Do I need to change my steam wand tip?
Here is my dilema, i can produce good enough microfoam for latte art on my lacimbali jr, unfortunately the same cannot be said when i use a larger (2 groupheads) la spaz machine that i recently bought, i think the steam tip has 7 or 8 holes.
Any fellow snobs ever experience the loss of microfoam mojo when using a different machine? I suppose i am seeking guidance from coffeesnobs high council whether i should change the steam tip to what i am used to, or i should stop blaming the tool and keep practicing until my microfoam mojo is restored on a different machine many thanks for your help!
There is an excellent thread on steaming in the milk section, follow that, it helped me get good results when I changed machines.
Different machines usually require a different knack/technique so a bit of learning is involved.
Also, if there is too much steam volume coming from the tip, I find it hard to get good repeatable results for small milk volumes as everything happens so fast.
My famema (aka cimbali) original tip was 4 holes 2mm diameter. making the holes 1mm made an amazing difference in being able to produce great microfoam consistently.
Thanks Artman, i ll keep persevering for a couple more weeks to reclaim my microfoam mojo, if no favorable change then I will just bite the bullet and get Cimbali tip like what i am used to
I suppose this brings up another question, are steam tips universally interchangable between different machine? La spaz has 53 mm group head instead of 58 mm on my cimbali so i am not surprised if the two brands steam tip are not compatible
Threads of the steam tips/arms vary as do male/female thread types.
Also the cimbali has a flare on the arm before the top starts and the tip is sized to suit at this interface.
Be mindful of potential crevices etc if you decide on getting a different brand tip that physical fits. It will make cleaning a bit of a pain.
I went through a similar learning curve/period of frustration when I grafted an old Haros urn steam wand onto my LaPavoni Pub. I was just after a longer wand, but went through a few teething issues with tip hole number and sizes.
Either too slow on larger quantities of milk, or uncontrollable on smaller quantities.
I ended up with a home-made internal 2 hole tip which seems to hit the spot. It required a little practice and experimentation with the amount of opening of the steam tap and all is now well.
Having recently changed machines (gaggia factory lever to r58), I was really having trouble steaming milk, despite trying several different tips. Realised that I was so used to the small size of the 'acorn' on the tip of my gaggia wand, that I was submerging the r58 tip to the depth in terms of the acorn height... With the larger tips on the r58 this meant I was far too deep too early. Having sorted that out I've been having no issues, whichever hole configuration I use.
You probably have basics like this sorted, but just a thought.