Turning a cheap "steam espresso" machine into an electric steamer?

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

#1: Post by boren »

I just won a bid for a no-pump steam-based "espresso" machine ("Salter EK3131") and I plan to experiment with it as a dedicated milk steaming device. I figure that with a 240ml boiler and an 870W heating element it should be able to steam milk reasonably well. I could be wrong, but for the 25 GBP I paid for it (new & shipped) I'm willing to take the risk.

Where I do expect things to be sub-optimal is the steaming tip. There isn't really one. Once I remove the panarello-like attachment I expect to find a simple straight metal wand with a hole that's likely to be too large. I may use a thread die tool to create a thread at the bottom of the wand and then screw in a regular 1-hole steam tip. Any idea what threading standards are used for simple steam tips (not the no-burn type)?

BTW, based on the input of one owner of this machine the length of the wand is 8cm with the plastic part and 7cm with it removed. Seems reasonably long.

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Randy G.

#2: Post by Randy G. »

You might be best served by purchasing a replacement wand from a known espresso machine manufacturer which has various tips available and silver soldering it to that wand so that 'standard' tips can be used.
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#3: Post by Nunas »

You may find that there is a steam tip on the end of the metal. On several Breville models, the pannarello is just a metal sleeve around a standard steaming wand. Good luck!


#4: Post by bgnome »

A lot of the Mr. Coffee and Krups machines like these that I have spotted in the thrift shops have chromed plastic wands instead of actual metal. I would plan on replacing the whole bit.

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#5: Post by yakster »

You could try drilling an acorn nut to make a steam tip to fit.

Single hole steam tip diameters for lever machines

La Pavoni Pro steam nozzle

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#6: Post by MB »

I have found that many of these have an actual steam tip at the end of the metal wand underneath the removable panarello doohickey. I have used a similar machine in the office for steaming milk to go with espresso from an Espresso Forge (my son does the same with a Robot). It warmed up steaming into a mug while I made the espresso. It took a little longer to steam the milk, but with good technique it made decent textured milk sufficient enough to pour latte art.
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boren (original poster)

#7: Post by boren (original poster) »

Thanks for all the comments. Really useful information, links and ideas. I'll wait for the machine to arrive before finalizing on a specific solution. It might be a non-issue if indeed behind that panarello-looking wand hides a proper tip with a hole that's the right size. If not, I'll try to find a way to attach a commercially made tip. I'm not completely sold on the idea of making my own tip. It seems more difficult to drill the right size of hole (and not break the tiny drill) than to just get a properly made tip. They're not expensive.

In the meanwhile I found some useful information about steam tip threads on the Weber Workshops page for their Steam Dial product (a variable aperture steam tip). Here's a summary of this info:
  • M10x1 Female is used by ECM, Rocket, QM, Isomac, Expobar, Grimac, Lelit and Rancilio Silvia
  • M6x1 Female tip is used by La Pavoni
  • M8x0.75 Female tip is used by Wega, Astoria and Kees van der Westen
  • M8.5x0.75 Male tip is used by Decent, Rocket, ECM and Isomac
  • M7x1 Male tip is used by Olympia Cremina (2012 model and later)
  • 1/8 BSPT Pipe Size, 28 TPI Female tip is used by many commercial La Marzocco GS3, Nuova Simonelli Oscar, and Slayer Espresso Machines