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Thread: Sunbram EM5600, having a hard time getting any resemblence of microfoam!

  1. #1
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    Sunbram EM5600, having a hard time getting any resemblence of microfoam!

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi all, I am a happy owner of the Sunbeam EM5600 machine and while I like the coffee it produces, I am having extreme trouble with the steam wand!

    I am a complete newbie to steaming so I will try to walk you through how I do it;

    First I start with some cold milk (green top, Im in New Zealand, if that helps at all) and a cold pitcher (generic one from the Sunbeam package) and purge the steam wand for about 30 - 45 seconds if Im just starting it up so it gets a nice consistent steam going.

    Then I throw my milk under it with it sitting over so slightly under the milk so it produces bubbles, the bubbles range anywhere from medium to large. Then when I decide I have enough foam, I drop it a bit lower to try and get a whirlpool going. This is where it fails for me, try as I might I just cant get the whirlpool to bring in any of the foam on the top and incorporate it into the milk!

    Am I doing it right?
    Ive tried just sitting it under the milk and making a whirlpool (as the Sunbeam video instructed) and that just produced hot milk.

    At the moment the only thing its good for is making fluffies for my nephews, because thats the only thing I can get it to do!

    Im convinced its me, not the machine, thats at fault here. I just cant seem to get the foam and milk to combine to make a nice silky texture throughout, its usually just foam and if its looking close to microfoam, its only capped on top of the milk, not throughout :(

    If anyone has any suggestions, Im all ears!

    Thanks !

  2. #2
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    Re: Sunbram EM5600, having a hard time getting any resemblence of microfoam!

    A few suggestions, dont know how helpful theyll be.

    Give up milk, drink your coffee black. After an initial adjustment period, youll prefer it that way. It also avoids all the ethical and health issues of supporting the dairy conglomerates.

    Try the pale blue top reduced fat milk. My very limited experience of green top is that it is harder to texture.

    Use a stainless jug straight from the freezer - helps if you start with milk and jug really cold.
    After the initial few seconds, move the tip very slightly lower under the surface, but not a far as you have been. May help get better microfoam.

    Browse youtube and forums for videos - they often help as descriptions are nOwhere near as good as actually seeing it done.

    Practice heaps.

  3. #3
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    Re: Sunbram EM5600, having a hard time getting any resemblence of microfoam!

    Hi,

    it can be tricky, youll get the hang of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by 2738323E38335D0 link=1315182524/0#0 date=1315182524
    sitting over so slightly under the milk so it produces bubbles, the bubbles range anywhere from medium to large.
    sounds too shallow - you shouldnt be getting any medium or big bubbles at all apart from the initial splash as the tip enters the milk. (Although this can be hard, so a few big bubbles are ok so long as you notice and stop them...)

    go a tiny bit deeper - but only a mm at a time until the big bubbling stops. This is "stretching" and it produces the frothiest milk.

    I find with thermoblock machines (much slower than boiler steam) you cant stretch for only 10 seconds as some howtos say, I have to stretch for much longer. Keep the steam directly into the centre of the jug to stop the spinning from creating waves that mess up your depth. If youre doing it right, the milk will slowly rise in the jug. Dont worry about the whirlpool, you have time for that.

    Lets say your milk takes 90 seconds to get "too hot to touch". Stretch it for about half (for lots of froth) and then start trying to get a whirlpool. Pull the wand out to its maximum angle, tilt the jug, and again keep the tip not too far under the surface. This time put the tip towards the edge of the jug for maximum whirlpool (like a hose in the kids pool!).

    If theres to many bubbles you will be swirling the lower layer but not the top. Too many bubbles and you cant get rid of them - this process only refines the texture, it doesnt make it perfect. Control the bubbles again with the depth of the tip - to suck up the most bubbles keep the tip near (but not too near) the surface. If your bubbles are gone, you can put the tip a bit lower for a nice creamy texture. You can move the jug so the wand travels to the centre and back which sometimes helps get rid of those last pesky soap bubbles. Just be careful to adjust the depth as the level lowers towards the centre of the whirlpool.

    Keep practising and see what works best for you! And of course were open 24 hours a day for your questions! (The forum that is, I dont run a shop!!)

    cya

  4. #4
    Senior Member iggs's Avatar
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    Re: Sunbram EM5600, having a hard time getting any resemblence of microfoam!

    can you program the temp and wetness on a 5600? if you can, max it out! thats has really helped on my em5900. I use to have the same problems as you - just thick foam at top and hot milk underneath

    check out the thread i started here to try and get advice. Some tips may help?http://<br /> <br /> http://coffeesn...num=1305938764

    dont give up! youll get the breakthrough one day :)

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    Re: Sunbram EM5600, having a hard time getting any resemblence of microfoam!

