Circlestreetcoffee Senior Member Joined: 21 Feb 2014 Posts: 6 Location: Kathmandu Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: La marzocco gs3 Grinder: Mazer sj and baratza vario w Roaster: Top of the world coffee
Posted Mon Feb 24, 2014, 8:57pm Subject: La Marzocco GS3 Steaming Milk... too much foam
I'm a new wonder to the GS3. Ive got the factory steam wand set at 1.3 bars of pressure (I'm at 4,600 ft above sea level), and I am constantly getting too much foam. I can handle making cappas, but for Lattes the foam is just too much. I try to make sure I sink the tip of the wand really early, but the vortex is so deep and hollow that air still gets in. I'm using a 12 oz pitcher and did notice that the process is easier with a 20 oz pitcher.
Is my steam wand at too high a pressure?
I've noticed on a friends machine the pressure is a bit lower and the process seems way easier.
I also get a lot of water in the steam wand even if unused for only a minute or two. Ideas? Help?
Posted Thu Feb 27, 2014, 9:52am Subject: Re: La Marzocco GS3 Steaming Milk... too much foam
Just like there are several variables involved to pull a shot, steaming milk is affected by the amount of steam, the wand's tip, the vessel you steam in, the volume of milk, the type of milk (Skim, 1%, 2%, Whole will all get you different foam results with all other variables the same), and the technique used to steam. I am still perfecting my steaming skills after several years.
You didn't mention the type of milk you are using. Have you tried steaming milk with a higher fat content than what you're currently using? The rule of thumb is the higher the fat, the less foam.
BOOKMAN: "You buy a jar of Folger's Crystals, you put it in the cupboard, you forget about it. Then later on when you need it, it's there. It lasts forever. It's freeze-dried. Freeze-dried Crystals."
Posted Thu Feb 27, 2014, 12:55pm Subject: Re: La Marzocco GS3 Steaming Milk... too much foam
I agree. Rather than adjusting the pressure, you should work on your technique. There's nothing wrong (nominally) with 1.3 bar. It takes a lot of practice to get technique down, and every time one of the parameters is changed...be it a new machine, different wand, different wand tip, different pitcher design...there's a whole new learning curve to tackle.
Since you're complaining of too much foam, and I'll go out on a limb and guess it's too dense too, since you're probably introducing too much air. Your description of difficulty controlling the vortex supports this. I'd suggest trying to not at all introduce ANY air. In other words, ditch the stretch phase (for now) and work only on your roll. Try different angles, if necessary, and different distances from the pitcher wall. Perhaphs try using Scott Rao's pinch of dish soap in water for practicing and spend an hour or so on it. Then, once you feel more confident, re-introduce the stretch phase as needed, but keep it very short.
If all else fails, perhaphs you'll have to take Rich's advice and get a different wand tip.
. Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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