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  • Gaggia Classic begginer - frothing sounds

    Ola everyone

    Some of you might have read my first post in the Brewing equip. section and I bet you are saying "this dude cant make espresso and it turns out he cant froth either". Well yes its true, Im having trouble frothing my milk:|

    For those of you you havent read my last post Ive been using a Gaggia Classic for the last two weeks and sadly I wasnt able to froth milk the way it should be done. I mean I can get some foam, or even microfoam, but its only around 1/8 of the whole pitcher. Below you will find a short "what I do to get my milk frothed, but still it doesnt work" guide:

    - I turn the steam switch on and wait until the light goes on, after that I turn the knob to get rid of water in the wand and to get dry steam. Usually when the water is gone, the light will go off, meaning I used a lot of steam (temp too low), so I close the knob and wait for the light to come on again

    - I fill a 350ml pitcher with cold milk (around 200ml)

    - before steaming I again turn the knob to get rid of water (only for 1-2 seconds) and place the pitcher under the wand. I place the wand so that its below surface (close to the side). I fully turn the knob to get steam, doing that I try to find the right spot for the tip of the wand. First the "tearing" sound is heard, but after I get that knob to maximum, it gets quiet and the milk is swirling around in the pitcher

    - after around 10s theres some foam on top and the swirling isnt visible anymore, a low roaring sound appears

    - I heat the milk until 60*C and turn of the steam

    This way I get hot milk and almost no foam:|

    Ive read that I should be getting almost no noise while frothing and that the milk should be swirling all the time. I guess Im not keeping the wand at the right angle, as it should be kept in such way that the milk is in fact moving around in circles. I hold it so that its perpendicular to the bottom of the pitcher and I guess that can be the problem.

    Should I get the whole milk frothed, or only like 30-40%? What about the rest, should it be foamed a bit or not?

    I found a movie on google:

    http://video.google.pl/videoplay?docid=-7012335494725332679&q=frothing+milk

    And its not silent all the way, you can hear high pitched chchchch sound all the time. So my question is, should I have the sound or not? Also what to do when I get a silent swirl and suddenly the milk is starting to roar, should I lower the wand?

    Its quite annoying cause you have to drink the milk which isnt frothed properly (you cant froth it again) and the steam wand on the Classic is too short:| at least thats my opinion

    Thanks a lot for your replies
    dsc.

  • #2
    Re: Gaggia Classic begginer - frothing sounds

    Hi again dsc...

    Frothing milk especially during the first phase - stretching- is not quiet.

    You will get a ch-ch-ch sound as air is drawn into the milk.

    Start with really cold milk and a really cold jug.....

    Do what you have been doing to remove water from the wand etc... but start steaming when the boiler is heating the water (try to judge it just before the heater would turn off - that keeps the heater on and produces more dry steam.

    Get the whirlpool going and lower the jug gently until you hear the air being sucked in- the ch-ch-ch sound and slowly lower the jug as the volume increases.... you need to stretch the milk fairly quickly.

    When the volume has almost doubled - for a cappuccino - or increased by about 20% for a latte.... plunge the tip further into the milk and continue the whirlpool until the milk is at the correct temperature..... and then turn off the steam (with the tip under the milk).... remove the jug, wipe the end of the tip with a damp cloth (to remove milk residue) and give a short blast of steam to remove any milk which might have been sucked up into the wand.

    And practice, practice, practice!!!

    Hope that helps.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Gaggia Classic begginer - frothing sounds

      Okay, I have a classic and I have spent a few weeks getting it right.

      First of all, get rid of the last plastic prophalactic on the end of your steaming wand. It sucks in far too much air and just makes huge bubbles.  The smaller tip will suffice and you should get good results. Just make sure the steaming wand is at right angles to the machine.

      I have worked out two techniques for two different size milk jugs. My advice is to use a smaller jug for just 200ml milk, I use a 200ml and 500ml jug at present.

