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  1. #21
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    Dec 2011
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    I watched the soapy water technique and some other videos, very helpful. You're right pug, I don't think I was submerging the steam tip before turning the steam on (d'oh). I've had great success today. Shadow is definitely right about the "perfect" part, but I feel I am improving slightly every time (I'm using 2%. I've read fuller fat is better/easier, but in my house 1 and 2% are usually the only available milks. 2 should be ok, right?)

    I achieved decent, foam today. Still getting more large bubbles than I should (mostly before I hit the right angle/depth at the beginning). I also need more practice getting the wand at an angle where it creates the "roiling" that incorporates the foam better. My foam, while pretty smooth, is still separate from some of the milk, even though I tilt it around to try and incorporate. I've also done the hitting it against the counter routine, though this didn't take care of all the large bubbles.

    I'm definitely producing things that are eminently more drinkable than the first attempts! Thanks in large part to the great advice here.

  2. #22
    Junior Member
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    Dec 2011
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    Oh, also. I am using the 20oz with much greater success than I thought possible. I mostly want another pitcher for the pointed spout, as I'd eventually like to try for latte art. I'm still doing the 1/3 amount, I'm amazed how high the milk rises when you foam it. My first foaming today, it almost reached the top from 1/3 full (and I'm not doing bulky cappuccino foam). :O

  3. #23
    Senior Member
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    Aug 2005
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    2% will be fine. Skim aerates nicely/quickly, but separates rather quickly if it sits around for long, then you have hot milk and dry foam. Whole milk is my default unless people order otherwise. Almond and soy texture OK... egg nog and heavy cream are the PITAs. I suspect most home machines would struggle with those 2 options.

    I have seen many pound the pitcher on a tabletop (even in coffeeshops) to settle the bubbles. If milk is textured properly there won't be a single bubble visible to pound out. Should be like wet paint, very glossy in appearance and silky/velvet-like in texture.

    Over time you will get it down pat and be able to do so consistently.


    Pug, if some of the people you train take up to 3 months to "get it" maybe they should look into other work options. Espresso can take some time to master with different coffees, equipment, environment, etc... but milk texturing on commercial equipment should take a few weeks MAX in my opinion.
    I'm a legend among my own kind... you my friend are just a legend in your own mind. Later!

  4. #24
    Senior Member
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    Jul 2004
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    Hartford and New Haven, CT
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    991
    Sounds like you are on the right track. Next time when you steam milk, assuming 1% or 2% milk start with 8oz of milk, as the volume increase to 1/2 of pitcher(10oz), start to roll the milk. Always keep your hand on the pitcher, as you feel the first bit of pain, turn off steam and you are done. Don't forget to purge the steam wand before and after you steam. As I type, I have a new barista on soap and water, she is at it for about 4 hours now. I can see the frustration building up. It just take time.
    You want cream and sugar?
    NO COFFEE FOR YOU! NEXT!

  5. #25
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    Watched the video and find it hilarious. Looks/texture mean nothing if the milk gets scalded, which is why I recommend using milk to begin with as one should taste the differences in texturing as they advance.

    Sara, do yourself a favor and get a decent digital thermometer for steaming. The hand-on-pitcher method is OK, but not nearly as precise and consistent as a good thermometer.
    I'm a legend among my own kind... you my friend are just a legend in your own mind. Later!

  6. #26
    Senior Member
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    Jul 2004
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    Hartford and New Haven, CT
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    Quote Originally Posted by shadow745 View Post
    Pug, if some of the people you train take up to 3 months to "get it" maybe they should look into other work options. Espresso can take some time to master with different coffees, equipment, environment, etc... but milk texturing on commercial equipment should take a few weeks MAX in my opinion.
    3 months is about the time I let them serve customers under supervision. Milk steaming and latte art is part of the process, I am more concern about pulling decent shots, but most new baristi want to learn latte art so they care more about milk steaming.
    You want cream and sugar?
    NO COFFEE FOR YOU! NEXT!

  7. #27
    Junior Member
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    Dec 2011
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    I have been using a thermometer (not digital, though). I usually turn the knob before it reaches 155-160 because it takes a bit to "catch up". I can smell/taste when the milk scalds, which I was doing at the beginning since i wasn't watching temp close enough as I focused on technique. Lately, I've not had any problem with that. I've been keeping the pitcher in the fridge with the milk until right when I'm ready to use it, which gives me ample time. Still need a lot of work with the big bubbles and incorporation of milk and foam...

  8. #28
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    The big bubbles sounds as if the tip is too close to the surface and/or you're aerating fairly aggressively.

    How is the espresso from Miss Silvia?
    I'm a legend among my own kind... you my friend are just a legend in your own mind. Later!

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saraluna View Post
    I have been using a thermometer (not digital, though). I usually turn the knob before it reaches 155-160
    Make sure your thermometer is set correctly by doing the ice water and boiling water test. You should also try to stop at around 135 ~ 140.
    You want cream and sugar?
    NO COFFEE FOR YOU! NEXT!

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by shadow745 View Post
    Watched the video and find it hilarious. Looks/texture mean nothing if the milk gets scalded, which is why I recommend using milk to begin with as one should taste the differences in texturing as they advance.

    Sara, do yourself a favor and get a decent digital thermometer for steaming. The hand-on-pitcher method is OK, but not nearly as precise and consistent as a good thermometer.
    The video was very clear about the temperature, ie the hand on pitcher method when you feel the first sign of pain stop steaming. You can also use a thermometer with soap and water if you are concern about not knowing the temperature. The only true disadvantage is you can't taste it.

    I can accept this is not for you, but many top notch shops train their baristi this way, so it is a viable option to learn milk foaming.
    You want cream and sugar?
    NO COFFEE FOR YOU! NEXT!

 

 
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