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Thread: Decent Espresso Machines (DE1) - Any thoughts?

  1. #1001
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    Decent at MICE

    I'll be at MICE in about a month, supporting Scott Rao with his presentation, and leaving at least one machine with Matt Perger. Not sure who will get the 2nd machine yet, but I'd like it to be someplace open to having visitors try the machine out.

    I corresponded with someone a few months ago about sharing their double-sized booth at MICE, but now I can't remember who it is. :-(

    If anyone here is exhibiting at MICE and has some booth space to spare (we'll pay for our share), do drop me a note.

    -john
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  2. #1002
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    So what method have you decided on when drilling the holes into the drip trays to retro fit your drain fittings?

    Cheers.

  3. #1003
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    299 to go.

    when can we order th next batch?
    thx

  4. #1004
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    Dry before shipping

    IMG_8118.jpg

    Another small "whoops" was realized by us today, after shipping our first DE1+ to Seattle.

    We need to eliminate all water from inside the water tubes before shipping.

    Why? Because it's theoretically possible for water to come out of the tube, roll down the bottom, have the machine flipped over again, and for that water to make its way onto the PC boards and cause a short.

    It's very unlikely, but it's possible.

    Last week, we ran the pumps for 20 seconds, with the water source disconnected, and that purged some of the water. However, some still remains visible between the flow meter and the water pumps.

    We thought about this a while, and what we want is a precise temperature version of a hair-drier, hooked up to a tube, pushing hot air through the water intake tube.

    I wasn't able to find exactly that, but we do have "hot air guns" here to shrink plastic tubing.

    After a bit of surfing, I was able to find a heat gun that claims to be adjustable down to 30C. That's important, because the tubing from the water tank to the pumps is silicone, and doesn't want to go over 100C.

    The plan is to fit this "hot air gun" with one of the accessory size adaptors so that a rubber tube can lead the not-too-hot air directly into the DE1's water intake.

    The DE1 is wired such that when power is removed, all valves open. This is a safety measure, so that the unplugged, the system is not under pressure. This should also make it easier to dry the inside tubes out.

    If you have a suggestion of other ways we might accomplish this drying task, please speak up.

    hot.jpg

  5. #1005
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    Quote Originally Posted by saintk View Post
    299 to go.when can we order th next batch? thx
    Just as soon as the first independent reviews start appearing on the internet. I don't feel right asking you to "trust us" and to take your money for a new order (it's a lot of money, we're a new company w/o a reputation, and we're very delayed).

    I know it sounds odd, but I prefer to make you wait until you get to hear what the people who already bought have to say about it. Then, I'll be happy to take your money.

    Quote Originally Posted by bigdaddy View Post
    So what method have you decided on when drilling the holes into the drip trays to retro fit your drain fittings?
    Diamond bit, 10mm hole, silicone gasket, 2mm lip protruding, brass washer behind the gasket.

    We haven't been able to locate a right-angle drain fitting that is small enough to fit into the space available, so our longer term plan is to design and brass cast our own low-profile fitting. Ideally, there will be a 1mm depression in the newer designed drip tray so that it all can be flush on the bottom. This will take 6 to 12 months to happen, though, as the ceramic needs to be modified and ordered, and then the brass parts need to be designed, cast and tested. As this is all external, I don't see any problem with people who much prefer the newer drip tray drain setup to switch to it when it becomes available.

    I do also like the alternate proposal (from here?) of a permanent hole in the drip tray, that goes into a statically-mounted "drip pan". That idea needs to get tested before we settle on a design.

    For now, what we've got for a draining drip tray isn't too awful.

    -john
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  6. #1006
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    Just interested...Are you using one diamond drill bit and drilling all the way through with light pressure, plenty of lube, clamped onto a block of wood? or drilling both ways, or pilot holes first?

    Cheers.

