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Thread: My steamed milk is too thin....help

  1. #1
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    My steamed milk is too thin....help

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi all, im having trouble making a good cup of Latte. Im using a Silvia + doserless rocky, my espresso shots are coming out fine but my steamed milk aint working out.

    I flip steam switch after shot, keeping light on, bleed wand, prepare my jug, then steam, the light always on. I use a thermometer and after it hits 60 - 65 degrees i stop and do the jug swirl/tap. Now, every single time i pour this milk into my espresso it comes out way too thin, it just dissappears into the espresso and i never see a white dot at all, and every time i end up with a light brown latte with nearly water consistency.

    What am i doing wrong? My milk is spinning during the steam, i bury the wand after about 10 seconds, and it swirls fine. Ive used both 300ml and 600ml frozen jugs, with nice cold milk, both low fat and high. Every time the milk is pouring out too thin.

    Help me :-)

  2. #2
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    Re: My steamed milk is too thin....help

    keep the tip a bit higher at the start for longer? If I want it flat I go lower with the tip early, and go slower steam. When i want a bit more, move it higher and a bit more speed.

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    Re: My steamed milk is too thin....help

    I tried again this afternoon and all i got was very hot milk into my espresso. Again, too thin.

    Ill try keeping the tip higher longer, thanks.

  4. #4
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: My steamed milk is too thin....help

    You need to undestand what you want to do with the milk when the tip is higher.

    Start with the milk level with the bottom of the spout.
    Barely break the surface of the milk with the steam wand so that it pushes a little air into the milk.
    It should make a few "ch ch ch" noises.
    Watch the level of the milk.
    It you rise above the bottom of the spout.
    If it does, you know you have added air and increased the milk volume (thickness).

    You can practise changing the level of the tip by using only water.
    When you are ready, try again with milk.


  5. #5
    Senior Member greenman's Avatar
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    Re: My steamed milk is too thin....help

    Hi Dragon, I had similar problems when I got my Silvia. With some hints and encouragement from fellow Csers I soon sorted out the problems.
    It was suggested I bend the steam arm out about 15deg to get a better angle for the jug, I did this and it helped.
    I use a 300ml jug when doing single drinks and find the swirl pattern is quite powerful, it drops off a fraction in the 600ml but still works well.
    As tg said, start with the wand just on/under surface until you get the ch/ch/ch sound, this is air being sucked into the milk and stretching it, the longer you do this the more you will stetch the milk. I then go to the side of the jug and find a sweet spot where the milk folds and swirls on the other side of the jug, holding my fingers under the jug until it get too hot to hold to keep it there and the milk should be ready for a latte/flat white/capo. Full cream textures best but skim is fine.
    Keep practicing there is light at the end of the tunnel.

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    Re: My steamed milk is too thin....help

    Cheers Greenman, how did you go about bending the steam arm?

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    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: My steamed milk is too thin....help

    DragonLord
    I suggest you look at these posts
    Remember search is your friend

    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1226462504

    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1220959662

    KK

  8. #8
    Senior Member greenman's Avatar
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    Re: My steamed milk is too thin....help

    Hi Dragonlord, I used a piece of metal tubing slightly larger diameter than steam arm and very gently bent it out to required angle, I held the top section of arm with a pair of shifters to take pressure of steam connection point, it worked well, it gives a better angle and jug access when steaming, Ive also got Silvia sitting in a tray in case of spillage from small dregs tray, this has raised her a fraction for better jug access, its still a bit tight with the 600ml jug.
    Some more good advice on links from KK above, make sure you have nice dry steam before you start texturing. I bleed mine off at about 120C and heaps of water comes out and then again at 140C where wet steam appears initially and then nice dry steam for texturing.

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    Re: My steamed milk is too thin....help

    Thanks for the help guys.

    I had a latte this morning and i filled up my 600ml jug just over 1/3rd, kept the tip near the surface for longer period then sunk it deeper for remainding time. The milk doubled exactly (although abit too much foam on top).

