Variable aperture steam tip
As my 3-year old daughter Mimi will tell you, a garden hose with a spray nozzle is big fun. She can open the flood gates and fill a bucket of water in seconds or gently sprinkle a tray full of seedlings without missing a beat. Not only do we agree with Mimi, but we also believe the same versatility should be incorporated into a steam tip.
When we started to design our steam tip, we tried scores of different fixed aperture configurations on a wide variety of home and commercial machines. Through direct empirical testing, we learnt that the same tip performed differently on different machines because of the size of the steam boiler. And even on the same machine, the fixed aperture tip gave different results depending on the amount of milk being steamed.
Lesson to be learned, one size doesn’t fit all. Tips designed for commercial units with large steam boilers don’t always work well with home machines. A hole or slot size on a steam tip designed for bigger boilers, might be too large or too small for home use. The solution, make the hole size adjustable.
The Steam Dial is our variable aperture tip for frothing milk, allowing the barista to adjust steam pressure anywhere from a whisper to a roar. With graduated markings on the barrel, settings are easily changed and completely repeatable. The Steam Dial is finished with a food-safe proprietary non-stick coating which along with regular cleaning, helps prevent the buildup of dried milk.
The adjustable crescent shaped aperture of the Steam Dial channels a jet of steam out of the barrel in a fan tailed dispersion pattern. The fantail shape creates a whirlpool inside the pitcher, forcing the milk to fold over onto itself, incorporating air as well as compressing large bubbles. The result is a high quality dense micro foam with a glossy finish.
More control means less waste
Trying to steam a small portion of milk? Too little milk in a pitcher in combination with too much steam usually results in a big bubbly mess. The compromise is to pour more milk than you need and let the remainder go to waste. On the other hand, if you need to steam a large quantity of milk and your tip is too small, you’re stuck waiting around for the milk to even get warm.
With the Steam Dial, take out the big pitcher for the oversize latte and spin the dial to fully open. In the mood for a macchiato, use the small pitcher with a minuscule amount of milk and dial it closed. We believe in using the right amount of steam for the right amount of milk.
And like the HG-1 and EG-1 with their low ground retention and precision dosing, the Steam Dial lets you use only what you need.
Steam output is adjusted by rotating the lower cap of the Steam Dial. As the following illustration shows, the indicator marks on the body of the Steam Dial shows the current amount of steam, and the marks on the cap show the steam level.
Since the threading on individual steam wands will vary, the Steam Dial uses two sets of indicator marks to show the current steam level. This ensures the barista will always see one indicator from any perspective.
In the illustration above, both indicator marks show the Steam Dial set to full output. A partial turn, either clockwise or counter clockwise to the next steam level mark, would reduce the output by 1/4, with each subsequent mark further reducing the steam by 1/4 again.
Care & Maintenance
We recommend wiping the Steam Dial with a damp soft cloth after every use. At the end of the day or shift, a simple quick turn of the cap will clear any dried milk left inside the slot. For a more through cleaning, the cap can be removed by pulling it away from the body of the Steam Dial. After cleaning, we recommend wiping the O-ring inside the tip with a small drop of food safe mineral oil to keep the part lubricated. Before using the Steam Dial again, we suggest venting a small amount of steam into a pitcher of water to flush the part.
The Steam Dial is designed to fit on male steam wands with a 1/8 BSPT Pipe Size, 28 TPI. Commercial La Marzocco GS3, Nouva Simonelli Oscar, and some Slayer Espresso Machines are compatible. Please check your machine’s steam wand thread specifications first. Olympia Cremina owners with female steam wands and removable tips, will be able to use the Steam Dial with the purchase of an adapter.
Before installation or servicing of the Steam Dial, turn off your espresso machine and allow it to cool down completely.
Never touch the Steam Dial directly after use. The tip can become extremely hot and can cause burns. Use a towel or cloth to wipe the tip clean or to make adjustments.
Failure to follow these instructions may result in injury.