Results 1 to 18 of 18

Thread: I dont wanna be a Microfoam idiot... !!

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    15

    I dont wanna be a Microfoam idiot... !!

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight

    Hi all,

    Just a couple of questions, as Im banging my head up against the wall today, >:( :(

    Does anyone with the Vibiemme domobar have any particular techniques with milk steaming ?

    Ive seen so many different versions for different machines, what applies for mine ?.
    I seem to be way too inconsistant with this thing. Some days its absolute gold, up with the best microfoam Ive ever had, sweet, silky, really accentutates the coffee flavours and generally makes me obsess about " why isnt like that everytime ? " etc, etc... Its like the planets align. Then what seems to me too often for such a expensive machine, it just wont fold or combine the foam and milk. I dont feel im changing what Im doing technique-wise but I just end up with close but thinner foam that falls from the sides of the jug too quickly, indicating to me that its too thin and watery. I normally swirl afterwards and gauge it from how well it sticks to the wall of the jug.
    Is steaming the milk, particularly this machine that hard ? is it on a knife edge of *getting it right to catastrophe ? every instruction on the net I read seems to me to make it sound so simple. Can I be that much of a idiot ? Why can I not do it that easy ? damn ! >:(
    I stopped using the two hole tip as I usually only make enough for one coffee in a small jug. I got a spare tip and had one hole soldered up at a jewellers, (by the way he did the opposite hole I wanted... jerk *>:(, now I have do it a bit backwards as the steam jets towards the machine not away) anyway, Ive tried every combination Ive ever read about after scouring every website on the net. ( angling the jug, not angling, aiming the jet at the wall, keeping it in the middle etc... )
    My technique:
    I bleed the wand ( not sure how much water out of the wand is normal ? absolutely none or a little ? ) until its as dry as its gonna get, put my jug in, start to wind on the steam until I hear and see the milk start spinning (how fast is too fast ? ).
    I lower the jug enough so it starts to just suck some air in, keeping the whirlpool, then when its gone from cold to warm and Ive stretched about a 1/3rd I lower the tip until its submerged and move it closer to the edge and continue until its getting too hot to hold, shut off the steam and tap and spin in the jug and pray its gonna be a good one and be nice and silky and sticking to the walls as it runs down the inside.

    Is there a point where spinning the milk too fast wont allow it to fold and incorporate ?

    Is this thing putting out TOO much steam ?
    I dont run it so it spits milk everywhere, but, is it better to go slower with less steam than try to utilise the machines steam capabilities and get it done quicker ?
    Is any screaming noises at all ok ? or should it always just softly spin and suck a little air gently at the start ? do the screaming noises indicate that the milk is trying to spin too fast ? i.e. too much steam ?

    Sometimes I question my technique ( and sanity ), at what point do I start to think well it must be the milk quality ? ( I usually use Dairy Farmers normal milk, is A2 the way to go ? I know its heaps dearer per litre ) is the milk that temperamental regarding freshness ? or am I just crap ? do pros have the same issue or could they get microfoam outta any milk ? am I chasing my tail ?

    Ive had it about six months now and I usually make one in the morning and one after work. Ive tried going through heaps of milk to refine it all, but that usually results in:
    a) I either get it and think great ...and cant do it exactly the next time,
    or
    b) End up angry because I feel like a dick and cant do it at all and just waste milk and start burning my hands on repeatedly steaming milk one after the other because i wont let it beat me. WTF is wrong with me ?

    Thanks for any help, Im sure it cant be specific to the VBM, but after all the trial and error *I dont know anymore. Sorry for all the questions, I need to ask them all. I wish I could do a course, but it would be unlikely due to time and Id have to use my machine to really get the full benefits.

    Thanks,

    Phil the Phrustrated one. :)

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    157

    Re: I dont wanna be a Microfoam idiot... !!

    Hi Philhouse,

    Is this a Vibiemme Domobar Levetta we are talking about, or some other model?

    I have a Levetta, which requires a slightly different than usual approach to milk texturing. I can perhaps offer some specific suggestions if you have that model.