  7. #1007
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigdaddy View Post
    Just interested...Are you using one diamond drill bit and drilling all the way through with light pressure, plenty of lube, clamped onto a block of wood? or drilling both ways, or pilot holes first?
    I tried pilot holes, and drilling from both sides, but neither avoided a small amount of chipping. But, the chipping is actually good, as it gives us a small bevel in which to seat the silicone gasket. This slight chipping then gets completely hidden behind a brass washer. The photo below shows this, though the washer is stainless (I didn't have a brass washer on hand). The drilling process is completely under water, using the "pumping" technique of light pressure, lift, reapply.

    Yes, the drilling happens with a block of wood, and then a rubber pad on top of that, all clamped together. The main effect this has is to dampen vibrations, which makes the hole size more exact.

    IMG_8081.jpg

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    I take it Intertek is now cooperating?

  9. #1009
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    How many points in the tube system can water flow out? Can you just plug it and put a tag that says "unplug before use"?

  10. #1010
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    Do you have "Fragile, Handle with care", "Do not drop" etc. printed on the outside of the packing boxes? I know it mightn't help much, but it could motivate a few of the chuckers to be a bit more careful in handling.

  11. #1011
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    Quote Originally Posted by JojoS View Post
    How many points in the tube system can water flow out? Can you just plug it and put a tag that says "unplug before use"?
    Four: group head, flush into drip tray, recirc back to water tank, and water intake tube. Only one of those is easily plugged.

    One suggestion from Instagram was interesting, from a coffee tech, and that was to use a scuba tank of breathable compressed air. We'll try that if the hot air gun idea doesn't work.

    Quote Originally Posted by gc View Post
    Do you have "Fragile, Handle with care", "Do not drop" etc. printed on the outside of the packing boxes? I know it mightn't help much, but it could motivate a few of the chuckers to be a bit more careful in handling.
    No, and this was intentional, because we need to pack the espresso machine so that it can survive total disregard for those notices. We're essentially "Beta testing" our shipping process now.

    But we will be adding those notices, along with UL, CE, 110V vs 220V, recycling directive icons, and more, shortly.

    Quote Originally Posted by JMcCee View Post
    I take it Intertek is now cooperating?
    No news yet, as the week previous had one day off for Chinese new year, and monday was off too. I sent an "can we wrap up the 'construction review please?' email to them yesterday, as it's been over 2 months now since we gave them a machine (in early December).

    We're ready to proceed with the "full UL review" now as we know how to comply with all their objections, but they need to finalize their first review of our construction techniques.
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  12. #1012
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    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post
    IMG_8118.jpg

    Another small "whoops" was realized by us today, after shipping our first DE1+ to Seattle.

    We need to eliminate all water from inside the water tubes before shipping.

    Why? Because it's theoretically possible for water to come out of the tube, roll down the bottom, have the machine flipped over again, and for that water to make its way onto the PC boards and cause a short.

    It's very unlikely, but it's possible. ... The DE1 is wired such that when power is removed, all valves open. This is a safety measure, so that the unplugged, the system is not under pressure. This should also make it easier to dry the inside tubes out.

    If you have a suggestion of other ways we might accomplish this drying task, please speak up.
    I would suggest forgetting the heat gun and using low pressure air to just blow out the remaining water.

  13. #1013
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    MICE update:

    We'll have two DE1PRO+s at the Barista Hustle "brew bar", with myself and Scott Rao (when he's not presenting) demoing.

    You'll be able to pull shots yourself as well.

    -john

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    Do we have to buy tickets to get a hands on?

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    Plumb It

    plumbed.jpg

    We're making good progress on making production versions of the "refill kit" for people who bought the DE1PRO+ and for the future DE1CAFE.

    We've prototyped and tested it, designed the PC board and the real chassis received a single version of the chassis, received samples of the final pump and final valve. We're now waiting for the sample PCBs to arrive, so we can solder on components and do final testing before we order these in quantity.

    Each DE1PRO+ customer will receive two of these boxes:

    1) a "catering kit" has a pump in it, and is for sucking water out of a water source. In the photos above, I'm using a charcoal-filtered water jug as the source.

