Development and technology of coffee machines with steam nozzle

Technology is constantly evolving in the preparation of perfectly whipped milk via the steam nozzle of the coffee machine. In this article, we'll take a look at the history of steam-jet coffee machines and introduce the latest innovations you can find on the market.

The evolution of the steam nozzle

Although we take for granted that a steam nozzle is nowadays a standard feature of every coffee machine, this was not always the case. At the end of the 19th century, the first ever coffee machine was patented , which contained only one boiler and was therefore designed exclusively for espresso, but Luigi Bezzera was behind its invention .

The first coffee machine to have a nozzle for whisking milk was "La Ideale" by Desiderio Pavoni, who founded the company La Pavoni. Steam nozzles thus came to the fore in the design of espresso machines. So manufacturers began fitting two boilers into their coffee machines - one for espresso and one for steam to whip the milk.

Want to learn more about the origins and beginnings of milk in coffee - read our blogarticle.

Many espresso machines still had only one boiler that made espresso and whipped milk at the same time. Even when this was possible, there was interplay. If the barista set the temperature of the coffee to 90°C, the steam pressure dropped. If he wanted more steam again, the boiler would heat up so much that the coffee could then be over 100°C. The barista made this adjustment by tightening or looseninga screw. But it always changed the characteristic of one or the other preparation.

This had a major impact on workflow, operation and speed. Now, multi-barrel technology is common in many high-end coffee machines, allowing baristas to prepare espresso and use the steam nozzle at the same time.

However, even today we see single-barrel coffee machines with a steam nozzle - these are mainlyhome coffee machines. The advantage is of course their price and the fact that they are very small and compact. But the big disadvantage is thatsteam needs a different temperature than water for espresso. So when you want to make a latte you have to switch to steam heating and wait a few minutes before you can start whisking. Which can be a lengthy preparation process as a result.

How the milk whisking process works

So how does it all work? When you whip milk using the steam nozzle, two things happen at the same time - arich foam is created and steam is introduced to the milk to heat it up.

When the steam nozzle is switched on, astream of steam shoots outthrough the holes at the end of thenozzle. When the end of the nozzle is at the surface, the steam jets act like small, violent whisks that quickly inject air into the milk and break its surface. If the end of the nozzle is too high up,large jets of air are forced into the milk , creating large , cumbersome bubbles. However, if the end of the nozzle is too deep in the milk, the surface is not broken and the milk is only heated by the hot steam. No foam is thus formed because no air flows into it.

Whipping milk on the nozzle has one big advantage. The heat helps to increase the perceived sweetness of the milk. This is because the carbohydrates that are naturally present in the milk are broken down into simple sugars by the heat, thus affecting the resulting taste.

The latest technology in milk whipping

In recent years, milk whipping has moved to a higher level. As whisking requires great consistency on the part of the barista, it can be difficult in a large operationto whip milk to a perfect state with a great froth. Thus ,fully automatic systems are coming on the market that can provide high quality milk foam and whip milk at the perfect temperature. These systems can also regulate the temperature as required.

This is what easy cream technologysolves . This technology is contained within the nozzle and allows the barista to program the density and temperature of the milk and then, with just apush of a button, whip the milk to the desired consistency. The advantage is also that the barista does not have to worry about the whipping process at all, as the nozzle regulates itself according to the program.

Watch the video from Nuova Simonelli, which introduces the easy cream technology.

Another innovative nozzle feature is the cool touchtechnology, which is available on bothNuova Simonelli and Victoria Arduino coffee machines . In this nozzle, the steam passes through an insulated manifold and therefore the nozzle does not burn. The bonus is that thelower temperature prevents milk from sticking to the nozzle, leading to easy cleaning.

Thepressure in the boiler alsoplays a big part in improving the quality of the milk . This is because with higher pressure, the steam becomes drier and there is minimal dilution of the milk with water from the steam nozzle. This technology is available, for example, in the Maverick coffee machine from Victoria Arduino, where you can also adjust thestrength of the steam nozzle.

Another great technology in milk frothing has come from Übermilk. This German company has invented a completely revolutionary machine - the automatic milk frother. Übermilk is revolutionizing the way milk is steamed. It can froth milk to the ideal temperature in seconds at the touch of a button. It can process up to250 milksper hour in a café .

What can you get when you buy a coffee machine with a steam nozzle today?

  • A cool touch nozzle that won't burn you.
  • Paddle nozzle control for longer or manually controlled whisking.
  • Precise water temperature settings for coffee and steam separately.
  • Semi-automated milk whipping with easy cream technology.
  • Steam pressure adjustment in the coffee machine.
  • Fully automated milk preparation for latte art in Ubermilk.

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