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Silvia Frothing/Microfoam with V3 Wand - Yes, yet another thread...
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jgottlieb
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Joined: 26 Oct 2007
Posts: 15
Location: Denver, CO
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed May 30, 2012, 2:58pm
Subject: Silvia Frothing/Microfoam with V3 Wand - Yes, yet another thread...
 

Ok, so let me start by saying, I've had a V2 Silvia for about 3-4 years now.  Like most Silvia owners, I have been working on my milk frothing technique pretty diligently trying to get that nice really high quality microfoam.  I would get it about %60-%70 percent of the time.  

I wanted more consistency, so I started researching more and more.  I've watched countless Youtube Vids, read and re-read forums etc.  I was just starting to get a little better when I saw that you could retrofit a V3 wand onto a V2 Silvia.  My wand was starting to leak and instead of breaking it down and overahauling it, I decided to go ahead and get the V3 wand since I figured with it being fully articulating it would help with me being able to "spin" the milk better, which I always found to be a challenge with the angle that the V2 wand was at.

So here is where I'm at.

My final drinks are 2 cappuccinos, in regular coffee mugs.  Each will include a single shot drawn from a double basket into two shot glasses.

I have a straight sided 20oz pitcher which I fill with very cold 2% milk to the bottom of the spout or about a half inch below.  

I temp surf the Silvia and after bleeding etc I have plenty of powerful dry steam.  My challenge comes with the angle and placement of the wand.  The steam does seem to be much more powerful with the V3 wand, but I'm having a horrible time getting the right stretch and spin.  

Usually I end up with the wand tip on the side and the wand itself is at a good angle.  But when I first start trying to stretch the milk, the steam is so powerful, or at the wrong angle that I have to be really careful not to spin the milk right out of the pitcher.  If I angle the pitcher away from the steam wand, it prevents the slosh over the side.  This is where I think I run into a lot of problems.  If I hold the pitcher straight, the initial spin is so violent it starts going over the edge of the pitcher.  But by the time I get the pitcher angled, I've already gotten way to many big bubbles introduced and it's downhill from there.

It stretches pretty well, but never seems enough, so I end up stretching it all the way to 155.  I rarely do the "plunge" of the wand as I'm still stretching the milk.  And I can't EVER seem to get the milk spinning at the plunge stage.  Whether I go in at 100 degrees or 130 to spin, after I plunge, I can't get it spinning and I end up with crappy foam on the top.

Now I should mention that I usually end up with a VERY full pitcher, sometimes overflowing or the foam is rising up a half inch over the top.  I see a lot of videos where the people are done with the frothing and the pitcher is barely 3/4 full or maybe a little more.  Then they do a ton of tapping and swirling.  Most of the time with mine, the pitcher is too full to tap more than a little and swirling is dangerous at best.

This is very strange to me as I was able to get very good foam with the v2 wand, but now with the v3 the angles are different and I'm at square one.  Honestly it's driving me nuts not to be able to get my good microfoam again.  I would say I've only achieved it a few times after having had the V3 wand for months and it was completely non-repeatable dumb luck.

I read on some forums that people said they got too much steam from Silvia, but this doesn't seem to make sense since I know there are so many machines out there that have WAY more steam production that Silvia.  

I even bought a bell shaped pitcher thinking that would "contain" the milk better when I was spinning and it wouldn't go everywhere like it does with the straight sided.  That didn't work at all.

I've of course seen the ads for the Toroid pitcher, but before I go spending $30-$40 bucks on a "miracle" pitcher, I wanted to throw this out to you guys.  I'm sure this is just an angle/technique issue, but I just can't seem to get it.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.  I miss my microfoam!
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emradguy
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emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,218
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4, Pharos,...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Wed May 30, 2012, 4:20pm
Subject: Re: Silvia Frothing/Microfoam with V3 Wand - Yes, yet another thread...
 

jgottlieb Said:

I'm sure this is just an angle/technique issue, but I just can't seem to get it.

