All my Pitchers

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Endo
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All my Pitchers

Post by Endo » Mon Dec 06, 2010 8:28 pm

Getting good quality microfoam was something that bothered me as a S1 newbie and continued to challenge me for a long time after. I realize it's about 80% technique (I've seen baristas do foam using a dixie cup), but still there are a few variables you can play with to make things easier.

I played with a lot of different tips as well (as you can see in this topic I started a while ago):

http://www.s1cafe.com./viewtopic.php?f=35&t=1359

Some of the other variables are things like milk quality and milk volume.

One of the other accessories that has an impact is the steam pitcher. I've collected a few of these over the years. And while I dream of owning a $100 Alessi or a $50 Motta, I'm just not willing to spend more than about $20 (whenever I happen to be in a coffee accessory shop it seems).

Here are a few of my pitchers I found in the cupboard (I've given away several others):
DSC02068.JPG
Pitchers
DSC02068.JPG (92.24 KiB) Viewed 12959 times
I started with the bigger (20 oz) ones on the left. (They actually hold 25 fl oz). They proved to be rather useless. It took WAY to long to steam and after all, who makes 4 lattes at a time anyway? The one on the far left is a "Motta Europa" fake. It was the only size they had unfortunately (a 16 oz would have been ideal). The next one is a useless "bell shaped" pitcher with no spout (gotta have a spout IMO, so this turned out to be useless too).

My current favourites are the 2 on the right. They seem to work in different ways though. The one with the tapered bottom is a cheap 18 oz model that works very well if you simply center the wand and leave it there (as you can see in my Latte art video):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSxxqWujHK4

The sides of the tapered pitcher act to deflect the steam well and makes for excellent surface mixing with very few surface bubbles (a little like the Espro Toroid pitcher I assume...another pitcher that's too expensive for me).

The smallest pitcher is a standard , straight sided 12oz pitcher. I usually use it half-filled for my standard 6 oz of 2% milk to make a single Latte. This pitcher works the best with the new , slower "no-burn" tip, and seems to make the best Latte art. I get more of a creamier foam (better mouth-feel) with the better rolling action on the tapered pitcher, but this smaller, straight pitcher seems to give me a thinner foam and better control for Latte art.

I think the 16oz Motta may the perfect pitcher for me....and I'll pick one up next time I'm at CC (impossible to find in Canada it seems).

What's your favourite and why? Got a picture?
Endo

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Re: All my Pitchers

Post by michael » Tue Dec 07, 2010 12:00 pm

i have a small and a medium alessi; like the heft and the style, but sorry to say the round sticker on the small alessi is half off; any ideas on how to get it off completely w/o marking the pitcher

also have an espro that i never had much success with, foam always comes out utra thick, and several other small straight sided and slant sided pitchers that i dont use any more 8)

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Re: All my Pitchers

Post by Bushrod » Thu Dec 09, 2010 3:29 pm

I use a 16 oz Motta once in a while for lattes. Mostly I use the 12 oz Motta for cappuccinos on weekends. I'll never change pitchers.

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Re: All my Pitchers

Post by oton » Wed Feb 09, 2011 9:23 am

Uhm... I'll change my Motta and Toroid pitchers for your No-burn wand with stock 1.2mm tip & No burn tip. :mrgreen:

What's up with this?

Image

Is it valid for the vivaldi wand?
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Re: All my Pitchers

Post by chas » Wed Feb 09, 2011 9:59 am

AS I recall, the S1 steam arm is inside threaded. This series of tips is for outside threaded arms such as those on LM's. I am sure you could find an adapter, however, if you really want to spend $75US on a steam tip.
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Re: All my Pitchers

Post by oton » Wed Feb 09, 2011 10:08 am

:-( I'd spend $75 if it really works to get that wet paint microfoam, totally incorporated and with great definition on latte art like many youtube videos... but I suspect it's something related to the boiler pressure?
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Re: All my Pitchers

Post by Endo » Wed Feb 09, 2011 1:12 pm

oton wrote:Uhm... I'll change my Motta and Toroid pitchers for your No-burn wand with stock 1.2mm tip & No burn tip. :mrgreen:
I'm OK with my pitchers for now thanks.
oton wrote::-( I'd spend $75 if it really works to get that wet paint microfoam, totally incorporated and with great definition on latte art like many youtube videos... but I suspect it's something related to the boiler pressure?
Getting great latte art microfoam on the Vivaldi is like trying for the espresso Godshot. I've done it on occasion, but it's extremely rare and I never seem to be able to repeat it on the next one.