    2) a "plumbing kit" which has a large valve in it, which opens to let water in. This is for connecting to pressurized "house water".

    In both cases, the DE1PRO+ uses a water level sensor to top up its own internal tank, on an as-needed basis.

    It's a bit geeky, but we decided to use the two built-in LEDs on an ethernet plug, to mean exactly what they do on an ethernet router (or switch). One light means "power" (plugged in) while the other light is "activity" (water is moving).

    The box is heavy duty, made of 2mm thick aluminum, with the same feet as on the DE1. In fact, the goal is for the design to be a "mini-me" to the DE1.

    The "final final" espresso machine is now running in our kitchen, all plumbed in (including waste water from the drip tray).

  16. #1016
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    Hey John,

    What's your best estimate of when you will be expecting to be rolling out these DE1PRO+'s

    Cheers.

  17. #1017
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigdaddy View Post
    What's your best estimate of when you will be expecting to be rolling out these DE1PRO+'s
    April to May is when they'll be delivered, contingent of course on UL/CE certification concluding.

    I heard back from Intertek, and our reviewing engineer is on vacation this week, back next week.
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  18. #1018
    gc
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    Is the MICE you are talking about exhibiting at the Melbourne International Coffee Expo?

  19. #1019
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    Quote Originally Posted by gc View Post
    Is the MICE you are talking about exhibiting at the Melbourne International Coffee Expo?
    Yes. FWIW I think I should have avoided those abbrevs. IMHO

    I'll be in Melbourne toward the end of March for the coffee show.

    As an aside, the Decent web site has been down the past 9 hours, due to my main cisco switch going poof. Just got it all back up a few minutes ago. Panic attacks now subsiding...

    -john
    Last edited by decentespresso; 22nd February 2018 at 07:51 PM.
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  20. #1020
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    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post
    Yes. FWIW IMHO I think it's better to speak in abbrevs. R.O.F.L.
    They changed my L-O-L! to this: I had a laugh!

    Obviously don't like abbreviations on CS

    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post
    As an aside, the Decent web site has been down the past 9 hours, due to my main cisco switch going poof. Just got it all back up a few minutes ago. Panic attacks now subsiding...

    -john
    And I thought they were "Enterprise grade"


    I hope you enjoy Melbourne. I grew up there and miss it. Now in far north Qld (Cairns) in the monsoon season. Very different.

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    Ramping Up

    rampingup.jpg

    Now that we've made one "final final" machine, and just about finished with 10 machines for the beta testers, we're moving to doing building 100 espresso machines at once. Attached are some photos of the factory as we prep for that. You'll notice a lot more boxes as all parts now need to be available on the assembly floor in larger quantities.


    OUR PLAN FOR THE NEXT SEVEN MONTHS

    Our immediate goal is to achieve 2.5 machines shipped per day through March and April, so that we ship 100 espresso machines in those two months.

    By May, I hope that we'll be able to achieve 5 machines shipped per day so that in May/June we'll have concluded building all 300 of the DE1 v1.0 machines (which have all been pre-ordered).

    This will coincide with parts arriving in July for the next batch of espresso machines, in quantity=1000. In March, we'll be taking orders for that batch, which I hope will sell out.

    We'll need to have sped up to 12 machines shipped per day, at that point. This should be achievable because about a third of the DE1 v1.1 assembly work will be done for us by our parts suppliers (that's what why we're working on manuals so assiduously) and we'll have hired about 10 more people to build machines.

    If we manage to pull this all off, we'll be able to start shipping in larger quantities (20 machines per day, to equate 4000 espresso machines per year) starting in October. That assumes, of course, that we've received good reviews and that we have enough customers to warrant that level of production.

    In about a month, the first reviews of our espresso machines will start being published, and we'll learn how people feel about what we've spent the past 3 years making.

