steam wands

la marzocco, synesso, simonelli, cimbali etc

steam wands

Postby xristrettox on Mon Apr 17, 2006 7:10 pm

After competing on the GB5's, I was dissapointed to come back to my Linea steam wands. The milk I am getting is not as textured as when I was in Charlotte.

I know it's not the milk, cause I was practicing on a GB5 here in ptown with the same milk that we use in our cafe.

question...

what's the deal with my wand? Does my boiler level have anything to do with the quality of the milk?

can I retrofit a new GB5 steam-wand setup to my 2 year old linea?
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Postby Kevin Cuddeback on Mon Apr 17, 2006 7:25 pm

I learned today that the factory setting for the steam boiler on those GB5 EE's was 1.2 bar. Perhaps the p-stat on your steam boiler is set to a different pressure? We have a habit of running the pressure higher than that, but when I spoke with ESI they said UL approval is based on it running at 1.2.

I'm not sure how the tips may be different.
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Postby Isaac Gonzalez on Mon Apr 17, 2006 11:13 pm

Hey, Billy.

Apparently, with the GB5, you can adjust the steam output at the steam valve by making an adjustment that I have never made.

"customized steam valve with adjustable steam flow":
http://www.esiespresso.com/products.lamarzocco.GB5.html

you could probably order the tips from ESI.

I hear Schomer says that water level in the steam boiler is critical for great foam- level too high and foam is slimy; too low? don't know. . .He says it has to do with the water/moisture content of the steam. I have not done extensive research.

I imagine the benefits of having an adjustable steam valve is to set the flow in the valve at a 'lower than normally possible' output. This way the velocity at the steam tip is stable as the pressure in the tank fluctuates slightly under a high workload. So, also, in theory, and probably more practical and true, having the same pressure as the tank but a restricted flow would move less of a volume of heat mass to the milk, giving more time to create great foam before it got too hot.

ESI would also know if you could swap out steam valves; which I guess cost 4 times what you would expect.
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Postby malachi on Tue Apr 18, 2006 8:50 am

Water level is key.
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Postby xristrettox on Tue Apr 18, 2006 9:15 am

so my level is too high?

hmm... it's supposed to be half empty?, err.... i mean half full... i mean....
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Postby Isaac Gonzalez on Tue Apr 18, 2006 9:54 am

supposedly the sight glass should be slightly over half full or under half empty.

I do not know, but doubt, if the sight glass level correlates exactly to the actual level in the tank. I would experiment and publish the results.

For fun, I would check the levelness of your counter and espresso machine to insure that you have an accountable baseline on which to compile yer data.

Still no luck? Maybe altitude is a factor:
East Ptown = 49 feet above sea level
Charlotte Convention Center = 748 feet above sea level

references:
http://geonames.usgs.gov/pls/gnispublic/
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Postby Klaus on Tue Apr 18, 2006 10:14 am

Yes, the water level is definitely the first thing to look at. Just try it out and test where you like it. I wouldn't personally recommend lowering under half full - be careful or the heating element might burn off. But IMO you have to find where you get the most dry steam. Just remember that water holds heat a lot better than the steam, so on smaller boilers (2 group) you might find a better balance between steam/heat retention at a little higher level. Just be glad you have the sight glas on the Linea. On the GB5 you can only rely on the feel of the steam (dry/wet). Hope this helps.
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Postby xristrettox on Tue Apr 18, 2006 11:19 am

it does help thanks.

now if I remember correctly, I adjust the level by playing with the pressurstat no?
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Postby Philip Search on Tue Apr 18, 2006 1:44 pm

Pressure stat adjusts temp, there is a fill probe in a teflon sleeve to adjust the level. Sliding the probe up for more water, lower for less. Look at the diagram PDF on ESI's web site.
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Postby Mike Gregory on Tue Apr 18, 2006 2:22 pm

there is a fill probe in a teflon sleeve to adjust the level. Sliding the probe up for more water, lower for less.



http://www.flickr.com/photos/wheregoodthingsgrow/87117408/

In the image linked above you can see the probe ontop of the boiler at the end of the white, coiled wire. I find it easiest to use needle-nose pliers... the probe will give you a little resistance, but give it a slight push further into the boiler to lower the level.
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Postby geir oglend on Tue Apr 18, 2006 3:35 pm

If you are pushing the probe down, keep in mind for this to take effect, one should drain off water until the autofill kicks in, something that could be difficult on the old starbucks/Tagex units w/out watertaps!
However, this is no problem if you are pulling the probe up!

