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Thread: EM5900 owners unite in the name of good microfoam!

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    Senior Member iggs's Avatar
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    EM5900 owners unite in the name of good microfoam!

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I dont know about the rest of you, but I cannot for the life of me get good consistent microfoam with my Sunbeam 5900.*

    Usually its a layer of foam at the surface, and i can see the milk spinning underneath but it just wont incorporate!* Im know the steam is probably a little underpowered but there should be a way

    Im using a 600ml jug filled to bottom of spout with low fat milk (approx 300ml)

    angling jug away from machine, with steam tip slightly off center toward back, right quarter.* seems to be only way i can get a whirlpool going.

    I know one of you 5900 owners has the key!* lets pool our resources to find the best method!* ;D

    I did fluke this pseudo rosetta one morning though (ie. this has happened maybe twice out of hundreds of times) - perhaps theres some hope!


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    Re: EM5900 owners unite in the name of good microfoam!

    Try this video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxAvYoymUbM
    And switch the milk you are using. The quality of the proteins and fats, and their ratios very from dairy to dairy, and even at different times of the year.

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    Senior Member iggs's Avatar
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    Re: EM5900 owners unite in the name of good microfoam!

    thx for tip randy. Ive thought about using soapy water to practise but worried it will leave my steam tip with a soapy residue and affect the taste of my milk. is that an unfounded worry?

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    Re: EM5900 owners unite in the name of good microfoam!

    While I dont have a 5900, I tried this soapy water thing on my Breville, works reasonably well, but milk isnt that expensive and $5-$10 worth of it is plenty of practice material.

    But in the case of the cleaning the soap technique, just run the steam for a little while, wipe clean, take of steam tip and rinse well in warm water.

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    Re: EM5900 owners unite in the name of good microfoam!

    Im having the same issue! I find that with the jug on an angle getting a whirlpool... if I keep the tip just at the surface the whole time adding little chirps of air, that keep the foam spinning, but as soon as it goes even 1mm below, this chunk of foam in the middle of the jug stops spinning, and I start getting a build up of stagnant foam just behind the steam tip.
    I thought it was bad technique, but then I steamed milk on the in-laws Saeco Syntia superauto with a froth enhancer using same technique, I got good microfoam first time! I thought the 5900 would be better at foaming than the superauto - is that wrong?
    Has anyone had experience with the 5900 and got good foam? Can someone video doing good steaming with the 5900?
    I have the heat and the pump rate turned up full, thinking you need good force to get good spin, and good heat to stop it from being wet steam... Is this right?
    I thought about plugging the standard hole in the steam tip and drilling a new one on an angle, similar to the position of the hole on a Domobar HX... any thoughts on that theory?

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    Re: EM5900 owners unite in the name of good microfoam!

    iggs: Have you done the Sunbeam coffee course? Im doing it this Saturday, so Im hoping they can help me out a bit.
    I have a suspicion their machines will steam better than mine, and the technique I learn there wont work on mine. If so, I think I might call Sunbeam and complain to see if theyll fix my machine.
    I hope its just my technique tho! Ill let you know how it goes.

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    Senior Member iggs's Avatar
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    Re: EM5900 owners unite in the name of good microfoam!

    hey mate. havent done course yet. will get round to it soon. let me know how it goes! :)

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    Re: EM5900 owners unite in the name of good microfoam!

    Hey mate,
    Course was average, dont rush to do it. We spent over an hour sitting down listening to the main facilitator talk, and about 15 mins on the machine. I made maybe 2 or 3 double shots, and steamed maybe 3 jugs of milk, and had hands on help from the two facilitators for about 1 minute each.
    The main facilitator, after I asked him to help me steam some milk on the 5900 said "yeah this machine has great steam power doesnt it?" as I was purging... then as he was helping me steam at the point where we were trying to incorporate the bubbles, said "yeah this machine doesnt really have the power to get the milk spinning". ::)
    The main facilitator could do really good milk on the 6910, and maybe if he did the milk himself on the 5900 he could have done better than when he was helping me, but he did he say he didnt think it quite had the power.
    Disappointed.

    In any case, as Ive been trying, this is what Ive found. I can sometimes get decent microfoam using roughly the technique they showed me on a 350ml jug, but on the 600ml jug I cant. So what I do now is after steaming as best as I can, I give the milk about a 15 second spin with my Bodum hand milk frother, and it incorporates a bit better. Ive tried using the Bodum frother while steaming, but thats a job that kinda needs 3 hands.

    Will keep trying and let you you know if I have any breakthroughs.

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    Re: EM5900 owners unite in the name of good microfoam!

