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Thread: Cant stretch the milk - VBM users - help!!!!!

  1. #1
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    Cant stretch the milk - VBM users - help!!!!!

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Having an absolute shocker trying to get the (almost 2wk old) VBM Levetta to stretch the milk! :( >:( :-? :(

    Ive read through as many threads on CS as I can find relating to the subject as well as the machine, practised lots and enjoyed way too many hot chocolates as a result! *Not such a bad thing if I wasnt desperate for a latte! ;D

    Just dont know what else to try! *This was one thing that the old Sunbeam machine used to do well, so extremely frustrated by the fact that the new improved machine is giving me so much strife.

    Any thoughts on what I could be doing wrong? *I know its still early days, however thought it would be easier than this! :-?

    Thanks,
    slowcoffee


  2. #2
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    Re: Cant stretch the milk - VBM users - help!!!!!

    I initially had the same problem when going from my sunbeam to the Bezerra - they have a lot more power and are very unforgiving. That said it is a pleasure to be able to texture milk in under 10 seconds - i could not imagine going back to the sunbeam and waiting so long for my milk (and dont get me strated on the stupid sunbeam tip that takes longer to clean than it takes to texture milk).

    Anyway I initially found that switching from a 4 hole tip to a 2 hole made it much easier - coffeeparts has them for about $10 so it is a cheap experiment.


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    Re: Cant stretch the milk - VBM users - help!!!!!

    I had the same problem too. I have the 2 hole tip, and even then I have closed off one of the holes by blocking it with the tip of a toothpick.

    Works like a charm. The hole needs to be just under the surface of the milk by a couple of millimetres.

    Cheers.

  4. #4
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    Re: Cant stretch the milk - VBM users - help!!!!!

    Hi Slowcoffee,

    Apart from being a barista in a commercial cafe I have owned a VBM Levetta for private use since October 2007. Please believe me when I say that the Levetta is able to texture milk beautifully, with the correct technique. I assume your machine has the genuine 2 hole
    VBM tip, as supplied from VBM distibutors.

    When texturing milk, keep the tip as near vertical as you can to the milk surface. Hold the jug at about 15 degrees into the steaming wand. Place the tip below the surface and quickly raise it to just under the surface of the milk till you hear a ch ch ch sound. Do not break the surface of the milk to produce large bubbles!

    Leave the tip in the same relative position and lower the jug as milk volume increases. Lower the tip by two centremetres into the milk once you have enough microfroth, usually when the temp reaches between 20-30 degrees, depending on the type of milk drink being produced.

    NB. Do not attempt a swirling action in the milk; rather induce a tumbling action.

    Stop steaming at your desired temperature, ( for me thats 60-65 degrees), but be aware that milk loses its texture and changes taste and other characteristics after about 70 degrees C.

    I usually knock the base of the jug two or three times on the bench to settle the milk and remove any small bubbles, then set up a spinning motion while holding the jug to polish the milk. Then pour.

    If you are uncomfortable withe the steaming power of the Levetta, introduce steam gradually. Always steam with the steaming light on, not off, as this ensures that the boiler will remain active throughout the process, and start steaming when the pressure is above 2 bars.

    Practice this procedure and within a few days youll wonder how it has become so easy!!

    Good luck,

    Trevorbeans

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    Re: Cant stretch the milk - VBM users - help!!!!!

    Thanks guys for all the tips! ;) My Levetta only has the 2 hole tip anyway, and even though Ive been very tempted to block one of those holes off, thought I should persist a little longer as its more likely to be my technique thats not up to scratch!

    Such a shame that it doesnt come with a comprehensive manual! :-?

    Will give it another go this evening with Trevorbeans tips in mind!

    Cheers all,
    slowcoffee

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    Re: Cant stretch the milk - VBM users - help!!!!!

    Hi Slowcoffee,

    I too had a difficult time getting the milk correct. I have bought a new Bezzera with a four hole tip I was tempted to change the tip or block up some holes but I resisted.

    The biggest problem was this; the milk getting up to 60-65c too quickly and small variances made a big difference. I just did not giveup; I just kept at it and wasted lots of milk and even resorted to practicing with water which to my surprise was quite helpful.

