globetrotter Senior Member Joined: 19 Sep 2013 Posts: 6 Location: San Diego Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Thu Sep 19, 2013, 6:42am Subject: Rancilio Silvia wand on my Gaggia Classic
I've been trying to get the perfect microfoam since I started a few months ago and still can't quite get it down. Many people said the Rancilio Silvia wand was much better than the plastic Gaggia Classic for frothing and foam, so I "upgraded" and not very impressed. I got thicker and denser foam on the Gaggia than I can get now. On my Rancilio wand, bt the time the milk gets hot, I only have a small layer of microfoam on the top, and all the rest is hot milk. I've watched so many tutorials and I can't do it like they do in the videos where they have the whole pitcher the same consistency. I think the more holes in the tip the better. The Rancilio only has one hole, whereas the Gaggia has about 4, so it really whips it up good. The Rancilio has a lot more pressure, but it doesn't get whipped up as well for me. I'm temped to switch back to my stock steam wand. Any tips?
Start with cold milk. Try 10 - 15 minutes in the freezer before you start. try a couple different fat contents and different brands. You can practice on water with a couple drops of dish soap. The Rancilio wand was definitely different to use and you have to relearn, start over.
emradguy Senior Member Joined: 31 Mar 2011 Posts: 3,514 Location: Houston Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2 Grinder: M Major, Macap M4, Pharos,... Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Thu Sep 19, 2013, 8:33am Subject: Re: Rancilio Silvia wand on my Gaggia Classic
Once you get your technique down, you can do baby steps towards just taking milk out of your fridge and then pouring it into your room temp pitcher. First, though, you need to get your technique down, and the extra chilling will give you more time to interact with the milk. As Fred says, practicing with soap and water helps and is really cheap.
For sure, you will eventually get it if you keep at it...and once you do, you won't look back (or at least if you look back, you'll be glad to see how far you've progressed).
When I took my barista training class at Klatch Roasting, Heather Perry told us to get the vortex going as soon as possible, and then introduce air in tiny whispers (rather than the chugga-chugga a lot of other people talk about).
Hang in there! It's tough to learn, but well worth the effort.
Another option is to find a local barista who might be willing to come to your home and help you. I hear that offers of food and/or alcohol help entice them...but you could alternatively offer them money.
. Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
gophishin Senior Member Joined: 1 Mar 2013 Posts: 69 Location: Phoenix, AZ Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: ecm technika iv profi Grinder: baratza vario Drip: bonavita immersion dripper
Posted Thu Sep 19, 2013, 9:20am Subject: Re: Rancilio Silvia wand on my Gaggia Classic
In addition to what everyone has already said, I found this video pretty helpful: click here
I have the same setup, and it takes some practice, but it will eventually click. I personally find I get a more consistent microfoam throughout if I keep the pitcher tilted creating a vortex during the entire process and introduce air (the cha or kissing sound) until about 100*F and then submerge the wand a little deeper to create consistency. I say that echoing emradguy, because I found I got too much hard foam that had trouble incorporating with the rest of the milk when I got to the vortex phase using the silivaschool technique.
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