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DIY La Pavoni Steam wand Nozzle

I’ve had mixed success using the standard La Pavoni Professional steam wand to create the illustrious microfoam with regular milk. The La Pavoni comes with a 3 hole nozzle (see pictures). To get decent microfoam you need to be able to direct where the steam goes. The simple fact that the standard nozzle has 3 holes all pointing in different directions makes it virtually impossible to direct the steam into a single direction.

The quick fix

After a little googling I read that some people block the bottom hole by jamming the tip of toothpick into it and then breaking the rest of the pick off. That still didn’t quite give me the results I was looking for and some more browsing around mentioned the threading on the steam wand to be plain old M6.

The better fix

To “build” a steam wand tip for a La Pavoni Europiccola / Professional all you need is:

  • M6 threaded acorn nut
  • centerpunch and small hammer
  • 1.0mm or 1.5mm drillbit
  • electric or table drill
  • small block of wood

It’s actually a rather simple process, all you need is block of wood (or a bench / table you don’t mind damaging), a 1mm or 1.5mm drillbit, a drill, centerpunch and obviously an acorn nut. Use the centerpunch to create small indentation in the top of the nut to keep the drillbit from slipping. Then drill a hole where you marked the nut but be careful not to press too hard since the bit you’re drilling is most likely not all that thick. If you don’t want to accidentally drill a little hole in your worksurface put the nut on nut on top of the piece of wood prior to the drilling.

Conclusion

There are a few benefits to using a single hole nozzle. Normally with a 2 or 3 hole nozzle each hole gets 50% or 33% respectively of the total available steam “power”, a single hole will have close to 100% power. Another added benefit is that you get to direct that power into any direction you want without having one or two extra holes disrupting that swirling action you need to get decent microfoam.

10 Comments

  • Ralle says:

    Sounds easy…. Ill give it a go today… 🙂

    • Nick says:

      Like a fool I tried to drill the curved surface of the acorn the drill bit kept sliding off the nut. Turn the nut round 180 degrees and drill the inside of the nut (the little 1/16th drill bit will have loads of clearance from the M6 threads) to the outside and it is self centering. Just de-burr edges and you are good.

  • Jonathan says:

    i went to my local hardware store. they didn’t have a wide range of dome/acorn nuts. I found one that was the right diameter but when i screwed it on, i could see a lot of the thread left. Was the depth of your nut okay?

    • Sebastiaan says:

      Are you absolutely sure you have the right threadtype? The La Pavoni uses a metric acorn nut, size M6. If it is in fact the right thread you might have gotten a shallowly threaded nut and as long as it screwed on for a minimum of 2 full turns and it feels tight you could try it. Open the steamvalve slowly and see what happens, make sure it has room to fly though haha. If you’re not sure about it all I could prepare a second nut and send it your way if you want (just pay for shipping).

      As a reference, this is a closeup of my acorn nut on my La Pavoni’s steam wand.
      La Pavoni - Modded steamwand - closeup Acorn nut

      • Jonathan says:

        Hi, ok so I found the right size nut but it’s stainless steel and I’m finding it hard to drill into.
        Was yours made of stainless steel?

        • Sebastiaan says:

          Mine is stainless as well indeed. If I have the choice between stainless and regular I will always choose stainless. Stainless is indeed a lot harder than regular mild steel. The easiest way to drill is from inside out, that way your drill won’t drift off the nut all the time.

      • Karen says:

        Hi, I’ve spent days trying to create microfoam with my la pavoni only today reading that it’s the 3 holed steam wand making all attempts fail. Having come across your old post on here what are the chances of you making me a single holed nut please. Obviously I’ll cover all costs involved? I’m just at a loss and want to perfect the flat white! Regards.

  • […] the stock three-hole steam wand tip can make it difficult to control the milk frothing. I followed these instructions to replace mine. The location of the knob to turn on and off the steam wand is a bit awkward, […]

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