    -john
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    How to Assemble a Grinder

    grinder_how_to.jpg

    We're close to shipping our "own-brand" coffee grinder, and this week Alex made IKEA-style "wordless" assembly instructions. Since we have a global customer base, that's a clean approach, and I'm hoping we can avoid our instructions being as occasionally confusing as IKEA's instructions can be.

    The reason for the instructions is that we've "modded" a well-made-but-boring grinder to have a 3-axis moveable portafilter stand and scale on it. The goal is both to weigh and to be able to center the grounds properly in the basket.

    For our grinder and espresso machines, we'll also be making CGI-and-real-footage based Youtube video instructions, which will have English talking on them with subtitles for our major customer languages.

    Personally, I think the videos are the way to go, as they're so much clearer and easier to follow than reading diagrams.

    A comical aside: we had a lot of trouble modeling coffee beans in CGI, as most of our attempts looked more like "black bean soup". Each bean is a separate object, so we had to use particle-based software to model them somewhat realistically.

    Our current priority is shipping the grinders out to our pre-order customers and gathering feedback from them.

    I'm aware that many people see Decent as a "high tech, disruptive company" but that's not how I see us. I like to think of everything we do as "practical" and "focussed on drink quality".

    A good quality grinder, at a reasonable price, with weighed doses and a well-centered coffee mound, is something I think needs to exist. You'll be able to choose the grind quality you like, from "Super Jolly" to "K30", depending on the burr set you choose.
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  23. #1023
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    Calibrating to Reality

    calibrate.jpg

    Attached above is what I'm currently working on. Each DE1 and DE1+ needs to have its sensor calibrated by a separate device (typically a Scace 2 portafilter for pressure and temperature, and a 0.1g accurate scale for flow) so that manufacturing variations in the sensors we use are taken into account.

    As a customer, you'll also have access to this page, via Settings->Machine->Calibrate.

    To calibrate your machine, you'll run a shot and then enter in what your test equipment said actually happened. Then, rerun the shot and see how close the Decent espresso machine now is to the test equipment.

    Separately, Ray and I are doing the final debugging of our "upgrade firmware over Bluetooth, using the tablet" process. In the past, upgrades have been done via a USB cable, which I don't think is great for customers. Ray has the firmware side (which receives the upgrade) of upgrading working, and he found a bug in my tablet code (which sends the upgrade), and I'll fix that when I'm back at the office on Monday.

    After calibrating and firmware upgrading, Ray and I have a few remaining todos, which we hope to finish this week, so we can send the machines out to beta testers.

    ---

    Still to do on the software side:
    - the new flow profiling code which counts pumps strikes to measure flow, but which recalibrates itself regularly using the flow meter. This will give us very-low-latency flow measurements, which is useful both for more accurate flow profiling shots but also to be able to show you short live channeling defects in your espresso shots.
    - noise: there are a few spots in making espresso where the two pumps are on 100% and in sync, and that causes a rattling noise.
    - implement cleaning and descaling cycles
    - implement the "flush water through the group head" button

    None of the above are very time consuming, and we're pretty confident we'll have it wrapped up by the end of the week.
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  24. #1024
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    I am waiting for my DE+ and haven't received an update otherf than not yet
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob_Weis View Post
    I am waiting for my DE+ and haven't received an update otherf than not yet
    Hi Bob,

    In this post 3 days ago, I laid out the schedule:
    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/brewing-eq...tml#post625627

    which has machines going out to AU during May and June.

    The main variable is CE safety compliance certification, after which AU compliance is very fast. I will continue to keep everyone abreast on developments on that front, on this (and other) fora.

    -john
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  26. #1026
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    Drip Drip

    dripdrip.jpg

    Our first beta tester found a problem with our espresso machine, that we have replicated here.

    Sometimes at the end of an espresso, the flushed water comes out briefly with enough force that it sprays out in a 120 cone (top left photo), with some of that water hitting the back of the mirrored lip, and then dripping between the drip tray and water tank, onto the table (top right photo).

