Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Steam/Frothing thermometers

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Steam/Frothing thermometers

    Just wondering what yall think is the best frothing thermometer out there? Ive got one from coffeeparts but its gone wacko, says 3 degrees C when Ive left it in the freezer, that cant be right? Doesnt look like it can be recalibrated.

  • #2
    Re: Steam/Frothing thermometers

    Hi Bloop- thermometers are often innacurate. You should be able to loosen the nut attaching the head to the probe and then move the dial to get an accurate reading. You most likely need to recalibrate if the thermometer is knocked or dropped.

    Hope this helps!

    2mcm

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Steam/Frothing thermometers

      Hi Bloop,
      I wouldnt worry too much what it says in the freezer, compared to what it says in boiling water, which should be close to 100 deg C, then do the operation that 2mcm suggested, if required.

      I got my first one from Sienna Coffee, way before I knew about CS, and it came with the clip that goes staight down the side of the jug.
      I wasnt real keen on that clip style till I tried another one I got from a local kitchenware store here in Burnie, Tas.
      Second one came with the stainless clip that points the thermometer into the centre of the jug, but I find the clip is a bit weak and the whole thing will fall off when pouring unless I hold it with my thumb.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Steam/Frothing thermometers

        Bloop,

        Ive got a couple of thermometers like the one Bullitt mentioned. Clip on side and angles into the middle of the jug. I have no issues with the clips holding the thing in place whilst pouring though.

        I just got them from one of the kitchen supply stores at knox City shopping centre in Melbourne. I had been popping in to various stores for a couple of months trying to find something suitable and not ludicrously priced. This store had a whole tub of them at the time - 50 or so on display.

        Yes, they do get out of whack often. The best way I have found to roughly re-calibrate is to sit them in a pot of boiling water, check how far out they are, tweak them and repeat until they are as close to 100 as I can get them.

        These were pretty cheap and can be moved (adjusted) with minimum effort. The downside is of course, they can get out of whack with the same minimum effort.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Steam/Frothing thermometers

          Originally posted by fatboy link=1145369402/0#3 date=1145436019
          Bloop,

          Ive got a couple of thermometers like the one Bullitt mentioned. Clip on side and angles into the middle of the jug. I have no issues with the clips holding the thing in place whilst pouring though.

          I just got them from one of the kitchen supply stores at knox City shopping centre in Melbourne. I had been popping in to various stores for a couple of months trying to find something suitable and not ludicrously priced. This store had a whole tub of them at the time - 50 or so on display.

          Yes, they do get out of whack often. The best way I have found to roughly re-calibrate is to sit them in a pot of boiling water, check how far out they are, tweak them and repeat until they are as close to 100 as I can get them.

          These were pretty cheap and can be moved (adjusted) with minimum effort. The downside is of course, they can get out of whack with the same minimum effort.
          Which Shop?
          How much?

          Doppler

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Steam/Frothing thermometers

            ...and of course there is always the 38 deg calibration point, but we wont go there!

            Seriously, do you find the thermometer helps? I have one for the jug and found that when using it I watch the temp too much and not my frothing technique. I find I get better texture without the thermometer, maybe because it doesnt get in the way. I check temp by intermitently feeling the side of the jug with the top of my index finger. As soon as it gets hot to the touch I stop. Next time Ill have to check to see what this temp is, but I suspect a little cooler than when I used the thermometer and stopped at the red band.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Steam/Frothing thermometers

              Thanks for the replies fellas. Ill try opening the nut tomorrow. Right now I am just going about 5 degrees past the red mark as I think the thermometer is out by about 5 degrees.

              If the thermometer isnt in contact with anything should it just show the current room temperature? Its not correlating with the mercury thermometer fridge magnet I have...

              Matt I do find that the thermometer helps. I have no idea when to stop otherwise. I dont really watch the temperature as such, I just watch for when it hits the red mark so I can stop, kind of like watching the speedo when you drive, you dont keep your eye on it but glance every so often.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Steam/Frothing thermometers

                Gday Bloop,
                Ive found, in my limited experience with milk frothing :-[, that the reading on the thermometer dial tends to lag behind the actual temperature of the milk a bit. When youve stopped frothing, the dial on the thermometer is still climbing because the thermometer is a mechanical device and it doesnt give an instantaneous reading.
                Just my $0.02 worth.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Steam/Frothing thermometers

                  I think Lovey is dead right.
                  You also need to take in to account the machine you are using.
                  On machines that have great steaming power (IE: Commercial type or HX), you are probably better off with the method 2muchcoffeeman teaches, which is to judge by feel on the outside of the jug. When it gets too hot to hold comfortably, its pretty close to the right temp.