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Postby barry on Tue Apr 18, 2006 7:09 pm

xristrettox wrote:so my level is too high?

hmm... it's supposed to be half empty?, err.... i mean half full... i mean....



the higher the water level in the boiler, the wetter the steam from the wand.

do not reduce the level in the boiler below 1/2 in the sight glass or you'll blow up your heating element.
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Postby homelessroaster on Sun Apr 23, 2006 3:28 pm

Anyone know where we can get insulated cool touch steam wands?

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Postby phaelon56 on Mon Apr 24, 2006 12:10 pm

La Marzoccco's repair and maintenance manual recommends the sight glass level to be at about 2/3 full.

I think there may be some value in experimenting with different tips. Several years ago when E61 style machines started gaining popularity there were many home users having trouble steaming very small amounts of milk (ie. 3 - 4 oz rather than 10 oz).

The steaming time was so fast that they couldn't develop proper texture (I was one of them and was using and Isomac Tea). Chris Nachtrieb of Chris Coffeee located an alternate steam tip that had two holes instead of the three that were then typical. It also had a different taper and dispersed the steam in a different pattern.

I can't assume that the same method will carry over to a full sized commercial machine but the immediate improvement on milk texture quality when I switched tips on my Isomac was nothing short of amazing.

Does anyoen make a two hole tip that fits Linea steam wands?
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Postby nick on Mon Apr 24, 2006 12:31 pm

phaelon56 wrote:Does anyoen make a two hole tip that fits Linea steam wands?

Time for the ultra high-tech "steam tip inter-dental device modification" technique.

(stick a toothpick in a hole and break it off)
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Postby Bill Sze on Fri Jun 16, 2006 11:33 am

homelessroaster wrote:Anyone know where we can get insulated cool touch steam wands?

robert


Chris Coffee has them for their high end home machines, I think they will work for commercial machine, but can't say for sure.

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Postby Matt Milletto on Fri Jun 16, 2006 11:45 am

The Nuova Simonelli Aurelia Deluxe machine comes with an insulated wand, as well as the two standard wands.

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Postby Sandy on Fri Jun 16, 2006 2:28 pm

homelessroaster wrote:Anyone know where we can get insulated cool touch steam wands?

robert


if memory serves me correctly, espresso supply offers a clip, maybe more.
http://espressosupply.com/

edit:
TAH, found it...
espresso supply
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Postby barry on Fri Jun 16, 2006 8:05 pm

stuntgoat wrote:I do not know, but doubt, if the sight glass level correlates exactly to the actual level in the tank.



provided there are no restrictions in the water path feeding the sight glass, then yes, the glass level correlates exactly to the level in the tank.

...unless you're wondering if the top and bottom of the glass correspond to "full" and "empty", in which case they do not.
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Postby barry on Fri Jun 16, 2006 8:09 pm

phaelon56 wrote:I think there may be some value in experimenting with different tips.


there's a lot of value in experimenting with different tips. i'm running old-style brasilia tips (same as on my 18-year-old DEL-2) on my 4-group.
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Postby onocoffee on Fri Jun 16, 2006 9:12 pm

Owen-

I'm running the stock 4-hole (non-acorn) style tip on the right wand and an EPNW two-hole "pointy" tip on the left wand. The pointy tip is much more restricted than the factory tip but it works great for steaming the 2 to 4 ounces of ingredients in a 12z pitcher. Just takes a little time getting used to and, since it's restricted, it takes a bit longer to depressurize once you've shut off the valve.
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Postby phaelon56 on Sun Jun 18, 2006 6:24 am

Jay -

That makes sense. The stock tip that came with Isomac E61 style machines and a few other brands that were very popular several years back (before the alternate tips showed up) was a three hole tip.

A very experienced barista can get decent texture with a very fast steam time on auch a tip but the newer style two hole tip makes it far easier to steam that typical 2 - 4 oz of milk that most home barista's are doing. And I think it makes sense in a commercial environment to have an "alternate wand". When you're steaming regularly to make milk for 8 oz to 16 oz milk drinks and then want to shift gears to do a traditional cappa or a machiatto.... the slower steaming is nice.

I have also experimented with using the szxteam valve partially open on the Linea but results are more predictable and IMHO more easily controlled with the two hole tip.
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