Posted May 30, 2012 link

you are 100% correct.  remain patient and you will get it down.  I had a v1 and upgraded to the articulating wand too.  I use Motta Europa pitchers, so the exact positions may vary for you, since your pitcher is slightly different...

my wand rotation was about 30 degrees out to the side off the machine and then the lowest straight segment was angle about 30 degrees off perpendicular (tip towards me).

My pitcher was placed flat (bottom surface parallel to table top) and from there I angled it out towards my right about 30 degrees, with no front to back angle.

my steam tip was about 1cm towards the center of the pitcher from the 7 o'clock position of the pitcher wall.  with tip just below the surface, I was able to get a great vortex.  Slight (barely perceptible) lowering of the pitcher allowed me to keep little whispers of air entering the milk during the stretch phase.  Rather than plunging at about 100 degrees, I simply stop lowering the pitcher.  Very quickly the stretch brings the milk surface above the tip and no more air is introduced.  This also keeps the correct angles, so that the vortex isn't lost.  It is a step that was taught to me by Heather Perry (two time US barista champion) in the course I took from her.

 
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Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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jgottlieb
Senior Member


Joined: 26 Oct 2007
Posts: 15
Location: Denver, CO
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed May 30, 2012, 4:40pm
Subject: Re: Silvia Frothing/Microfoam with V3 Wand - Yes, yet another thread...
 

What size is your pitcher?  And how full is it at the end?

I think I'm maybe getting too much of a stretch and so my foam gets crappy.

Also, have to tried the soapy water foaming thing?  I just ran across this again (I had forgotten about it) and was thinking of trying it.  I'm not sure how well it mimics actual milk, but one of my challenges is I typically only do one drink per day.  So that's only one try per day to alter one of the myriad of variables and figure out that it didn't work...  

Also, when you say you tip the pitcher 30 degrees, is that so the top tilts to the right or the left towards the machine?
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emradguy
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emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,218
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4, Pharos,...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Wed May 30, 2012, 5:30pm
Subject: Re: Silvia Frothing/Microfoam with V3 Wand - Yes, yet another thread...
 

the Mottas come is 12, 16, 25 and 34 oz (metric equivalents).  I got the best results with the 12 and 16 oz pitchers, but after a while I was ale to do the 25 too.  My technique was about the same, no matter which one I was using.  If memory serves me well, I'd say I was starting slightly below the spout and was about 3/4s full at the end, maybe a little more.

agree, you're stretching too long, and then that doesn't give you enough time to incorporate into a fine texture.  think quality, not volume.  Have you seen David Schomer's video or read anything scientific about the different phases of frothing?

I've never done the soapy water substitute, but I've heard it's good and seen it recommended here several times by some of the most experienced senior members.

Consider buying a gallon of milk and spending a half hour or so practicing.  It's only a few bucks, yeah?  In the class I took, we went though 10 gallons of milk between 4 people over about 3 hours.  Of course, it helped to have an instructor, but sine I knew what I was trying to achieve, I found that I didn't always have to have her standing there to tell me what I was doing wrong.  Remember that knowing can sometimes take a few tries to translate to doing.

I meant pitcher bottom pulled out to the right, so the top was actually tilted towards the left.

 
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Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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jgottlieb
Senior Member


Joined: 26 Oct 2007
Posts: 15
Location: Denver, CO
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed May 30, 2012, 5:35pm
Subject: Re: Silvia Frothing/Microfoam with V3 Wand - Yes, yet another thread...
 

Hmmm... I've seen some mention of David Schomer and read one of his articles regarding altitude.  (I live in Colorado Springs about 7000ft) and was wondering if that might be affecting my shots.  I didn't realize he had videos, I'll go look around for them.

Interesting on the pitcher angle, I had been going the opposite and tilting the bottom towards the machine and the top away... I'll try the reverse.  It's pretty much trail and error at this point I suppose... *sigh*
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