How to clean a Bellman steamer?

Equipment doesn't work? Troubleshooting? If you're handy, members can help.
Super_th

#1: Post by Super_th »

Hello guys i hope yall doing good in quarantine :)


I have this wonderful bellman steamer but I'm struggling on the internet to find anyway to clean it

Because the performance has changed lately
And no matter how long i leave it on the stove i feel like the steam release that letting the excess pressure out it's blocked or something because there is no a lot of steam come out of it and when i start to steam in the middle of the steaming it become very slow and there is weird sound then the milk becomes very foamy like the steam wand start to get pure air out of it instead of steam

So i was thinking like to soak the whole steamer in vinegar (crazy stupid idea)
But i don't know

DaveB

#2: Post by DaveB »

I'm thinking you could add an appropriate amount of vinegar or citric acid to the water and let it heat up as usual, letting it run for 20 minutes or so once the pressure valve opens up, and let steam flow through the steam valve. If there are so many deposits that the pressure valve doesn't open after the normal heat up time, turn off the heat and RUN! :D
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spressomon
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#3: Post by spressomon »

And that brings up a point: I always used RO or distilled water in my Bellman's. I've used them extensively but never had a problem. But, strangely and without any reasonable explanation, the first little pitcher of milk I steam results in big bubbles. And then subsequent pitchers of milk steam without issue and easy to get perfect micro-cell 'luxe foam. Its as if it settles down after the first round. Strange.
No Espresso = Depresso

Jonk

#4: Post by Jonk »

If you don't let air out through the pressure release valve or steam wand before steaming that could perhaps be causing big bubbles?

As for the OP, if you suspect the valve is blocked you should probably replace it https://prima-coffee.com/parts/bellman/a-25

DaveB

#5: Post by DaveB »

spressomon wrote:And that brings up a point: I always used RO or distilled water in my Bellman's. I've used them extensively but never had a problem.
This got me thinking...I started using remineralized distilled and RO water recently (RPavlis), and this is one of the reasons:



My water wasn't nearly as soft as I thought. Good idea to use distilled water in the Bellman!
Jonk wrote:If you don't let air out through the pressure release valve or steam wand before steaming that could perhaps be causing big bubbles
He did mention "little pitcher". I found it can be really hard to get good results with small quantities of milk with the Bellman (I usually do 4 oz at a time in an 8 oz pitcher). I might try plugging one of the steam tip holes with a toothpick. This worked wonders when I did this with an unruly Expobar.
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spressomon
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#6: Post by spressomon »

I'll have to make a video of the symptom next time I use one of my Bellman steamers. But, and I've been steaming milk for cappas for a long time...just a little background there to establish the basics :D...after either Bellman (CXE25 or CX25 stove top) is heat soaked (1/2 full or less) a couple of big purges of steam and then the first pitcher is just about impossible to get really smooth small cell micro-foam.

But all subsequent pitchers of milk (same pitcher, same milk, same milk starting temp, same milk volume) steam up the way one would expect: Easy & controllable which results in super nice foam for latte art style cappas.

The one thing I haven't tried lately is starting with 1/3 fill of water. Maybe 1/2 full is slightly too much for the first steam operation...

I have both the single hole OEM steam tip arms that came with both of my Bellmans. I also ordered a couple new 2-hole arms from Prima. The CX25 stove top has enough oomph to better use the 2-hole tip. Whereas the new style 2-hole results in too slow steam-ability on the CXE25 so the single hole OEM arm works much better. I'd be interested in trying a CXE27(?) with its 750w heating element versus a 500w heating element on the CXE25.
No Espresso = Depresso

DaveB

#7: Post by DaveB » replying to spressomon »

Thanks for this post - lots of good info. I haven't used my Bellman for enough extended periods of time to draw any conclusions (let alone nail my technique), but after having 4 oz of milk literally blown out of the 8 oz pitcher despite all due caution, I tried reducing the flame on stove and also turning off the flame completely and waiting a bit. Once in a while I would get perfect microfoam, but never consistently. I found no difference between 1/2 full and 1/3 full, other than 1/3 full heating up more quickly. If PG&E's next preventive power outages last more than 4 days I'll be forced to practice more. 8)

I'm thinking if your second pitcher of milk is always perfect, why not just open the steam valve for the same amount of time prior to the first, and then let it sit for the same amount of time it would normally take before steaming the next pitcher of milk? Does the heat remain on during this time? If so, how high?

FWIW, my Bellman came with the 2 hole tip. I haven't tried steaming larger quantities of milk, but was thinking this might give better results. But when it's just me I only need 4 oz, and hate the idea of wasting milk just to get better microfoam. How much do you typically steam at a time? I've read every Bellman-related post I could find online and still have more questions than answers.
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Jonk

#8: Post by Jonk »

Curious, I always got beautiful microfoam from my CX25. Would normally steam 5oz/140g, Bellman half full, heated until the PRV started venting and then turning off the heat. This with the two hole tip. Guess it's worth mentioning that I use milk with proteins added for easier foaming though.

Super_th

#9: Post by Super_th »

Unfortunately now i have another problem

When I'm heating the milk like the tip is deep in the milk
The milk still rise and rise like im letting air into it but I'm not?!

Now there is no way i can make latte art with this problem foam making is not stopping
Like if there is air coming from the bellman

DaveB

#10: Post by DaveB »

spressomon wrote:I'll have to make a video of the symptom next time I use one of my Bellman steamers. But, and I've been steaming milk for cappas for a long time...just a little background there to establish the basics :D...after either Bellman (CXE25 or CX25 stove top) is heat soaked (1/2 full or less) a couple of big purges of steam and then the first pitcher is just about impossible to get really smooth small cell micro-foam.

But all subsequent pitchers of milk (same pitcher, same milk, same milk starting temp, same milk volume) steam up the way one would expect: Easy & controllable which results in super nice foam for latte art style cappas..
I just might have stumbled upon a Bellman Breakthrough™...

I came across this video today, and on a whim checked out the comments. The one from "StartCodonUST" (currently the newest post) explains how he cools down the wand by inserting into cold water prior to steaming the milk. Read his informative post here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBl4ih1hvXw (scroll down to comments)

Then I found another recent post on Reddit, where "Mikeyme1998" wrote:

"This is very common on the Bellman. It pressurizes the air inside the vessel before making steam, and when you open the wand, it injects all that unwanted air into the milk before you get proper steam. Here's my process, after steaming a LOT of milk it is extremely consistent and really amazingly textured.

1. Fill vessel with ONE INCH of water... Seems like too little, but trust me.

2. Turn stovetop heat to max and grind beans/preheat portafilter/watch some YouTube until the pressure relief valve goes off.

3. Position a big mug full of water and BURY that steam wand. Open up the valve and let it rip. There will be lots of bubbles.

4. Once you have a steady flow of steam into your water (there will be no more bubbling at all, just hissing) then turn your valve off and re-pressure at max.

5. Once the safety valve once again goes off, either remove the steam wand or set your stove to low heat (like 3). You're ready to steam!"


(source: https://www.reddit.com/r/Coffee/comment ... eshooting/ )

I made an afternoon cap today using 4oz milk (with the BDB; using Bellman for steam) and put the Bellman's steam wand into water to cool off, but did not open the steam valve (I didn't find the Reddit post till later). I got better results than usual but not especially noteworthy. In the past I have occasionally gotten "great' but no idea why - there seems to be no rhyme or reason. Tomorrow I will try Mikeyme's method, including the 1 inch of water. Stay tuned...
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