dlee388 Senior Member Joined: 29 Feb 2008 Posts: 6 Location: us Expertise: I like coffee
Espresso: alex duetto II Grinder: rocky until I can afford... Drip: french press Roaster: popcorn mod
Posted Fri Jan 10, 2014, 3:17pm Subject: Sproline Foam Knife on Alex Duetto II - has anyone else gotten this to work?
I followed the mod where you replace the stock steam wand on the Alex Duetto II with a La Marzocco wand and a Sproline tip. Click Here (www.home-barista.com)
I went with the Sproline Foam Knife instead of the Vortex because the EP website says that foam knife is better for smaller volumes of milk. I'm trying to steam milk in a 12 oz pitcher with the foam knife on the LM wand.
The power of the steam coming out of the LM wand is much stronger than what comes out with the standard no-burn wand/ 4 hole tip that comes with the Alex II. The steam coming out of the foam knife tip looks like a narrow knife blade and the steam is really powerful. For example, on the standard wand/tip that comes with the Alex, I would steam milk with the steam valve wide open. With the foam knife and a 12 oz pitcher, if I open the valve full, the steam is so powerful and such a narrow stream, that the milk is just blasted out of the 12 oz pitcher.
So I barely open the steam valve to get the milk spinning in the pitcher, but I haven't been able to get any decent micro-foam. I've been steaming milk for a year now. I'm not an expert, but I'm not a complete rookie either. I was wondering if anyone else has gotten this combination of wand and tip to work successfully on an Alex Duetto II. Otherwise, I'm thinking about asking EP to swap the foam knife tip for the vortex tip.
Naively, I thought that making this change was going to quickly produce latte art quality milk, but it's only gotten worse. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Posted Fri Jan 10, 2014, 3:46pm Subject: Re: Sproline Foam Knife on Alex Duetto II - has anyone else gotten this to work?
I haven't pulled the trigger yet on this mod, but considered doing it a couple of times. I've found that whenever one changes their "system", whether it be a new wand, a different pitcher, a different steam tip, there's a learning curve to re-master the task of frothing. I suspect that as you work with it, you'll get better, as long as you're patient enough and analytical enough to figure out what changes you need to make in your technique/process.
One of the reasons I haven't done this mod is obvious...the cost. Another is that I've read a bunch of reviews of the Sproline tips where people say, yeah, they're great, but they don't really improve the quality of the milk much, if at all. Last reason is, I think removing the plastic tube from the Duetto (probably better to stick with this name, as Izzo makes an Alex HX machine; and an Alex Duetto DB machine) gives one plenty of improvment in steam quality - although you then have to buy a rubber sleeve or fabricate something else to insulate the now "burn me" wand.
. Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
Posted Sat Feb 15, 2014, 10:09am Subject: Re: Sproline Foam Knife on Alex Duetto II - has anyone else gotten this to work?
I went with the Vortex on mine and, while you still have to develop technique, the difference for me was evident very quickly. I'd spent 6 months or so working on my technique with the stock tip (both sleeved and unsleeved) and was still a ways away from being good and consistent. Within a few days of changing out to the Vortex the texture of my milk and my ability to consistently repeat results improved immensely.
baevans Senior Member Joined: 22 Jun 2008 Posts: 22 Location: Minnesota Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Alex Duetto II; Olympia... Grinder: HG One, Baratza Vario Vac Pot: Balance Brewer Drip: Eva Solo; French Press Roaster: I think not
Posted Mon Jul 21, 2014, 2:14pm Subject: Re: Sproline Foam Knife on Alex Duetto II - has anyone else gotten this to work?
I added this to my Duetto II with the swap in of a new LM steam wand from Espresso Parts. My original Alex wand was a "burn-me" so I just moved the rubber protector the the new wand when I installed it. Disappointed at first - I wasn't getting the milk to stretch. Turns out - with experimentation - that I did need to "surf" the surface with the knife and move it a bit deeper only when sufficient but not excessive stretching had occurred, so judgement to stop short of producing stiff foam is still called for. This was not clear from the instructions but when I initially simply submerged the tip as the instructions implied and turned on the steam all I got was hot milk. Perhaps this was the OP's situation. I did approximate 45 degree angle and have the tip very near the edge of the pitcher. The power appears to be in the ability of the foam knife to make the milk roll like a son of a gun. The incorporation was perfect, and the coating on the tip when I removed it from the pitcher looked like the tip had been dipped in paint - not a bubble to be seen. The consistency of the entire pitcher save the last small bit was perfect, with no blobs on the surface of the latte. I'm no latte art artiste but the rosette remained on the surface of the latte until the last gulp nearly 5 minutes later, which had a terrific mouthfeel. I'm a seven year veteran and thought my microfoam with the old tip was OK, but now (5 days later) the quality is a clear step (or 3) above what I was producing. I can afford toys but I don't like to waste money. I am now very satisfied with this purchase. As a bonus, as advertised, I can deal with relatively small amounts of milk without blowing it out of the pitcher. Sounds like that's the advantage over the Vortex tip. If you can afford it without pain or regret, the benefit is clear to me, once the technique is defined.
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