    Regards

    Trevorbeans


  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    15

    Re: I dont wanna be a Microfoam idiot... !!

    Hi Trevorbeans,

    Its the Domobar Super with the lever ? is that what you mean, sorry Im not sure what the Levetta is exactly.

    Thanks,

    Phil.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    157

    Re: I dont wanna be a Microfoam idiot... !!

    Hi again, Philhouse,

    The "Levetta" is the base model VBM with a lever but with a single 700ml boiler, retailing at about $1,299.00...I take it than you own the more expensive model ( over $2,,000 ) with a heat exchanger, and with the ability to texture milk and pour shots simultaneously.

    I have no experience on that machine, but its reputed to be a beauty!

    Trevorbeans


  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    703

    Re: I dont wanna be a Microfoam idiot... !!

    Hi Philhouse,

    A think Ive covered all the questions.

    Dunno.
    Unlikley.
    Only if its a very blunt knife.
    Dont think so.
    Well sometimes you can....... (Quote"Some days its absolute gold, up with the best microfoam Ive ever had, sweet, silky, really accentutates the coffee flavours and generally makes me obsess about " why isnt like that everytime ? ")

    A little.
    When it goes up and over the side.
    You can never have too much steam.
    Quicker the better as long as you can get the results you want.
    Wish I knew, commonly suggested it means wand is too deep.
    => No
    Yes milk does vary and it does affect the results.
    Dont waste money on expensive milk (unless you sure you can taste the difference)
    Not freshness but other qualities of the milk vary depending on time of year, cows and other factors.....and they do affect how the milk responds to steaming.
    No.
    probably, but better able to adapt.

    Summary - Your basic technique sounds correct.
    Steaming milk for one, in a small jug is always more of a challenge.
    Ive seen pros steam enough for 2 and dump the first half into another jug, then pour perfect rosettas...point is you have less lattitude with the smaller amount of milk.

    Also I have found that with same milk and technique, results can vary dramatically between different cartons of milk, not freshness as noted above but protein content etc of the milk, which comes back to the cows, and what they are eating and the time of year, so sometimes its not what you did, or didnt do, its what your working with, and I dont think the milk tastes as good when its like that either.

    Single hole wands I think work best at the side of the jug, compared to multi holed tips which work differently, and more suited to larger volumes of milk.

    I usually get good microfoam at home with Silvia, but on the old boiler at the office, with the giant 4 hole tip, I struggle to get even small bubbles in the relatively small 600ml jug.

    The 300ml jug at home with Silvia can be more of a challenge than when I steam milk for 2 in the 600ml jug.

    Sounds like your well on your way.


    Bullitt

  6. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    15

    Re: I dont wanna be a Microfoam idiot... !!

    Thanks for taking the time to reply Bullitt.

    Geez I did ask a lot of questions... *:-[ (I started typing from a stream of conciousness)

    I guess I was having a Bad Coffee day, where stuff just wont work and I dont have the experience you guys have, to know why exactly.

    I will start to consider the milk a bit more when things go SNAFU. I guess it take it for granted that the milk I buy is sufficiently fresh and full of protiens. I didnt realise it can really vary that much from batch to batch ? ie: Milk bought a few days apart from the same supermarket, some is fine then some is rubbish for microfoam. I thought it was more seasonal and drawn out over weeks.

    Ive been spoiled by the silky Microfoam and its a hard habit to kick.... can you get patches for your arm ? for those bad days ?

    Cheers *:D

    Phil.


  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    BRISBANE
    Posts
    201

    Re: I dont wanna be a Microfoam idiot... !!

    Hi Philhouse,

    I think Bullit has answered all your questions.
    Ill just make an observation about the benefit of doing a Barista course.
    I have a Rancilio Silvia and felt I wasnt getting the best out of my machine so I did a basic Barista course on profesional machines aimed at poeple wanting to work in the industry. It was money well spent. Microfoam is not a hit and miss affair any more. I found that Silvia foamed milk just as well as the pro machines once I had learnt the technique, it just took a bit longer due to smaller amount of steam available from Silvia.
    One other suggestion is to buy and use a milk thermometer. This way you end up with your microfoam at the correct temperatue every time. No burnt hands - or milk!
    Also stick with a 600ml jug until you have the technique down pat. Using a 300ml jug introduces a whole new dimension.
    All the best with it mate.
    You will win in the end.