    The key thing for me was to get the air in the milk before it reached 25c with more of a tumbling motion than switch to a whirlpool to finish it off. I tilt the steam wand and keep the jug fairly level (I think there a number correct of ways to get the same result).

    I can now get the milk finished in about 10-12 second with the texture I desire.

    *
    Brett

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    Re: Cant stretch the milk - VBM users - help!!!!!

    Hi,

    I just tried the milk with the tumbling motion like Trevorbeans suggested and that works well if not better than the whirlpool.

    Brett

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    Re: Cant stretch the milk - VBM users - help!!!!!

    Hi Brett,

    Thanks - your post is really encouraging (and thats with a 4 hole tip as well)!

    Unfortunately Im STILL making the flatest, flat whites youve ever seen and feeling increasingly resentful towards the beautiful new machine on the bench! :(

    More practising required - at least its a boost for the dairy industry! ;)

    Cheers,
    Slowcoffee


  9. #9
    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: Cant stretch the milk - VBM users - help!!!!!

    Hey slowcoffee
    I have a 4 hole tip and there is a technique to it
    So please follow these steps

    Purge water from steam wand
    Use a loose hand not stiff
    At first use 300 ml jug and fill to just under the lower part of pour spout
    Place wand just under milk in the middle of jug at 90 deg (no angle) and only give it air in the first second no more
    Important - turn on steam to "full"
    Allow steam to do the work when milk starts to foam keep wand 90 deg but move jug to one side until the steam wand hits the side of jug
    This all happens in about 10 seconds and before you know it you have micro-foam

    It will work in 3 tries or less or I’ll be a monkey’s uncle

    KK

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    Re: Cant stretch the milk - VBM users - help!!!!!

    Hi slowcoffee,

    Youre not the only one on the learning curve - Im having trouble taming the power too.. Ive been following Trevorbeans steps and while Im still a fair way off from good microfoam, its getting better.

    I might give KKs method a try (or three) before I start calling names :)

    It is a good or a bad thing to have a loud roaring sound (like a space shuttle blast-off) when youve finished introducing air and the tip is an inch or so below the surface with milk tumbling?

    Mark

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    Re: Cant stretch the milk - VBM users - help!!!!!

    I will offer what I can... I went from Silvia to a VBM DS lever and it did take some practice and time.. if we assume that the milk is of good quality and capable of supporting microfoam treatment.. I have the stock, two-hole tip.

    I found that, much like many of the previous comments, being subtle and gentle works best. With Silvia I could force things a bit, but the power of the VBM takes care of itself and needs no help. The whirlpool will not happen. The motion of the two hole makes the milk move vertically and not horizontally in swirling whirlpool. Injecting a very small amount of air at the very beginning (like the first one or two seconds) is usually sufficient.

    I always stretch enough milk for two drinks at once. Trying to do less than that, especially when learning, will make things difficult. Even when doing enough for two drinks, things happen quite quickly.

    Additionally, stop sooner than you think. That is particularly true if you have been using a smaller, less capable machine. I put one hand on the side of the pitcher, and I stop when the pitcher feels comfortably warm, but certainly not too hot to hold. if it gets to that point you went too far.

    Hope that helps....

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    Re: Cant stretch the milk - VBM users - help!!!!!

    Quote from Randy The whirlpool will not happen. The motion of the two hole makes the milk move vertically and not horizontally in *swirling whirlpool.
    This is why I have plugged one of the holes with a round toothpick, it seems to make the mixing (and makes a whirlpool) easier, and of course is reversible.

    Quote from Koffee Kosmo Important - turn on steam to "full"
    Not too sure about this, in my experience the Levetta will blow the milk out of the jug. Possibly this is because of the single hole, but I seem to recall doing this when trying with the two holes. I turn it on about a quarter of a turn (I think)

    I have also followed Chriss (Talk Coffee) advice about bending the wand. I have bent it forward and to the left, so that when I hold the jug (slightly off the level) the wand it sits at an angle nicely down the spout of the jug.