                  However, using a Silvia, the steaming takes a little longer and I find that the discomfort reading for me is a few degrees short.
                  Most milk thermometers have a small red zone for when the milk is hot enough. Mine is marked at 66 to 71. Going beyond this will result in a burnt taste. Certainly, the reading can continue to climb after youve stopped, but it will depend on your machine as to how much. With the Silvia, I stop when I get to the start of the red zone.

                  Doppler -
                  As to where I got mine - Pretty sure it was The General Trader at Knox City Shopping Centre. I think they are a chain or franchise. From memory, they were under $10 each.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Steam/Frothing thermometers

                    Originally posted by Matt G link=1145369402/0#5 date=1145533365
                    I find I get better texture without the thermometer, maybe because it doesnt get in the way. I check temp by intermitently feeling the side of the jug with the top of my index finger. As soon as it gets hot to the touch I stop. Next time Ill have to check to see what this temp is, but I suspect a little cooler than when I used the thermometer and stopped at the red band.
                    I checked the temp and found that the touch method ended up at around 120 deg F whereas the red band on my thermometer was around 150-160. Im figuring the 120 might possibly be a bit cool?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Steam/Frothing thermometers

                      If youre a bit more used to higher temps, your hand can be quite accurate at judging if the temp is within a certain range. Some chefs can tell by touch the temperature of an item. Im usually dead on 55C when I let go of the jug. Allows for a bit of lag, and the temp is nearly perfect when I finish.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Steam/Frothing thermometers

                        You want my advice? Throw the thermometer out!

                        At one of the meet ups 2mcm and luca basically took it out and told me it was inaccurate. Watching luca and 2mcm do a couple of foams and I realised what it was all about -- imho, you can do it much better by sensory testing.

                        You can feel the outside of the jug heating up.
                        You can smell if the milk is burning/burnt (by then its usually too late -- adjust your technique/time and try again!)
                        You can see what the whirlpool is like and how much the milk is stretching/when to stop.
                        You can actually hear the milk starting to reach a higher temperature -- seriously have a listen to how the sound changes whent he wand is plunged into the milk! It sounds similar to a tap with running water as you wait for it to go from cold to hot.
                        You can *most definitely* taste is milk is burned.

                        I recommend buying a 3L (or a few) bottle of milk and going hell for leather with the steam wand until you figure out what works.

                        Lots of people are spending 700+ on a coffee machine only to say "Im not wasting 10 bucks on milk and pouring it down the drain" and thats just silly

                        Best of luck getting it happening buddy!

                        cheers
                        Lachlan

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Steam/Frothing thermometers

                          My five cents worth (seasonally adjusted for inflation! ),

                          I dont use a thermometer at home and just use my eye and feel by hand on the jug. As it is a small jug I use I find it easy to hold in one hand and just keep bumping the back of my fingers against the side of the jug to test the temp.

                          At work, we have thermometers. I think its really important that they are used as it is an accurate way to see if the milk is getting to the right temp, in a busy environment. I maintain the thermometers and make sure they are reading as accurately as they can. If I am not there and someone else is making coffee, then they can also be more accurate with their temperature for the milk. This is important as those employees are not as well versed as myself in the art of coffee and so they would not really know by feel if they are at the right temp or not. We have given them instruction on turning off the steam as the temp passes through a certain degree. And hopefully they are doing a better job at steaming milk. In the busy environs of the business, you can never guarantee that the same standards that you yourself apply are applied by others when you arent there.

                          I am talking also about people who were in the terribly bad habit of filling up the 1 litre jug and any milk left over was, of course, reheated again for the next coffee. Since I have been there, we have got smaller jug sizes and new thermometers as well to ensure that the old ones were accurate, which they werent of course!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Steam/Frothing thermometers

                            Wow my pet subject right now....calibration.....this is the most misunderstood subject of all time I know cause where i work we have to work on biomedical technology.

                            Scoots, your right on the money once again, you bring tears to my eyes when i see the logic you display. You are one of a rare breed Scoots. You see you have worked out what works best. Now in quality we would document that for repeatability and for training purposes.

                            Your statement re you feel the jug by hand is the key to all this fuss over what is essentially nothing. The use of thermometers is for those who are NOT experienced enough to heat the milk to the so called right temperature.

