The Daily Double Shot – June 1, 2012

It’s Friday!  Today, I’m going to try something new.  Well, everything is still new for me at this point.  I’m going to turn on some Kenny G while I pull some shots.  Oh, and remember when I mentioned  S’ coworkers that love coffee?  Well, one of them, I will call him “The Coffee Enabler”, gave us a tip on minimizing big bubbles while frothing the milk.  Well, I’m going to give it a shot.  It can’t get any worse for me in the frothing department, I’d say.

I woke up this morning, with that old Folger’s jingle, “The best part of waking up…”, but it finished with “is communist coffee in your cup.” Yeh, left a bad taste in my mouth, so let’s put a good espresso taste there!

It started like any old Man vs. Food challenge.  I take my first “bite”: grind, tamp, pull.  That first bite was easy, my inner narrative would say. Take a look at it today.

This is when it gets a little more difficult.  So, the new tip that The Coffee Enabler gave us was to try releasing the initial pressure in the milk frothing valve for 5 seconds.  I had initially done it for a second to release any excess water that was trapped in there, but I guess that’s not enough time.  The idea is that the initial pressure in the valve will be very high, which is likely to be the cause of the huge bubbles.

Yeh, I know, what a man, right?  Turning on that pressure with a towel.  I’m not going to mention that I burned myself 3 times, oh, wait… I guess I did. But, I won’t mention that I let out an ‘eek’ the first time.  This is when Adam Richman says, “And then the wall…”

Yes, it did minimize the larger bubbles, but I didn’t froth enough of the milk.  I usually see the milk double in size, this time it was only 50%.  Going to have to try this a few more times to get the hang of it.  Also, a thermometer is becoming more and more of a necessity for this frothing business.

I call this one, “The One that Defeated Me.”  Tip for myself tomorrow morning: Get in your frothing zone.  I noticed that I was keeping the wand deep in the milk rather than placing it near the top.  Tomorrow is another day!

Happy Friday everyone!

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3 Responses to “The Daily Double Shot – June 1, 2012”

  1. The Coffee Enabler says:

    You might find this video helpful: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDK1XEF1iyE

    1. The metal pitcher is key so that you can feel the side for temperature (140 degree is almost too hot to hold) at least until you get a thermometer. Secondly, notice in the video how he bangs the pitcher on the countertop and then swirls. This forces the big bubbles to the surface and helps break them up. (This is NOT recommended with a glass pitcher…) You can even occasionally salvage “dish soap” milk foam with lots of banging and swirling.

    2. Fill pitcher halfway to the top. I like the 12 oz. pitcher with about 6 oz of milk for a typical double shot latte.

    3. Keep that nozzle just barely under the surface of the milk. This is challenging. Too high and the tip will come out of the liquid–you’ll hear a loud motorboat sound and bubbles will form like crazy. You’ll have the dreaded “dish soap”, which is pretty much like every latte the 16-year old barrista at Starbucks makes for you on the push-button machine… Place the tip too low and you’ll end up with hot milk but very little foam.

    4. Some people claim that the stock 3-hole tip won’t produce great microfoam and they either buy a single-hole tip (http://www.orphanespresso.com/OE-SLIM-Single-Hole-Steam-Wand-Tip–Stainless-OR-Brass_p_2175.html), fabricate their own custom tip, or jam toothpicks into two of the existing holes. I have not gone to this extreme but the single-hole tip replacement is an easy $10 modification, if you should be so inclined to try it.

    5. This is not easy to get right. I’ve been trying to get it right for about a year and I still can’t do it consistently. (Hmm, maybe I should order one of those single-hole tips right now. I wonder if they give a discount for group purchases?)

    Sincerely,
    The Coffee Enabler

  2. […] drops separated that rich light brown foam apart. That’s noteworthy, right? That, and with The Coffee Enabler’s advice, I started making a better looking cup of froth. Not the best yet, but I’m working on […]

  3. K says:

    Thanks for the tips! I just ordered a steel pitcher this morning. You’ll probably see it in the office on Tuesday.

    I’ll see if that helps, let me know about that group discount! I’d be in! Hahaha.

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