Struggling to get the milk to swirl during steaming even with decent pressures

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.

#1: Post by dandua98 »

I upgraded to a Lelit Mara X from a Breville Barista Express recently, and have been struggling to build a decent swirl/vortex while steaming milk. A bit dumbfounded since I could get a swirl going on the Barista Express but the low pressure meant it was relatively weak. I thought that my technique was good (since the milk was decent with a much weaker Barista Express before) so I would have an easier time getting this to work. But no matter what positioning I try I just can't get a powerful swirl going to incorporate air throughout the body fully. The steam gauge on the Mara shows a pressure of 1.2-1.5 bar during operation which is where it should be. Any advice on proper positioning with this machine? My current workflow is to take the steam wand out fully, position the spout along the wand and then angle the pitcher so the tip of the wand is near one of the sides of the pitcher. I do have a lot of movements though since the left side positioning of the wand has meant I'm using my less dominant hand to hold and support the pitcher. Does that affect the vortex much?


#2: Post by Entreri »

Perhaps check this out. I found it to be one of the best tutorials. Pay attention to her position and angle of the jug.

Supporter ♡

#3: Post by Nunas »

Instead of putting the nozzle at the side of the jug, position it about a third the way in.


#4: Post by daggerNC »

Lots of great experts here with way more experience than me. But one of the techniques that really helped me with the milk steaming process including good swirling was this: pull your steaming wand out the way out (front of machine worked best on my unit) and the angle of the want should be around 40-45*. Insert the wand into the pitcher with the angle of the pitcher matching the wand AND the wand must make contact with the wand in the spout lip. then straighten out the pitcher slowly so that the tip of the wand is pointing directly to the center of the bottom of the pitcher. Then tilt the pitcher to the side (either way) so that the tip is still @center distance but now is 1/4th of the way to the side of the pitcher. Maintain that position and angles.

Helped me to practice this with no liquids a number of times until I got the process and positioning and flow right. Again, this one helped me and there are multiple different workflows that are good that you will see. Good luck!