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Which is better: milk frother or milk frothing wand?
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Discussions > Coffee > Q and A > Which is better:...  
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CAO2
Senior Member


Joined: 12 May 2013
Posts: 3
Location: CO
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Sun May 12, 2013, 8:16pm
Subject: Which is better: milk frother or milk frothing wand?
 

Hi, the frother wand on my espresso machine broke, and I'm gathering advice about buying a either an automatic milk frother or a milk frothing wand.
Please tell me your opinion (and reasons for your opinion) about which gives the best results!
Thanks!
Carla
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,670
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Mon May 13, 2013, 7:13am
Subject: Re: Which is better: milk frother or milk frothing wand?
 

A little more information from you would help a lot. That is why you have a profile you can fill out, so we know what equipment you have. There is a huge difference in our replies depending on what you own.

For example, if you own  $1800 espresso machine, you would get help on how to repair it while, if you have $50 steam toy, you would get advice on replacing the whole matchine.

In short though, a properly operating steam wand  works just like a stand alone frother that operates on steam.

So, what machine do you have and what is wrong with your steam wand, perhaps we can help you repair it.

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 2,947
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Mon May 13, 2013, 7:22am
Subject: Re: Which is better: milk frother or milk frothing wand?
 

+1

...and assuming it's not something repairable...or that you merely want to buy another toy...are you talking about a handheld electric whisk-like frother, a plunger-type frother (looks like a mini press pot) or something like the Nespresso Aerocino (which is basically an electric whisk)?

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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CAO2
Senior Member


Joined: 12 May 2013
Posts: 3
Location: CO
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Mon May 13, 2013, 7:26pm
Subject: Re: Which is better: milk frother or milk frothing wand?
 

I apologize that I haven't completed my profile, nor did I tell many details. The machine is a Gran Gaggia.
The problem started several months ago. I would heat up my machine 6 minutes (like I've always done to get it to the proper operating temp) then press the steam switch "on", and I would turn the steam valve knob to release the steam. But it didn't release any steam to froth my milk.
However, this problem happened intermittently. Sometimes it would properly froth the milk.
Other times it wouldn't do anything.
I make sure the air intake hole wasn't clogged.
And I make sure the steam nozzle is clear from clogs.
Now it is at the point where I never get any steam from the wand.

I guess what I'd really like to know is how good each type works, that emradguy writes "...handheld electric whisk-like frother, a plunger-type frother  or something like the Nespresso Aerocino..."
I don't want to buy an espresso machine with a frother (like I have). I want a dedicated tool to use for frothing.
You see, I've read many customer reviews and I was almost going to just pick one from my list and go with it. But then I found coffeegeek.com so that is when I posted my ambiguous question!

Here is a list of what I'm looking at:
Capresso 204.04 frothPLUS Automatic Milk Frother
Jura Automatic Milk Frother
Secura Automatic Electric Milk Frother and Warmer

I don't think I'd be happy with something like this:
BonJour Automatic Battery-Powered Primo Latte Frother


I really appreciate your replies, calblacksmith and emradguy!  Hope I've told you enough to give me some help. Now that you've read my thoughts, please let me know what you think.

Thank you!
Carla
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 1,979
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Mon May 13, 2013, 7:43pm
Subject: Re: Which is better: milk frother or milk frothing wand?
 

Perhaps a little different approach.  If I understand correctly this is your machine.  They are still good machines.

http://www.partsguru.com/GranGaggiaEspresso.html

You may know this, just thinking out loud.  The steam portion of the machine is heat regulated only, and a valve to open.  Does it heat to steam?  If the valve or mechanism is plugged the machine should heat to steam temperature and steam should come out of the group.  There is a valve in the group, part 61, to keep the machine from leaking and to provide enough pressure to keep steam from the group if the steam valve and wand are open.  Think about steam t'stat.

If the steam valve is open and the pump on, does water flow freely from the steam wand?  Think valve or steam path obstruction.

Or, if not interested or not of the above apply, look for another frother :)

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 2,947
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Tue May 14, 2013, 7:45am
Subject: Re: Which is better: milk frother or milk frothing wand?
 

CAO2 Said:

Here is a list of what I'm looking at:
Capresso 204.04 frothPLUS Automatic Milk Frother
Jura Automatic Milk Frother
Secura Automatic Electric Milk Frother and Warmer

I don't think I'd be happy with something like this:
BonJour Automatic Battery-Powered Primo Latte Frother

Posted May 13, 2013 link

Unfortunately, I have nil experience with any of those frothers you've mentioned.  I can say, however, that at least the top three seem to use the same method of producing the froth as the N'espresso Aerocino (which I think does a pretty good job, considering all factors).  Though I feel the Aerocino's foam is still a bit too airy, I have to qualify that by saying I'm used to microfoam from an espresso machine wand. Having said that, I have one in my office at work, for use when I brew with my Aeropress...and I take it along when traveling by car (like a weekend to Dallas, or something like that - I live in Houston).  So, I guess you should compare reviews...and I think one of them is the same price as the Aerocino, so you might want to add that to your list.

.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,670
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Tue May 14, 2013, 8:05am
Subject: Re: Which is better: milk frother or milk frothing wand?
 

You have a pretty basic SBDU machine.
There are only two things I can think of that would prevent it steaming and act like it is, well three actually.
1 the steam switch has gone bad.
2 the steam thermostat has failed in the open position.
3 one of the wires in the steam circuit has burned or a connector has failed, preventing electric flow in the steam circuit.

You are free to buy any stand alone frother you like but it would be much less expensive to repair your machine, provided you can still get parts to fit and you understand a bit what you are doing inside the machine.

If you do not understand electric circuits and how to work on them, do not open the machine, the voltage and current inside can kill you.

You have not said anything about how the machine is performing for espresso, if it is reaching proper brew temp, then the problem is in the steam circuit, if the brew system has issues then the problem is elsewhere.


I went and looked at your list, and frankly, none of them look worth buying for me, I, like nearly everyone else here, enjoy MICRO foam in the milk and those frothers produce dish suds foam. Microfoam is very VERY fine, the milk looks like wet paint, no visable bubbles at all, it has the consistency and mouth feel that dish suds just can not hold a mirror to.

YMMV!

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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CAO2
Senior Member


Joined: 12 May 2013
Posts: 3
Location: CO
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Tue May 14, 2013, 7:34pm
Subject: Re: Which is better: milk frother or milk frothing wand?
 

Thank you D4F, emradguy, and calblacksmith for your replies. All of you have told me exactly what I wanted to know (your opinions), and that's what I appreciate.
And you have given me things to think about. I'm going to do more research and I might be back.
But I want to thank all of you for taking time to write :)

Carla
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