Steam tip on ECM Synchronika

Need help with equipment usage or want to share your latest discovery?

#1: Post by Mike-R »

I'm really impressed by the really luscious microfoam that Sprometheus achieved in his Synchronika video (fast forward to 4:44).

I'm able to get close, but not to that level. Has anyone in this forum been able to achieve this level on their Synchronika? Or on a Profitec 700, assuming that it uses the same steam tip?

I've been working through all the possible culprits I can think of...

Hole Orientation:
When my tip is inserted tightly, the holes are oriented at 10 and 4 o'clock. Looking at Sprometheus' video at 4:32, his holes appear to be just a hair past 12 and 6 o'clock. I rotated my tip to match and did get some marginal improvement, but I'm still not achieving what I want to.

Steam Pressure:
I tried changing the steam setting without much difference in results. At the moment, I like it set to 2 bar and as I steam the pressure drops down to 1.5 bar. But I have also tried setting to 1.5 bar and the pressure drops down to just over 1 bar.

Pitcher Selection:
I tried two different pitchers. I'm getting the best results from a 50 cl Motta pitcher. But it could be that a different pitcher would give better results.

Steam Dryness:
I noticed that my steam wand sputters slightly, regardless of how long I purge before steaming. The sputtering is slight, but I think it's enough to limit my results. Not sure there is anything I can do about this except to modify the machine with a longer level probe. But I would be worried that this could lead to heating element failures which would not be covered by warranty if I had modified the probe.

Tip Selection:
Yet another idea is to change to a 4 hole steam tip. I have read several threads on this website where people said they got better results with a 4 hole steam tip than the stock 2 hole tip.

Milk Selection:
On my previous machines, I tried every brand of milk available in my area. I settled on HEB whole milk as giving the best result. (HEB is a Texas based grocery store.)

Learning Curve:
I've only been using my Synchronika for about 3 weeks now. It might be that I just haven't had enough time with the Synchronika to get accustomed to the steam wand.

Supporter ♡

#2: Post by Nunas »

I also was not happy with my 2-hole tip. Yes, tip orientation makes a slight difference; you want to avoid one of the two pointing up.
Unless you're having trouble handling all the steam at the onset, keep the pressure at max. Air entraining happens nearly instantly if the tip is at the right spot. After that, it's simply a matter of creating a vortex and waiting until the milk hits the desired temp.
Dryness is affected by the height of the water in the boiler. You can lower the probe to some extent. It would be impossible to lower it so far as to expose the element.
Pitcher selection makes a difference. I find that lighter gauge metals make better foam.
I switched to a 4-hole tip and like it very much. However, this makes the air entrainment stage even faster.
Milk selection makes a difference, but not a big one, with one exception. At certain times of the year, some milk simply won't foam properly. I posted an explanation on these pages some time ago. Non-foaming Milk Mystery Solved
Your last point, practice, is the key!

Mike-R (original poster)

#3: Post by Mike-R (original poster) »

Thanks for the insights.

I think I will go ahead and buy the 4 hole tip. I found that Clive Coffee carries it for only $20 plus $5 shipping.

My Motta pitcher is very heavy gauge. I have some other lighter gauge pitchers stored away somewhere. I will dig them out and give them a try.

I will also open up the machine and see if I can insert the level probe a little deeper, but I doubt I can change the level enough to make a difference. But it shouldn't hurt to try and it's a good excuse to look inside the machine to make sure everything looks ok.

And thanks for sharing that link about milk foaming. It was a very interesting read.