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Thread: Decent Espresso grinder

  1. #1
    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    Decent Espresso grinder

    In what almost looks like a completely different direction the team at Decent Coffee have released a grinder.

    It has no doser, no timer, no fancy touchpad, no android tablet, just an off and on switch.

    The interesting bit is the group handle holder has built in scales so you turn it on and then off when you reach the desired weight. Unfortunately no auto shut off when desired weight is reached

    https://decentespresso.com/pro_grinder

    Currently $1079Au plus shipping

    64mm flat burrs. Made of food grade hardened tooling steel. Burrs manufactured in Italy by Italmill.
    Grinding speed: from 1.5 to 4.0 grams/second.
    Dimensions: 56cm x 21cm x 33cm.
    Hopper capacity: 1.2kg.
    Power consumption: 11A 350W.
    Grinding capacity: 1000 drinks per day.

    Discuss
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  2. #2
    Senior Member matth3wh's Avatar
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    As the Decent brand makes me think tech/integration I would have thought this would have been something they'd consider - maybe further down the track. (I'm sure the competing primary interests of getting their espresso machine out the door with top notch parts is higher on the priority list right now though). For example, Decent Grinder talks to their Decent tablet and inputs that data in to the automatic brew ratio based on your recipe. Result = machine delivers same recipe / ratio time after time.

    Perhaps there's a Mazzer factory out there with stock piles of old manual only base units waiting to shift at the right price? Surely not!

    Having seen a few arduino based timer projects (some posted on YouTube that help inspire people to convert manual only grinder) I can't help but think surely the option for a timed grind system would't be too much trouble to implement?

    But I guess their theory (at least with the grinders they've tested) is that timed is too inaccurate so you might as well just do it manually. Fine at home, but I'm sure commercially every time saving and consistency thing you can implement helps.

    I've been interested in this concept for a bit having grinders able to talk to the coffee machine &/or log their data / IoT to TheCloud for reporting / consistency / "we recommend you change the burrs now because you've done 300 kg" type of thing ... Leads me to tangent to read/review the Dalla Corte system further.
    Last edited by matth3wh; 28th February 2017 at 11:02 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member ArtW's Avatar
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    I'm not sure about the statement on their web-site "
    The only professional grinder now shipping with real-time weighing",
    I guess it depends on their definition of professional ... the Baratza Forte comes to my mind. As you're alluding to Trent, I think they've missed a few tricks on this one, for moderate home use, I'd prefer the functionality of the Sette for just over half the price. Still, it's called the "Professional Grinder" so I suppose moderate home use isn't its raison d'etre.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    Looks to me a lot like a $250 Chinese built Super Jolly copy (HC-600 or 700 based) with a $900 scale added on
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  5. #5
    Senior Member matth3wh's Avatar
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    Decent Espresso grinder

    I believe the scale stand combo I see in the video is the Decent custom stand/base and the Brewista scales.

    Much easier to ask John at DE for a response than for us all to speculate much further John seems quite open and transparent about the entire process for things.

    Now I'm off to alibaba to find a $250 HC-600

  6. #6
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trentski View Post
    Power consumption: 11A 350W.
    Am I the only one who sees a problem with this spec?


    Java "W/A=V" phile
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    Toys! I must have new toys!!!

  7. #7
    Senior Member deegee's Avatar
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    Maybe it's battery operated ( batteries NOT icluded ???)

  8. #8
    Life-long Learner DesigningByCoffee's Avatar
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    In the video it says "conical burrs interchangeable with a Robur" - what the?

    Slightly confused now in the spec department

  9. #9
    Site Sponsor Casa Espresso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Javaphile View Post
    Am I the only one who sees a problem with this spec?


    Java "W/A=V" phile
    11A draw.... 350W .... ??

  10. #10
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    Why make a Decent Grinder?

    As Matt suggested, I'm happy to answer, as there is a certain WTF? to the conversation, caused no doubt by the lack of information out at the moment. I'm going to split my answers into two posts: today vs the future.


    WHY IS DECENT SELLING A GRINDER AT ALL?

    - If your grinder is junk, you won't be able to make good espresso, even with the DE1. Thus, I want my customers to be able to buy an affordable grinder that I know will allow them to make good espresso.