I've never seen anyone produce great, consistant latte art with a Vivaldi, so I wouldn't feel too bad.

After about 2.5 years practice on this machine, I've managed to get a decent "defined" rosetta about 70% of the time. The other 30% of the time, I get a cottonball rosetta blob, which I've learned to swirl around with my thermometer to make a neat chocloate pinwheel pattern that seems to equally impress most people (at least the one's not too knowledgeable on latte art). Sometime I'll hide the cottonball fail with a cocoa shaped heart from my shaker (another trick). I'll take some photos if I get a chance.
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Re: All my Pitchers

Post by oton » Wed Feb 09, 2011 2:12 pm

Endo wrote:I'm OK with my pitchers for now thanks.
Mmm.. I thought you want a Motta and a Toroid? Anyway, you are not to get better foam from these pitchers... Specially from the Toroid, which is an absurd pitcher with I don't know absurd "technology".

I've learned to swirl around with my thermometer to make a neat chocloate pinwheel pattern that seems to equally impress most people (at least the one's not too knowledgeable on latte art). Sometime I'll hide the cottonball fail with a cocoa shaped heart from my shaker
Huahuahuahaha!! I do exactly the same. Thermometer art never fail :mrgreen:
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Re: All my Pitchers

Post by symbology » Wed Feb 09, 2011 5:52 pm

Based on that advertisement, this tip makes "silky cappuccino foam", so what about silky microfoam?

BTW, what is the best SMALL pitcher for small quantities of milk. I am trying to steam 3-4 oz of milk at a time. I have the 12oz RW, and have seen a 10oz (Cafelate I think), just wondering what you guys are using.
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Re: All my Pitchers

Post by GDK » Wed Feb 09, 2011 6:52 pm

Resurrecting this thread came just in time as I was struggling with foam consistency on my Mini.

I have a smaller pitcher, likely 10oz and a 20oz Toroid. The youtube instructions video for the toroid pitcher suggests submerging the wand tip right in the middle of the pitcher - right above the "magic" hump on the bottom, keep it vertical and give it a blast. So, I decided to give it a try with good amount of skepticism. To my surprise, result was very good - no large bubbles at all and good microfoam (I think). I used around 6-7oz 2% milk. Jury is still out though as I am yet to see if this would produce consistent results.

On a different note, my Vivaldi is only 2-3 months old and came with the 0.9mm 4-hole tip - this is what I actually measured. It also came with the longer S5 wand and portafilters that ship the plumbed Vivaldi - no rubber rings on the handles.

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Re: All my Pitchers

Post by Endo » Fri Feb 11, 2011 10:44 am

oton wrote::-( I'd spend $75 if it really works to get that wet paint microfoam, totally incorporated and with great definition on latte art like many youtube videos... but I suspect it's something related to the boiler pressure?
Well, it's not perfect, but this is what I usually get 80% of the time (this one from this morning...my hand not quite so steady hence the not perfect symmetry). I'll show a "thermometer pinwheel" photo when I get my next "rosetta fail".
DSC02108s.JPG
Rosetta
DSC02108s.JPG (123.09 KiB) Viewed 12778 times
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Re: All my Pitchers

Post by Endo » Sun Feb 13, 2011 1:37 pm

I must say, I've been very happy with my microfoam lately. :bounce:

I went back to the 18 oz tapered pitcher (second from the left in my pitcher photo) and I seem to be getting a much more velvety microfoam than with the stright walled version (creamy, long lasting in the cup, easy to pour art). My guess is that it acts a lot lke a Toroid pitcher and gives much better mixing (no big bubbles). I keep the tip just under the surface and centered and everything gets mix in very well towards the center. The straight wall pitcher seems to give too much jumping and swirling around which produces the big bubbles that produces the "cottonball" type foam that makes latte art impossible, since it simply sits on the surface.
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Re: All my Pitchers

Post by GDK » Sun Feb 13, 2011 5:59 pm

Endo, the cup above looks great!!!

