How to choose right size/shape frothing pitcher - Page 2

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
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#11: Post by roastaroma »

FWIW, the 12 oz. bell-shaped pitcher in my photo above is just 3-1/4" tall. So in your case, it probably isn't so much a matter of the wand length, but how much extra space you want in the pitcher. Having at least half the pitcher free for stretching, swirling, and general sloppiness is IMO helpful. The steam tip doesn't need to reach all the way to the bottom, but just submerge completely for the whirlpool phase (depending on the steam intensity available).

Happy Frothing,
"Non è la macchina, è la mano."
LMWDP #223


#12: Post by norfbech »

I too have a gaggia classic and after many trials and tribulations have almost got to the point where I'm getting constantly good microfoam (the art, however, is another matter entirely).

I took off the foam enhancer 'thingey' and now just use the small plastic tip (I 'float' the first circle of this plastic bit on top of the milk at an angle - so just the few mm tip is immersed).
I'm pretty much always making two cappa's/small lattes so found the 12oz jug a little too small (had to make two and was always left with a little waste).
I've now got the 20oz jug: ... g-jug.html

and the foaming has improved by a long 'stretch' (sorry). I think, as somebody else mentioned on this forum, that it's due to the larger portion of milk have longer to heat up. This jug is being used with the aforementioned tip above. I've not had any 'soap' bubbles from it at all, just a nice glossy cream.

I may however add a Rancilio Silvia wand over the next month or so.

EspressoGirl (original poster)

#13: Post by EspressoGirl (original poster) »

I am deciding between a 12 oz straight-sided pitcher and a slope-bottom 10 I really want the straight sided type, but the smaller one doesn't come in that size.

In addition, I have been told that it is easiest to froth the milk properly if you have the pitcher half full, which for a 12 oz pitcher means 6 ounces--lots of waste. I think I would normally start with about 4 oz, for one latte or cappuccino, so if I use the 12 oz I guess that means I will be just 1/3 full. I don't want to make the process more tricky, but the vendor says there should be no problem with that 12 oz size and 4 oz milk.

My wand is 3" and the 12 oz is just 3 1/16" in height, which I think is appropriate for the length of that wand (?) The 10 oz pitcher is 2 3/4", so maybe even better (?)

Again, I really prefer straight sides so what do people think about whether the 10 oz (which I would fill closer to half way, but I don't like the shape of) is really going to be easier to foam with or should it be just as easy with the 12 oz?

EspressoGirl (original poster)

#14: Post by EspressoGirl (original poster) »

This is a reply to Marshall who has the 12oz pitcher from Espresso parts. I am getting varying information about the overall height of it. Could you possibly measure yours top to bottom and tell me the total height? I only have a 3" wand.


EspressoGirl (original poster)

#15: Post by EspressoGirl (original poster) »

Ok--now I have been told the 12 oz. is 3 3/4" and my wand is only 3". Isn't that problematic?

the 10 oz is 3 1/4".

Could the 12 oz still be ok for me?

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#16: Post by cafeIKE replying to EspressoGirl »

Determine the pitcher by the amount of milk you are going steam. Several pitchers are not too many.

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#17: Post by HB »

EspressoGirl wrote:Ok--now I have been told the 12 oz. is 3 3/4" and my wand is only 3". Isn't that problematic?
EspressoGirl wrote:Could the 12 oz still be ok for me?
Or you could start by Milk Frothing in a McDonald's Hot Cup:

«missing video»

They're really cheap and come in several sizes!

Seriously, there's something to be said for a pitcher shape / volume that's just so, but worrying about an extra 1/2" of pitcher depth is a bit crazy. A general guideline is choose a pitcher half the volume of the final result, accepting that there may be a couple ounces of "waste" to allow for rolling the milk properly. Personally I think you'll find it easier to learn with a larger 12 ounce pitcher than a 10 ounce, but it's a minor difference you probably would not notice unless comparing them side-by-side.
Dan Kehn


#18: Post by Marshall_S »

Dan hit the nail on the head.

FWIW, my pitcher is 3 3/4" from top to bottom and I usually fill it with milk right up to the bottom of the spout (which measures about 2" from the bottom).

All I can say is that it works great with my Rancilio wand and I'm sure you'll like it.

Relatively speaking, steaming pitchers are inexpensive - why not get a couple and see what you like-

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#19: Post by cannonfodder »

You can steam in just about anything once you get the hang of it. As a general rule, I get a pitcher that is twice the capacity of what I am steaming. 4 ounces of milk gets an 8 ounce pitcher, 6 ounces get a 12 ounce pitcher. Keep to that formula (or close to it) and you wont have a problem. Too small a pitcher and you will stretch the milk and blow it out of the pitcher when you get the swirling action going. Too large a pitcher and the milk will not be deep enough, your wand will bottom out and blow big bubbles into the milk. Get yourself two sizes, a smaller one for your usual daily drink and a larger one for the occasional multiple drink making, or a latte. Pitcher shape may have an impact on steaming, but it is minor.
Dave Stephens

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#20: Post by HB »

cannonfodder wrote:Too small a pitcher and you will stretch the milk and blow it out of the pitcher when you get the swirling action going.
As a challenge, I tried steaming milk for a macchiato in a 3 ounce pitcher on the La Marzocco 3-group at Counter Culture. It can be done, though the texture suffers. And if you take your eye away for even 1/2 second to stop a pour, you may get splattered with boiling milk (don't ask how I know :oops:).

PS: For those striving to maintain an exceptionally frugal milk budget, see Mike's No milk waste home macchiato for hints.
Dan Kehn