La Pavoni Professional can't foam anymore

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Postby lmolter » Mar 21, 2019, 8:37 pm

After buying our La Pavoni Millenium Professional last year, I replaced the 3-hole steam wand head with a brass single-hole. Amazing difference, and I've been using it twice a day for the last six months. Great micro-foam. Recently, I've 'lost the touch' so to speak because I cannot get micro-foam anymore. I get soap bubbles or just hot milk. All along we've been using whole milk, both organic and supermarket non-organic. Could it be something as simple as the milk? I'm trying to think if the last batch of organic foamed ok, and I think it did. However, its taste changed when it was hot and conflicted with the coffee taste. Made it kind of nasty. I went out and bought plain old Borden's (USA) and have been using that. And I think that it may be the problem.

But ... when I dump the false pressure from the wand, water comes out with the steam, and it seems to come in spurts. I no longer get a constant steam stream. Should there be spurts of water always coming out of the wand with the steam? I don't mean a stream like a WaterPik, but steam-spray-steam-steam-spray and repeat. And I don't recall if this is normal.

Have I forgotten how to micro-foam in my old age (withheld), or is something degrading? Descaled recently but did not let the solution into the wand. We have soft, filtered water, so there wasn't any scale to begin with, but I did it anyway because there was a yellow tint to the water coming out of the wand when it was flushed. And it smelled metallic. Not anymore, though. Well, maybe a little yellow but no smell. Any thoughts?


Postby SeekingGodShots2 » Mar 21, 2019, 9:54 pm

Here's some suggestions:

1) Disassemble the steam wand and valve units. Inspect the rubber gasket and "O" rings for breaks and general condition. Check the wand for obstructions. Remove the brass micro tip and soak it to dissolve any trapped milk residue. Carefully with a pin or straighten paper clip clear any residue within the orifice.

2) Check the source of your milk products. At the top of the carton should be a plant identification - typically: ##-####. Just do a search with "Dairy Plant ##-####" and you'll get the plant name and location. Don't be surprised that a seemingly "local" product is actually filled clear across the country and shipped by refrigerated container to a store's central distribution warehouse. Buy locally sourced milk. As for organic milk, check the ingredients carefully, you make the call.

3) Check your fridge temperature. Ideally, it should be at 38F to 40F. Keep your frothing cup and thermometer in the fridge.
LMWDP #548


Postby lmolter » Mar 25, 2019, 6:16 am

Well, it seems that the milk I've been using does not want to foam. I went back to the organic whole milk and all is better, although I don't like the taste of the organic milk sometimes. I've used the Borden's in the past with good results, and also the supermarket's house brand. But this time, the Borden's would not foam.

Geez. It's bad enough I can't find a decent bean -- now I have to shop around for milk, too. Will it never end? ;-)


Postby truemagellen » Mar 25, 2019, 12:55 pm

Is one Ultra Pasturized vs the other being regular Pasturized? Organic vs Non-Organic should not make a difference.


Postby lmolter » Mar 25, 2019, 8:15 pm

I don't know. And, yes, I agree that organic and non-organic should not make a difference. It was just that this time, foaming was good with organic (but it had an off-taste when warmed that clashed with the coffee taste). I went out and bought the Borden's (which I've used successfully before) and I had trouble. Really big bubbles, no microfoam. Alas, I'm willing to admit that it may have been my technique. May have had a lapse of memory on how to do it (even though I've been doing it twice a day for 6 months). Oh, well. All is good now. The problem now if finding a good roast that works with my milk-centric coffee concoction. And that's a whole 'nother topic.