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Re: All my Pitchers

Post by JohnB » Fri Feb 25, 2011 10:44 pm

I just picked up an 8 oz & a 12 oz NIB Motta pitcher off CG to keep my 16 & 24 oz Mottas company. Played with the little 8oz today trying to steam small amounts with the Speedster. 2.3 bar might be too much power for the little guy but I haven't given up yet. :lol:
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Re: All my Pitchers

Post by Endo » Fri Feb 25, 2011 11:24 pm

Next time I'm at CC I'll pick up a Motta. Can't decide between the 12 and 16 oz though.
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Re: All my Pitchers

Post by Espressoluver » Sat Feb 26, 2011 11:12 am

when you steam, how much microfoam do you get?
i only get about 20%-30% of thick foam on top and liquidy milk at the bottom
i can pour some art but most of the time the foam is quick thick and the art looks very crude.
I leave the wand tip at the top for a couple of seconds until i get the sandpaper sound, then i sink it down the rest of the time, but still there is only foam at the top 2-30%.
I use skim milk, but same thing happened today with whole milk

any tips?
thanks

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Re: All my Pitchers

Post by JohnB » Sat Feb 26, 2011 11:51 am

Endo wrote:Next time I'm at CC I'll pick up a Motta. Can't decide between the 12 and 16 oz though.
The 12oz would be fine for normal Cappas, 16oz for Lattes. http://www.metropoliscoffee.com/univers ... t-standard

I use the 24oz for the lattes my girls prefer & serve them in huge Italian Military Latte mugs. No idea if the Italian Military actually hands out these mugs but I found them in the military surplus section of a sporting goods site & they are made in Italy.
http://www.sportsmansguide.com/net/cb/cb.aspx?a=683709
Last edited by JohnB on Sat Feb 26, 2011 12:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: All my Pitchers

Post by JohnB » Sat Feb 26, 2011 11:54 am

Espressoluver wrote: any tips?
thanks
You might find these videos helpful: http://www.metropoliscoffee.com/univers ... g-standard
http://www.metropoliscoffee.com/univers ... g-standard
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Re: All my Pitchers

Post by Endo » Sat Feb 26, 2011 1:11 pm

Some interesting training videos.

He obviously knows what works in his store. He presents some good guidelines. Only problem is, he doesn't say the size of each pitcher (just small, large, etc). Makes it kinda useless.

I also don't like the bell shaped pitchers at all. To each his own.

Must say I lost a lot of respect at the end. 20oz Cappucino? What that!!!! :roll: Is he running a 7/11?
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Re: All my Pitchers

Post by Endo » Sat Feb 26, 2011 1:32 pm

Espressoluver wrote:when you steam, how much microfoam do you get?
i only get about 20%-30% of thick foam on top and liquidy milk at the bottom
i can pour some art but most of the time the foam is quick thick and the art looks very crude.
I leave the wand tip at the top for a couple of seconds until i get the sandpaper sound, then i sink it down the rest of the time, but still there is only foam at the top 2-30%.
I use skim milk, but same thing happened today with whole milk
About 20 to 30% increase in volume seems OK to me. That's what I get. The trick if you are doing latte art is really not to stretch too much since it will make the bad cottonball foam that just sits on top. Also, you need to pour RIGHT AWAY or the milk will separate quickly.

Try using 2% or whole milk. I find it a little easier.
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Re: All my Pitchers

Post by oton » Sat Feb 26, 2011 1:59 pm

Endo wrote:Next time I'm at CC I'll pick up a Motta. Can't decide between the 12 and 16 oz though.
Your pitcher from CC is better than the Motta. Take a look at Michael Phillips or Scottie Callaghan on WBC'10.. they use a pitcher with a shape like the one from CC. (Phillips's pitcher is rattleware)

I use the Motta to flush the no burn steam wand. My wife use the Toroid to recharge the water of the electric iron. Nuff said, I think... :roll:
Espressoluver wrote:when you steam, how much microfoam do you get?
i only get about 20%-30% of thick foam on top and liquidy milk at the bottom
i can pour some art but most of the time the foam is quick thick and the art looks very crude.
I leave the wand tip at the top for a couple of seconds until i get the sandpaper sound, then i sink it down the rest of the time, but still there is only foam at the top 2-30%.
I use skim milk, but same thing happened today with whole milk

any tips?
thanks
Your problem is the same problem I have. And I think it's the problem of most Vivaldi users... No idea how to avoid it... :|
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Re: All my Pitchers

