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Espresso: Latte Art and Etching
Shape of pitcher really a factor?
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Discussions > Espresso > Latte Art > Shape of pitcher...  
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doodle
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Joined: 10 Apr 2010
Posts: 17
Location: Toronto
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Lelit PL41EM
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Mon Mar 5, 2012, 8:19pm
Subject: Shape of pitcher really a factor?
 

Hi all! I've been working on my latte pours for quite a while now and making only incremental improvements. I have a Lelit, and I've been following all the usual instructions (stretching, sinking wand, swirling etc.) Moving to a slightly higher fat content (2% rather than skim) helped somewhat, but for months now I didn't seem to be getting any better at it. I'd occasionally get decent microfoam, but more often would get milk with a soft head on it.

Then the other day, when both of my pitchers were in the dishwasher, I used a differently-shaped one that for some reason I never used. My regular pitchers are straight-sided; this one angles out to a point around its belly (This is kind of what it looks like). To my surprise I ended up with lovely microfoam--so silky it looked, poured and tasted like thick cream--woo hoo! I've frothed with this pitcher three times now and made excellent microfoam every time.

I hate to be someone who blames her tools and am perfectly okay with admitting that my frothing technique probably still sucks, but should this change in shape make such a huge difference? And is this shape normal? I seem to find mainly straight-sided and bulbous pitchers online (I can't even remember where I got mine--I think it was a local kitchen store which has since closed.)

Ah well...Now I have to work on the art part!
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cbcb
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Joined: 2 Feb 2012
Posts: 8
Location: vancouver bc
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: lelit pl41tem
Grinder: lelit pl53
Drip: starbucks
Posted Tue Mar 6, 2012, 12:05am
Subject: Re: Shape of pitcher really a factor?
 

I have a Lelit, and that exact pitcher, from the same store, that you linked to.  No success at all yet making microfoam.

So I can't answer your question.  But I would love it if you would describe your technique!
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SteveRhinehart
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SteveRhinehart
Joined: 27 Dec 2009
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Location: Syracuse, NY
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: 1970s La Pavoni Europiccola
Grinder: Baratza Vario, Hario Skerton
Vac Pot: Yama Tabletop 3-cup
Drip: Chemex, CCD, Kalita Wave,...
Roaster: Flavorwave/Stir Crazy
Posted Tue Mar 6, 2012, 4:15pm
Subject: Re: Shape of pitcher really a factor?
 

It is somewhat a factor. Great microfoam can be made every time with a straight-walled pitcher, or a bulbous one, or a tin can - with enough practice. However, certain pitchers make the process a bit easier, apparently, depending on your approach and equipment (single hole tip vs. four hole, etc.). Bottom line is to use what you like, and what's worth the money to you.
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doodle
Senior Member


Joined: 10 Apr 2010
Posts: 17
Location: Toronto
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Lelit PL41EM
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Tue Mar 6, 2012, 8:20pm
Subject: Re: Shape of pitcher really a factor?
 

@cbcb: That was why I never used the pitcher originally--I had no luck with it when I first got my machine, so I chucked it to the back of the cupboard and forgot about it.

I find that this pitcher seems to get a good whirlpool going more easily than my straight-sided ones. I even get a nice, almost folding-over effect if I point the wand more perpendicularly towards one of the sides. Since the Lelit's wand is so short it doesn't really go near the bottom easily, but it still seems to work out okay. The one downside in this is that I waste a bit more milk than with my usual smaller pitcher because it needs to be filled up higher.

@Steve: I do sometimes think that maybe my technique finally clicked in just as I started using the new pitcher and maybe it's all a magic feather effect! But I figure, hey, it's working so why change back?
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danjed
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Joined: 29 Jul 2012
Posts: 11
Location: Ottawa Canada
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Mon Jul 30, 2012, 8:16am
Subject: Re: Shape of pitcher really a factor?
 

Yes, the shape of the pitcher can make all the difference. I think the most important phase in making microfoam is after the stretching phase when you are creating a whirlpool. Differently shaped pitchers will require different angles to create the whirlpool, but with practice you should be able to pull off microfoam with any pitcher.
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jackmartindale
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Joined: 14 Aug 2012
Posts: 1
Location: Bude, Cornwall
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Aug 14, 2012, 6:26am
Subject: Re: Shape of pitcher really a factor?
 

I think both shape and size are a factor. At my workplace, we have 2 small pitchers and 2 larger ones. They're pretty much exactly the same except the spout, which are slightly different. I don't know whether it's the quantity of milk in the pitcher that's affecting it, but generally we never use the larger ones because the milk comes out quite differently to the smaller pitchers', which is usually perfect.
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