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Thread: Milk Froth Too thick?

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2008

    Milk Froth Too thick?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I have a Sunbeam EM6910 that I have adjusted the steam temp (+ 10deg) and the pump rate (-0.1secs) to produce a healthy amount of steam power.

    My problem is, when I prepare my milk for the morning coffee, the froth is quite thick on top of the milk. The bubbles seem quite small (Im guessing microfoam?) but they sit on top, almost like a dollop of cream.

    If I swirl the jug, I then get the "wet paint" look to the milk, almost glossy on top.
    Problem is, when I pour, I end up with big dollops of froth coming from the spout, along with the milk.

    Is this pouring technique (given I think I have microfoam and the glossy look of the milk) or am I simply not yet making microfoam?

    When steaming the milk -

    Purge wand - 10 - 15 secs or so until I get a good blast
    Sink wand into the milk for a few secs
    Putting jug on a fairly large angle (45deg or so)
    Bring up so that tip is just on the surface (a mm or 2 higher and it would be out of the milk). This gets a rapid whirl pool motion going and creates the foam on the top. This produces a hissing sound.
    Once termomemter hits about 30 - 40 deg (numbers dont actually start until 50, so its a bit of guess work) I put the wand about 1 - 2 cm further into the milk to bring the milk up to temp. There is almost no sound with this 2nd phase, and still a good whirlpool action.

    Does the technique sound right or is this steaming technique more for cappuccinno than latte / flat white?



  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2007

    Re: Milk Froth Too thick?

    I would say you may be “stretching” the milk too far. Take note of how far up the jug the milk expands to before you sink the wand in deeper. Next time try sinking the wand in a little earlier, before the milk has expanded as much as usual.


  3. #3
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    Re: Milk Froth Too thick?

    The sounds are a very important indicator of correct technique, but hard to describe in words. It takes much practice to instantly translate a sound into corrective (or not) action.

    I ceased the post-stretching plunge long ago -- by the time the milk is stretched to my satisfaction, the temperature is usually pretty right, so I can stop.

    If the stretching phase is over and the temperature is still a little under, I can control that by a slight variation the tilt angle or raising the jug ever so slighly.

    I dont see the need for your initial sinking of the wand -- start stretching and swirling right away. You dont want the milk to get hot quickly before its properly stretched.

    Practise, practise practise is the best advice, taking not of how the milk behaves in relation to the sounds being made.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2008

    Re: Milk Froth Too thick?

    I have the same machine and pimped the steam settings recently also. I know what youre referring to but I cannot tell you exactly what changes I made in my technique,..this just stopped happening. I guess it was just practice and not trying too hard to get increased volume in the jug if you know what I mean. I can only suggest you try not to stretch as far,.. like Bill said,.. I also think you are probably stretching too far and probably for too long also as it sounds like the milk and foam are separating.

    I never dunked the wand in prior to stetching because I knew the best time to stretch is when the milk is cold, I keep the jug in the door of the fridge and get into stretching straight away before the milk heats up. *I stopped dunking after the stretch too.. because my temp is reached without the need to heat further and as a bonus it makes it easier to clean the wand as less of it is covered in milk. *I picked that little tip up from watching a YouTube vid I think,.. I just notice the guy had microfoamed his milk with just the bottom half of the wand nozzle getting milk on it and thought that was cool.

    Another thing I have noticed once (and I remember someone mentioning this here at some point), but have not been able to repeat yet... after tapping the jug a few times and swirling the jug a few times,.. not only did the surface go slick,.. the surface of the milk curved up the sides of the jug like a shiny shallow bowl. I have only seen this once and it poured like cream all the way through. *I think this was real microfoam and Im assuming what I need to aim for.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2008

    Re: Milk Froth Too thick?

    It seems as if it is mostly the milk separating, rather than being too thick.

    I have shortened the stretching time a bit, and pushed the wand in about 1cm or so into the milk a lot earlier.

    I am also experimenting with having the wand near the edge of the pitcher and the pitcher on an angle, this gets quite a rapid whirlpool happening versus having the wand in the middle of the milk and getting more of a folding thing happening. There doesnt seem to be any difference to the end result.

    I have also found that once I have finished the milk, so long as I swirl it around enough, it folds back into itself, and I am left with a nice glossy finish with no "dollops" visible.

    Now just need to get to work on the art



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