Via Venezia steaming issues
I have a Via Venezia, just under 2 years old. Up until recently it has functioned for what we need. Unfortunately in the last week the machines performance when steaming milk has gone from acceptable to non existent. When first acquired, the steamed milk would have foam that, while not a microfoam, was still passable. Bubbles were not large and you would get good expansion in the milk. Again, while not being what you would get out of a professional model machine, the closest thing I can come up with for descriptive purposes would be foam similar to what you would get on a cappuccino.
Within the last week however, either no foam is produced at all, or it is a small amount of very large bubbles, with no real expansion in the milk. Nothing has changed in what we've been using, the panarello is the same one we've had, and still using the same brand and % of milk. I descaled the unit again yesterday (which has been done multiple times before, though likely not quite as often as I should. Probably been done about every 6 months instead of 3). Pressure seems to be good coming out of the steam wand, and it seems to be pulling shots the same as usual. I live in Seattle, and purchased the unit from Seattle Coffee Gear brand new. Took it up there Wednesday, and they are telling me that they cannot find anything wrong with it, and that it is "functioning within factory specs" as far as warranty would be concerned. As such even though it is still covered under an extended warranty, doesn't seem like there is much they will do. I bought a new stainless panarello piece at their suggestion hoping that would help, with no luck.
I'm hoping that someone would have some ideas on what might be done to fix this, as I do not currently have the $$ to upgrade to a different machine (which would also involve a grinder).
Could there possibly issues with the heating elements, boiler, or thermostat? Or are those either working or not working parts?
Thanks in advance for the input!
I'm guessing it's a change in milk. The same milk isn't always the same.
Regarding microfoam, have you tried ditching the Pannarello? You'll get much finer foam without it and it's easier to clean. The usual mod is to replace the whole arm with a Breville one - it's a little longer and has a suitable tip for the steam pressure coming out of the Saeco. Milk should be as good as any other machine with the caveat that it will take longer (~35-45s) and you need to steam a smaller volume (I find 350-400ml jugs best).
I have not tried a different milk, as the one that I'm using now is the same brand that has been used for the last several months. I will try a different brand and report back and see if that makes a difference. Though, when I took the machine to Seattle Coffee Gear they tried steaming the milk as well with the same result as what I have at home. I do not know what brand they use, though as I get ours from a local natural store I find it unlikely it is the same.
I have no problem ditching the Pannarello, but have not been able to find a Breville wand to replace it. From the searching I've done on Coffeesnobs and CoffeeGeek the one that is recommended is a replacement wand from the Breville 830ex, which does not seem to be available any longer. If there is another one that will work, I would be more than happy to try that before going out and spending money on a different machine right now.
Thank you so much for your input!
Originally Posted by kbilleter