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The importance of a good jug

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  • The importance of a good jug

    Since getting my Silvia I have become increasingly frustrated with my stagnant art progress despite my every effort to improve. I had made reasonable art on my Napoletana (not intricate but symmetrical and attractive enough) and knew the theory, so figured it must have been the steam capacity or something of the new machine. The milk seemed to either fall straight through the crema and leave no trace, or else it would fall like an engorged white slug on top of the crema with little shape, let alone a fine rosetta. I seemed to either have too much foam or not enough, regardless of what I did.

    My time at Epic added to the frustration when I saw the ease with which the guys poured masterpiece after masterpiece. Having watched them closely, it seemed they poured very slowly compared to me. Yet when I tried at home it felt I had to pour fast to prevent the reasonable microfoam from falling out as it was inclined to do. I also found the jug didnt oscillate nicely when shaken and that the milk seemed to go everywhere if I tried to change my speed. Given the opportunity to make my own drinks, I was keen to have a go myself on their equipment.

    Now, to compare the steam capacities of a Synesso Cyncra and a Rancilio Silvia is a little like comparing the performance of a Barina with a HSV. The Silvia takes about 50 seconds to bring a jug of milk from 10-65 degrees. For those who havent used a Synesso (which I imagine is probably the majority), it takes about 10 seconds to do the same. So theres not much time to correct things if they go wrong with the texturing. With this in mind I wasnt expecting too much of my attempts.

    The first latte was about three times as good as what Id ever gotten at home. The next was better still, and the third better again than that. Yes the milk texture was right, but it still varied from jug to jug, but I seemed to just have more control in the pouring stage - the jug seemed to be able to get further into the cup and provide more control. It sort of felt like comparing doing calligraphy with a fine marker compared to a bullet point paint pen. I felt the milk jug had something to do with it. Now my attempts still werent the intricate masterpieces that Megans famous for, but they were pretty good for me!

    I was fortunate enough to be able to bring home a couple of cups and a milk jug and try exactly the same on the Silvia as I had on the Synesso, but with the proven accessories. My Silvia art still wasnt as good as Id gotten on the Synesso, but there was a marked improvement in the shape of the rosettas and the ability to control what was going on in the cup. I didnt feel the milk was about to fall out of the jug or that I had to rush the pour to keep the foam from falling out and messing up my work.

    As I grew more in tune with the jug (:), I felt more confident to try to get more intricacy happening; the last two shots were of art mixed with two teaspoons of melted milo. The wobbly stem on the last one was more because I lost concentration on what I was doing and started admiring my work!

    On comparing the two jugs, its obvious why this is. My original jug that Ive had for five years has a comparatively shallow spout, whereas the jug from Epic is much pointier and protrudes further. This allows the milk exit point to get further into the cup to allow better control of what youre doing (rather than having to try to throw the milk through the air and get some shape at the same time). The sharper end brings the milk out in a more consistent width stream even if you have to increase the flow rate a bit. The deeper spout walls means again less chance of foam flopping into the spout if you have to increase the pour rate a bit.

    So the moral of the story is, dont overlook the importance of a well shaped jug for good latte art. My skills still have to be refined for the Silvia but now I know whats wrong in the process Im sure Ill have more successes. This is ironic since only a couple of weeks ago I pointed out to a friend with a Breville that his spoutless jug would make latte art impossible since you need a good spout to properly direct the milk. :

    Photo essay below of the various points herein discussed.

    Greg

    P.S. Wider mouthed cups make art easier, but even though my own cups were narrower than Epics, I didnt find latte art my any means impossible in them in my comparative testing.


  • #2
    Re: The importance of a good jug

    amazing that something as simple as a jug spout can make a difference. Great post Greg, I have three jugs and spouts are different on each one.

    Cheers
    Steve

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    • #3
      Re: The importance of a good jug

      Originally posted by Sullo link=1178282170/0#1 date=1178286356
      amazing that something as simple as a jug spout can make a difference. Great post Greg, I have three jugs and spouts are different on each one.

