Posted Mon Mar 11, 2013, 5:10am Subject: Astoria steam wand swap with La Marzocco
After dealing with the inability to achieve latte art capable milk I've embarked on a little journey over the past year.
My Astoria came with a 5 hole tip which is a bit much, so I had ordered a few different tips last year from espressoparts to see if a four hole tip would make a difference. I snagged a replacement wand that had a unique tip on it as well from orphan espresso. Figuring I would go all out and fix it once and for all.
Well little did I know, but the threads on the steam tips vary, I would have thought it would have been standardized, nope. So I mix and matched up parts to use the new wand I purchased with the tips since the old wand and new tip would not work. I had absolutely zero success with the new setup either. A tad slower to steam but nothing resembling wet paint, and certainly not for pouring latte art. So I just put it out of my mind for a while and continued through the rest of the year with what I had.
Last month I remembered (senior moment) I have a Rancilio S27 I'm restoring and I went down and grabbed the tip from it and it threaded on my Astoria wand. Wouldn't you know, the thing fit. I grabbed some milk and started to steam. Now it's not going to win any speed races by any means but in the end it slowly but surely crept to 140 degrees and looked like wet paint. I got all excited, pulled a snot and gave it a pour, amazingly enough all the practice and failures resulted in a rosetta, but more importantly it tasted so much better for some reason as well.
I vowed to keep using the tip regardless of the time it takes to steam now, but wanted to find a more suitable tip. I ordered a La Marzocco four hole tip last week only to find out that it doesn't fit any Astoria/CMA wand. Not giving up, I have decided to go further to putting this debacle to rest by ordering the wand to match the La Marzocco tip and fitting the entire unit on my Astoria. Hopefully parts will arrive within a week and I can finally get some good results. I just wanted to share since I've been mia here for some time now.
Posted Tue Mar 19, 2013, 3:48am Subject: Re: Astoria steam wand swap with La Marzocco
Parts arrived yesterday, right as I got home as a matter of fact, talk about timing.
First thing I did was try to get the OEM steam/water nut that came off my 5 hole Astoria steam wand over the bends in the La Marzocco wand. That ended up to be not possible. I was left scratching my head then I realized I had bought a Rancilio S27 replacement wand from Orphan Espresso and ended up using that on my Astoria and maybe the steam/water nut had a slightly larger diameter to get over the bends. I set worth and took the wand/nut off and I did a double take when it fit right over the Marzocco wand.
I used the OEM Astoria spring/seat and seal for the La Marzocco wand with some food grade lube and teflon seals all snagged from Espresso Parts.
After installation I noticed that the tip doesn't thread up flush with the wand, leaving a small gap between wand and tip, these parts are all La Marzocco so it's boggling as to why this gap would be there unless it's by design. All I can think of is that milk is gonna get stuck in there eventually. One other observation is that the wand needed a bit of teflon tape as the tip would leak out back through the threads, none of my other machines do this, so this was a first for me.
So that's it. Now I've got to test it all out, sadly I ran out of espresso so I couldn't pull any shots. A side note, this La Marzocco wand will fit on the Rancilio S27 as well for those who are looking to swap tips/wands etc.
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