    - if you're a beginner and you don't weigh your grounds, you're going to have trouble achieving consistently good espresso

    - the Baratza Sette: there are things I like about the Sette, and for the size, styling and price, I think it's unbeatable. However: our use of the Sette with the DE1+ finds that if you dose directly into the portafilter with the Sette, you will get bad channelling. Dosing into the Sette's plastic hopper, shaking, and then tipping that into the portafilter, produces quite good shots on the DE1+. This is fairly objective, and repeatable, as we can see the channeling as loss of pressure throughout the shot.

    - if you are willing to dose into the Sette's plastic hopper, then the Sette is a fantastic choice, and I would not want to offer a product to compete with it. The grind-by-weight feature, in my experience, is mostly accurate to within 0.2g, which is impressive.

    - for two years, we've been trying every chinese-made grinder, both pro and non pro. Other than the Hey Cafe HC-600, I haven't found anything, at any price, that makes good espresso.

    - yes, our grinder is a hotrodded HC-600 On Demand grinders : HC-600 ODG

    - Hey Cafe (the grinder make) is now a subsidiary of Mahlkonig. If you can find a new $250 HC-600, I recommend you buy one, as that's cheaper than we can buy them, even at a by-the-pallet quantity. My search on ebay for a new HC-600 found this at $999 Elan HC-600 Commercial Coffee Grinder | eBay

    - We're modding the grinder to have a scale built into it, and a portafilter stand. I know that there are no other grinders like this, and it probably seems very "retro" to not have a CPU and display on a grinder. However, I personally find the simplicity (on/off switch) and a live display of the weight in the portafilter to be really, really, like awesomely, helpful.

    - I love being able to pull at shot at 18g, say "that was a little slow" and then dose 17.5g, without needing to reprogram the damned grinder. Just turn it on/off as needed.


    SUMMARY

    To summarize, we're selling this grinder because
    - it's the only under $1000 grinder that I've tested that pulls good shots when dosing directly into a portafilter
    - we're able to get ~20% refractometer measured extractions on it, which indicates a certain quality level
    - dosing and weighing directly into a portafilter is really helpful
    - the grinder is very heavy duty, and our scale/portafilter stand combo is also heavy duty. This can hold up to pro use in a way that the Sette was not designed for (there's no moving plastic parts inside this).

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    For anyone that's interested, below is a DE1+ chart of what a shot looks like on a bad grinder (not the Sette). On the Decent Grinder, the curve looks fairly smooth, except for a typical ~0.5s pressure loss during the initial ramp up (room for improvement). As a competitor of (but also friendly with) Baratza, I don't think it's our place to do more product analysis of the Sette, except to say that the Sette is what I recommend home users buy to pair with the DE1.

    This same chart looks like a smooth line if you use a Peak or Mythos. For me, grinder quality is very objectively testable with these charts.

    IMG_5927.jpg
    Last edited by decentespresso; 1st March 2017 at 03:15 PM.

  11. #11
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    DECENT GRINDER FUTURE

    I'm working toward a future where Decent can sell a grinder with these attributes:
    - good grind quality
    - affordable (under USD $1500)
    - full bluetooth control
    - weighed dosing into portafilter in a production environment
    - automatic grind by weight within 0.2g.
    - integration with our espresso machines, and the cloud.
    - useable in a production café environment

    A whole bunch of components have to come together for us to get to a point where we can make this product. Here's what we're working on:
    - a good quality grinder as the base (done)
    - a bluetooth scale with 0.1g accuracy, open programming API, usb powered (our Decent Scale, coming in a few months)
    - a heavy duty portafilter stand that works on a scale (done, will be for sale in ~week)
    - bluetooth module, integrated into the grinder body itself (in progress, almost done).
    - software for controlling a grinder
    - - beta software version demonstrated at Portland trade show in September 2015 : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnYRTvHrYyQ )
    - - totally redesigned software, screen picture attached below. (designed, 40% coded)
    - Android devices that we can embed, and trust to be reliable (done, sourced with DE1)

    So, if you're wondering why we're selling a grinder now, it's because
    - what we've done so far with our grinder, is (to me) interesting and useful
    - we need to offer this first "low tech" grinder to solve the mechanical issues, in order to be able to make an advanced bluetooth grinder.

