia Classic | Eureka Mignon | Rocket Cellini Evo | Profitec 700 | Profitec T-64 | Gene Cafe CBR-101 | Kinu M68 | Feldgrind 2 | La Pavoni Europiccola 2012

Also at: CoffeeTime Forum & Niche Zero Owners Group

 

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