Posted Wed Jun 13, 2012, 8:06pm Subject: Steam Tip mod - big difference
So ... I've got a couple of really old Gaggia machines (the OWC - 30 year old or so). I've posted about them in other posts. They have a lot better steam power than the newer machines ... but the steam wand is fixed and doesn't swivel at all and the tip is permanent. Since I was figuring on replacing the wand anyway (I figure I'll adapt a Silvia V3 articulating wand to it) - I thought I might as well experiment with this old wand.
So I bent it a bit to get it shaped and angled the way I wanted it ... and since the hole in the steam tip was a little too big I got to thinking about ways to reduce the effective size of the hole in the tip. And I remembered seeing a $100 steam tip called the "foam knife" and people raving about how well it works.
SO ... I simply squished the tip from the sides (not as easy as it sounds - this is seriously strong and heavy brass on these old Gaggias) until the large round hole was now a wide slit. I am making the best microfoam I've ever made with this tip now (of course, I've never been able to make decent microfoam at all before ... so no idea what someone who knows what they are doing would think of this tip) ... anyway really much easier with this tip.
Thought I'd post a picture of my rough hewn (hammered and filed) steam tip. Not as pretty and precise as the foam knife - but it made a dramatic difference for me and the price was right. Still trying to figure out what to do with microfoam once I have it ;^) looks like a whole new rabit hole to get lost in trying to learn to make art.
Posted Thu Jun 14, 2012, 4:49pm Subject: Re: Steam Tip mod - big difference
Hey ... since I'm still learning and really have no idea what I'm doing yet. I made a YouTube video (poor resolution - sorry - made with my phone) of steaming some milk. It's a 12oz pitcher a little less than half full to start --- pitcher from the freezer and very cold, otherwise this thing will scald the milk faster than I can texturize it. Maybe if I knew what I was doing, it would be an advantage to have it steam a pitcher that fast (or if I were steaming 16 oz of milk) - and, in fact, I think I stretched this too much as it was overflowing the pitcher before I had time to sink the tip and start texturizing.
In any event ... if anyone wants to look at this and comment, I'd love to learn.
I didn't have an espresso ready (too late in the day and didn't want to be up all night) so I simply poured the milk into a small cup to show the texture and how well the foam is integrated rather than just sitting on top .... it turned out a little thicker than I usually get but some of that is from reaching around the camera to get to the machine threw me off and had me pretty jerky with the pitcher.
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