    I would recommend getting the smallest jug you can find to do the job. A 600ml is way too big. Our HX machine at work struggles to handle the 600ml jug.
    I have a cheap breville machine at my holiday house that has pretty lame steam power, but with a tiny jug it will do an acceptable job once you find the sweet spot. I just make one drink at a time.

    Hope this helps.

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    Senior Member iggs's Avatar
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    Re: EM5900 owners unite in the name of good microfoam!

    jb-0101, that is a great story mate haha. its true though isnt it? looks impressive when purging but doesnt have the kick to get it spinning

    thanks for tips guys. might try a smaller jug. looks like ill have to save up for a better machine eh? :)

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    Re: EM5900 owners unite in the name of good microfoam!

    I have no trouble getting good microfoam with 5900 but it is all about technique. Heres my effort from this morning. I use the 600mL jug, but I am making 310 mL lattes.

    From the looks of it your milk split, all the froth poured out and your "art" is the last bit of runny milk on top. With lite/skim milk the key is to churn the milk a bit after youve incorporated the air and continue to spin it before the pour so that it does not split. Full cream milk doesnt split so readily so art is easier to pour with it.


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    Re: EM5900 owners unite in the name of good microfoam!

    Here are this mornings caps, full cream on left and lite milk on right. Maybe I should make a video of steaming milk on the EM5900.


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    Senior Member iggs's Avatar
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    Re: EM5900 owners unite in the name of good microfoam!

    darkfalz! much respect to you mate :) i would love to get my microfoam looking like that

    Quote Originally Posted by 193C2F363B3C31275D0 link=1305938764/10#10 date=1307687257
    with lite/skim milk the key is to churn the milk a bit after youve incorporated the air and continue to spin it before the pour so that it does not split.
    i agree. i often have split layers of foam and milk. can you elaborate on this technique?

    a video would be very,very appreciated. Please do one if you can :)

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    Re: EM5900 owners unite in the name of good microfoam!

    [media]http://www.youtube.com/embed/Mkva379iNfg[/media]

    My embed works on Chrome but doesnt seem to work on IE, here is the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mkva379iNfg

    Not my best by any means (I had to do it one handed) but you get the idea. I spin and aerate the milk for the first half and then move it gently towards the middle and push it in a bit deeper to get it to churn. This was lite milk. Then you roll it by hand until the pour.

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    Aki
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    Re: EM5900 owners unite in the name of good microfoam!

    I am ashamed of the piano music in the background. Forgive me, I was practising the bad parts and its making me cringe. Good coffee, though! :)

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    Re: EM5900 owners unite in the name of good microfoam!

    Darkfalz: Looks great mate, I think I just need to keep practicing to get it good like yours.
    Does anyone think the size and thickness of the steam tip makes microfoaming more difficult than it needs to be? Cause I can get good microfoam on the crappy Eurolabs machine at work that has low power but a thin tip.
    Post some shots of good microfoam if you can get them, love to see it!

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    Re: EM5900 owners unite in the name of good microfoam!

    As I try o do the same method as you darkfalz, it works for a while, right up until the milk gets to about 50 degrees (or with about 5 seconds of steaming to go), the milk starts to slow its spinning, with a little bit stopping just in the middle, and it starts producing big bubbles! I dont know what to do! And this is with a smaller 350ml jug too!
    Ive tried bringing the tip to just breaking the surface to get it spinning - doesnt work just adds more bubbles.
    Ive tried pushing the tip a bit lower to make sure I dont introduce more air - still happens.
    Ive tried tilting the jug a bit - doesnt work.
    Just means I end up with a blob on top of the coffee after spinning and knocking heaps on the bench to get rid of the bubbles. Ive attached a photo of this mornings coffee.
    Anyone else had this problem? If so, how did you fix it?


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    Re: EM5900 owners unite in the name of good microfoam!

    Well youve got to keep it circulating. Its splitting even as you are steaming it. With lite milk, even after Im finished, it has always started to split, which is why you agitate and then roll the milk until pouring. I actually bought an earlier model EM4800 or something two years ago and then returned it straight away because it was crap. I kept the Sunbeam DVD that came with it though, this DVD does not come with the PU5900 package for some reason. It has really good tips on texturing milk. I might upload them all to Youtube when I get time.

    I would give you advice to the contrary of some other advice in the thread. I am always making 310mL lattes or 320mL caps. It is easier to steam and roll this quantity of milk in the 600mL jug than for a 200mL latte. It is very difficult to do a small amount of milk with this machine and the standard jug - milk is cheap, if you use more than you need it is no big tragedy.

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    Re: EM5900 owners unite in the name of good microfoam!

