Microfoam and Latte art pouring question

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
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Postby zany13 » Mar 17, 2017, 3:48 pm


I am still practicing my microfoam and latte pours with my new machine, I can get whirlpool movement with the milk while steaming. But I find that the microfoam at the end still isn't as silky as in the you tube videos?

I am using whole milk, I can position the steaming wand to the point where there are no big bubbles produced, and "kissing" sound is apparent. The ending product is a very glossy fine microfoam, but if I leave the jug for just 5-10 seconds on the counter, the thicker foam coagulates to the surface. Is this normal?

Am I pulling the milk too long? I never tried timing the entire procedure, but can anyone tell me how fast they usually take to froth whole milk?

the 2nd issue I have is my pouring, maybe its technique... when it pours into the my tilted latte mug with fresh espresso present, the microfoam tends to float rather than sink beneath the surface of the crema. When this happens, I try to raise the milk jug higher to create more height drop, and that seems to work, but once I lower the spout close to the surface of the coffee, the milk flows out and just scatters on the surface again. I cannot control the waving moving to draw the Rosetta leaf with great contrast like the pros do.

With my old Silvia, I was able to create better control of the pour than now. I cant seem to do a decent leaf with a prosumer machine and its getting frustrating :cry:

Can anyone give me some advice on what I am doing wrong?


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Postby Beezer » Mar 17, 2017, 4:05 pm

It would help if you posted a video of your steaming and pouring technique. Otherwise, it's hard to say what might be going wrong.

But that said, the best thing is just to keep practicing and watching instruction videos online. It takes a while to get used to a new machine's steaming properties, especially going from a small machine like Silvia to a bigger prosumer machine. It can take months to get the technique right, especially if you're only doing a few drinks a day like most home users do. So be patient and keep working at it, and you'll eventually get better.

Oh, this is one of the best videos I've seen for steaming milk. They also have good ones on pouring.

La Marzocco Home also has good instructional videos.

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Postby Peppersass » Mar 17, 2017, 4:16 pm

It sounds like you're stretching too much, probably because your new machine has more steam power than Silvia.

Try reducing the stretching time. Don't worry if the milk seems a little thin, even after you're done spinning.

If you steam with a thermometer, consider lowering your targets. They may be too high or you may be getting overshoot due to the thermometer lag time. I don't use a thermometer. I stretch until the bottom of the pitcher comes off the chill and begins to get warm (slightly higher than room temperature.) I also look for at least some increase in volume, but it doesn't need to be a lot. Then I sink the tip and spin/churn until just before it seems like the bottom of the pitcher is going to get hot. If the bottom is too hot to hold before you remove the wand, you've gone way too far.

If the above doesn't work, consider skipping the stretch altogether. If you machine has enough steam power, you can sink the tip slightly below the surface (below the "kissing" point) and just spin until the target temperature or feel is reached. With sufficient steam power there will be enough churning of the milk to draw in all the air you need.

Swirling the pitcher vigorously just before pouring sometimes helps to remix after the pitcher sits on the counter for a few seconds and can help avoid the dreaded marshmallow.
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Postby zany13 » Mar 17, 2017, 4:20 pm

Ah the infamous Chris Baca video!

I watched this back in 2013 learning how to froth milk with the Silvia! Great vid!

Yeah I think I am stretching it too much. I don't use a thermometer on the milk.. I do notice that the milk is too hot to the touch.

Ok will try that no stretch technique. I always think I wont stretch enough that's probably why I went over the mark.

THank you!

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Postby cannonfodder » Mar 18, 2017, 10:53 pm

With a prosumer class machine you spend much less time stretching the milk. In fact with my A3 I only stretch the milk for 5 or 6 seconds then drop the tip half way down the pitcher and let it whip it all up. You do not need to stretch milk much with a high powered machine unless you are after a classic monk cap cappuccino where you have a lot of fine textured dry microfoam.
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Postby Charlene » replying to cannonfodder » Mar 18, 2017, 11:03 pm

What a nice nugget of insight, Cannonfodder. I'll try your technique on the next cappuccino.

I am acquainted with said classic monk cap of which you speak and have wondered why stretching is so fast and doesn't take longer to stretch the milk. My machine has tons of steam power and I unleash that beast on the milk.

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Postby spiffdude » Mar 20, 2017, 9:08 pm

As others have said, probably too much stretching. Start with zero stretching and work your way back. Initially, everything will sink under. As you add stretching time, you'll notice some foam starting to float. You'll get liquid rosettas and then after a couple days you should have found the sweet spot.

You could also do you milk toward the end of the shot so it doesn't sit too much before your pour. Or if you finish your milk before the shot is done, keep a hand on the pitcher and swirl it to keep it from settling down.

Finally, i've noticed some brands of milk do better for latte art. We got 3 or 4 whole milk brands here locally and 2 of them seem to make better microfoam. The other ones tend to develop bigger bubbles and collapse faster.
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Postby zany13 » Mar 20, 2017, 9:16 pm

Ok thanks, ah a big question about the actual microfoam pouring... does the milk jug have a big factor in this?

I tried the Espro V2, and I didn't like the result of the foam, or the pour. The spout was so sharp, I found that anything I poured on the crema just sank right to the bottom. The Rattleware milk jug has a more rounded spout, but the vids I see on youtube, the vids with really nice pours, the spout almost looks completely rounded. Does that make a difference?

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Postby spiffdude » Mar 20, 2017, 10:41 pm

A sharper spout will give you a finer line of foam, much like using a felt pen with a narrower tip. I have Cafelat pitchers which i think are a good in between
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