    To quote @trentski : "Discuss"

    screen 2017-03-01 at 11.59.41 AM.jpg

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    Not as convinced on the grinder - my Macap M4D in chrome only cost me $100 more and has a proven reputation. Scales mean little as I use a set of scales, and the timer, once a bean is dialled in, is remarkably accurate. In fact it's super fast work flow for me once dialled in. Back to back coffees for guests are no problem, no weighing required if I'm in a big hurry.

  13. #13
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    Mazzer Mini with funnel and portafilter stand

    Received this morning a photo from Rob Dawson, who put together something similar to our Decent Pro Grinder, but he used a Mazzer Mini to do it. The Mazzer mini has enough space under the hopper, and is the right height to accommodate a scale/stand/funnel with an adjustable stand.

    This setup lets Rob see the weight of his coffee dose while he's grinding.

    The end result is surprisingly tidy and quite functional.

    IMG_1997 copy.jpg
    Attached Images Attached Images
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  14. #14
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post
    Received this morning a photo from Rob Dawson, who put together something similar to our Decent Pro Grinder, but he used a Mazzer Mini to do it. The Mazzer mini has enough space under the hopper, and is the right height to accommodate a scale/stand/funnel with an adjustable stand.

    This setup lets Rob see the weight of his coffee dose while he's grinding.

    The end result is surprisingly tidy and quite functional.

    IMG_1997 copy.jpg
    That does look good. I wonder what it's like for clumping as I know the Mini can create a bit of clumping sometimes.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post

    - If your grinder is junk, you won't be able to make good espresso, even with the DE1. Thus, I want my customers to be able to buy an affordable grinder that I know will allow them to make good espresso.
    +1. That is why last year I sold 17 commercial grinders which were languishing in my shed. The only one I should have kept (maybe) was a Mazzer Major.

    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso

    SUMMARY

    To summarize, we're selling this grinder because
    - it's the only under $1000 grinder that I've tested that pulls good shots when dosing directly into a portafilter
    - we're able to get ~20% refractometer measured extractions on it, which indicates a certain quality level
    - dosing and weighing directly into a portafilter is really helpful
    - the grinder is very heavy duty, and our scale/portafilter stand combo is also heavy duty. This can hold up to pro use in a way that the Sette was not designed for (there's no moving plastic parts inside this).
    G'day John

    You have summarised brilliantly why I ended up with two Swiss made Malkonig Varios gen2's at $A 700 each. They grind directly into the p/f (even if they do not have a push switch to activate the timer - boo hiss). One of mine did temporary cafe duty and has done over 160Kgs without a problem - for home use that is plenty.

    I tried the K30, Forte and Sette and found for the "Turkish to espresso" grinding range the Vario trounces them - I suspect a lot of that is due to the lack of static, clumping or anything else from the gen2+ Varios (I have also played with a few gen3s: different p/f holder, otherwise it seems to be identical). The only Baratza Vario I played with did not work as well as the Mahlkonig - go figure...

    Vario W - Ironically, I get more accurate weight by using the "standard Vario timer" than the W. Also the Vario is designed to go directly into the portafilter - that is a deal maker / breaker for me.

    When you said that you had only tried Chinese made grinders, perhaps you should widen your scope? AFAIAC, I would need major convincing to go beyond Ditting or Malkonig (same company these days).

    TampIt
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by TampIt View Post
    When you said that you had only tried Chinese made grinders, perhaps you should widen your scope? AFAIAC, I would need major convincing to go beyond Ditting or Malkonig (same company these days).
    I did approach Mazzer and Mahlkonig. Mazzer never replied, but Mahlkonig USA was very friendly. However, when I met with them they said they were developing their own grind-by-weight, and thus were not interested in working with us.

    FYI, the grinder manufacturer we ended up using is a subsidiary of Mahlkonig.

    I also like the Mazzer Major, and recently bought a nicely reconditioned Major from Home-Barista admin Tom Chips. It's very low tech and makes good shots. It was Tom's primary grinder too, but he had too many and like you, had to clear out.

