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Thread: Steam tip design, what's your take?

  1. #1
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    Steam tip design, what's your take?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hey all,

    Just want to get some opinions on the best design for steam wand tips.

    I have a La Pavoni, it came with a stock 3 hole tip but I swapped it out for a dome-nut which I drilled a singular hole in. The result...wayyyy better. Much easier to circulate the milk and generally a higher pressure.

    At the cafe I work at our commercial machine has a 4 hole tip and I wonder if there's a particular reason commercial machines would use this.

    Throw me some thoughts and opinions on your experiences!

  2. #2
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    There is a formula for boiler size/wand internal size and total area of hole/s in a steam tip, it was shown to me by a precision engineer who makes custom tips as an after work hobby.
    I used to think the 4 hole tips were just because in days of old (and not so old) cafes used to do the milk in a 'bottomless' 1 litre jug. In more recent times I've seen enough new machines have one of their
    3 or 4 hole tips swapped out for a custom tip or Sproline tip because they're using a 350/400ml jug for a single coffee. There is generally the bigger tip on the other wand
    to steam milk in a 600ml jug, which is then split, for making two at time.

  3. #3
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    You sir are a genius. I had always wondered whether some sort of flat/slotted tip exists, seems this is that Sproline tip. I'll have to look into milling something like this
    chokkidog likes this.

  4. #4
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by timbeardman View Post
    You sir are a genius.
    I'll tell the wife. ;-)
    Caffeinator likes this.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by timbeardman View Post
    Hey all,

    Just want to get some opinions on the best design for steam wand tips.

    I have a La Pavoni, it came with a stock 3 hole tip but I swapped it out for a dome-nut which I drilled a singular hole in. The result...wayyyy better. Much easier to circulate the milk and generally a higher pressure.

    At the cafe I work at our commercial machine has a 4 hole tip and I wonder if there's a particular reason commercial machines would use this.

    Throw me some thoughts and opinions on your experiences!
    I admit to a bias in this area - I prefer single hole tips for home use by miles (unless I am doing my 1 litre jug). Most "multi hole tips" tend to have less control and do a really good job of scalding the milk if the barista is not uber careful.

    Also, try the Espro Toroidal jug if you want to play with multi hole tips - totally different from any other jug I know and plays well with them (350 and 550ml sizes only unless they have done something new in the last year or so).

    TampIt
    PS: My 2 group La Pav has a single hole tip - but it is from the '80's.

  6. #6
    Senior Member noidle22's Avatar
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    Commercial machines have a far higher steam volume in their boilers so they can adequately supply a steam tip with more holes without losing too much pressure. They are also able to recover the lost pressure much faster due to more powerful heating elements.

    Small prosumer or domestic machines will still have the same resting boiler pressure as a commercial machine (between 1-1.3 bar) however the volume of the steam is greatly reduced due to their smaller boilers. As a result, it can only supply steam at an adequate pressure to a large multi hole tip for a short time before the steam volume is depleted and the pressure drops to a point where milk texturing will not occur.

    I hope this makes sense, the relationship between volume and pressure could probably be better related but I'm no physicist.

    The take-home message from me is that the best designed steam tip is the one which allows maximum steam to be transmitted from the boiler into the milk without adversely lowering the boiler pressure.
    The only way to know which steam tip suits a particular machine is by trial and error. There's probably a formula somewhere that could relate boiler size and pressure and give the optimum tip design or maybe someone can come up with one.
    chippy likes this.

  7. #7
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    I wanted to try a 4-hole steam tip on my ECM Technika (2-hole standard).

    I bought the 4-hole ECM tip and by golly does it operate quick. Where a small jug of milk - around 200mls - takes about 90 to 120 seconds with the OEM - the 4 hole is done in about 15 seconds. It is so fast the thermometer is lagging by 15 to 20 degrees. I think each of the holes on this tip are bigger than the holes on the 2-hole tip, so it is exaggerated.

    I’m back to the two hole tip - it is just a pity they fire in different directions - 180 degrees apart. I would like to see them about 30-degrees offset so they directed the milk in one direction.

    Maybe the 4-hole will come out if I am doing 600+ mls.

  8. #8
    Senior Member noidle22's Avatar
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    90-120 seconds is not acceptable with a two hole tip on that machine.

    On a few ECM machines I've found the inner teflon tube is too long and presses into the bottom of the steam tip. This restricts the steam flow.

    Check the tube, if it has a curled over part at the very end, this is the problem. Cut it a bit shorter and it should improve.

  9. #9
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    Hi Chokkidog. I would be keen to get a tip drilled by the precision engineer. Have a blank for my ECM ..... any chance you can pass on his details? Thank you- regards, Chris

  10. #10
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Have often contemplated threads discussing steam tip and wondered about the drama?

    I've owned a few machines, Krups, Silvia, Bezzera and LaPavoni, the Krups was pretty ordinary, however, have never has a problem steaming milk on the other 3 with the steam tip supplied with the machine.

  11. #11
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coffeeroaster1 View Post
    Hi Chokkidog. I would be keen to get a tip drilled by the precision engineer. Have a blank for my ECM ..... any chance you can pass on his details? Thank you- regards, Chris
    Check your inbox.



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