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Thread: Learning all over again

  1. #1
    mwatt
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    Learning all over again

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Just invested in a Giotto (and Mini Mazzer- to immunise myself against upgrade-itis for a while) and am relearning to texturise milk. And Im having a bit of trouble. I cant get any micro-foam, just bubbly stiff foam (like you get at most cafes here on the Central Coast *;)).
    Anyone whose familiar with their Giotto got any pointers? I know Ive only been trying for a few days, but I was going so well on the little old Gaggia that being back at square one is a little bit frustrating!!

    Cheers, Michelle

    P.S Anyone wanting to upgrade- Talk Coffee (2muchcoffeeman) were brilliant to deal with!! Ok, a not-so-subtle plug, but honestly, I am one very satisfied customer... * ;D

  2. #2
    TC
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    Re: Learning all over again

    Quote Originally Posted by mwatt link=1141182898/0#0 date=1141182898
    Just invested in a Giotto (and Mini Mazzer- to immunise myself against upgrade-itis for a while) and am relearning to texturise milk. And Im having a bit of trouble. I cant get any micro-foam, just bubbly stiff foam (like you get at most cafes here on the Central Coast *;)).
    Anyone whose familiar with their Giotto got any pointers? I know Ive only been trying for a few days, but I was going so well on the little old Gaggia that being back at square one is a little bit frustrating!!

    Cheers, Michelle

    P.S Anyone wanting to upgrade- Talk Coffee (2muchcoffeeman) were brilliant to deal with!! Ok, a not-so-subtle plug, but honestly, I am one very satisfied customer... * ;D

    Many thanks for the plug, Michelle- its greatly appreciated!

    re your "issues"...It will take some time to learn your machine and get used to the extra pressure of the HX setup. I suggest the following:


    • Fill to just below the the cutout for the spout of your jug

      Only the tip goes under the surface of the milk. Purge the wand of condensate before texturing.

      Keep your jug level and aim for a whirlpool by angling the steam wand away from the centre of the jug. When you texture- start with full pressure but you may need to drop back a touch

      Adjust the the microfoam component by lowering the jug to create as much as required.




    Other possibilities- higher on the fiddly scale and generally not required can be a pressurestat tweak or smaller holes in the tip ...

    Hope this helps!

    Chris

  3. #3
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    Re: Learning all over again

    Chris,
    You didnt mention the milk spatula or spoon. All the cafes have them, cant have textured milk without it!! ;D ;D ;D

    Boris

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    Re: Learning all over again

    Quote Originally Posted by Boris link=1141182898/0#2 date=1141206304
    Chris,
    You didnt mention the milk spatula or spoon. All the cafes have them, cant have textured milk without it!! ;D ;D ;D

    Boris
    A spatula is wonderfully useful for administering a hiding whilst saying "never use that around milk again" ;)

    C

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    Re: Learning all over again

    Hi Michelle,

    The one big tip that I would give you is to make sure that you are going full steam ahead when you are steaming. Lowering the pressure to give yourself more time never works. If anything, try starting off with a slightly larger jug and more milk if you feel that you need more stretching time to get used to the new machine ... although I would probably recommend never going above the 350mL jug at home.

    Dont be afraid to dump a bunch of milk, too. The best investment that you can make is to buy 2L of milk and just keep on foaming until you get it right.

    I think that steaming milk is always just a matter of getting used to them. The giotto has a proper multi-holed tip, which will really pay off when you get it nailed. But, until then, you might find it awkward from being used to the gaggia. If its any consolation, it doesnt actually get easier with even more expensive machines. I have been lucky enough to play on some La Marzoccos and Synessos recently and they all require completely different steam wand orientations, etc.

    Cheers,

    Luca

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    TC
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    Re: Learning all over again

    Agreed Luca- however the tip on the giotto can sometimes aerate a little too much. I have found that a surf back from full pressure (as you correctly state when you start) can work well...