    Result: some water on your kitchen table.

    This "flush burst" only happens for the first second of the flush. For the rest of the flush (about 5 seconds) the water fills up inside the metal box we call the "flush diffuser" (bottom photo) and then drains out at a slower speed.

    This fast start to flushing "shouldn't be happening" based on our understanding of what's going on: obviously, our understanding of the first second of the flush is incomplete.

    We should be able to improve the situation with a firmware change in the future, by ensuring that the flush path has little remaining water or pressure in it. But, that will take time to make sure we've correctly understood why there was pressure in the flush path in the first place, and that we've truly removed it.

    So: I asked my engineers to develop a hardware fix for this problem. I'd rather fix it now "for certain", and then also plan on a later firmware revision to make the fix unnecessary.

    By putting a small length of silicone tubing on the exit point, the burst of water comes out at 120 and then hits the walls of the tube, slowing down, and then draining into the drip tray (bottom photo).

    You can pull the silicone tube off in a few months if it bothers you, once/if we fix this problem with a firmware update.

    ---

    A Clue in Solving our Wet Puck Mystery?

    A side note: after making an espresso, our pucks have always been a bit wetter than I like (wetter than other espresso machines).

    As of today, I now suspect that the wet puck and the "flush begins with high force" might be linked.

    Here's my theory: if the flush path had some resistance to it, that would hamper the force at which the group head decompresses, and thus allow a bit more water to remain on the puck. If that's true, this should be fixable by changing our valve timings in firmware.
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    The exhaust fitting should be under the top of the grate, you should have a hole cut out or a feature in the grate that allows the exhaust fitting to go through. All machines have had this since the 1960's and it's a very basic feature. On a lot of your machine you have tried to reinvent the wheel on so many things for no reason. The flush box you designed is a prime example, why not look at existing machines for guidance? they all work perfectly well and manage to slow the water flow very well. Anyway good news for the "300" who won't have wet counter tops.

  28. #1028
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    Quote Originally Posted by HBexile2 View Post
    The exhaust fitting should be under the top of the grate, you should have a hole cut out or a feature in the grate that allows the exhaust fitting to go through. All machines have had this since the 1960's and it's a very basic feature. On a lot of your machine you have tried to reinvent the wheel on so many things for no reason. The flush box you designed is a prime example, why not look at existing machines for guidance? they all work perfectly well and manage to slow the water flow very well. Anyway good news for the "300" who won't have wet counter tops.
    Regarding the flush diffuser, there was a long discussion some time ago on Home Barista, with people posting other flush diffuser designs. A lot of E61 machines still don't slow the flush down and splash a bit. In the end, our design is very similar to the Simonelli Black Eagle design, except that theirs is accessible from behind the drip tray, and thus easier to clean (we don't have the space: in ours you have to take the top cover off to get to the flush diffuser).

    As to "you should have a hole cut out or a feature in the grate that allows the exhaust fitting to go through" could you post a photo of what you mean? I'm not sure what part the "grate" refers to, is that the "shower screen" you mean?

    We do have a dedicated flush path, with forward flushing (rather than back flushing), but we diverted from common practice for a reason. With backflushing, coffee oils find themselves gradually sticking to the tube which is also used for water into the puck, leading to a situation where the water path into the coffee is not clean (or easily cleaned). We flush dirty water out a dedicated path that is never used for clean water, as a small potential improvement to drink quality.

    -john

  29. #1029
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    Quote Originally Posted by HBexile2 View Post
    The exhaust fitting should be under the top of the grate, you should have a hole cut out or a feature in the grate that allows the exhaust fitting to go through. All machines have had this since the 1960's and it's a very basic feature. On a lot of your machine you have tried to reinvent the wheel on so many things for no reason. The flush box you designed is a prime example, why not look at existing machines for guidance? they all work perfectly well and manage to slow the water flow very well. Anyway good news for the "300" who won't have wet counter tops.
    Someone PMed me that you probably mean this feature in drip trays:

    strap-ecm-barista.jpg

    If so: yes, we did have that feature in a much earlier version of our drip tray cover.