    Thanks so much for the replies, guys!

    Who me?: A lot of it is for coffee but I also am a Hot Chocolate enthusiast! I have a good batch of belgium chocolate that is just divine for hot chocolate and I would love to have it with some textured milk. Im also quite partial to Chai syrup as well.

    The pitcher is in the fridge to cool down, should I be putting it in the freezer instead?

    iaindb: Thanks a lot! That was very informative. So Im just a few mm under the surface of the milk to create the foam and then a bit lower for the whirlpool to bind it together? You are right as the big foam just sits on top and doesnt get collected into the whirlpool.

    I might go get some light blue cap milk as well to see if that works any better. Whatever helps me get the edge while Im still terrible! Haha.


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    Re: Sunbram EM5600, having a hard time getting any resemblence of microfoam!

    Well I decided to test it out with some new knowledge and I think I got pretty close?* Its still nothing compared to a commercial machine (clearly) and I think the milk got too hot too quick for me to fully work it in, but here is a photo of my, slight, success.



    Its just a chai latte, I didnt want to waste good beans on my practice steams!* Is this close?* Getting there?* It was still basically hot milk under that small head of foam, so Im not quite sure Ive got the hang of it yet.

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    Re: Sunbram EM5600, having a hard time getting any resemblence of microfoam!

    Quote Originally Posted by 242A2A34633A22232A4D0 link=1315182524/3#3 date=1315194553
    can you program the temp and wetness on a 5600?* if you can, max it out!* thats has really helped on my em5900. I use to have the same problems as you - just thick foam at top and hot milk underneath

    check out the thread i started here to try and get advice.* Some tips may help?http://<br /> <br /> http://coffeesn...num=1305938764

    dont give up!* youll get the breakthrough one day :)
    Hey mate, I had a read through of that thread and its really interesting! How did you change your steam wetness? Im not sure where I would go about changing it on my 5600 (if it actually has a setting to change!)

  8. #8
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    Re: Sunbram EM5600, having a hard time getting any resemblence of microfoam!

    I have officially conquered crappy foam!! And all it took was a few tweaks of my techniques and a switch from green top to light blue top milk!

    I will definitely post photos when I make another coffee. I made one and did an awful sad attempt at latte-art, so I didnt take a photo, but next time I will!

    Its glossy, wet-paint like and all the way through consistent. Woohoo!!

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    Re: Sunbram EM5600, having a hard time getting any resemblence of microfoam!

    Eeeeexcellent! I dont find that different milk makes much of a difference, for me, but use whatever you find tastes / looks best. I dont keep my jug in the freezer either - youll proabably get more froth as you practise. Keep the tip as close to the surface as possible for as long as possible for maximum foam - keep trying to make it closer to the surface and when you get bubbles youve gone too far! Youll learn to hear this point instead of seeing it.

    Also, how full is your jug? Smaller jugs / less milk can overheat on a slow steamer - I find I have to be super-careful with my single jug or it will get too hot before I make good froth, whereas on my double cup jug I have plenty of time to froth and texture.

    As a rule of thumb (dont get stuck on it) you fill the jug up to the bottom of the dent of the spout, which is usually about half way.

    :)

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    Re: Sunbram EM5600, having a hard time getting any resemblence of microfoam!

    Yeah Ive been filling up to where the spout starts to indent out. Its not a very big jug though, but Ive noticed that doing the technique you described is raising the heat slower, so I have more time to make some quality foam.

    I tell you, I am so excited! I actually didnt think I could produce microfoam as good as I have gotten it.


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    Re: Sunbram EM5600, having a hard time getting any resemblence of microfoam!

    Quote Originally Posted by 373F37303A3C5E0 link=1315182524/8#8 date=1315199987
    Eeeeexcellent! I dont find that different milk makes much of a difference, for me, but use whatever you find tastes / looks best.
    I had a batch of milk that wouldnt foam once and I added a teaspoon or so of cream to the jug and got beautiful foam. The milk does make a difference.

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    Senior Member iggs's Avatar
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    Re: Sunbram EM5600, having a hard time getting any resemblence of microfoam!

    Quote Originally Posted by 233C363A3C37590 link=1315182524/7#7 date=1315198482
    I have officially conquered crappy foam!!
    haha that was quick! good on you mate

    in terms of changing steam temp/wetness, youll have to refer to the manual and see if it says anything about it. I know this is a feature on the EM5900 and EM6910 and for many it has seen huge improvements in their milk frothing



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