    While pouring my milk i did notice it was a little thicker, but mostly towards the top 3rd. So what im getting is, thickness in the top half, and thin hot milk at the bottom. Would this indicate that my whirlpool technique during steaming is not up to scratch?

  10. #10
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: My steamed milk is too thin....help

    Try a 300ml jug if you have one as it will be easier to fold the milk over itself.
    200ml in a 600ml jug is a different "shape".

    Try to only increase the volume by 1/3 istead of 1/2.
    Youve obviously put too much air into the milk to get that much volume increase.
    So less air and more blending of the milk into itself to spread that air through all of the milk.

  11. #11
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: My steamed milk is too thin....help

    Doubling the volume is excessive. For latte, I think the volume should increase by about 20%. Steaming milk to the right consistency for latte is one of the hardest things to get right. I have heard (but never tried) that a good one to practice is using water with a very small amount (the smallest drop) of dishwashing detergent. Also, I see to get better results using a 400ml jug than a 600ml (which admittedly is only enough for one cup). KKs steaming guide that he provided the links for is good advice but I find that turning the steam tap fully one gives me too much steam pressure and get bubbles and/or spilt milk.

    Once the milk is steamed you should knock it a couple of times (fairly gently) on the bench to remove larger air bubbles and then swirl the milk jug without lifting it off the bench top to polish the milk (it starts to look shiny). With larger quantities using a 600ml jug or more you might want to pour some milk into another jug, pour a latte then add the milk you split off back into the jug and swirl again. This helps maintain a certain quantity of foam and milk in each cup

    Im far fvrom an expert in this and others may provide further advice. I would recommend doing a home barista course or at least check Youtube videos.

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    Re: My steamed milk is too thin....help

    Cheers, ill try the 300ml.

    Last time i used the 300ml the milk went all over the place, should i still use full steam power in the 300ml jug?

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    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: My steamed milk is too thin....help

    Here, check this youtube vid: I dont own a Silvia so I cant speak for the technique used:

    http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=NdHb_6Hs738

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    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Re: My steamed milk is too thin....help

    Another issue can be the milk itself.
    Here in SA, as the green feed dies off and the cattle eat dried stuff, the milk stops foaming at all, or will foam a small amount with large bubbles and then collapse.
    I use the A2 milk which comes from Qld way and the cows eat green stuff all year round. Ive only had one or two A2 purchases fail to stretch correctly.
    Greg

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    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: My steamed milk is too thin....help

    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonlord link=1229060735/0#11 date=1229129017
    Cheers, ill try the 300ml.

    Last time i used the 300ml the milk went all over the place, should i still use full steam power in the 300ml jug?
    My machine has more steam power and I dont have a problem with milk going all over the place. You need to keep the wand just under the top liquid milk surface
    Breaking the surface causes the milk to explode

    It is your technique that you need to adjust

    Please try a loose and relaxed hand not stiff
    One ch ch is enough when you start and no more
    Full steam power (can go as low as 3/4 steam power)
    Keep wand just under the liquid part of the milk by adjusting height as you go
    If you need to angle the wand to keep the milk swirling try turning the jug 15/20 deg and aim the steam wand from the centre position into the bottom corner of the jug (this splits the steam in 2 directions)

    You will notice an audible difference from high pitch to low dull pitch sound when you are getting close to the end

    KK



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    Re: My steamed milk is too thin....help

    Thanks Flynn, ive seen that video and many many others :-)

    I might actually try sinking the wand deeper after the initial stretching period, ive only been burying it an extra half inch after the shallow stretch.

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    Re: My steamed milk is too thin....help

    What brand of milk are you using? I certainly get differenet results depending on the milk. The best results for me come from Pauls FrothTop.

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    Re: My steamed milk is too thin....help

    Im using Dairy Farmers full cream and Pauls full cream.