      Cheers
      Steve
      Not amazing...logical imo. The spout is one of the most important factors in a jug

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: The importance of a good jug

        Originally posted by Wushoes link=1178282170/0#2 date=1178289346

        Not amazing...logical imo. The spout is one of the most important factors in a jug
        Of course, a jug without a spout is just another metal cup..... ;D

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: The importance of a good jug

          Originally posted by Greg Pullman link=1178282170/0#0 date=1178282168
          This is ironic since only a couple of weeks ago I pointed out to a friend with a Breville that his spoutless jug would make latte art impossible since you need a good spout to properly direct the milk. :
          Hey greg...its not impossible to pour latte art with a spoutless jug. Ive seen several photos of some pretty good latte art done with a spoutless jug...a photo from James Hoffmanns flickr site comes to mind (Jimseven/Kingseven) 5th place 2006 WBC.

          It was poured by a guy in the 2007 UKBC Northern heat





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          • #6
            Re: The importance of a good jug

            Yes it is logical, but the problem is that all makers seem to have a different idea of what shape to make their jugs.

            Chris took a group of us for a full day course a while back and one of the first things he mentioned was the importance of a good spout.

            Ive been poking my head in various stores for a while trying to find a better spout than what I have on my 300ml jug.

            No luck so far. My spout at present is quite small. I can still do art, but Im sure it would be better if I got a more defined spout.

            Some of the jugs on line look the part and I think Ill be ordering one from Pedro soon as I need a couple of other bits and pieces and we might as well throw another jug into the mix.

            Hey Greg! Any chance you want to get into jug making?
            A Pullman jug would go great with my setup.

            Brett.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: The importance of a good jug

              That was enlightening. My attempts at latte art with my present jug has been feeble at best. That could be attributed to my novice status and a extremely small sprout. Maybe a jug with a more define sprout will help.

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              • #8
                Re: The importance of a good jug

                great post Greg, very enlightening!!

                only problem i have now is: i steam in a small jug with a really good spout-snout ( from Coffee Parts).... so i cannot blame the latte doodles i produce on the bad jug anymore...
                bugger!!

                L

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                • #9
                  Re: The importance of a good jug

                  It would seem that we are in agreement. We all like good jugs and we are less than impressed with tiny spouts. No doubt, opinions that represent both genders.

                  Bart.

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                  • #10
                    Re: The importance of a good jug

                    :P

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                    • #11
                      Re: The importance of a good jug

                      Cases of spout-envy popping up all over the place!

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                      • #12
                        Re: The importance of a good jug

                        Originally posted by Lizzie link=1178282170/0#7 date=1178343076
                        great post Greg, very enlightening!!

                        only problem i have now is: i steam in  a small jug with a really good spout-snout   ( from Coffee Parts).... so i cannot blame  the latte doodles i produce  on the bad jug anymore...
                        bugger!!

                        L
                        Ditto (sort of).

                        I started reading this thread thinking "Oh no, not another variable".
                        Then saw that the jugs I have (Coffee Parts) look like the Epic ones.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: The importance of a good jug

                          Originally posted by Wushoes link=1178282170/0#4 date=1178290123
                          Hey greg...its not impossible to pour latte art with a spoutless jug. Ive seen several photos of some pretty good latte art done with a spoutless jug...a photo from James Hoffmanns flickr site comes to mind (Jimseven/Kingseven) 5th place 2006 WBC.
                          Wow! Yeah I guess impossible was perhaps an exaggeration as far as art in any sense goes, but impossible for the sort I was after, i.e. intricate rosettas. Although hes artificially created a spout of sorts by using the knife.

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                          • #14
                            Re: The importance of a good jug

                            that knife spout is a trickle trick... i propose we declare that jug a no-spouter!!

                            L

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                            • #15
                              Re: The importance of a good jug

                              whats a trickle trick??

                              its more commonly called a bell jug

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