Steaming Milk How-To

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
hamish5178

#1: Post by hamish5178 »

Having an issue :(

I'm using an Expobar Office Lever Plus with the no-burn 4-hole tip from Chris' Coffee. Using normal pitchers (12 and 20 oz) and a Toroid pitcher (12oz) I always get large bubbles in my milk that I can't tap/swirl away. I've tried steaming to a much lower temp with no success. I've also tried not stretching the milk at all and sinking the tip from the beginning, and I still get bubbles! I'm using whole milk, usually organic but this problem has persisted through all brands and even other steam tips (stock 1-hole and Chris' 2-hole).

I'm stumped. The pitchers are clean. What could the problem be? Does this sound like a symptom of 'wet-steam'?

Aaron

#2: Post by Aaron »

Do you clean out the condensation in the steam wand before using? When you sink the tip do you get gentle rolling waves? Any bubbles should be able to be knocked out with a little tapping of the pitcher.
“The powers of a man's mind are proportionate to the quantity of coffee he drinks” - James McKintosh

hamish5178

#3: Post by hamish5178 »

Yeah I always clean out the condensation immediately before steaming. I can get a whirlpool with the 1-hole and get a very good 'toroid' using the Toroid pitcher and the 4-hole. The milk is definitely getting thoroughly mixed, that's not the issue I don't think.

Also worth noting that I made much better foam on my old Gaggia Classic shortly before I gave it to my father. Oy.

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LaDan

#4: Post by LaDan »

Hey Alex,

I just happened to come across this How-To, written by Meister, a barista trainer (She's good). She goes over all the details very thoroughly, so read this and follow her instructions to the letter. See if there is anything you are doing differently?

http://drinks.seriouseats.com/2012/04/c ... -home.html

Nuprin

#5: Post by Nuprin »

It's likely you don't have enough steam pressure to properly swirl and mix the microfoam but another possibility might be the Milk. When I went through my organic/local whole milk evaluation, some milk brands resulted in bubbles forming after I finished steaming no matter what. For example, Horizons Organic Whole does this but their Organic Whole with DHA Omega 3 added does not (which is what I use). To eliminate this issue, go to your local grocery store and buy some of the DHA Omega 3 Horizons milk and give it a try. If you still get bubbles then the issue is either the equipment or technique.

hamish5178

#6: Post by hamish5178 »

I do use the Horizon milk frequently (although it's not what I'm currently using). I'll give the Omega-3 stuff a shot and report back. Steam pressure is not the issue, like I said I get full rolling of the milk.

Aaron

#7: Post by Aaron »

Have you tried regular grocery store milk? Some times certain brands perform better than others.
“The powers of a man's mind are proportionate to the quantity of coffee he drinks” - James McKintosh

hamish5178

#8: Post by hamish5178 »

As I said, I've had the same issue with 6+ brands of milk. I don't think that's the issue.

Intrepid510

#9: Post by Intrepid510 »

Lets see a picture of what you are talking about.

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drgary
Team HB

#10: Post by drgary »

hamish5178 wrote:Yeah I always clean out the condensation immediately before steaming. I can get a whirlpool with the 1-hole and get a very good 'toroid' using the Toroid pitcher and the 4-hole. The milk is definitely getting thoroughly mixed, that's not the issue I don't think.

Also worth noting that I made much better foam on my old Gaggia Classic shortly before I gave it to my father. Oy.
I've had this problem with more than one machine and always found I hadn't quite gotten all of the liquid water out of the steam wand. This even happens with powerful steaming machines. But that's me. Are you letting the wand clear thoroughly? If not, this may happen if you've got some air or steam, then a barrier of liquid water, then vapor, then water, just enough to form large bubbles that travel through the steam wand whether or not you fully immerse it. The "tell" is that the large bubbles always cease once I've let the steam run awhile in the milk.
Gary
LMWDP#308

What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!