    However, we found that once there were a few millimeters of water built up in the drip tray, that a splash occurred during the flush phase.

    Looking at E61 machines with this feature, we also found that the high speed flush burst didn't contain itself tidily to that hole. On HB people with this sort of machine complained that they get splashed, which was our experience with our own implementation of this as well.

    So, that's why we went with a "flush diffuser" box, which is something I saw on the Black Eagle and thought was well executed by them.

    -john

  30. #1030
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    Josephine's First Latte



    Her latte art might need a bit of practice, but she pulled a good espresso and made acceptable microfoam.
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  31. #1031
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    Worldwide Standards for Plumbed Water

    pumps.jpg

    We're finalizing our design for the Plumbing Kit, which allows you to plug a DE1PRO into your cities' water supply.

    The valve that our suppliers offers for this is perfect, except that it only comes with "NPSM G3/4" threads, which don't seem to be widely used anywhere. So, we're going to CNC our own thread adaptor to BSPP G1/2, which seem more common.

    I'd like to hear from you about this: what kind of fittings do you have in your country, for plumbing an appliance in (such as a dishwasher)? We'd like to make our own adaptors for the common standards, to make plumbed-in installation easier for you.

    5 custom PC Boards and their components came in today. We're hand-soldering the components on, in order to do a final test that we've not made any mistakes before we order 1000 PC boards to be made for us. We're building the pump-version today.

    IMG_8222.jpg

    The same PC board is being used for our two Refill Kit variations: the Plumbing Kit (pressurized city water, using a valve) and the Catering Kit (water sucked out of a tank with a pump). The chassis is the same in both cases, but with different holes drilled into them.

    I had an idea this week to try to make the chassis "latchable" onto either the DE1PRO and/or your table. The reason: at the Korea Coffee Show I twice had the Refill Kit fall off the table, eventually breaking one of the cable connectors. We're still finalizing how that latching mechanism will work. We've prototyped something ugly in our shop using bent sheet metal, and we'll be asking our prototyping company to make a not-ugly version for us shortly.

    Attached above is a cross-section render of our Plumbing Kit, as well as the thread adaptor we're having made.

  32. #1032
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    Intertek Decides

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    Intertek has given me their final opinion, which is that our tablet will be considered a "remote control". Unfortunately, this goes against what Intertek's consultants have told us for the past two years (which was that Bluetooth would be treated as if it were a cable), and this is a bit of a frustrating turn.

    From a safety compliance standpoint, if the tablet is a remote control, then every action has to be re-OKed on the device itself, which would not be a very nice user experience.

    I had prepared for the worst news, and we've discussed here my planned counter-proposal, which is to physically tether the tablet to our espresso machine. I'm pretty sure that will meet their requirements.

    Today, I sent Intertek the photo above as an example of this idea. The actual implementation will be more discrete, but I sent them this photo (bottom right) because the tethering idea is clear to see and understand.

    In a past meeting, they indicated that a "Torx screw" was considered "not user-removable". Therefore, my intention is to connect the tablet stand to the DE1 via a cable, secured by a Torx screw.

    We thus will ship our espresso machine in a UL compliant manner (tethered). If the end user removes the tether (using a Torx screwdriver and wire clippers), it is no longer UL compliant.

    Another possibility for the future would be for us to do away with the Steelie stand, and instead, move to the custom-made bent-sheet metal stand that we drafted in an earlier incarnation of the DE1CAFE. (top photo)

    I wonder if the Steampunk Coffee machine had the same compliance issue, as they encase and tether their included Android tablet. Steampunk | Craft Brewing Machine | Alpha Dominche LTD | Alpha Dominche LTD (bottom left photo)

    For now, though, my focus is on shipping espresso machines that are UL and CE compliant. We can revisit this issue in 6 months when people haven't been waiting so long for machines from us.

