I'm getting very nice velvety stuff on top and no big bubbles. After tapping the pitcher and swirling the milk, I get a nice start of thick, soft milk but towards the end of the cup the milk is quite watery again. This has really stymied my attempts at art.
I'm using an Andreja Premium and 2%. My frothing pitcher is an ilsa 18 oz.
i have the same issue. i always get liquid out first and not foam. i have great microfoam but separate from milk. i think i have a 20 oz, tapered pitcher and the temp of the milk is good; but although i think i've watched all the videos on youtube and have been practicing 2-3 times/day no luck. i've tried varying the amounts of milk from 10 oz. to 8 oz. still get no textured milk. i may try a straight pitcher and get pressure of steam checked.
We have finally figured this one out - perfect micro-foam!
Here's the trick (perhaps you know this already?):
You need to stretch the milk ONLY while it is cold - so you need a thermometer. Only stretch until 15 C, or 60 F (once it reaches this temp - NO MORE STRETCHING! - this is hard to not do).
Once you hit this temp., drop the wand into the milk and make a 'standing wave'. Get the milk swirling in the pitcher and try to make a nice little kayakers-dream surfing wave on one side of the pitcher. This is what will keep your micro-foam from getting those big dopey bubbles. Think waves on rivers...(I hope this makes sense).
Keep steaming until it's hot enough (I prefer 80C, or 170F), then pour into your espresso immediately. If you get big bubbles on top, swirl and tap pitcher lightly on the counter - they don't really mess you up too much).
As for latte art, my partner is better at it than me. He makes leaves, phoenixes (his specialty), hearts, and many other gorg. designs.