We've got really bad separation issues when steaming soy.  Whole and skim milk turn out great with nice microfoam but with soy we are getting an almost curdled look to the milk.  The soy milk looks fine in the pitcher (pretty nice microfoam, no dish soap bubbles) but when poured into espresso it separates.  It looks like really watery milk with small, chunky solids. The separation seems to be less dramatic with a faster pour(I mean like all the milk at once fast). We've had no complaints about this issue but everything else we do we are sure of and I'm unsure about the soy.  Any help?  Thanks guys!  

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What brand of soy are you using?

Publix Greenwise Plain Soy.

Dustin DeMers said:

What brand of soy are you using?

We've noticed that the Silk soy milk we use will separate and look bad but taste fine if the soy milk gets too cold in the fridge and then defrosts. We try to keep the soy milk just below 40 and if it gets frozen or close we don't shake it so the bits stay in the bottom of the carton. Hope this helps!

I'd recommend switching to Pacifics Ultra Soy, Ive tried numerous brands (including pacifics barista soy) and this was the closest we could get to true microfoam considering the major "soy" handicap. Also not taking your soy any higher than 135°F and under stretching a bit will help your baristi achieve as close to microfoam as you can get without crossing the line into more adultered brands of soy that contain ingredients you wouldn't want anywhere near your coffee.

The best experience that Ive had(frothing wise) so far is using Pasific Soy. It is different than steaming whole milk, but I dont think its to hard to create great microfoam with it. Latte art always seem a little harder with soy or skim milk, but definitely not impossible. I think your issues are more a product of the soy your using and also maybe your equipment.

Thanks a lot for the input guys.  I'll track down some Pacific soy. I think the stuff we are using must not made to be steamed or stretched.  It is most definitely not an equipment problem as we are working with a properly calibrated GB5.

Are the stock tips on the gb5? The reason I ask, is a lot of la marzocco machines are set up like jet packs in terms of steam power. I recentlly relized how much I hate that, and also how detrimental it is to steaming 12 oz pitchers. For me, the longer i can steam it the better(it makes since why I really love my rancilio Silvia steam wand) as long as I have enough momentum to fold or swirl the milk.

Anyway just my two cents.



zack burnett said:

Thanks a lot for the input guys.  I'll track down some Pacific soy. I think the stuff we are using must not made to be steamed or stretched.  It is most definitely not an equipment problem as we are working with a properly calibrated GB5.

Dustin, we do have stock tips and the machine is VERY powerful.  We steam milk for our 6 ounce caps in about 5 seconds with the steam turned on to the lowest output.  Most of our baristas get good results even with such a fast steam time.  I would like to try some different tips and actually I'm putting together an order for some parts tomorrow and I'll include some different steam-wand tips on it.  Any recommendations?

Yes, the machines I've been working on recently have switched up quite a bit. Most recently a strada, which I hated til the gs3 tips were put on it and leak out the side of the tip was fixed. The gs3 tips have smaller holes, so less overall fource but still high velocity. The sweet spot was huge for 12 oz pitchers. I'm now using a Fb80 paddle which is basically what you have, the steam wand has a very small sweet spot for small pitchers(imo talking less than a millimeter) which is ridiculous if you want consistency. So I'm going to attempt to put a gs3 tip on it and see how it works. I've also had good experience with the 3 hole foam knife(but defiantly not the single whole one).

Nice tip, Going to have to try this.
 
Jason said:

We've noticed that the Silk soy milk we use will separate and look bad but taste fine if the soy milk gets too cold in the fridge and then defrosts. We try to keep the soy milk just below 40 and if it gets frozen or close we don't shake it so the bits stay in the bottom of the carton. Hope this helps!

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