    A 600ml jug is a walk in the park for the Giotto 8-)

    C

  7. #7
    mwatt
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    Re: Learning all over again

    Quote Originally Posted by luca link=1141182898/0#4 date=1141214843
    I think that steaming milk is always just a matter of getting used to them. *The giotto has a proper multi-holed tip, which will really pay off when you get it nailed. *But, until then, you might find it awkward from being used to the gaggia. *If its any consolation, it doesnt actually get easier with even more expensive machines. *I have been lucky enough to play on some La Marzoccos and Synessos recently and they all require completely different steam wand orientations, etc.
    Yeah, i figure itll just be practise, practise, practise...

    As to it not being easier on more expensive machines- I was trained on a La Marzocco (only thing i miss about working is that baby) so it took a long time to get used to the Gaggia. Oh well, off to wasting some milk for me then... *;)

  8. #8
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Re: Learning all over again

    Give the machine more time to produce microfoam without overheating the milk by keeping the jug freezing cold in the refrigerator.

    When you introduce the jug to the tip, turn the steam knob gently so you dont get an explosive blast which causes a mess and large bubbles.

    After a couple of seconds or so, when you are satisfied the steaming noise is right and you cant see large bubbles forming, progressively turn the knob.

    I like to angle the jug so the swirling milk rises above the rest of the milk at the opposite side to the steam wand.

    You can experiment with the angle, and how close the tip is kept to the wall of the jug, or the centre of it. I keep it fairly close to the side.

    When you have stretched enough, lower the tip deeper into the milk until its at the temperature you want. I keep going to about 15 seconds after the Silvia heating light comes on.

    If there are one or two unsavory large bubbles, give the jug a firm tap or two on the bench to dissipate them.

    Now, MOST IMPORTANT: swirl, swirl swirl the milk around by holding the jug and turning your arm fairly rapidly in a quick counter-clockwise motion, (the way you would to use a manual grinder of any sort, but backwards).

    Within seconds you should have a very glossy microfoamed milk absent of any bubbles.

    Robusto





  9. #9
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    Re: Learning all over again

    Hi mwatt,

    Youve definitely got a great machine there by the way [smiley=thumbsup.gif]. I can only speak about my experience with the Mokita but I guess if Ive found one thing that seems to affect the quality of the foam more than anything else, it is the time taken to get things started and the milk swirling actively in the jug.

    I always try to adjust the steam output such that enough flow is being generated to get the milk swirling ASAP and then lower the jug to get the tip just below of the surface of the milk and generate the foam. Using this method, by the time the milk has approached about 30deg C, enough foam has been produced and the wand is then plunged deeper into the milk to heat it up.

    Its taken me a while to learn this particular method as I live out in the sticks a bit and receiving knowledgeable first hand tuition is more or less impossible. The thing you need to avoid is taking too long over the foam generation stage as this seems to dry it out and no matter what you do, genuine micro-foam just will not happen. Its definitely worth trying to get it right as the difference in taste is also quite amazing :). Hope some of this helps out,

    Cheerio,
    Mal.

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    Re: Learning all over again

    Ive noticed on the Silvia that if I spend more time swirling than frothing then I get a better result closer to the ideal microfoam. Maybe froth 1/3 then swirl for 2/3 of the time or thereabouts. The milk doesnt look like its increasing in volume as much as when I frothed heaps but texture appears much better during the pour. When pouring it looks like thicker milk, not meringue but low and behold there appears a nice foam layer in my cap....might help.

  11. #11
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    Re: Learning all over again

    first post :)

    just upgraded to a real machine (gaggia classic) and i know how you feel - im back to square 1. i learnt to make very nice textured milk (albeit quite slowly) on my old pretend breville but now i cant make anything but dishwater or hot thin rubbish.

    ive read everything i can get my hands on and im deep in the "practice, practice, practice" territory. the inability of the classic to maintain full steam pressure for more than about 40 seconds is killing me, but im starting before the thermostat cuts to compensate.... i dont think the tip design is particularly ideal. seems too large.

    it just hurts to pull these comparably beautiful shots, only to pollute them with cruddy milk :(

  12. #12
    joe
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    Re: Learning all over again

    Welcome!