                            Measuring this temp with an accurate thermometer is NOT really necessary. You see most thermometers are not measuring devices they are only indicators. If you want to see what i mean send one of your thermometers to a NATA Accreditied lab for testing and calibration. Dont be supprised if you find that the thermometer is way off the mark especially if it doesnt come with a calibration certificate.

                            So what you have are indicators that the milk has reached a certain temperature and that you havent burnt the milk! Now Scoots you have set the standard and that is my guess is that you have said to other staff that when frothing milk they must bring the temp up to what it is you have told them. This is called quality control. This is so that you have repeatability and to negate the customer complaints.

                            The device is however only an indicator and the true temperature may never be known. Unless that is that you spend a lot of money on a certified instrument. In my book totally unnecessary as you are producing perfectly good frothed milk using only your hand as a feeler. What I have just said is not entirely true for you see you feel with experience and have come to know exactly what produces a good result. Your experience coupled with an indicator give you a reference point to which others can work so that they too can make good frothy milk.

                            So in the main the so called thermometers sold for measuring the temp of the milk are nothing more than an indicator and could be many degrees out. If you are lucky you may have one thats close.

                            This brings up another issue and that is the tollerance of the specific device. It maybe supplied accurate to plus or minus 2 or 3 degrees check the box that it came in.

                            Now say you want to go to 60 degrees C and you stick the thermometer in the milk. Bring the reading up to 60 on the dial. Do you have milk at 60 degrees? Well you might but the chances are that it could be 57 or it could be 63, given a working tollerance of 3 degrees. The question is does it really matter? If you think it does go get yourself a calibrated thermometer that has a test certificate supplied with it.

                            Just to show theres even more to this we calibrate thermometers, new ones supplied with test certificates and guess what they are not calibrated!!!!

                            Calibration is a big question and as i have said before is rarely understood.

                            Take the pressure gauge on your machine. The same thinking applies here. Is it a calibrated pressure guage? I think not for it is an indicator. Is shows what is about right and the operator uses this information to reproduce a good brew time after time. Pressure gauges are a whole world of their own and are seldom if ever accurate unless you spend big bucks and I mean big bucks. Just remember they are indicators.

                            Just like the petrol gauge in your car or scooter. It measures how much petrol is in the tank and indicates as to how full the tank is. My car is fitted with a road computer and it calculates the petrol consumption and the fuel remaining. At 40 ks left in the tank, it thinks, and turns itself off! You see the device is once again only an indicator it is not a precision instrument. It does its job though as when approaching empty I get a red light. I have then about 70ks left in the tank but the computer shuts down thinking i only have 40ks left!

                            If you have a designated milk thermometer you will usually find that it has a coloured area to indicate to the user that you have now entered the danger zone.

                            I like my coffee hot, very hot, so hot that it will burn your mouth if drunk straight away. This gives me time to enjoy what i have created as I have to sip and not slurp the brew.

                            As i have said elsewhere i am in the mid of a mod on my Sunbeam. I am modifying the pump controller so that it does in fact produce steam and not a very wet vapour. So far the mod has proved very successful and I have disovered that one can relate steam temerature to the size of the foan bubbles. Hot nearly dry steam leads to very fine micro foam and less dilution of the milk. Hence the volume increase is the milk foam. Boy does this taste good with dusting chocolate and a spoon....yummie.

                            I have one more stage to go with my Mod and then Ill reveal all.

                            I have to say in the Sunbeam instructions it does say somewhere that once you feel the increase in temp through the jug that this is the ideal temperature. I like it when it gets almost too hot to hold. Now there will be some out there who will scream at me for that statement. But guess what......thats how I like it!

                            So just remember the temerature is not what is seems in most cases.
                            This is my pet subject right now and Im willing to take on all commers in discussing this subject.

                            Great one Scoots you got me going...love it.
                            kualityman

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Steam/Frothing thermometers

                              I just read all the posts here and would just like to add that there are available digital thermomteres that you can set the limits on and thus when the predetermined temperature has been reached it sets off an alarm. By clipping the probe to the side of the jug one has plenty of room to froth and can then watch the froth instead of the temp gauge.

                              I use the same device to monitor the temps of my roaster and must make a clip so that the probe stays put during processing. Cost around $50 not warranted unless you need it for other things.

                              I have one of these and use it when checking on temperatures in the process when learning. Afterwards i just use my hand!!!!

                              Time for my morning brew.
                              Have fun
                              kulaityman

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X