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"Perfect" microfoam using a whizzer

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  • "Perfect" microfoam using a whizzer

    Hello All

    Ive seen some debate under this topic that you can only get good foam using a steaming wand but I would like to digress here.

    I drink flat whites/ lattes  and, to me ,you have good foam in your coffee when
    • You get that beautiful caramel marbled affect when the crema, coffee and foam mixes as you pour the milk into your shot
    • the foam doesnt dissapate before you finish you cup
    • when you drink the coffee you always have a layer of foam on the liquid rather than a gap appearing where you see the coffee milk below.
     
    • You have to use a spoon to get the spoonfulls yummy caramelly foam out
    • The empty cup has a crust of foam/coffee around the sides (which is hard to wash off if you dont soak the cup)

    If you use a Mokka or Presso, plunger or other device and want to have great milk drinks I dont think you need to purchase a stove top steamer, or should feel inadequate without a steam wand.  Ive been using a battery powered whizzer most mornings for the last two years and feel I have perfected the technique.  I have tried the plastic and glass plunger devices to froth milk and I do not think they work as well as the froth tends to be without any body and consistency.  The washup is worse too.  

    If you are doing large batches of milk, say more than three cups, the whizzer may be inadequate.

    WHIZZER:  This is a $10 low tech device and the Avanti Model I use is still okay after one year of use.  The cheaper ones you get from the supermarket are of inferior quality.  Make sure you use fresh batteries as the output is significantly reduced if the batteries are slightly drained.  Many people have bad experiences with the whizzer because they use flat batteries.  I prefer to use rechargables.  The whizzer shaft is sometimes bent which affects the rotation speed significantly.  You may need to carefully bend the shaft straight so that is rotates on its centre.  

    FULL CREAM MILK.  Unless you are on a diet, use full cream milk for best results.  For some unknown reason certain batches of milk (1 in 10) are very difficult to froth.  If you cant get milk to froth then try another carton

    HEATING THE MILK.  I use a stainless steel half litre ubrik (handled jug with spout) on the stove together with a milk thermometer and 1-2 latte cups of milk.  The trick is to heat the milk gently to allow the sugars in the milk to caremalize.  I dont recommend the microwave as it is too easy to overheat your milk which gives it a boiled taste.  On the stove you can easily keep an eye on whats going on.    Besides, the microwave spoils the fun of the process.  Heat the milk to about 70 degrees.  If you get the skin forming on the milk you may have overheated it.  If the skin starts forming, give the milk a quick whiz to get the fats back into the milk

    FROTHING.  Put the whizzer head in the milk on an angle.  The head should be fully submerged in the milk.  Turn it on.  The Faux Pas of most people is to jiggle the whizzer up and down creating lots of bubbles and foam.  Keep the head just under the milk surface and get the milk to start circling in a gentle whirlpool.  If you get big bubbles then move the position of the whizzer so the big bubbles are drawn into the vortex of the rotating milk.  Within a minute you should clearly see the microfoam up to a centimetre on the surface of the milk. It seems that the longer you do this the creamier the microfoam (but we are not aiming for bulk here, more consistency).  The choice is to follow this procedure with the ubrick on the stove to keep the milk warm, or take it off to get the milk at the right temperature.  

    I repeat, the trick is to get the foam without the big bubbles and you may need to experiment with your setup and angles to get this happening.

    POURING  The best results is if you pour the milk into your shot the second you stop whisking.  It is tricky to get all the timing right so that your fresh shot is ready at this point.  Of course you will get the best results if you use a wide, bowl shaped cappucino cup so that the coffee "folds" into the milk.  

    WASHUP  Put some water in the ubrik, whiz the whizzer in it and dry it off.  A brush is sometimes handy to get the milk out.  

    Good luck with this and believe me, you dont need a big machine to have fun preparing first rate milk coffee, either at home or away from home.  

  • #2
    Re: "Perfect" microfoam using a whizzer

    Beanhead,

    Glad you like the coffee prepared with your method, but I am personally dubious about the process.
    You have to use a spoon to get the spoonfulls yummy caramelly foam out
    To me this means there is too much foam and not enough (or any) microfoam.

    The empty cup has a crust of foam/coffee around the sides (which is hard to wash off if you dont soak the cup)
    Hmmm - depends. I often swirl my coffee as I progress and incorporate the microfoam on the side as I go. I end up with a thin veneer on the side, I wouldnt call it a crust.