  33. #1033
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    So John, does the "final Intertek determination" mean that everything else about the machine is approved? Or are their still other hurdles to jump for certification?

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    Quote Originally Posted by gc View Post
    So John, does the "final Intertek determination" mean that everything else about the machine is approved? Or are their still other hurdles to jump for certification?
    It's progress, but it's not the last hurdle. They still haven't opined on the internals of our water heater and group head heater, and on how the group head is wired. They promised to close that out by tomorrow. That will conclude the "construction review".

    We then will need to submit two machines to them, with all the requested changes, for a "final UL review". I got the feeling that this would not be onerous, but it ain't over 'til it's over.

    Then, there'll be a CE review, which will also be in two phases (construction and full) with 6 machines submitted (and destroyed). Then, we'll find out if Intertek's CE consultant, who we've been seeing for the past two years, gave us good advice.

    -john

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    Many thanks for that update John. Patience and peace required by us all through that I guess. Good luck with it all.

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    Now that we have learned that BLE was a method that would fail UL, it's possible that in a future version we'll move to using USB to control the machine. BLE could then be used for configure the espresso machine using your own device and a download app, but the app would not turn coffee/steam on. My understanding is that approach would be UL compliant.

    I attach several mockups we made 18 months ago, of "tray warmer" concepts for the DE1CAFE, if we went with the tablet-attached approach. Since we thought BLE was OK, we went with a removable stand design for the tablet, where there is not enough space for cups.

    I'm curious as to what you guys think of the cup stand idea.

    -john

    trays.jpg

  37. #1037
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    I have always favoured that configuration, mainly but not only because of the nice design aspect of the bent metal glued tablet mount. I was disappointed with the generically available wobbly and ugly looking magnet thing. I suspect if the bent metal mount was originally adopted Intertek issues would not have been such a problem. Personally, I would not have a problem paying a little more to have that bent metal mount.

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    I like the bent metal shape of the bracket which holds the tablet. As for the cup holder guard rail... I like the one that has the two supports in the middle back of the machine, as shown in the top picture or you could have one support on each of the corners. The reason I say that is, I think the rail which is supported will not bend down and will be stronger over time and in a commercial environment.

    Cheers.

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    Can you hear me?

    sounds2.jpg

    We noticed that the sound of the pumps on the production DE1 espresso machines was quite a bit louder than in our pre-production models. We didn't jump on it because we should this was likely caused by how we're driving the pumps now, and that we could fix this in software. We were also expecting a bit louder sound because we switched to more powerful pumps in August.

    Last week, we brought the pump power down to 30%, the sound still remained, so we moved to assuming that the assembly was to blame.

    Sometimes, you just need a weekend off, because we couldn't find the problem on Thursday and Friday last week. On Monday, within 10 minutes I'd figured it out, just by tapping around with my finger, inside an unplugged machine. A rubber pad behind the metal box which holds the pumps and the rattling noise went away.

    I did want to formalize the audio level of the machine, so first we tried a decibel meter. The problem is that the machine very briefly has an 88db sound when the valve opens up to start espresso. So, peak dB wouldn't help.

    Then, we compared a history of the sound levels between the before vs after machine, and while it was different, it wasn't substantially different.

    The issue is that particular frequencies are much more annoying than others. Louder bass sounds are actually somewhat pleasing, whereas higher pitched sounds get annoying fast.

    So, I switched to an FFT analysis program for iOS, which shows me a running 10 second average of the sound level of all the frequencies.

    The result of that analysis is in the attached chart.

    The bottom line is the room when it's quiet. The middle line is the "after" espresso machine, and the top line is the "before" (rattly) espresso machine.

    Men's speaking voices are typically between 1.5k and 8k, and there you can see about an 8dB reduction from the introduction of the rubber pad. On some frequencies in that range, the reduction is as much as 12dB.

    Most significant is the 14dB reduction in sound level, around 10.2dB. I'm guessing that's the annoying higher-pitched sound that we noticed.

