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Reputable steamers
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jimboc
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Feb 2013
Posts: 14
Location: Sydney
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: mypressi twist
Grinder: Baratza Precico
Posted Mon Mar 11, 2013, 5:32am
Subject: Reputable steamers
 

Hi, I'm fascinated as to what makes one machine give a silkier microfoam than another. I'm sure the nozzle must be appropriate to the boiler, but I'd like to see how much boiler size, wattage and operating pressure also affects things.

So are there any models that seem to get general appraise as great steamers? Especially cheaper machines that are poorly regarded apart from their steaming ability. Or even models known to be bad steamers so I can get a feel for what they do wrong.

Thanks.
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,734
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Mon Mar 11, 2013, 5:39am
Subject: Re: Reputable steamers
 

Poor steam stems from small boilers. What do all the poor steamers have in common? small boilers. What do all small and most SBDU machines have in common? Small boilers.

Think of the boiler as a gas tank in your car. A small gas tank will only let you go a small distance.  A large gas tank lets you go much further. A large boiler has the reserve space to store a lot of steam under pressure to supply a strong flow of steam. Thermoblocks help a bit but the fast and nearly always correct reply to your question is small boilers, for the most part are poor steaming devices. Yes the heater has some to do with it but for the most part, the heaters are sized to the boiler.

Without a large gas tank, you run out of gas too soon.

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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Iluvdabean
Senior Member
Iluvdabean
Joined: 7 Mar 2005
Posts: 1,259
Location: Kentucky
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Nuova Era Cuadra/Gaggia...
Grinder: Baratza Preciso/K-A Pro...
Drip: Bonavita BV 1800 TH
Roaster: Nesco 1010/Behmor 1600
Posted Mon Mar 11, 2013, 9:10am
Subject: Re: Reputable steamers
 

My main issue for wanting to upgrade from my warrior Gaggia Classic is the steam,the poor liitle guy gets whipped when I
do Lattes which is all I have done these last five years. Is the La Nuova Era Cuadra a good steamer?
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Jmanespresso
Senior Member
Jmanespresso
Joined: 18 Jan 2009
Posts: 2,109
Location: Westchester NY
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto II
Grinder: Compak K10 - Vario
Vac Pot: Yama-SY5/SY8/TCA5
Drip: V60, Beehouse, CCD
Roaster: Hottop B
Posted Mon Mar 11, 2013, 9:22am
Subject: Re: Reputable steamers
 

Any E61 HX machine, or a machine at the level, and up, is more then capable of dense, thick yet fluid microfoam.

What  makes the difference?

-Steam tip too fast for the boiler.  4 holes tips are definitely best, but not every machine can use every tip.  Most 4 hole tips will outrun any home machine unless they're the special slow tips sold by Chris Coffee.  The machine must keep pressure at or above 1BAr if you hope to have good microfoam.

-Steam not dry enough.  For good microfoam, you need bone dry steam.  You should be able to hold your hand under the steam for a little bit before any condensation forms.  Wet steam is caused by insulated/no burn steam arms, and water level being too high in the boiler.  Not even no-burn steam arm is terrible for steaming.. some work verywell.  Others, not so much.  Luckily, its an easy fix.  Rip the teflon insulating tube out of the wand.  Presto, dry steam.

-Boiler pressure dropping during steaming.  Sometimes can happen on my machine, in 15amp mode, if I dont pay attention to the heater cycle and allow the brew boiler to kick on while steaming.



The key to amazing, pro level microfoam, is simple really.  Bone Dry Steam, constant steam pressure, and good technique.  The faster you can inject air into the milk, and the sooner you can start rolling the milk, the better the microfoam will be.  If you have to stretch all the way to 100F, and then roll to 160F, your milk will not be nearly as silky and sweet as if you can be done injecting air in the first two or three seconds, before the milk even gets lukewarm, and the roll the milk the entire way up to 160F..  Assuming you injected the right amount of air, your milk will be textbook level perfection.

Remember, the goal of microfoam is sweetness, thickness and richness.  Latte art is just a happy side effect, its not the reason for steaming microfoam.

 
Follow Your Bliss

Coffee makes your constantly overcome your prejudices and re-evaluate your own "received wisdoms" when it comes to judging cup flavors. -Tom Owen, SweetMarias
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 2,006
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Mon Mar 11, 2013, 7:07pm
Subject: Re: Reputable steamers
 

Iluvdabean Said:

My main issue for wanting to upgrade from my warrior Gaggia Classic is the steam,the poor liitle guy gets whipped when I
do Lattes which is all I have done these last five years.

