Rancilio Silvia steam tip alternatives

Need help with equipment usage or want to share your latest discovery?
User avatar
Compass Coffee
Sponsor

#1: Post by Compass Coffee »

I don't do much milk steaming but decided I wanted to get better at it for the occasions I do. From research I suspect I'll have better results replacing the stock tip. I realize most on this forum have gone beyond Miss Silvia but I'll ask anyway. Has anyone compared the Rancilio Silvia's stock to to 3 hole 1st-line has, WLL 3 hole and EPNW 4 hole? (Not that the 1st-line 3 hole really matters because of their IMO stupid policy of not selling it to anyone unless they bought Silvia from them... but that's a different issue.)
Mike McGinness, Head Bean (Owner/Roast Master)
http://www.CompassCoffeeRoasting.com

User avatar
Compass Coffee
Sponsor

#2: Post by Compass Coffee »

Never mind. :oops: Searched CG and found a number of threads talking about Silvia and 3 hole tips. My take would be 1st Line's 3 hole would be better than the WLL offering since the WLL isn't made for Silvia's smaller boiler but the stock 1 hole just fine. None of the CG threads I found mentioned the EPNW 4 hole they developed for Silvia, so I ordered one! :roll:
Mike McGinness, Head Bean (Owner/Roast Master)
http://www.CompassCoffeeRoasting.com

User avatar
HB
Admin

#3: Post by HB »

Mike,

Indeed this thread on CG covers the ins-and-outs. I've tried 1st-line's and WLL's for Silvia and always came back to the stock tip. Chris' comments in his recent article reminded me why (link):
While it was possible for me to steam milk that looked right using this tip, producing milk that looked right and tasted right was not going to happen. The one-hole tip simply does not generate enough velocity to stretch the milk sufficiently before it overheats. As a result, milk that has the right consistency lacks the desired sweetness.
I've alluded to this point in my last two writeups, but Chris states it better -- these so-called "cheater" tips help a new owner create a desirable texture devoid of soap bubbles, but in doing so they potentially sacrifice sweetness.

So my recommendation to you? Practice with the stock tip, keep the pitcher in the freezer, and the milk as cold as possible. I also pass along some hints that worked for me in my Silvia writeup. Nonetheless, I am curious to hear what you think of the EPNW steam tip you ordered after you've played with it for a couple weeks. A few buddies of mine still have Silvias and I've been tempted to ask if I could borrow one, if only for old time's sake.
Dan Kehn

User avatar
Compass Coffee
Sponsor

#4: Post by Compass Coffee »

HB wrote:Mike,

Indeed this thread on CG covers the ins-and-outs. I've tried 1st-line's and WLL's for Silvia and always came back to the stock tip.
What I didn't find was much discussion specific to the 1st Line 3 hole tip, which isn't the same as the WLL 3 hole from what I could determine. The 1st Line tip has 3 smaller holes than the WLL 3 hole not made specifically for Silvia with adapter.
Chris' comments in his recent article reminded me why (link):
Isn't that referring to the stock 1 hole tip of a totally different machine though?
I've alluded to this point in my last two writeups, but Chris states it better -- these so-called "cheater" tips help a new owner create a desirable texture devoid of soap bubbles, but in doing so they potentially sacrifice sweetness.

So my recommendation to you? Practice with the stock tip, keep the pitcher in the freezer, and the milk as cold as possible. I also pass along some hints that worked for me in my Silvia writeup. Nonetheless, I am curious to hear what you think of the EPNW steam tip you ordered after you've played with it for a couple weeks. A few buddies of mine still have Silvias and I've been tempted to ask if I could borrow one, if only for old time's sake.
Yes, I've read your (and other) Silvia tips. I really just need to practice so when guests are over and ask for a milk based drink I can wow them! The EPNW 4 hole made for Silvia tip will be here tomorrow so I'll practice with both and see which I prefer. (UPS ground and will be here tomorrow, parts wise nice to live 3 hour drive away!) Fortunately I already am in the habit of pre-freezing the steaming pitcher and use milk cold straight from the fridge. Quite some time ago my steaming thermometer broke (like a couple years ago) so a new one coming too... And will be reading and re-reading all the milk steaming how-to's I can find!
Mike McGinness, Head Bean (Owner/Roast Master)
http://www.CompassCoffeeRoasting.com

User avatar
HB
Admin

#5: Post by HB »

The thread I cited specifically talks about the 1st-line 3-hole tip. That said, reading the suggestions of others will only get you so far, especially with steam wand tips where there's lots of factors (angle, hole size, boiler volume and pressure, heating element wattage, etc.). The only choice is experimentation.

BTW, lately I'm looking at a related question from another angle: The Elektra A3 steams like a demon, providing a good vehicle to test the effects of "cheater" tips (the wand is a 10mm thread, so pretty much every tip I own fits it). I'm still thinking about how to compare... maybe side-by-side taste of milk steamed in a 12 ounce pitcher with a cheater tip versus a 20 ounce pitcher with the stock tip? Look for more On the Bench next week.
Dan Kehn

bogiesan

#6: Post by bogiesan »

In researching my (now rather old) milk steaming article for WLL, I worked up many gallons of milk. My tests were not strictly or scientifically controlled but they required a couple of standardized tools and procedures to keep the results meaningful.
1. stopwatch
2. thermometer
3. clear old fashion-style glasses or tumblers
4. food coloring
5. lots of the same kind of milk from one dairy
6. Careful if not anal notes

The variables I could not control were the milk's chemistry and the pressure from my Salvatore heat exchanger. I could watch the gauge carefully but I could not stop and wait for pressure to rebuild if a test run had started.

Once I had a respectable formula for one tip (time/temp/volume), I could then start evaluating the taste and mouthfeel. Then move on to another tip.
However, I was looking for trends in controlling the volume of microfoam, not necessarily for taste/feel. I figured the user could make fine adjustments in processes once the foam was correct for his preferences.

david boise ID

User avatar
LaCrema

#7: Post by LaCrema »

So, what were your findings for your new steam tip? Does the 3 or 4 hole tip work better/worse than the factory single hole steam tip?
"Outside the box Barista."