I have a deLonghi Icona coffe machine. It contains a steaming wand of the panarello kind (with a hole in the top that automatically injects air). I tried to steam the milk to create a microfoam that would behave correctly when pouring into coffee. No success though.
My question is - is it possible to make a correct foam that would create latte-art on pouring with this kind of wand? Or do I need a machine with other wand type?
Microfoam has small bubbles by definition and the panarello wand will draw a 'certain' amount of air and you can't really control that part. The notes below might help you get there. I have successfully done this with the panarello wands of automatic Saeco machines which aren't too different from deLonghi.
Run your steam wand in a cup water first until it's fully producing steam and not spuddering hot water mixed with steam.
Use a small Stainless Steel Milk Frothing Pitcher. If the wand is trying to blow steam and air in for a long time, you'll end up with big bubbles. That wand is not as powerful as a commercial espresso machine with a proper boiler.
'Stretch' the froth only for a few seconds in the beginning.
Keep the wand off-center in the pitcher to encourage circulation (see next point).
Most important: make sure you create a whirlpool to circulate the milk (helps to gently move the pitcher in a circular motion to encourage the start of the whirlpool).
I use the fattiest milk I can find.
The trick is to move the milk in a circulation such that big bubbles
break and only microbubbles survive. Some microfoam creation also
happens at the vortex of the whirlpool.
I solved the problem by removing the outer "Panarello" wand and using the inner steam wand to stretch my milk, it gives you much more control and with a little practice it works a treat and produces nice glossy stretched milk perfect for latte art.