      For a smaller 250ml jug with about 200ml milk I do the following:
      After bleeding off the water in the steam wand allow it to build up a bit more stem, then place the wand into the milk just in front of the spout, and tilt the jug forward ie with the base tilting back towards you, there is a sweet spot that is just in front of the spout of the jugs and you should get the milk swirling, it will be a bit hit and miss at first but you will find that sweet spot eventually (depending on your jug). Once you have the milk to about 30 -  40 degrees, tilt the jug to the side so the top is facing your machine  and the tip is pointing down to the sides of the jug( plunging it further into the milk).  With a bit of practice and control, what you are trying to achieve is that the steam hits the side of the jug and pushes out wards pushing the milk along with it into circles. This creates the whirlpool/folding effect.

      For as larger 500ml jug, using 300ml milk, place the tip of the wand at the back of the jug, (spout facing forward) tilting to base towards the back and the top of the jug back towards you, with the larger jug, you may need to have the top edge up against the machine (to counteract the shortness of the wand) and the jug I use just kind of hooks beside the steaming wand outlet. Make sure the tip of the wand is pointing down into the side of the jug again for the steam to hit the side and push off to form the whirlpool/rolling effect, which folds the milk back in on itself.

      The gaggia is a bit different than some other machines, but once you get the hang of it you shouldnt have too many problems. Be aware (if you are in Oz) that due to the drought our milk is a bit difficult to froth at present, and is a bit hard to get a perfect microfoam from.

      Like Java said, at first you get a lot of noise and then the milk when it gets up to temperature will go quieter.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Gaggia Classic begginer - frothing sounds

        Hi dsc,

        I too was having problems getting good foam after reading the quote below my troubles were over. The quote is from a thread found here http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1141608833 ;D

        All credit goes to Mal, this worked straight up for me. My problem now is trying to reduce the amount of microfoam produced, practice, practice, practice.

        Originally posted by Mal link=1141608833/0#3 date=1141658187
        Yeah,

        70 C is a bit too hot for sure, will most likely be starting to burn the milk ..... 55-60 is plenty hot enough.

        Re: trying to get decent foam... theres been lots contributed by CS members on the subject and a quick search of the forum will turn up lots of useful info, as will this site for example.... http://www.home-barista.com/espresso...lls.html#_milk.

        Basically though, this is what you need to do..... Select the size of jug best suited for the amount of milk you want to texture, i.e. you dont want the milk filled any higher than half-way... just to the bottom of the pouring spout detent is about right. For best results the jug should be chilled in the fridge to the same temperature as the milk, about 3-4deg C.

        Once youve done this, open the Steam Valve Knob slightly with the Steam Wand directed over the Drip Tray to remove all traces of condensate (water). Place the Wand in the jug and immerse about 25-35mm from the surface. Open the Steam Valve gently until you get an active swirling motion happening with the milk when the jug is tilted slightly toward you and away from the Wand. Then, lower the Jug until the Wand Tip is barely immersed under the surface of the milk and you notice a very slight slurping kind of noise, a series of ssshhh sounds.

        Providing you have the milk swirling around the jug really actively, you should be able to notice that your milk volume is increasing or stretching, as the foam is being developed and becoming entrained in the milk. You dont want to see any really big bubbles at this time as it will mean that the milk has become too aerated and micro-foam will be difficult to create. Once you have stretched the milk such that it has increased in volume by about 30% or so or no more than 40deg C, you can plunge the Wand (raise the jug) until the tip is immersed about 25-30mm from the bottom of the jug to heat the milk up to the desired temperature. Always maintain a vigorous whirlpool action in the milk by keeping the jug angled toward you and away from the Wand.

        Once the milk temperature has reached 55-60deg C, turn the Steam Knob off and the Steam Switch if applicable, then remove the jug. If you notice a few largish bubbles in the milk, just tap the jug gently on the bench a few times and swirl the milk around in the jug to try and incorporate the foam into the body of the milk itself, as much as you can. Once you are happy with the appearance of the foam, it should appear very liquid and wet, not foamy as such.... then you can get stuck into making your Lattes and Cappas, etc.

