those steam wands aren't magical, they have been notorious for the huge variances that need to be calibrated every some months by the technicians. i've seen them steam as low as 140 to as high as 185 (which we had to call in because it kept burning the milk if we weren't alert to stop it).
so how come thermometers bug everyone? ( you too ilovesbux, you don't seem to be pointing out the positive aspects of thermometers ;) )
i myself have ordered 10 thermometers last month to ensure every single pitcher gets one of these babies. maybe it's the way you guys rinse it? i use the high pressure cold water tap and it rinses everything in a second. the thermometer doesn't get in my way once.
also, i love thermometers because it helps me micromanage my milk. during a rush, i'll need to know which milk is the hottest , fifo! (also, i can take the pitcher from the back for XH orders). so i'll have 4 pitchers of 2% and 4 pitchers of non fat all steamed up during the rush. we burn through the milk extremely fast, but occasionally we get more non fat than 2% orders, and the 4th pitcher of 2% drops below 150, it'll tell me immediately that the milk isn't good enough to build a $5 drink with it :D
- enables me to hand off XH lattes within 20 seconds of the order (since the espresso will generally take 17 to pull)
- lets me know not to serve warm lattes
hoo hah! thermometers rule.