    If your Classic tip has a plastic sleeve over it, ditch the sleeve. The Classic makes great microfoam without it.
    I 3/4 fill a small stainless steel pitcher with cold milk (for two cappuccinos). I very slightly tilt the pitcher to one side and lower the tip just below the surface of the milk and turn on the steam. Moving the pitcher very slowly from side to side and keeping just the tip immersed, the surface of the milk after a few seconds should begin to swirl and rise slowly. When it has reached the desired height and heat (around 40-50 seconds I would guess) I stop.

    Dont worry, just practise,practise,practise...

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    Re: Learning all over again

    Dont know if this is the correct thread to follow, but can anyone tell me if the age of the milk important? *If so is it best fresh, or a few-days old, or what?

    Thanks in advance.

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    Re: Learning all over again

    Quote Originally Posted by early_morning_ link=1141182898/0#10 date=1149134864
    first post :)

    just upgraded to a real machine (gaggia classic) and i know how you feel - im back to square 1. i learnt to make very nice textured milk (albeit quite slowly) on my old pretend breville but now i cant make anything but dishwater or hot thin rubbish.
    Hi Early,

    A suggestion: if the milk is hot thin rubbish then you may need to turn on the steam tip and let off some steam (literally) before you put it into the milk. ::) I used to have a gaggia machine, and had the same problem when I first tried to foam some milk - it was an unmitigated disaster. My advice is to pull your shots, rest them on the heated area, let the machine build up some steam pressure for a minute or so as you get the milk into the jug etc, then hold a tea towel under your wand tip so any liquid released is not all over the bench, turn on the steaming knob, when the stream of water has turned into steam, you are right to go. Just turn off your wand, place into the milk, fire up and and foam as normal. Happy microfoaming *:)

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    Re: Learning all over again

    been a long time... ive got it down. i got into a timing cycle - pull my shots then pump off water until the boiler starts up (ie the light goes out) then flick to steam. wait 25s, blow off steam for a few sec, close wand, put wand in milk and then open wand again. then steadily swirl the milk to perfection :D

    now ive PIDd my machine so i just wait til the temp read out show 140 and go for it. still need to pump some water through to make sure the boiler is happy and somewhat "pre-pressurised"....

    cheers :)

  16. #16
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    Re: Learning all over again

    Early morning,
    I have a Gaggia classic and it took me a long while to get the foaming right too. I have had mine coming up to two years and it has been a matter of practice practice practice.

    I found that after pulling a shot, it was best to flick on the steamer switch, I usually wait about 30 secs after the light comes on and blow off a wee bit of steam before plunging the wand into the milk and have no issues after that. It took me awhile to figure it out though. I wish I had known about CS back when I got the thing. ::)

    I still get the occasional bubble blow out, but it is more me not paying attention to what I am doing than anything.


  17. #17
    Super Moderator scoota_gal's Avatar
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    Re: Learning all over again

    Quote Originally Posted by lucinda link=1141182898/15#15 date=1163313722
    I still get the occasional bubble blow out...
    :D ;D ;D ;D

    Thats a good one. Ill have to remember that term...!!

  18. #18
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    Re: Learning all over again

    Ive suffered the same problem. Good foam with the $200 Sunbeam, Virtual total failure with the very powerful $2700 La Vibiemme Domobar Super Lever. Some good tips on this thread back to the machine practice, practice.

  19. #19
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    Re: Learning all over again

    I know Im only using a toy machine (DeLonghi Metropolis/1385), but Id like to think Im getting pretty good results out of it. In terms of milk, I can get much, much better foam out of fresh milk than old stuff.

    Im using the standard (plastic) attachment that came with the machine, but as the thread on this is screwed (so to speak!), I cant crank the steam up full, as it just blows the attachment off.

  20. #20
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    Re: Learning all over again

    one of those things, really... you never stop learning. ive had my machine close to 12 months now and im still discovering new angles and positions to get better microfoam. todays was perfect (well, my idea of perfect :P) but i still mess up once or twice a week.

    but yeah, practice is king :)



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