    You know whats ridiculous? I can steam milk better on the utterly crappy Eurolabs "coffee" machine at work (shown here - http://www.dealsdirect.com.au/p/eurolab-semi-automatic-espresso-cappuccino-machine/) than I can on my EM5900.
    Something tells me that my 5900 should be a bit better than the Eurolabs.

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    Re: EM5900 owners unite in the name of good microfoam!

    I think it might be because its got a boiler, but it any case still pretty disappointing.

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    Re: EM5900 owners unite in the name of good microfoam!

    Had a breakthrough. I had thought the reason for the big bubbles and hard, unincorporated foam might be due to the steam tip hole, so I measured it against a 1mm drill bit and its way bigger, maybe between 1.5 and 2mm.
    I then tried the tip from someones Breville BES 820, which has a hole of maybe 0.7ish mm, and presto! Amazingly microfoam. You get dry steam as apposed to wet hot air, you get the paper rippling sound when stretching instead of big bubbles, stretching takes half the time, and when you put the tip under the surface after stretching, the milk keeps spinning, heating and incorporating no matter how deep you plunge it or where you position it in the jug.
    Best of all, its seriously simple to do. If you make a mistake, the milk isnt ruined, cause its really hard to make a mistake. Made my wife a chai latte on my first attempt with the Breville tip, didnt tell her Id changed anything, and she commented on how silky smooth it was - she said just like a good cafe!
    Stupid Sunbeam and thier big hole.
    The Breville tip does restrict the steam more, so after you shut it off it keeps coming out for about 4 seconds instead of 1, it did but take maybe 10% longer to steam the milk, and the foam is a bit thinner than with the Sunbeam tip... But the positives way out weigh the negatives.
    Im going to try to see if I can get my hands on a 2-hole tip which has holes under 1mm, and try a 1-hole tip that has a hole a little bigger than the Breville, but still smaller than the sunbeam to see what effect that has, cause I reckon one of those would be the answer.

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    Senior Member iggs's Avatar
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    Re: EM5900 owners unite in the name of good microfoam!

    hey jb, great news!
    let me know how you go with the tip experimentation... and where i can get my hands on some haha.*

    (had a quick search through CS - ppl reckon the 6910 doesnt have enough power to use any more than a single hole tip, so I think the 5900 would be in the same boat.)

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    Re: EM5900 owners unite in the name of good microfoam!

    Had a breakthrough. I had thought the reason for the big bubbles and hard, unincorporated foam might be due to the steam tip hole, so I measured it against a 1mm drill bit and its way bigger, maybe between 1.5 and 2mm.
    I then tried the tip from someones Breville BES 820, which has a hole of maybe 0.7ish mm, and presto... much better microfoam! You get dry steam as apposed to wet hot air, you get the paper rippling sound when stretching instead of big bubbles, stretching takes half the time, and when you put the tip under the surface after stretching, the milk keeps spinning, heating and incorporating no matter how deep you plunge it or where you position it in the jug.
    Best of all, its seriously simple to do. If you make a mistake, the milk isnt ruined, cause its really hard to make a mistake. Made my wife a chai latte on my first attempt with the Breville tip, didnt tell her Id changed anything, and she commented on how silky smooth it was - she said just like a good cafe!
    Stupid Sunbeam and thier big hole.
    The Breville tips hole is probably a bit too small, and does restrict the steam more, so after you shut it off it keeps coming out for about 4 seconds instead of 1, it did but take maybe 10% longer to steam the milk, and the foam is a bit thinner than with the Sunbeam tip... But the positives way out weigh the negatives.
    Im going to try to see if I can get my hands on a 2-hole tip which has holes under 1mm, and try a 1-hole tip that has a hole a little bigger than the Breville, but still smaller than the Sunbeam to see what effect that has, cause I reckon one of those would be the answer.

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    Senior Member iggs's Avatar
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    Re: EM5900 owners unite in the name of good microfoam!

    Breakthrough!

    Was skimming the thread on 6910 tips and stole some advice

    hottest and wettest!* (changing the programming of the steam settings)

    also tried using some wider incasa cups rather than my tallish bodum glasses and that helped

    the result...



    Im getting there!* bubbles still a bit big but a vast improvement.* A good way to start Monday morning :)

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    Re: EM5900 owners unite in the name of good microfoam!

    This is usually what I end up with each morning. Fairly happy, a few larger sized bubbles. This was using a 350ml jug and supermarket milk.

    I do find the steam weak. Using a 350ml jug, half filled to the start of the spout, the steam has enough power to swirl the milk effectively. The result when using the larger jug that came with the 5900 is not as smooth and combined, but still pours well.

    Nicer milk (e.g. A2, Bannister Downs) gives more consistent and smoother microfoam, but Im sporadic in stocking up milk and dont always get the best.