    Quote from RandyAdditionally, stop sooner than you think.
    Although I think I have been getting good foam (almost the consistency of melting icecream) I think I have been going too far - *I might have too much air as my attempts at art usually all end up floating on top looking like the ubiquitous apple >:(

    If anyone is in Brisbane, maybe we could have a get together

    Cheers


  13. #13
    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: Cant stretch the milk - VBM users - help!!!!!

    If anyone is in Brisbane, maybe we could have a get together
    Hey PhilMac
    I am in Brisbane inner south
    PM me if you like to get together I am available during the day

    Believe me when I say turn steam to full it is a most important part of the process

    KK

  14. #14
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    Re: Cant stretch the milk - VBM users - help!!!!!

    As Ive mentioned before, get the 2 hole tip from Coffeeparts. It makes texturing small quantities of milk much easier. It slows things down a little and the holes are at the correct angle to get the tumbling action. It works equally well in 600ml jugs.

    I stick the wand in the middle of the jug, find the sweet spot for the stretching sound, turn the steam on full and stretch for about 5-10 secs and then sink the wand. Another 5-10 secs later and there you have it, great textured milk.

    The holes on the original 2 and 4 hole tips on the VBMs are both at crazy angles that blow the milk across the surface of the jug instead of down and through the milk in the jug. Almost horizontal instead of 15-25ish degrees.

    Javabeen.

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    Re: Cant stretch the milk - VBM users - help!!!!!

    the OP already has a 2 hole tip - Im assuming on the Levetta it is the same as on my domobar super. I too graduated from a silvia (as Randy G did) and the DS took some getting used to. Im not sure about the sunbeam, but the silvia was definitely a whirlpool machine. As soon as I got used to not trying to whirlpool my frothing improved markedly.

    The holes on the VBMs tip are at a more shallow (horizontal) angle than most, but Ive grown to like it. If you get the wand at the right depth (ie open wand with tip submersed, then lower the jug till get the right sound) and position, there is no blowing the milk out of the jug as people seem to think. I crank it to full power at the top of its cycle and theres no way any milk is being blown around. OK well sometimes there is, but moving the tip to touch the side of the jug stops this instantly, and it only tends to happen once the milk is stretched and the jug is more than half full.

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    Re: Cant stretch the milk - VBM users - help!!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by slowcoffee link=1219716863/0#0 date=1219716863
    Having an absolute shocker trying to get the (almost 2wk old) VBM Levetta to stretch the milk! :( >:( :-? :(

    Ive read through as many threads on CS as I can find relating to the subject as well as the machine, practised lots and enjoyed way too many hot chocolates as a result! *Not such a bad thing if I wasnt desperate for a latte! ;D

    Just dont know what else to try! *This was one thing that the old Sunbeam machine used to do well, so extremely frustrated by the fact that the new improved machine is giving me so much strife.

    Any thoughts on what I could be doing wrong? *I know its still early days, however thought it would be easier than this! :-?

    Thanks,
    slowcoffee
    Hi Slowcoffee,

    Have a look at the following link on Espresso Companies website - it is a good guide to getting the best milk and also bringing your Levetta back down to temperature after steaming.

    http://www.espressocompany.com.au/do...deSteaming.pdf

    Good luck.
    Deb

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    Re: Cant stretch the milk - VBM users - help!!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Koffee Kosmo link=1219716863/0#8 date=1220276852
    Hey slowcoffee
    I have a 4 hole tip and there is a technique to it
    So please follow these steps

    Purge water from steam wand
    Use a loose hand not stiff
    At first use 300 ml jug and fill to just under the lower part of pour spout
    Place wand just under milk in the middle of jug at 90 deg (no angle) and only give it air in the first second no more
    Important - turn on steam to "full"
    Allow steam to do the work when milk starts to foam keep wand 90 deg but move jug to one side until the steam wand hits the side of jug
    This all happens in about 10 seconds and before you know it you have micro-foam

    It will work in 3 tries or less or I’ll be a monkey’s uncle

    KK
    Ive tried this three times now and you know what, its working! No monkeys! ;D

    Moving the jug to one side so the wand hits the side really gets the rolling action going.. And yeah, it does work much better (and faster) with steam on full.