Post by JohnB » Sat Feb 26, 2011 6:48 pm

oton wrote:I use the Motta to flush the no burn steam wand. My wife use the Toroid to recharge the water of the electric iron. Nuff said, I think... :roll:
Why would which pitcher you prefer be any reflection on the Motta? My CC pitcher has sat unused on a shelf for ages & I don't find it difficult to get nice foam with the Mottas but that is just personal preference.
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Re: All my Pitchers

Post by oton » Sun Feb 27, 2011 8:04 am

Well, I always write my posts under the "IMO statement". I hope I do not need to write in all my posts. :smile:

Sometime ago I read a comment of Wushoes in Coffeesnobs: http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1284588396/11#11

The incasa pitchers are like the CC ones or like Rattleware (at least in apparence). I use the generic 20oz pitcher of CC and compared with my 500ml motta, I find that straight sides rolls the milk better than the curved pitchers, also I prefer the "precision spout" over the Motta more rounded spout. Motta pitchers have more quality (finish, metal thick), however the metal thickness difficults a little the temperature messure by hand as it gets hotter slowly and can cheat your measure.
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Re: All my Pitchers

Post by Endo » Sun Feb 27, 2011 9:24 am

I understand what you're saying Oton. We all have our preferences. Mine is the cheapo 15 oz tapered pitcher right now rather than the straight side, bell pitcher or even the fake Motta I own.

You'll hear lots of people say "the pitcher makes no difference", and they'll try and prove it by showing videos of pros steaming milk and pouring latte art using paper cups or half of a red pepper (seriously!).

Well, I USED to believe this, but after 2.5 years with the Mini Vivaldi, I've now concluded the Vivladi is a different animal.

For whatever reason (pressure, tip, wet steam, lever), the Vivaldi takes a LOT more skill to get very good quality microfoam. It can be done, but it takes a LOT of practice to develop a technique and even more practice to make it repeatable. You can find proof of this in the lack of nice Vivaldi latte art photos. There are some decent ones out there, but very few considering the 3000 or so machines sold. I've never heard of a pro latte art competitors using one. Any videos? Links? I can't find any outside of this site.

What this means for me (since I like doing latte art), is that I've needed to pratice a LOT (milk, detergent, etc) and have made very subtle changes to my technique (pitchers, tips, tip position, even the way I support the pitcher during stretching for increased accuracy and repeatability).

I can now do most of the standard art (heart, rosetta, tulip, double rosetta, etc), but everyone else using my machine so far has end up with the more common "cottonball foam" (see the Chris Coffee Vivaldi video and you'll see what I mean). But for most owners, that may be just fine since all they really want is a fast, tasty capp.

As a positive, once you've mastered the Vivladi, you can go to any cafe and put the local barista to shame. :lol:
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Re: All my Pitchers

Post by JohnB » Sun Feb 27, 2011 9:56 am

Endo, you seem to be lumping all Vivaldis together in your critique, have you used the S1V2? Considering the difference in boilers & control it's hard to believe both machines produce the same poor steaming results. As for getting the milk rolling in a Motta pitcher it seems pretty obvious the problem here isn't the pitcher.
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Re: All my Pitchers

Post by Endo » Sun Feb 27, 2011 1:16 pm

I did mention I'm talking about my Mini. That said, I did demo a regular Vivaldi and didn't see much difference and I haven't seen any great art (triples, rosetta hearts, etc) from either machine that would change my mind.

To be fair, I only had one attempt on the regular vivaldi so I may have changed my mind if I had more time.

In any case, I've learned to enjoy the challenge of making art with my Mini. Just like aiming for a espresso Godshot, it's always elusively close. But when you get it .....WOW!

As far as the Motta goes, I still have my pitcher shape preferences. Some just work better. I still plan on buying a good 16 oz Motta, so we'll see which becomes my favourite and how much it increases my consistancy.
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Re: All my Pitchers

Post by oton » Fri Mar 18, 2011 7:06 am

Geez I'm getting mad when I see this kind of videos.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUQ8DU-rP2w

Proper microfoam in 13 s and I don't see him do it any different than I do. Grrrrrrrr!!!
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Re: All my Pitchers

Post by symbology » Fri Mar 18, 2011 10:28 am

I saw this video the other day. One of the few that shows the K10 fresh.

I have been having great success lately with my microfoam using the 2 hole Rocket Espresso tip (from the 4 tip kit they sell). Even with very small amounts of milk.

