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Thread: Foam too thick

  1. #1
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    Foam too thick

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi,

    After a couple of months of practise, my espressos are really yummy :), the piccolo lattes as well. My only problem is that the foam is too thick to make anything resembling a rosetta.

    My gfs last comment was that the pattern looked like a bum.

    What would you suggest that I do to achieve thinner foam? There are no big bubbles in it, its just too thick. :(

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Re: Foam too thick

    Less air maybe? More time rolling the milk less adding air, try that maybe.

  3. #3
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    Re: Foam too thick

    Umm... Stretch the milk less. You really only want around a 15-25% increase in milk volume. Short of seeing your milk steaming that is all I can really say.

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    Re: Foam too thick

    You need to lift the milk jug higher earlier. If the steaming tip is below the surface of the milk there is no opportunity to add air to the milk. It is the air that you add that adds volume. Aim for probably 20%-30% more volume out of your milk at most.

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    Re: Foam too thick

    Quote Originally Posted by 053A3C3B2621100D2036232A4F0 link=1244101919/3#3 date=1244102618
    Aim for probably 20%-30% more volume out of your milk at most. *
    Is that 20-30% at the moment you lift the jug, or after youve finished steaming? Ive noticed the volume increases quite a bit (maybe 10-20%) when the milk heats up. I guess its because the air in the bubbles expands while heating?

    thx.,

    RJ

  6. #6
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    Re: Foam too thick

    Thanks! (That was quick)

    Now to check, whether I am understanding what you are saying:

    When steaming milk (after bleeding the steam wand twice and waiting for temperature to be just before the element goes off):

    I start by putting the tip inside the milk and turn the steam on.
    After less than half a sec, I move the jug down a bit so that the tip is just on the surface and a "sh-sh" sound is produced.

    >>> Is this the part where air is added to the milk?
    >>> Are you suggesting that I do that for a shorter time to achieve less increase in volume? It normally is a fair bit more than 30%, I suspect

    I then move the jug up to create a whirlpool.

    When the jug gets too hot to hold (I dont use the handle), I turn everything off. If needed, I pop the bigger bubbles, and swirl the milk around a bit.

    Tomorrow morning, Ill give your suggestions a try.

  7. #7
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    Re: Foam too thick

    Its only a very rough rule of thumb but if you sink the wand once the milk temperature gets to about 30C and then maintain a good whirlpool (or tumbling action depending on preference) until heated to the desired temperature, this should get you into the ball-park. From there, you just adjust the temperature at which to plunge the wand and control the amount of air being introduced.

    Eventually you will begin to recognise the motion of the milk on the surface to gauge when to plunge the wand but the above isnt a bad way to get started... :)

    Mal.

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    Re: Foam too thick

    Quote Originally Posted by 65626265737D7679170 link=1244101919/4#4 date=1244102791
    Is that 20-30% at the moment you lift the jug, or after youve finished steaming? Ive noticed the volume increases quite a bit (maybe 10-20%) when the milk heats up. I guess its because the air in the bubbles expands while heating?
    When uve finished. Try the water and detergent trick to practice.


  9. #9
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    Re: Foam too thick

    Is air/volume only added to the milk when the tip is just on the surface? Thus, to add less volume I should do that for less time or, equivalently, less temperature increase?

  10. #10
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    Re: Foam too thick

    Quote Originally Posted by 52575847360 link=1244101919/8#8 date=1244105472
    Is air/volume only added to the milk when the tip is just on the surface? Thus, to add less volume I should do that for less time or, equivalently, temperature increase?
    I thought thats what I and someone else said above already .... :-?

    Didnt realise I had my cloak of invisibility on.... :P

    Anyway, yes - when the wand tip is being maintained at just below the surface of the liquid milk, it will draw air in with the steam and produce the characteristic "chh,chh" sound as the air becomes entrained. Quite surprisingly, you dont need a lot of air to stretch the milk volume and the trick then is, is to ensure that the foam is as evenly distributed throughout the milk volume as you can get it. Maintaining a vigorous whirlpool or tumbling action should encourage this to happen.

    Cheers,
    Mal.

  11. #11
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    Re: Foam too thick

    Sorry, my brains not the fastest at times.

    Thanks for the explanation. :) Ill give it a try tomorrow morning.

    Cheers

    Daniel

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    Re: Foam too thick

    Worked well. Thanks :)

  13. #13
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    Re: Foam too thick

    Youre most welcome DanQ.... :)

    Mal.

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    Re: Foam too thick

    Scottie Callaghans suggestion at a recent Latte Art training session at Di Bartolis was that the resulting milk, after steaming and swirling a few times so its glossy, should look like paint.

    Stop incorporating air before you think its thick enough - and before it hits 30*C as Mal said. Youll be surprised just how ready it is by the time youve actually finished heating it.

    I also used to have the too thick problem and learned to back off to only a second or two of active air incorporation, as air continues to be incorporated as part of the tumbling action by my strong steaming VBM Domobar Super.

    Mind you, I like my hot chocolates with a nice thick layer of microfoam so I always overdo them! ;)

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    Re: Foam too thick

    Thanks, Intellidepth

    This morning I actually skipped the "tch-tch" part and did the whirlpooling directly. Still, the milk increased in volume quite a bit, about 30%. I guess that, since I use only very little milk in the jug, air gets into the milk when whirlpooling as well. Maybe I should get a smaller jug...

    Cheers,

    Daniel


  16. #16
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    Re: Foam too thick

    Quote Originally Posted by 5B5E514E3F0 link=1244101919/14#14 date=1244375909
    Still, the milk increased in volume quite a bit, about 30%. I guess that, since I use only very little milk in the jug, air gets into the milk when whirlpooling as well. Maybe I should get a smaller jug... *
    Yes. When you pour the milk in, it should come up to the bottom of the spout. Otherwise too much air will be incorporated before the milk reaches the desired temp.

  17. #17
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    Re: Foam too thick

    I just LOVE the steam wand on the Silvia.

    The butt comment made me think of Randy Glasss website http://www.espressomyespresso.com/

    See 10 Stretching Milk and Pouring Latte Art

    Also, you might find a $10 milk thermometer will help so that you know what to do at what point...

  18. #18
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    Re: Foam too thick

    Hi Tash,

    Yes, halfway down that page... thats mostly what I have been presenting my gf in the morning. Lucky, she hasnt ditched me.
    Am improving though.

  19. #19
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    Re: Foam too thick

    Just learned - if you create a deep whirlpool you continue to add air into the milk, whereas a shallow whirlpool adds very little air into the milk.

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    Re: Foam too thick

    [QUOTE=5E73777B761A0 link=1244101919/9#9 date=1244105904]
    Quote Originally Posted by 52575847360 link=1244101919/8#8 date=1244105472
    Didnt realise I had my cloak of invisibility on.... :P

    potter was it? harry potter? ;D



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