Espresso, anyone?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by XavierG, Feb 7, 2003.

  1. Someone gave me a cheapo machine. How do you get the !*@&#^* milk to froth?

    Oh, it's a small steam machine by De'Longhi.
  2. Dave Castelo

    Dave Castelo

    Apr 19, 2000

    EvilXavier says:
    "Get the deluxe model you cheap canuck"

  3. I guess I forgot to mention.... IT WAS A GIFT! (Translation = Era un regalo.)
  4. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    use really cold milk and a big stainless steel frothing pitcher.

    the small ones don't work as well IMO
  5. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    You get the nack of it eventually. It's placement really.
  6. rustyshakelford


    Jul 9, 2002
    Hello Xavier.

    Steam is steam. I have owned cheap and mid-priced espresso machines. They all froth similarly. I agree it can be frustrating.

    There are four things to know:

    A. Not all milk froths well
    Of course soy milk won't froth. Skim milk froths hesitatingly. Whole milk, or milk with evaporated milk froths like mad.

    B. Order of operations
    1. Brew espresso in vessel A
    2. Froth milk in vessel B
    3. Add espresso from A into B

    (i.e., don't froth milk and espresso mixed, don't froth milk and then pour into espresso, etc.,.)

    C. Suggestions on actually frothing
    I like to first steam the milk to warm it up a little bit (so as not to cool the shot). Plunge the wand into the milk entirely for ~15 seconds. Then slowly lower the glass so the tip of the wand is ~3/8" (9mm) below the surface of the milk. A froth should begin to form. If the wand is not sufficiently deep, the steamer/milk will spit, blow milk out of the glass, and no froth will be produced.

    D. Milk on the frothing wand
    I think it is important to wipe the wand down quickly. The milk cooks on the wand and after a few lattes, the cooked milk buildup begins to pose a health hazard. I have read of people rubbing the wand with oil to prevent this.

    Good luck.

  7. Who'd ever think something as simple as a cup of coffee could be so complicated?! Anyhow, I've been using a medium sized stainless frothing thingamabub (any taller and I wouldn't be able to plunge the wand all the way down). I've tried with cold whole milk, then, after reading somewhere that skimmed milk (less fat content) froth's more, I switched to that. As to rusty's instructions, I tried most of that with no success, and now, after reading it, I'm a bit confused as to what type of milk I'm supposed to use for steam frothing. Also, would'nt pouring the espresso into the froth cause the froth to... ummm.... un-froth?

    Well, I'm an impatient man, so I went out and bought myself one of these manual pump puppies -
    [​IMG] wonders! I can froth any kind of milk and get so much froth, you could almost have a foam bath with one of these. $9 on sale at the local kitchen supply store. To hell with the !$@#$ wand!

    Thanks for all your help fellas.
  8. David Watts

    David Watts

    Aug 12, 2002
    Don't pull your espresso shots before you steam the milk. Espresso is not like wine, ageing the shots will make them bitter. The rule is, don't let them stand longer than 10 seconds before you add milk, hot water, etc., to them.

    The key to froth is starting to steam with just the tip of the wand under the surface of the milk. It doesn't matter which type of milk, just leave plenty of room for foam in your steaming pitcher. As milk froths it expands rapidly. Cold milk will froth better, it has more time to foam up before reaching 185 degrees approx. Do you have a milk thermometer?
  9. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    Man I love this thread!

    I got a coffee grinder for Christmas, the last item I need for true happiness. I agree that there is a learning curve to this thing -one of the things I really like about it. Celso Machado (great Brazilian guitarist/percussionist here in town) turned me onto a frother like Xavier is using, and it works much better than the steam wand attached to my stove-top espresso machine. I like the beans from JJ bean or from Petit Ami (Origins) here in town. I suppose there are great beans to be had on the drive as well. . .?
  10. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    not to change the subject or anything, but how are you doing xavier?
  11. No, but with 4 kids at home, I'm sure I can find an old butt-thermometer lying around. Are you serious about a thermometer? Do you "steamers" really have to go through all this trouble for a cup of coffee? If I hadn't found the frothing gadget (pictured above), I'd probably toss the entire machine out the window (out of frustration), and head over to Starbucks... it's easier!

    I get an excellent espresso mix (7 types of beans) at Viva Java on Cambie St. in RIchmond. Great stuff! (They have live jazz there too once in a while.)

    Now I have to go and practice making a "Cafe Cubano". I've tried twice and screwed up both times. I don't suppose Celso might have some tips to offer. Maybe I should email Al Johnston... he's into Cuban music-maybe he knows how to brew Cuban coffee. There's always the Hermanos Puentes.

    I'm ok, John - thanks for asking. I was back home by 2 in the afternoon and feeling great.