A few things that I have done to improve my results.

#1) I follow Endo's suggestion of bleeding steam/pressure for about 4 seconds before I start.

#2) I bring the tip to the surface for only 2-3 seconds

#3) I place the tip in the pitcher and move it around until I get the fastest, most aggressive swirling motion possible. (this can vary with the amount of milk)
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Re: All my Pitchers

Post by Endo » Fri Mar 18, 2011 11:15 am

My rosettas and microfoam look exactly like that. Only difference is it takes about 5 seconds longer to steam. I can make another video if you like.

I find the key is to develop a steaming technique that gives you the right microfoam consistancy. Single phase, not too many bubbles, not too few. Of course this sounds much easier than it is. To do this you must very accurately control the wand to bring in the right amount of air, at the right time (stretching) and then thoroughly mix these air bubbles into a thick and homogeneous foam (rolling).

The Vivaldi is difficult because with all that speed and power, there is no room for the slightest error. If you're off by 1/4" at the surface you can suck in tons of big bubbles, or get nothing. (Most people have the tip too close to the surface and get the classic cottonball macrofoam).

To be more accurate, the easiest method is to simply put the pitcher on a few books and move the tip to the right position, centered in the pitcher and about 3/4" under the surface to start, and then turn it on. Adjust the book height so the tip is about 1/4" under the surface when steaming.

Another trick I use is to look at the tip once your finished. The baked on foam should only be on the tip. If it reaches on to the wand, you went too deep.
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Re: All my Pitchers

Post by oton » Fri Mar 18, 2011 11:24 am

Endo wrote:My rosettas and microfoam look exactly like that.
uh? yeah, right. :roll: Post a pic and get over Roknee! :tongue6:
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Re: All my Pitchers

Post by Endo » Fri Mar 18, 2011 3:05 pm

Even better. You can see my "Making a Latte" video on YouTube. You can see the rosetta looked just as perfect as the one in the video you posted. (Note: the one shown at the end of the video is not as the nice as the one I actually pour. I needed to edit in another one since my camera stopped recording at exactly the wrong time).

I can post more videos if you like.
Endo

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Re: All my Pitchers

Post by symbology » Sat Mar 19, 2011 12:13 am

This is not that great, I suck at art... but at least I am getting some decent foam to practice with now. Remember, this was with just a few ounces of milk in a 12oz pitcher. After stretching it ended up being a little over 4 ounces.

Without this Rocket tip, I had to use 2-3 extra ounces of milk and either slip it into my wife's soy latte, or pour it down the sink. Now, I get my 6oz cap, and I have hardly any milk left over.
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Last edited by symbology on Sat Mar 19, 2011 11:27 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: All my Pitchers

Post by symbology » Sat Mar 19, 2011 12:20 am

Oton,

Watching that video of you doing the "one hand latte" made me think of a few changes that you can try. Have you ever tried that same technique, but after the first few bubbles are created bury the tip a bit, and move it over to the side of the pitcher. Based on the video it looks like you turn the steam on at 47/48 seconds. I would take and move the tip to the pitcher edge at 52-53 seconds. In this video you move it over at 58-59 seconds. It seems like your milk is well blended / folded, but you just injected too much air at the start. This in turn made it a bit too thick IMO.

I am much more than a noob than you guys though, so don't blame me if it does not work for you. :)
Last edited by symbology on Sat Mar 19, 2011 11:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: All my Pitchers

Post by Endo » Sat Mar 19, 2011 9:46 am

Here's another video if it helps:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1-VSQMMN5U

It's with the stock wand and stock 4 hole tip. You can see the LED lights as well. (I love these lights!!). :bounce:

I ran out of milk this morning, so I had to make due with about 2 oz less than I'd like. This causes the rosetta leaves to get fatter half way through the pour as I get to the bottom of the pitcher. Also, I stretched about twice as long as I should have at the start on this one, making too thick a foam again, which floats on top and comes out at the end of the pour. Both classic mistakes that give you that cottonball look seen in other latte art attempt videos. The first half of the pour is perfect.

I'll can post another when I get more milk. But here's picture from a few days ago that shows something a bit better.

(Note: you can make the rosettas wider or taller, it just pour speed and height, but I prefer more of a tall look over the stubby, wide rosetta "bush" look in the other video).
IMG_2551 (480x320).jpg
Typical Rosetta
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