        In the end, it all comes down to practice, practice and more practice. I guess if theres any one thing that helps to make it work for you more than anything else, its to try and get the milk swirling ASAP as you raise the tip of the Wand to start the stretching process. This means you need to pay attention to the amount of steam being directed into the milk.... not enough and the milk wont swirl vigorously enough, too much and youll be blowing bubbles . Also need to pay attention to the position of the Wand in relation to the jug to ensure that once the whirlpool is established, you maintain it right through to the completion of the stretching process. Sounds like you need to do a lot at the same time, but once you break it down it doesnt take too long before it becomes second nature.... thats where the practice comes in 8-).

        All the best,
        Mal.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Gaggia Classic begginer - frothing sounds

          Ola everyone

          Thanks a lot for all your tips I have to say Im getting better at this, although still not good enough:|

          I can make the milk in the pitcher go in circles, but it turns out Im having trouble keeping it in motion. For the first few second the milk is getting stretched, swirling around nicely. Im keeping the tip of the wand just above the surface, so that it creates a small hollow just before the tip, and I can see the milk is moving fine. But as the milk stretches Im having difficulties keeping the tip just below the surface, I mean I know where the tip is too high, as it creates huge bubbles, but lowering it a bit doesnt really change much. I mean the huge bubbles are not created anymore, but the milk doesnt want to swirl anymore.

          I also noticed that Classic sometimes has its steam light flashing, although theres not much steam inside, so when I open up the valve almost nothing comes out (but the light is still on). Im not sure if it gets clogged inside, but when I run some hot water from the boiler trough it it tends to work ok. Also it just lacks steam sometimes, Im swirling the milk around and suddenly the steam just ends which is wierd.

          Anyway, I have to practice, practice, practice

          I might be able to make a small video of the process, so it is easier to see what Im doing wrong.

          Take care,
          dsc.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Gaggia Classic begginer - frothing sounds

            Originally posted by JavaB link=1166315191/0#1 date=1166317474
            start steaming when the boiler is heating the water (try to judge it just before the heater would turn off - that keeps the heater on and produces more dry steam.
            What he said Especially if you find that the steam power sometimes dies in the butt while ur steaming.

            Try purging the water and starting the frothing before the "steam ready" light ever comes on. That seems to give me the best results. Also try creating a little less froth, maybe stop frothing once it starts getting a little warm.

            -Paul

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Gaggia Classic begginer - frothing sounds

              Make sure you purge the water after steaming too as sometimes the gaggia has a nasty habit of sucking milk back up into the boiler - I havent had this happen to me, I was told about it by someone else.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Gaggia Classic begginer - frothing sounds

                Originally posted by dsc link=1166315191/0#4 date=1166378023
                I also noticed that Classic sometimes has its steam light flashing, although theres not much steam inside, so when I open up the valve almost nothing comes out (but the light is still on). Im not sure if it gets clogged inside, but when I run some hot water from the boiler trough it it tends to work ok. Also it just lacks steam sometimes, Im swirling the milk around and suddenly the steam just ends which is wierd.
                Gday Tom,

                From your description here, it sounds like your Boiler doesnt have enough water in it just prior to starting the Stretching process. Im not that familiar with the vagaries of the Classic, but I know it has a fairly small Boiler. With this in mind, maybe it would help if after completing your shot, you were to make sure the Boiler is full of water by directing the Steam Wand over the Spill Tray, hit the Hot Water Switch and then crack the Steam Valve open a bit until you get a solid stream of water coming out of the Wand, then close the Valve and Turn Off the Hot Water Switch, then Turn On the Steam Switch.