    Much happier with my efforts now, its inspired me to do more practice!

    Mark

  18. #18
    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: Cant stretch the milk - VBM users - help!!!!!

    Ive tried this three times now and you know what, its working! No monkeys!

    Moving the jug to one side so the wand hits the side really gets the rolling action going.. And yeah, it does work much better (and faster) with steam on full.

    Much happier with my efforts now, its inspired me to do more practice!

    Mark
    Well I am happy if you are happy ml27
    Glad to be of service
    I wonder how slowcoffee is getting along ?

    KK

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    Re: Cant stretch the milk - VBM users - help!!!!!

    Hi All, have been away for the past few days and only just logged back on this morning. Cant believe all the new posts:o - thanks so much for all the new tips to try! Im heading off to the kitchen straight away to give KKs method a whirl (well not quite a whirl, but you know what I mean! ;D)

    Will let you know the outcome later today. The pressure is on - quite literally! ;)

    Cheers,
    slowcoffee

  20. #20
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    Re: Cant stretch the milk - VBM users - help!!!!!

    ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D
    ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D
    ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D
    ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D

    slowcoffee - too busy drinking my first latte to type!

  21. #21
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    Re: Cant stretch the milk - VBM users - help!!!!!

    KK - you are a GENIUS and Ill be forever in your debt! :-*

    Attempt No.1 - a little bit average, somewhat thrown by the amount of activity happening in the jug - thought it was going to coat the walls! Made quite a nice hot choc with it though.

    Attempt No.2 - cracked it!!!!!! Fantastic micro-foam, so quickly poured a double shot to do it justice! ;)

    Attempt No.3 - not required, well perhaps some fine-tuning/confidence building in the hours/days to come!

    If I had a pool room, the Levetta would be heading straight for it! ;D

    Yippeeee!
    Slowcoffee.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: Cant stretch the milk - VBM users - help!!!!!

    Go forth and tell all
    The easy method of stretching milk with steam

    I should do a video and post it on You Tube

    KK

  23. #23
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    Re: Cant stretch the milk - VBM users - help!!!!!

    Yes please - just to see if were doing it the same way. Ive found that I need to inject air (the ch ch ch) for a few seconds, perhaps 4 or 5, to get enough foam.

    Was having another go last night for hot chocs, and was wondering why it suddenly didnt seem to be working out like it used to - suddenly couldnt get any rolling action no matter what I tried!

    Glanced at the steam pressure dial - zero! :o What the? Then I noticed that the machine was off - the timer switch had turned the machine off just before I started steaming... ;D

    Mark

  24. #24
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    Re: Cant stretch the milk - VBM users - help!!!!!

    Thats a good one Mark, I get the same thing when making multiple coffees and the tank runs out and I dont notice it... I just wonder why the milk wont foam till I see the boiler on under .5bar. *

  25. #25
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    Re: Cant stretch the milk - VBM users - help!!!!!

    This morning I decided to sleep in for 30 minutes so was running behind my usual schedule.

    Id finished making my morning coffee and was about to Backflush when the timer did the same to me as I was about to flick the lever.

    Funny thing was that for a non digital timer it was pretty spot on.
    Id tried to set it to turn off at 8am (after Ive normally left for work) and it went off at 7:59 and a bit.

  26. #26
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    Re: Cant stretch the milk - VBM users - help!!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by slowcoffee link=1219716863/20#20 date=1220491088
    KK - you are a GENIUS and Ill be forever in your debt! *:-*

    Attempt No.1 - a little bit average, somewhat thrown by the amount of activity happening in the jug - thought it was going to coat the walls! *Made quite a nice hot choc with it though.

    Attempt No.2 - cracked it!!!!!! *Fantastic micro-foam, so quickly poured a double shot to do it justice! ;)

    Attempt No.3 - not required, well perhaps some fine-tuning/confidence building in the hours/days to come!

    If I had a pool room, the Levetta would be heading straight for it! ;D

    Yippeeee!
    Slowcoffee.

    Ill second that...astonished at the steaming power of the levetta compared with the old saeco vv. By 2nd attempt with this method I had great texture.

    sd



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