Major Bellman stovetop steamer breakthrough! - Page 5

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

DaveB wrote:[snip]...While this is true, the idea with most machines is to purge the condensed water from the wand to get a drier steam and not blow it into the milk (generally just a second or so). The Bellman seems to need a much longer purge for the purpose of evacuation of air from within.
I wonder if this is related to the simplicity of the unit, for example, does it have something like a check valve to restrict flow rather than a potential of liquid/air drawn back in? when the unit slowly depressurizes it would actually create a slight suction as it equalizes with atmospheric pressure and something like a check value or a non-return value would restrict the flow to one direction. You might be able to test it by bringing it to pressure then submerging the wand in some coloured liquid and leave it overnight. in the morning check to see if any was siphoned in the unit.

I just opened mine up and I looked inside and it just looks like a small hole in there, other than the dial is there anything else that restricts flow? (remarkably my unit was still pressurized like 16 hours after use but only slightly)

samuellaw178
Team HB

#42: Post by samuellaw178 »

Great discussion all! Looks like many Bellmans are getting a good work out. :lol:

Just want to seek clarification and express my slight concern (but potentially an important one since it involves safety)....isn't the relief valve meant to be a safety net only when thing goes wrong? ie. it's not supposed to be triggerred regularly, or in day to day use. I might be misunderstanding (as will casual readers) but it appeared to me the Bellman is not being used that way in this thread.

Borrowing from espresso machines, the boiler on an espresso machine may be safety-rated for up to 2.5 bar max, but it's operational pressure is designed to be 1-1.5 bar. I imagine the same might apply to the Bellman (my personal interpretation but I have no manufacturer's documentation/evidence to back it up) and so we shouldn't be taking it to the max pressure that frequently. Likewise, you wouldn't be triggering the boiler safety valve on any espresso machine casually...

To compare, I first put 8oz of room temp water into the Bellman, and it took 8 minutes until the relief valve went off.
set my stopwatch and the pressure valve starting hissing in 5 minutes flat!

jgood

#43: Post by jgood »

My understanding is the way you know the Bellman is at proper pressure is when start to "sing" -- I think it's entirely different than an espresso machine where there are other mechanisms to control pressure. On the few occasions when I've been inpatient and thought it was hot enough, but not "singing" through the pressure release, it didn't steam properly due to lack of pressure.

samuellaw178
Team HB

#44: Post by samuellaw178 »

That's exactly why I think it's worth clarifying. I don't think that is the case...

Perhaps the valve on the Bellman manual steamer (sans gauge) is different (release at lower pressure) and/or have multiple valves (one for operation and one for safety)?

I had a Bellman CX25P (Bellman with gauge) and from memory, it only has a pressure relief valve which appears to be used only as a safety overpressure valve. It wasn't hissing when it is in operating pressure (2 bar or so).

I had also tried two different types of electrified steamer (one Bellman style, and one Mr. Cuppaccino) in my quest searching for the perfect portable steamer. :lol: There's usually a thermostat built in for these, and an additional valve for safety release. But again the valve is not triggered under operational pressure. I took it to mean these are only to be used as a safety measure for supposedly when the thermostat goes malfunction.

Pardon the low quality image..


DaveB (original poster)

#45: Post by DaveB (original poster) »

The Bellman acts much like the La Pavoni; you know it's ready when the relief valve starts hissing. I'm guessing both have very similar pressure thresholds.

That's why I made the joke comment "RUN!" if it didn't start hissing after a while. After mine had a sudden decompression the other day, I wanted to make 100% sure that it was because I hadn't tightened its top knob enough - and not because the relief valve wasn't working. So the next time I used it I waited and watched from a dafe distance, without anything fragile anywhere near it. :D
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DaveB (original poster)

#46: Post by DaveB (original poster) »

samuellaw178 wrote:I had also tried two different types of electrified steamer (one Bellman style, and one Mr. Cuppaccino) in my quest searching for the perfect portable steamer. :lol:
My guess is since they are electric, the heating elements cycle on/off based on feedback from a thermostat - much like a boiler in an espresso machine.The later La Pavoni models came equipped with pressurestats to regulate temperature.
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samuellaw178
Team HB

#47: Post by samuellaw178 »

I am familar with Pavoni that works that way (lovely 1st gen Pavoni :D ). It's just that I don't think the modern Bellman was designed to be operated in the same way. :P


I found the Bellman manual online that says this:


https://www.clean-machine.com.au/images ... Manual.pdf

jgood

#48: Post by jgood »


Interesting - I looked up the manual for the steamer as the previous post was the espresso model manual. It is attached - but suggests a very short heat up time. The Prima coffee video suggests 15 minutes using water up to the seam. Neither suggest heating till the valve releases. I will try the Prima method and report back but I do wonder if the instructions were written by an attorney, rather than anyone who actually steamed milk!

DaveB (original poster)

#49: Post by DaveB (original poster) »

This is one of the videos I watched when researching the Bellman prior to purchasing it. The video is from 5 years ago and features Steve (who is an active HB member) representing Prima. The following quote begins at 01:32:

"When you're operating the unit, you want to make sure the safety valve is lightly venting off pressure. That's just to make sure that it's not over pressurizing and just to make sure that everything is safe and ready to use."

That oddball instruction sheet quote: "allow the machine to heat 3 to 5 minutes until there is sufficient pressure in the boiler" is laughable! :roll: Filling the machine even halfway takes a good 15 minutes (and 8 minutes if only 1/4 full).

But wait, there's more! Here's another video from 2 months ago, again from Prima. If you skip ahead to 01:33 and let it play for a few seconds with the volume up, you can clearly hear the relief valve hissing before he starts steaming.

Any questions? :D
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DamianWarS
Supporter ♡

#50: Post by DamianWarS »

jgood wrote:My understanding is the way you know the Bellman is at proper pressure is when start to "sing" -- I think it's entirely different than an espresso machine where there are other mechanisms to control pressure. On the few occasions when I've been inpatient and thought it was hot enough, but not "singing" through the pressure release, it didn't steam properly due to lack of pressure.
that's probably a reasonable way of looking at it, one issue is since it has no manometer you never really know what the pressure is at. Hoffman has recently done a video on Making Cappuccino/Latte/Flat White at Home (without an Espresso Machine)and the bellman was one of the features at 14:47. His frustration with it was that he never knew what the pressure was and he is quoted saying:
James Hoffman said, not wrote:While I was testing this, would regularly just open the valve a little bit to see how much steam was coming out and try and kind of gauge whether that was enough to foam good milk from you know having used commercial machines for years and years and years... often I guessed wrong, there wasn't enough steam. I would start to steam a picture of milk and it would go wrong, there just wasn't enough pressure inside of it.
So while I admit Bellman can't recommend using the safety relief valve as a part of daily use it seems to be the most effective way to guarantee pressure.

With an espresso machine, 2 bar for steaming is way too high and it should be somewhere between 1-1.5 bar. I have no idea what it is in this unit. Bellman makes a stovetop espresso model as well which does have a manometer. I suspect they use the same pressure and if someone had one they could let it run until the safety release valve opens and tell us what their nanometer says on their unit, then steam and tell us what it drops to because i suspect it drops fast.