                Maybe a couple of our other Classic owners could chime in with what they have found works for them. All the best Tom,

                Cheers,
                Mal.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Gaggia Classic begginer - frothing sounds

                  Ola everyone

                  Thank you for your tips After reading Mals post I really think that the source of the "not enough steam" problem is infact too little water in the boiler. I noticed that after running some water through the wand (steam button on, knob opened and brew switch on, until water comes out of the wand) it gives much more steam. Without doing so it can just run out of steam in the middle of frothing.

                  Right now Im practicing fluid swirling with water Costs less and you can use as much as you want

                  Thanks and cheers,
                  dsc.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Gaggia Classic begginer - frothing sounds

                    The pump should be automatically refilling the boiler - make sure you are refilling your water tank regularly and keeping it full all the time.

                    Great idea on the water too.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Gaggia Classic begginer - frothing sounds

                      Originally posted by dsc link=1166315191/0#8 date=1166480365
                      Right now Im practicing fluid swirling with water Costs less and you can use as much as you want
                      Yep,

                      Good idea Tom, a lot of us started off like this and it seems such a waste to throw practice cups of milk down the sink.

                      Cheers,
                      Mal.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Gaggia Classic begginer - frothing sounds

                        Yeah,

                        Great idea that, practising with water. I have only had my Classic for 3 days (about 8 Cappucinos and a couple of short blacks) and after reading this thread have had no troubles at all learning the craft of frothing the milk, thanks to everyone. I have found that the gaggias extra long nozzle thingy produces far too bigger bubbles (drawing too much air in like lucinda said) however is handy for use on deeper jugs of milk for heating where the nozzle is deeper. I wish gaggia made the steaming wand a good inch or so longer. Oh well.

                        Cheers everyone,

                        Vaughan



                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Gaggia Classic begginer - frothing sounds

                          Nice to hear from you vaughano,

                          Welcome to CoffeeSnobs [smiley=thumbsup.gif].... Will look forward to hearing from you and all about your journey to coffee nirvana ;D

                          Mal.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Gaggia Classic begginer - frothing sounds



                            What you are describing is exactly what the Panarello on the Gaggia is designed to do, it sucks milk into the wand, mixes it with steam, then blows it out the bottom, it is nigh on impossible to create a swirling motion with the panarello. Also, traditional frothing methods dont work here, they are supposed to be idiot proof, just sink the tip into the milk and froth away, which gets you average milk every time.

                            If you want better, you need to remove the panarello and replace it with something better. The cheapest option is to move the red O ring up one level on the Gaggia Panarello. This will block the air intake holes around the top. This will make it slightly more possible to get microfoam, but not garanteed! The most effective method I found is to replace the Gaggia Panarello with a Saeco one. They are an exact match, adn you can remove the outer sleave of the SAeco, leaving a nice long steam tip that is perfect for creating microfoam. What I did to get mine was go into my local Saeco dealer/servicer, buy a kilo of fresh beans, and ask about any broken Saeco Panarellos they may have. I managed to get one that the lock-cap had cracked off, so I bought it home, replaced the cap with the Gaggia one, and Bobs your Uncle! Other than that, they retail for 40 odd dollars, so it is pretty cheap, considering.
                            The last, best but most expensive option is to replace the steam want with a Silvia one. I believe it is almost a case of unbolting one, and attaching the other, but I have not done it, only read about it.

                            After you have done this mod, you will find that the steam comes out more as a pin-point, rather than gushing, and therefore lasts longer, and has much more power to create a nice whirlpool. You can then follow all the instructions you have reas about slowly lowering the tip into the milk, etc.

                            I have no problem frothing enough milk for four flat-whites, as long as I am careful and use the smaller cups that I have!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Gaggia Classic begginer - frothing sounds

                              Vaughno,
                              like I have said somewhere else, just remove the long tip and use the shorter one that it is attached to - I get perfent microfoam nearly every time - occasionally I stuff it up when not paying attention to what I am doing.

                              It takes a wee bit of practice and saves you the money from buying a sylvia wand and pulling the machine apart - which I am not reallly that keen on doing myself.

                              Comment

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