    Also, you have not mentioned the most important ingredient - what coffee are you starting with?

    Anyway, if you like it, kudos.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: "Perfect" microfoam using a whizzer

      I will have to take a few pics to back my claims up

      Believe me, it is not a case of "wand envy".

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      • #4
        Re: "Perfect" microfoam using a whizzer

        What happens if you dont pour the milk immediately?

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        • #5
          Re: "Perfect" microfoam using a whizzer

          ... oh and the coffee I am using at the moment...Indian tiger mountain 80% and some robusta 20 percent roasted in the popper on the weekend. Im using a Presso and managing to get some pretty gooey shots. I use the reducer and tamp as much coffee as I can physically tamp in. The hand grinder seems to be doing a pretty fine grind and making it difficult to pull the shots. Beats stove top coffee any day.

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          • #6
            Re: "Perfect" microfoam using a whizzer

            To answer Thundergod, if I dont pour the milk in immediately it doesnt taste as good. ... no really, I think the foam flows off the spout with the milk better so when the espresso folds into the milk you get more of the marbled effect where the foam mixes with the crema etc.

            Now you are going to say that you can leave steamed milk on the benchtop for a couple of days and still get a good latte...

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            • #7
              Re: "Perfect" microfoam using a whizzer

              Here is a photo of the faux foam... it doesnt really capture the texture however which I would categorise as microfoam

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              • #8
                Re: "Perfect" microfoam using a whizzer

                These little whizzers are pretty amazing and agree that they do produce a very fine foam and lots of it. In fact, it stiffens up in moments if youre not careful and ends up like meringue. The result in my opinion is quite different to a steam wand that blends the foam into the milk rather than layering it on top. I think the taste is different too!

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                • #9
                  Re: "Perfect" microfoam using a whizzer

                  I used to use the whizzer to froth up milk before going the steam wand way and worked out a system where I heat up the milk a bit in the microwave, whiz it, heat up a bit more, whiz it, and then heat it up to 70 degrees. Got a thermometer too so I know exactly how hot it gets to. Using the microwave, obviously I cant have the thermometer in while microwaving so it was a delicate balance to get to the desired temp. My colleagues started calling me "mad scientist" because of precision that I was rather obsessed with. Now that Ive brought the machine in to work and steaming the milk proper, having tasted coffee done both ways extensively, I can honestly say, Ill never go back to the whizzer way. Gone back to the whizzer a couple of times to do hot chocolate and even that didnt taste quite as good.

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                  • #10
                    Re: "Perfect" microfoam using a whizzer

                    Wanderlust...

                    ive read a couple of other threads and it looks as if you can heat milk in a flash using steam so if you are going to get a machine then the steam option is an added bonus.

                    I guess if you are tossing whether to go a Presso or a machine, and you like milk drinks then I would say dont make the decision purely based on having a wand. Check out the state of your wallet, check the machine specs first, save money for a good grinder because, as Fatboy said, whats in the shot in the cup is the most important thing.

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                    • #11
                      Re: "Perfect" microfoam using a whizzer

                      Originally posted by fatboy link=1186541036/0#1 date=1186542876
                      Glad you like the coffee prepared with your method, but I am personally dubious about the process.
                      All we are doing with a wand is forcing steam through the milk and swirling it a bit. So anything to similar effect with produce froth of some description.

                      You can do the same thing with just a saucepan and a whisk, but its pretty bad. But works I guess.

                      Can you pour art with your milk Beanhead?

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                      • #12
                        Re: "Perfect" microfoam using a whizzer

                        Good point about being able to pour art with my pseudo micro foam. Havent really tried beyond random effects. I think I struggle getting enough crema head with my Presso for latte art.

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                        • #13
                          Re: "Perfect" microfoam using a whizzer

                          Forget the whizzer threads now that youve mastered it and look at the Presso thread, thats where the real gold is

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                          • #14
                            Re: "Perfect" microfoam using a whizzer

                            Could not agree more with the whizzers ability to produce close enough microfoam.

                            I even saw a video from a Japanese guy, "I think", on YouTube produces beautiful latte art using whizzer and instant coffee.

                            I give it a go, and it works like a champ. Just like all the other machines / skills, lots of practises is required. Dont be tempted into buying expensive equipment anymore, unless you have the budget for it.

                            However, the taste IS different from steamed foam. It doesnt have the subtle sweetness that steam could bring up.

                            Whatever way you choose, just choose the one that please you the most. ;D

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