    Alan

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    157

    Re: I dont wanna be a Microfoam idiot... !!

    Hi Philhouse,

    The guys have given you some good advice!

    Id emphasize what Alan has said about the jug size, and agree fully that it will be far more manageable, at least initially, with a 600ml jug than a 300ml, because of the very strong steaming power of the VBMs.

    Along with that, no-one says you have to open the steam all the way at once...better to feel your way and utilise the strength of steam you are comfortable with.

    To get the very best microfroth with my Domobar, I try and keep the wand tip as near vertical to the surface of the milk as possible, and set up more of a "tumbling over" action, rather than a "swirling around the jug action" which is common practice for a lot of machines.

    Good luck with it all!

    Trevor

  9. #9
    ev
    ev is offline
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    156

    Re: I dont wanna be a Microfoam idiot... !!

    Personally, I wouldnt dare using anything smaller than a 600ml jug. I steam approx 250ml for 2 lattes & the 2 hole tip works great. Heres my technique:
    Keep wand vertical & open valve fully. Stick it in the middle & surf the top of the milk until you hit 20-25 deg then sink & create a whirlpool. Bash the jug on the bench a few times & swirl.

    Evan.

  10. #10
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    15

    Re: I dont wanna be a Microfoam idiot... !!

    Cheers all,

    I just measured the amount I usually steam in the jug and its about 175ml in a 300 ml jug.

    Is that too little ?

    I hate to waste.

    I think Im starting to realise how impossible it is to get perfect silky textured milk from such a small amount. Im suspecting its heating up way too quick and not allowing for any errors, well, for the perfection I expect for myself. It just wont properly incorporate the foam and milk entirely. Its frustrating because I have fluked it a few times, I dont know how, but the resulting silky milk, both in taste and mouthfeel is divine and is really something I expect I should be getting a majority of the time by now.

    Thanks for any advice.

    Phil.

  11. #11
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Warwick, QLD
    Posts
    16,669

    Re: I dont wanna be a Microfoam idiot... !!

    Quote Originally Posted by Philhouse link=1203213616/0#9 date=1204096551
    I just measured the amount I usually steam in the jug and its about 175ml in a 300 ml jug.

    Is that too little ?
    Gday Phil,

    Absolutely not mate..... It all depends on how much you need. When making a single Latte for myself or others, the 300ml jug comes in very handy and like you say, very little is wasted and that is not a bad thing..... :)

    Mal.

  12. #12
    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    2,286

    Re: I dont wanna be a Microfoam idiot... !!

    Hi Phil,
    Its taken me a while to get it right as I foam very little milk. My standard amount for 1 coffee (thats what Im usually making) is less than 75 ml in a 300 ml (or so) jug.
    To get that working I had to semi-block the holes in my two-hole wand. I used a bit of stainless wire bent into a "U" shape and inserted it into the holes from the inside.
    I put the wand just below the surface of the milk, vertically in the centre of the jug, and foam when the pressure gauge reaches 2 bar--as recommended on the importers web site. I crack the valve open until I get the sound I want and just keep it going until the sound deepens a bit and the milk has expanded by 50% or so. I found it was very easy to overdo it. (VBM Domobar--sometimes called a Levetta)
    Greg

  13. #13
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    10,496

    Re: I dont wanna be a Microfoam idiot... !!

    I do a little less than 150ml in my 300ml jug.
    I mostly use the 300ml jug.

  14. #14
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    15

    Re: I dont wanna be a Microfoam idiot... !!

    Cheers all,

    I found this browsing the Coffeegeek frothing guide:

    "I generally use the same quantity of milk for two reasons. One is that to create foam you need proteins (if you read our Hi Milk section, youll see why). The more milk being steamed the more protein is available to create foam. To use less milk you have less of these key components to create the volume of foam you will need for a cappuccino.

