I go back and forth between two seasonal jobs slinging coffee:

My winter gig at Rose's on Orcas Island, WA has a 2 group La Marzocco Linea: beautiful little lady. I rock the latte art all winter long, love the fine tuned-ness of that machine (maintained by Cafe Vita, Seattle) and get amazing milk texturing every time. It is simple and super consistent.

My summer gig at the Black Bear Coffee House in Denali National Park, AK has a real work horse of a 4 group La Marzocco Linea (rebuilt). You could turn those steam wands on and let them run for months and they would never run dry. It is a non stop (now) glorious machine. We just had it rebuilt by Espresso MD in Anchorage (who does a good job, though a bit unreliable and seems to drop off the face of the earth from time to time). It is great machine: really takes a beating, and stays fairly consistent.

BUT, it is SO powerful that it is difficult to get just the right steaming pressure. It seems to over-aerate the milk, even when the tip of the wand is plunged deep. I give it a good quarter to half turn, get just the right quiet whirr sound... and it is steaming too quickly to create good texture. And I just can't seem to get the latte art rocking out here. I am wondering if there is a way to adjust the amount of pressure coming out of the wand, internally. I miss my sweet microfoam of the golden winter days on that stellar little 2 group!

I know that milk plays a part, and the 2% and skim will aerate more quickly. But that doesn't seem to be a factor.

Any suggestions?

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Steam boiler pressure is set via pressure stat (unless modified for PID steam boiler control.) But boiler pressure is but one factor. Obviously how far open the steam valve plays a factor. Maybe not so obvious is what steam tip is being used on the wand. The Linea stock tip was designed for large volume of milk aka Charbucks quart to half gallon at a time size. With that tip it is difficult to get good micro-foam even for a 16oz latte and impossible smaller amounts of milk. You need a more restricted tip so you get the velocity without too much steam. Meaning less overall total hole area opening, not necessarily less number of holes. Espresso Parts NW makes a great restricted La Marzocco steam tip. Though even with that tip it's still tough to steam a no milk waste macchiato;-)
Thanks Mike! Great advice. I will check out that restricted steam tip.

miKe mcKoffee aka Mike McGinness said:
Steam boiler pressure is set via pressure stat (unless modified for PID steam boiler control.) But boiler pressure is but one factor. Obviously how far open the steam valve plays a factor. Maybe not so obvious is what steam tip is being used on the wand. The Linea stock tip was designed for large volume of milk aka Charbucks quart to half gallon at a time size. With that tip it is difficult to get good micro-foam even for a 16oz latte and impossible smaller amounts of milk. You need a more restricted tip so you get the velocity without too much steam. Meaning less overall total hole area opening, not necessarily less number of holes. Espresso Parts NW makes a great restricted La Marzocco steam tip. Though even with that tip it's still tough to steam a no milk waste macchiato;-)
What does the boiler pressure gauge indicate? 1.2 should do well. If it reads 1.5 or more, then that could be set lower, but if it is in the normal range of 1-1.2 it is probably your tip.
It's at 1.4, so I don't think that needs adjusting. But, I am really not sure.

Phil Proteau said:
What does the boiler pressure gauge indicate? 1.2 should do well. If it reads 1.5 or more, then that could be set lower, but if it is in the normal range of 1-1.2 it is probably your tip.
I would say 1.4 is pretty high, high enough to make it difficult to texturize milk comfortably unless you are using 32 oz pitchers. It could use a little bump down, I would put it at 1.2 for my personal preference.

i understand this is a 10 yr old post... was there ever a solution ... I have an EE 2 grp and a similar issue and question as to whether I can adjust steam pressure.  

    

thanks! 

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