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Thread: A little help needed with milk.....(very new here)

  1. #1
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    A little help needed with milk.....(very new here)

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi all, signed up to these forums because I am an avid coffee drinker and Im trying to begin my adventure into the world of espresso. I read a guide earlier and it said that "the more you learn, the less you know". Very true. Seems like the more research I do, the bigger the world of coffee gets!

    Went out and bought a Sunbeam Cafe Ristretto (the E2300, super cheap, 100 bucks, Im a poor student, please dont flame me I had a laugh). My previous experience with making coffee is not huge, instant to drip coffee (for about a year) to now.

    My problem is not with pulling the shot or even with the taste of the coffee. I am using rather el cheapo beans (Harris Dark Roast Espresso) and grinding them myself. Getting a nice fine grind, tamping (always a double shot, love my strong coffee). Getting a nice crema (though ive read that these machines produce a fake crema that you cant really judge from?). Im used to my coffee always being rather bitter, so when I pulled my first shot and added milk I was blown away by how sweet and smooth it was (ps, never add sugar). Better than anything Ive ever had, cafe or otherwise.

    My problem is with the milk. The machine didnt come with the little steam wand attachment, but i figured it wasnt a big deal coz all the the top machines Ive seen dont even seem to have one. Stretches fine, doubles in size, produces delicious silky milk. BUT WITH NEXT TO NO FOAM. It is incredibly frustrating cause i really wanna start learning some latte art ;) Now I have no delusions as to the rediculous weakness of the machine. Some guides Ive read said it takes like 15-20 secs of steam to get microfoam and up to temp and Im there steaming for over a minute and its luke warm I had a laugh.

    My process is this:
    1) COLD milk, 1/3 fill jug.
    2) Run steam through wand till its not watery and getting dry steam.
    3) Hold wand tip rougly 1-0.5cm under surface in middle of jug for aaaaages. (I understand this is SUPPOSED to make the microfoam)
    4) Plunge it deep and get swirly motion to finish.

    Am I doing something horrendously wrong? Any suggestions as to how I can improve?
    (will post some pics up when i make my next coffee......probably in a couple of hours I had a laugh)

  2. #2
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    Re: A little help needed with milk.....(very new h

    Hey there ASR

    I used to own one of these babys. Good machine for the price.
    Might I suggest you do a google search under sunbeam ristretto site:coffeesnobs.com.au you will get a mountain of hits. Maybe some will be advantageous to your quest in getting the most out of the machine (you will probably also find I have asked similar questions when I was at the same stage in my coffee life)

    As for the steaming - your technique sounds solid enough. Again search for steaming techniques here. Good steam technique is pretty much universal to all machines, it will just be the amount of time it takes and a few little machine apecific nuances that will change. The ristretto is increadibly slow to steam, you are right, but sometimes that is a good thing as it gives you time to watch your technique and make sure you are not under/over stretching/frothing etc. Keep at it and read up on the search hits there is a lot of good discussion there which I know I benefited greatly from.

    Shannon.

  3. #3
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    Re: A little help needed with milk.....(very new h

    The wonderful thing about snobbery, is its all in the taste :) Ive even pulled good shots from a Krups....then it breaks in two weeks, but hey, what a great two weeks!

    Dont apologize for the machine you can afford, more power to you when you pull something delicious from a machine that didnt break your pocketbook!

  4. #4
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    Re: A little help needed with milk.....(very new h

    Hi ASR-Briggs,

    I am a newbie here too I had some difficulty getting with the milk correct; I read something that really solved my problem. The solution was to get the air in the milk early before it gets to 25C. I have the steam very shallow to get the air in than I submerge it about 2-3cm till the end.

    Hope this helps.

  5. #5
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    Re: A little help needed with milk.....(very new h

    Yah, I have found that the only way I can get froth is if i have the tip pretty much sitting AT the surface (like a mm under). Pretty tricky to do!

  6. #6
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    Re: A little help needed with milk.....(very new h

    gday asr briggs
    1. hard to know whats going on - you say the milk is doubling in size and youre getting a good stretch going on but theres no foam - the stretching time is when you are creating foam. so if you are stretching the milk, then you should have foam.
    2. are you waiting long enough for the boiler to create some steam?
    3. have a play with when you start to steam. i used to have a similar machine that would let you know when it was ready to steam with a led light going on. if i waited until the light came on to start steaming, my steam rapidly ran out.
    the trick was to start steaming JUST before the light came on - this kept the thermostat powering on, creating more steam.

    itll happen!

  7. #7
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    Re: A little help needed with milk.....(very new h

    Heya Roknee,

    Yes the milk does double in size (easy enough to see in the jug) but when poured its pretty much just.......well.......hot milk I had a laugh.
    And yes, i always run some steam through the nozzle before i start steaming the milk. Usually spits out hot water for about 10 seconds....
    And to 3, I had not heard of this, will have to give it a try! Thanks.

    Just through experimenting, Ive actually managed to get some foam worth mentioning. Gotta hold the tip pretty much at the surface and at the side of the jug on an angle. Managing to avoid the elephant foam though, so I think I must be doing something right. Still not latte art consistency.......will keep at it though.

  8. #8
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    Re: A little help needed with milk.....(very new h

    Ive always done milk with the wand right at the top of the milk so that I can see the milk moving down and hear a sucking noise. Although if youre not careful youll get a lot of bubbles.

    The thing Ive found with milk is that it takes a lot of practise. And some days it still just wont work :)

  9. #9
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: A little help needed with milk.....(very new h

    Quote Originally Posted by bakeacake link=1218766039/0#7 date=1219227304
    The thing Ive found with milk is that it takes a lot of practise. And some days it still just wont work :)
    Very true.

    P.S. That a long time before making your first post. Welcome to Coffee Snobs.


  10. #10
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    Re: A little help needed with milk.....(very new h

    Quote Originally Posted by Thundergod link=1218766039/0#8 date=1219234104
    P.S. That a long time before making your first post. Welcome to Coffee Snobs.
    While I like coffee, Im not sure Im as into it as many of the posters here and I was a bit scared of being exposed as a novice :)

  11. #11
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: A little help needed with milk.....(very new h

    Quote Originally Posted by bakeacake link=1218766039/0#9 date=1219445228
    .... I was a bit scared of being exposed as a novice :)
    Ha, that didnt put me off *:) Dont forget that everyone on CS started off as a novice. *No one is born a barista.

    My attitude is that I enjoy participating and I can contribute in any way Ill try. It is helps or adds to the sum of knowledge, great. If I get it wrong then someone will correct me and I and others will learn. I think that is preferable to retaining a misconception and never having it tested or corrected





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