    Just letting you all know, i can finally pour love-hearts on top of my Latte :-)

    Although im trying my hardest to pour Leaf art, they always end up as hearts I had a laugh.

    Thanks everyone.

  19. #19
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: My steamed milk is too thin....help

    I actually found it harder to make my first heart after having made many, many rosettas.

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    Re: My steamed milk is too thin....help

    Hi Dragonlord,

    When youve finished stretching and are just heating/swirling the milk, make sure you get the milk swirling round and round AND up and down the jug. Tumbling the milk rather than swirling it around shouold help to prevent the milk/froth from separating. Also try to stretch only til the milk is about the same temperature as your hand (just before it starts getting warm).

    Good luck,

    Paul

  21. #21
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    Re: My steamed milk is too thin....help

    I beg to differ re the temperature.
    It should just reaching too hot to touch.

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    Senior Member topshot's Avatar
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    Re: My steamed milk is too thin....help

    I agree with Thundergod, the jug should be almost to hot to touch!
    You could use a thermometer from one of our sponsors.

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    Re: My steamed milk is too thin....help

    I think Leebroozlee was talking about the initial stretching period at the start, introducing air until it starts to get warm, then further heating/swirling till it gets hot after that period.

  24. #24
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    Re: My steamed milk is too thin....help

    That sounds better.

    Although it would also depend on the machine and how strong the steam is.
    My Expobar doesnt need more than a few seconds to stretch the milk.

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    Re: My steamed milk is too thin....help

    Just a quick question, after i bleed the steam wand, and i start to steam, is it normal on the Silvia to make a high-pitch/screaming sound as i start the steaming process? It usually lasts for the first 4 or 5 seconds.

  26. #26
    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: My steamed milk is too thin....help

    Just a quick question, after i bleed the steam wand, and i start to steam, is it normal on the Silvia to make a high-pitch/screaming sound as i start the steaming process? It usually lasts for the first 4 or 5 seconds.
    Short answer is yes
    A short time later as bubbles form & milk thickens the noise is then at a lower register and dull

    KK

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    Re: My steamed milk is too thin....help

    You will get thathigh pitched scream for as long as you have the wand in too deep at the start. When you lower the jug to the point where you just get the hissing sound of air getting sucked into the milk, the high pitched scream should stop. If it doesnt, this could indicate that you haven;t opened the steam knob enough.

  28. #28
    Senior Member greenman's Avatar
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    Re: My steamed milk is too thin....help

    Hi dragon, it took me a while to get decent microfoam with Silvia, I purchased a 300ml jug and this helped immensely, it is a lot easier getting the rolling motion going in the smaler jug, once I had this mastered I found it easier using the 600ml jug. As newtoespresso said, you know the wand is too keep with the screeching sound just keep raising the tip until you get the ch ch ch sound and find the sweet spot in the jug.....easy eh!!! Give it a full head of steam as well.

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    Re: My steamed milk is too thin....help

    Thanks for tips everybody, my art is definately getting better by the day, but still all lovehearts :-)

    Ive noticed that if i pour faster i tend to get more art, rather than pouring slow, which results in no white art at all on top (the Latte drink itself still tastes fine though).

    Also, after you pour your latte, is your drink warm or hot? Ive noticed that if i steam using just my hands and no thermometer, as the pitcher gets way too hot to hold, i pour my drink but the latte is warm.

    If i use a calibrated thermometer, and stop just before the designated range, my milk is much hotter, resulting in a much hotter drink.

    Both drinks taste the same though. Very nice.

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    Re: My steamed milk is too thin....help

    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonlord link=1229060735/20#22 date=1229773647
    I think Leebroozlee was talking about the initial stretching period at the start, introducing air until it starts to get warm, then further heating/swirling till it gets hot after that period.
    Yes I was, thanks for clarifying :)

    Stretch til it starts getting warm, then whirlpool/roll til too hot to touch.

    -paul



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