    The other catch is that if you go too small on the quantity of milk the milk will heat up too quickly for you to have time to create the quantity and quality of foam you need. This depends on the machine of course with smaller, slower steaming machines being able to steam and foam smaller quantities of milk without a problem. It is definitely a concern at the commercial or prosumer level of machines where too small a quantity of milk will almost flash heat on you before you can create any foam. It can of course be done but to start here would only add to the difficulty of learning to steam milk."


    Might start using a little more milk in the jug just to get my self sorted out, before I jump in the deep end withy small amounts of milk.

    Phil.



  15. #15
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    15

    Re: I dont wanna be a Microfoam idiot... !!



    Hey all,

    Ive had a little play around with the water level sensor and lowered it a touch, as I was gettin a fair amount of wet steam, now its MUCH drier and seems to be really producing better textured milk. Ive also altered my angle-of-attack in the jug and a variation on my past technique seems to producing HEAPS better microfoam.

    By the way.... I just had THE best Coffee Ive ever made. Absolute GOD shot and almost perfect milk.... The Pinnacle of my coffee experience, not just my own made coffees, pretty much all coffees I ve had the experience of drinking. The Chocolates and the flavours were out of this world and the milk lifted all the flavours too, not buried them in hot milky flavour. * picture Homer drooling... aagghhhh.... mmm Coffee !! *

    Im scared now Ill never be able to reproduce it to that level again.... but at least I know, that if the planets align... and I hold my left foot up at 46 degrees and my tongue just right... the Machine is capable of bliss and

    Maybe Ill reach Coffee Nirvana again !!

    TODAY IS A GOOD COFFEE DAY !!

    Cheers all.

    Phil



  16. #16
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    846

    Re: I dont wanna be a Microfoam idiot... !!

    Quote Originally Posted by Philhouse link=1203213616/0#14 date=1204527454
    ... by the way ... I just had THE best coffee Ive ever made. Absolute GOD shot and almost perfect milk ... The pinnacle of my coffee experience, not just from my own made coffees, but pretty much all the coffees Ive had the experience of drinking.
    Phil, mate, youve evidently not tasted mine yet! ;D

  17. #17
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    15

    Re: I dont wanna be a Microfoam idiot... !!

    ;D ;D

    Nah true ! ;D

    FYI, tonights coffee... good, a little donut extraction though... went around the flavour... damn.. the search continues !!

  18. #18
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    11

    Re: I dont wanna be a Microfoam idiot... !!

    Quote Originally Posted by grimsby link=1203213616/0#6 date=1203420594
    Hi Philhouse,

    I have a Rancilio Silvia and felt I wasnt getting the best out of my machine so I did a basic Barista course on profesional machines aimed at poeple wanting to work in the industry. It was money well spent. Microfoam is not a hit and miss affair any more. I found that Silvia foamed milk just as well as the pro machines once I had learnt the technique, it just took a bit longer due to smaller amount of steam available from Silvia.

    Alan
    Whats the secret to perfect microfoam? Im a latte art newbie and recently got myself a Silvia and Im tryiyng to work out how to consistently steam latte art quality milk. Same witih Phil - there seems to be lots of instructions, some of which is specific to certain machines.

    For me it is hit and miss (mostly miss) and the problem is Im not sure where Im going wrong. Can you describe your technique and how long it takes on the Silvia to get to perfect milk?

    It would be great if you can share some common mistakes and how to diagnose/fix these.




Similar Threads

  1. I need good grinder but idiot proof
    By redtag in forum Grinders
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 22nd August 2012, 03:38 PM
  2. Wanna buy a Lelit PL042 Combi
    By Roobuls in forum Brewing Equipment - Midrange ($500-$1500)
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 6th December 2010, 03:58 PM
  3. YES I HAVE MICROFOAM!!!
    By greenman in forum Milk Froth and Bubbles
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 27th September 2007, 05:31 PM
  4. Idiot needs help with Rocky
    By Shadow_Fox in forum Grinders
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 21st August 2007, 01:34 PM
  5. I wanna start roasting
    By Gruzz in forum Blending Room
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 28th June 2006, 07:54 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •