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Silvia v1 - need some microfoam tips
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Discussions > Espresso > Latte Art > Silvia v1 - need...  
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Smithore
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Joined: 11 Dec 2011
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Location: Dallas, TX
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Mon Apr 2, 2012, 11:09am
Subject: Silvia v1 - need some microfoam tips
 

I've had my Silvia v1 for several years, but I'm just now becoming serious about mastering it.  I recently bought my first grinder (Rocky doserless), which has drastically improved my shots.  (I was using pre-ground Illy before - I know how bad a choice that was now)  :D

Here's my problem.  I'm getting what I think looks like good microfoam - very few visible bubbles and a glossy sheen on the milk after I spin the pitcher for a few seconds.  But about 80% of the time, the foam doesn't "punch through" the crema.  It simply sets on top of the crema, making a big white cap - and no opportunity for latte art.  My first question is - what am I doing wrong?  

Here's my second question.  I'm using the stock 1-hole tip on the Silvia v1.  If I open up the steam wand all the way, the temperature heats up very fast (<15 seconds to reach 140-150F).  So I've started barely opening the steam wand when I stretch, and then opening it up all the way when it's time to bury the wand.  How long should the "stretching" phase last, assuming I'm stretching to 100F?  

Thanks for the tips.
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emradguy
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emradguy
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Posted Tue Apr 3, 2012, 2:14pm
Subject: Re: Silvia v1 - need some microfoam tips
 

Sounds like you just need practice.  you might want to watch vidoes on you tube, preferably of people frothing with a Silvia.  when I had my V1 I preferred the 4 hole steam tip.  I'm guessing since you still use a one hole tip, you haven't upgraded to the articulating wand.  I didn't for the longest time, but when I finally did, I wished I had done so much, much sooner.  It's leass than a buck and defninitely worth it.

What kind of and volume pitchers are you using?

Are you getting a good vortex to your roll, or is it more folding over.  Rolling is good, folding suggests your wand is in the wrong place, or your angle is off.  I used to tilt my Motta Europa pitchers about 30 degrees (bottom pulled out to right), no front or back tilt, and keep the tip about 1cm off the "back" wall (the wall nearest me).  It gave me an awesome vortex roll and I got great pourable microfoam.  This is with the articulating wand and a 4 hole tip.  Can't really speak about timing, as I never measured.  I did it all by "hands-on" method.

100 degrees is slightly hot to stop the stretch.  I know David Schomer recommends that, but if you ditch the thermometer and go with the "hands-on" method, you'll be stopping the stretch more like 85 degrees (when the pitcher wall no longer feels cold, but doesn't yet feel warm).

 
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emradguy
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emradguy
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Posted Tue Apr 3, 2012, 2:15pm
Subject: Re: Silvia v1 - need some microfoam tips
 

ha funny. I'm going to be in Dallas next weekend.  Don't know what kind of time I'll have though.

 
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danjed
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Location: Ottawa Canada
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Posted Mon Jul 30, 2012, 8:11am
Subject: Re: Silvia v1 - need some microfoam tips
 

This is what I do:
  1. Stretch the milk until a temp of 80 F is reached
  2. Put the want in a little deeper under the surface of the milk. The goal here is to get a swirl and mix in all the large bubbles. The better the swirl or whirlpool, the better the microfoam will be.
  3. Keep swirling until you reach 140 F.
  4. Manually swirl the milk around in the pitcher for 20-30 seconds before pouring.
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odysseas
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Posted Fri Aug 31, 2012, 9:37am
Subject: Re: Silvia v1 - need some microfoam tips
 

I just switched from the Silvia which had a one-hole tip to a Quick Mill Anita which has the 4-hole tip and so far, I've had better success making micro-foam with the 1 tip than with the 4-top wand. This may have a lot to do with the fact that this is a new machine for me and I need to adjust my technique but so far, I've been generating a lot of bubbles during the stretching phase with this tip.
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Coffeenoobie
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Posted Sat Sep 1, 2012, 11:28am
Subject: Re: Silvia v1 - need some microfoam tips
 

I have the same trouble going from a one hole to 4 holes.

 
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Smithore
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Location: Dallas, TX
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Sat Sep 1, 2012, 11:35am
Subject: Re: Silvia v1 - need some microfoam tips
 

Thanks for the replies, everyone.  As suggested above, I did need practice.  I'm getting much more reliable microfoam now, with the following changes to my technique:

1) As mentioned in the OP, I open the steam wand only slightly for the stretching phase.  This lets me spend a little more time getting the wand to surf the correct spot.  After stretching, I open the wand all the way.

2) I took the advice of stretching to 80-85 degrees, rather than all the way to 100 degrees.  This made a huge difference.

3) I'm paying much better attention to the rolling / vortex motion than I did before.  I'm trying to get an aggressive, consistent roll.  This helps tremendously.

4) I'm spinning the milk a lot.  This smooths out the foam quite a bit.  

Here's my last question:
Q1) Does everyone spin the milk?  I don't remember seeing a lot of people spinning / swirling the pitcher much in online videos.  It seems to make a large difference in the quality of my foam.
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onceinthemorning
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Joined: 8 Apr 2012
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Location: Vancouver
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Posted Fri Dec 7, 2012, 8:20am
Subject: Re: Silvia v1 - need some microfoam tips
 

Got a Silvia 3 weeks ago, practice a lot and pretty happy with my shot. Now I'm obsessed with getting proper microfoam but can't make it happen despite all the reading and videos I watched on the topic. I tried with different position of the wand, on the side, in the middle etc., more or less submerged tip, various angle of the pitcher all those variable did not change much. I still get just warm milk and not that lush thick creamy glistening foam to make artsy cappucinos. I phoned the shop where I bought it and the guy told me to use 2% milk (I was using Skim milk) and asked about my pitcher. He said I should get and Espro milk pitcher with the wider base that is supposed to help the milk swirl.

Of course I can't compare the Silvia to a professional machine that I've seen on youtube where they get microfoam in 20 sec but is it normal to be this hard to get? Or maybe there is a problem with the steam my machine makes?
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emradguy
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emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 2,753
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, 2 Macap M4s, OE...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Fri Dec 7, 2012, 10:15am
Subject: Re: Silvia v1 - need some microfoam tips
 

your machine should be fine, the Silvia takes a little longer because the steam pressure and flow is lower.  Yes, the technique is very hard to learn in the beginning.  stay patient and you will get it eventually.  

have you read the milk frothing guide under "guides and how tos" (green bar above)?

ask 5 of us here who can do it well what pitcher to use and you'll likely get 10 answers.  there are many good pitcher choices, all backed by someone who will tell you it's the best one...so take the recommendations with a grain of salt.  if you've bought one recommended on espresso parts, sweet marias, chris' coffee service, 1st-line, seattle coffee gear, you're fine.

 
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Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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onceinthemorning
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Joined: 8 Apr 2012
Posts: 18
Location: Vancouver
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Dec 7, 2012, 10:31am
Subject: Re: Silvia v1 - need some microfoam tips
 

Thanks for the info and reassurance emradguy. No I have not read that one. Did read one but I guess it was on another site. Ok more studying and practice I guess.
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