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    Re: EM5900 owners unite in the name of good microfoam!

    This is what Ive been able to do with the BES820 tip. Its still not perfect, I think the hole is slightly too small to create perfect foam, but its better than the 5900 tip!


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    Re: EM5900 owners unite in the name of good microfoam!

    good work guys!* looks like great progress is being made all round.

    next step is to to get a bes820 tip so i can keep up with Jb-0101 :)

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    Re: EM5900 owners unite in the name of good microfoam!

    JB-1010, I took your advice and got a BES820 tip only to find it doesnt fit on the EM5900. The thread was the same pitch but a larger diameter.

    Anyway, a bit of dremelling later the tip was on and it was a huge improvement on the stock tip. I agree the hole seems a little small. By my measurements it is 1.0mm vs 1.4mm on the stock tip. Thats exactly half the area. I think a 1.1-1.2mm hole would be perfect.








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    Re: EM5900 owners unite in the name of good microfoam!

    I just picked up the steam tip today, excited to try it out.

    Mine fit straight on to the EM5900, no dremeling required.

    Pity i had to buy the whole steam assembly, couldnt get the parts shop to sell me just the tip. Hopefully its $30 well spent!

    Off the top of my head i think the hole measured was about 0.9mm.

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    Re: EM5900 owners unite in the name of good microfoam!

    Quote Originally Posted by 1F383C332E323329323C2E295D0 link=1305938764/27#27 date=1319440332
    JB-1010, I took your advice and got a BES820 tip only to find it doesnt fit on the EM5900.
    Sorry mate - mine fit straight on with no worries, not sure why yours didnt - it looks exactly the same as the tip you got!

    louisl - let us know how you go!

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    Re: EM5900 owners unite in the name of good microfoam!

    Well, with a working backup in place, I decided to modify the original tip. I plugged up the hole with a small brass bolt and drilled the centre out. It was a 1.0mm drill, but I was holding it by hand so the wobble made the hole a bit bigger. Definitely an improvement on the BES820 tip and a huge improvement on the unmodified stock tip. Its now very easy to get great microfoam.


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    Re: EM5900 owners unite in the name of good microfoam!

    the bes820 tip i got, its leaking around the join, havent got around to getting some rubber washers for it yet.
    But the leak is upsetting the milk so the microfoam isnt that great yet.

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    Sorry to open up an old thread. It looks like the specific tip in question can be ordered here;
    Steam Wand Tip | Breville

    or as part of this wand;

    Removable Spout-Frother Wand [BES820XL/170.1] - $16.49 at eReplacementParts.com

  34. #34
    JcB
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    and the trick is... if you dont want to modify your steam tip on the EM5900:

    Forget all the talk about getting the milk to rotate or spin - I tried so many times and it never worked, but after experimenting with all sorts of positions of the steam wand with soapy water, I worked this out. Do this:

    1: Program your steam temp and wetness to suit, but the defaults are reasonable place to start with
    2: Turn on the steam - make sure you are getting a good flow without water; it may take a couple of seconds to achieve this - turn off again
    3: Put the nozzle on an angle to the surface of the milk and rest the steam tube against the "V" form by the pouring spout. Set the tip so the rounded portion is about half submerged ( 3 or 4 mm) and turn on steam flow - keep our hand underneath metal jug to feel milk temperature. Now you may not believe this, but the ideal position is actually dead centre of the milk in the middle of the jug.
    (It would appear that the angle of insertion serves to move around the milk content in the jug in a vertical rotation; for some reason this works with the higher diameter sunbeam steam nozzle opening - this solution was arrived at through trial and error. All of the traditional steam wand positions to the side cause too much rotation but not enough foam incorporation, probably because of the nozzle size and volume/velocity of the steam infusion)
    4: As per the usual instructions, you want to have the nozzle inserted just far enough below the surface to cause micro - "cavitation" which causes the air to be sucked below the surface of the milk with the steam flow, WITHOUT having large amounts of air sucked with it which just causes lots of messy froth and bubbles. And while it is described as a "ripping" sound when you have the tip at the right level below the surface, its not really a ripping sound, but it is a sound you get to recognise, like a "zzzttt".
    5: Keep lowering the jug to keep the wand tip in the same position in the middle and just below the surface as the milk stretches and rises in the jug.
    6: When it gets too uncomfortable to have your hand underneath, you are done.

    Now you may wish to try changing the steam thermoblock temperature and wetness(rate) as per the sunbeam programming instructions to change the characteristics once you have refined your microfoam technique, and a smaller diameter nozzle will also help, as per other users experiences.
    I add this ju



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