    If we manage to be a successful espresso machine manufacturer, we're definitely going to put a lot of R&D into our own grinder. Scott Rao has told me about his off-the-charts 24% extraction using a roller mill, so IMHO there's a lot of room for innovation in this field.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post
    If we manage to be a successful espresso machine manufacturer, we're definitely going to put a lot of R&D into our own grinder. Scott Rao has told me about his off-the-charts 24% extraction using a roller mill, so IMHO there's a lot of room for innovation in this field.
    Can I suggest you explore splined auger technology (perhaps Scott Rao is calling it a roller mill - similar concept). An overseas friend of mine has an ancient hand one (from the 1920's or 30's if I recall correctly) and it will equal or better any other grinder I know of at any grind from Turkish (the Vario is one of the few electric grinders that can do Turkish as well as dedicated Turkish hand grinders) right out to boulders (i.e. way too coarse for drip or plunger, probably even too coarse for cold steep). It has an incredibly even particle spread at any grind you set. I always had an idea to make one and see how it went. I know it is (at the very least) close to the EK43 and Vario for espresso, although I have never managed to do a side by side comparison (overseas, damn it). I am pretty sure I saw an old Ditting once using the same technology in an electric format in Sydney.

    TampIt
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  18. #18
    Senior Member gonzob's Avatar
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    I liked this idea so much I did this:

    Step 1 - remove pf holder from mini and get electronic scale from cupboard:


    Step 2 - put pf holder on scale:


    Step 3 - put pf on pf holder:


    Step 4 - put plastic cup funnel into pf, turn on the scale and ...grind:


    Works for me.....

    Next, I really need a scale with 0.1g gradations


    Gonzo
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  19. #19
    Senior Member matth3wh's Avatar
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    Decent Espresso grinder

    Great DIY gonzo! Grab the Brewista II scales and you'll have flexible scales for brew and espresso. Time and weight in one. Auto Tare options.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by gonzob View Post
    I liked this idea so much I did this:
    Quote Originally Posted by matth3wh View Post
    Great DIY gonzo! Grab the Brewista II scales and you'll have flexible scales for brew and espresso. Time and weight in one. Auto Tare options.
    I agree: the Brewista II (in manual model) is what I use (and we sell) for weighing portafilter doses, and I designed a low-profile portafilter stand that is the right size for the Brewista's scale platform. You'll want a bit of double sided sticky tape to connect the two.

    This is the bottomless pf version of the stand:

    portafilter_bottomless_with_stand.jpg

    https://decentespresso.com/portafilter_stand

  21. #21
    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post
    - yes, our grinder is a hotrodded HC-600 On Demand grinders : HC-600 ODG

    - Hey Cafe (the grinder make) is now a subsidiary of Mahlkonig. If you can find a new $250 HC-600, I recommend you buy one, as that's cheaper than we can buy them, even at a by-the-pallet quantity. My search on ebay for a new HC-600 found this at $999 Elan HC-600 Commercial Coffee Grinder | eBay
    Bought mine less than 4 years ago, at cost, from a (the?) local importer for exactly $250. Was being offered to me at this price to provide to my customers. For $250 it really is a fantastic grinder. At $1000 I'm not so sure. Had to forgo pursuing the trade relationship as none of my customers were willing to place a Chinese built grinder front and centre in their cafes and/or restaurants. A rather unfortunate Italo-centric bias exists that is hard to get around.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    Understandable. The machine and grinders are used as marketing tools. Unknown brands arent giving the right image.

  23. #23
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    Most cafe coffee drinkers, and likely half the "baristas" and cafe owners ,...wouldnt know a decent quality grinder if it fell on their foot !...they wont insist on having "Brand X" grinder just because they think it sells more coffee.
    most will rely on their coffee supplier providing suitable kit, and it is obviously in the suppliers (roasters) interest to provide a grinder that will produce a grind that does justice to their coffee. Roasters/suppliers may well have their own commercial deals with primary equipment dealers, but i am sure they would not entertain equipment that performs badly, is unreliable , or is unsuitable in any way.

  24. #24
    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    When your livelihood depends on it you want equipment with a track record, not the latest clone straight out of china.
    Doesnt matter how good it is. Its too risky

  25. #25
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    @John, as highlighted in your Portland video above, my concern is that your goal for the grinder is weight consistency over extraction consistency. Eg your example of rain starting and the grind loosened, hitting that same 18.0 g again.

    Even if the barista was experienced in loosening the grind to accurately cater for the humidity change, 18.0 g might not necessarily be the ideal weight giving optimum extraction anymore.

    I feel you're in a good position to use the phone's barometer and rate-of-change of weight to determine a map of variations to a base dosage weight to encourage optimal extraction - even without relying on feedback from the DE1+.
    Last edited by simonko; 19th March 2017 at 03:35 PM.

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