Posted March 11, 2013 link

Say it ainít so, Steve!  Who will keep beating the Gaggia drum?  :)

Gaggia Guy Steve wanting to upgrade?  PID the poor Gaggia and help it steam.  PID will not solve the boiler size, but can help the steam by raising the mean boiler/steam temperature.  Decent steam here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7o_2zaHHazw

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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Markarian
Senior Member
Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 656
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Mon Mar 11, 2013, 7:38pm
Subject: Re: Reputable steamers
 

Not to be too much of a fanboy, but if you want insane steam power in a home machine, look no further than the NS Oscar. I think the Oscar has the largest boiler of any pour-over home model out there. Anything bigger and you're talking plumbed-in commercial. Someday, when I'm rolling in cash, I will buy an Appia.
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Iluvdabean
Senior Member
Iluvdabean
Joined: 7 Mar 2005
Posts: 1,259
Location: Kentucky
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Nuova Era Cuadra/Gaggia...
Grinder: Baratza Preciso/K-A Pro...
Drip: Bonavita BV 1800 TH
Roaster: Nesco 1010/Behmor 1600
Posted Mon Mar 11, 2013, 8:23pm
Subject: Re: Reputable steamers
 

I love my Gaggia Classic and I  crank out two 16 OZ Lattes very quickly . This is due to the quick recycle time. I am only thinking about upgrading and the
La Nuova Era Cuadra is a great deal but its not written in stone. I changed the steam arm to the Silvia one hole also. I make 1 double...then another and put them
in. I then steam the milk,low fat so its a little more challenging. Its been fine but I know there is more out there. On a weekend morning i make 6 16 OZ Lattes over the course of the
morning. Three for me,two for wife and one for my son, each one having two shots espresso. Even a PID might do a little but I dont want to do that for the amount of return i will get. I love that little work dog though. Ive had so many great shots from it.But then again I am just thinking.

D4F Said:

Say it ainít so, Steve!  Who will keep beating the Gaggia drum?  :)

Gaggia Guy Steve wanting to upgrade?  PID the poor Gaggia and help it steam.  PID will not solve the boiler size, but can help the steam by raising the mean boiler/steam temperature.  Decent steam here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7o_2zaHHazw

Posted March 11, 2013 link

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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 2,006
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Mon Mar 11, 2013, 8:34pm
Subject: Re: Reputable steamers
 

Iluvdabean Said:

Even a PID might do a little but I dont want to do that for the amount of return i will get.

Posted March 11, 2013 link

DIY PID under $100 with Idle/brew heat, steam, and adding heat with brew/pump for intrashot control, and all reversible.  Sell with or without when/if you upgrade :)  Ok, I will not hijack, more.

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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Iluvdabean
Senior Member
Iluvdabean
Joined: 7 Mar 2005
Posts: 1,259
Location: Kentucky
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Nuova Era Cuadra/Gaggia...
Grinder: Baratza Preciso/K-A Pro...
Drip: Bonavita BV 1800 TH
Roaster: Nesco 1010/Behmor 1600
Posted Mon Mar 11, 2013, 8:35pm
Subject: Re: Reputable steamers
 

After spending the last 8 years here reading about espresso machines I have become a fan of the mighty E-61.

Markarian Said:

Not to be too much of a fanboy, but if you want insane steam power in a home machine, look no further than the NS Oscar. I think the Oscar has the largest boiler of any pour-over home model out there. Anything bigger and you're talking plumbed-in commercial. Someday, when I'm rolling in cash, I will buy an Appia.

Posted March 11, 2013 link

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Iluvdabean
Senior Member
Iluvdabean
Joined: 7 Mar 2005
Posts: 1,259
Location: Kentucky
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Nuova Era Cuadra/Gaggia...
Grinder: Baratza Preciso/K-A Pro...
Drip: Bonavita BV 1800 TH
Roaster: Nesco 1010/Behmor 1600
Posted Mon Mar 11, 2013, 8:36pm
Subject: Re: Reputable steamers
 

No feel free this isnt my thread...and its about steam so your on topic. Thanks for the video but it didnt wow me.

D4F Said:

DIY PID under $100 with Idle/brew heat, steam, and adding heat with brew/pump for intrashot control, and all reversible.  Sell with or without when/if you upgrade :)  Ok, I will not hijack, more.

Posted March 11, 2013 link

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