    A few caveats:
    - our tests were conducted with the case off, and with the microphone placed 2cm from the pumps
    - this sample was the noisiest time of the espresso when there is no backpressure and the pump flow is at full.
    - we expect to be able to improve the sound profile of our espresso machine over time, with firmware upgrades, as long as we haven't missed an obvious piece of metal rattling away. <grin>

    -john
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    Maybe v2.0 could have active noise cancelling...

  41. #1041
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrJack View Post
    Maybe v2.0 could have active noise cancelling...
    Active noise cancellation for home appliances

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    A firm beta launch

    testingcalib.jpg

    SOFTWARE FLOW METER: Today's latest espresso firmware arrived on my desk this morning, addressing problems we've been seeing with our new "software flow meter". This new algorithm counts pump strokes (so that it's very low latency) and recalibrates itself using the flow meter (so it's accurate). It's the only piece of major new technology we have in this final build (as compared to the version Intertek received for testing in December).

    PUCK TEMPERATURE: we've been interested to see if the temperature sensor that is directly above the coffee grounds is affected by a cool portafilter, now that we're in production. It should be, and in these tests, it was. The portafilter-cooling effect lessened as expected as the it heated up with use.


    Here's what the photos tell us.

    Photo #1: this is a real espresso shot with too high a pressure (because the grind was much too fine). Result: temp regulation is pretty good, and the two flow rate curves (water vs weight) line up well. Flow is lower than the goal at 15s because the puck is "jammed" with grinds that are too fine. As the puck erodes with time, you can see the flow rate increasing and pressure decreasing.

    Photo #2: a room temperature (not preheated) "sensor basket" reduced the puck temperature readings, as would be expected. This results in a "brew temperature" that is 4C cooler than desired, at the start of the shot. By 15 seconds into the shot, the hotter water the DE1+ has added has brought the brew temperature to the goal temperature of 88C. Flow control was quite good. However, there is too much flow rate data smoothing, causing a few seconds delay when we asked to drop the water flow from 4ml/s to 2 ml/s. Ignore the brown line here: I wasn't using a cup to hold the water.

    Photo #3: same as previous, but I used a cup to measure gravimetric flow rate. Happily, the brown vs blue lines line up well. The temperature drop at the start of the shot is now much less, as would be expected by the 2nd shot since the portafilter has been warmed by the previous shot. We'll decrease the smoothing tomorrow, which should decrease the delay. Note that coffee grounds are clogging the exit hole, causing erratic pressure, which also shows up as violence on the brown line (caused by a water spurt).

    Photo #4: after unclogging the sensor basket, it's cooled a bit from several minutes out, and the effect is noticeable at the start of the shot. Also, there's still some clogging going into the exit hole, which is why we're getting "interesting" pressure and violence on the brown line. Note the line-up between the blue/brown lines.

    Takeaways:

    1) the puck temperature sensor is working well, and as expected, a warm portafilter makes a big difference to the first 15 seconds of the brew temperature

    2) flow control is good, but is overly "smoothed" and thus has a 3-second lag when big flow rate changes are requested.

    ---

    MISCELLANY from today:

    FLUSH: this crucial missing feature (flushing the group head) is now implemented. You can use this to (a) rinse your portafilter (b) rinse out the previous shot's grime on the shower screen, and (c) preheat your cups.

    INTERTEK: has confirmed that the "chained tablet" approach I proposed to them is acceptable. However, now they are now requiring our tablets to also be UL certified (when they were not attached, it didn't matter). Our current tablets are CE tested and certified (we have all the tests). I prefer to buy a UL approved tablet from someone and skip the expense and delay (Intertek prefers to $$$ for another test). I'm still negotiating with them about this.

    CLEANING: We still need to implement a cleaning cycle for the group head and steam wand, test the "rattling pumps" fix some more, and then...

    ....7 machines go off to the beta testers (hopefully this week).
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  43. #1043
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    Intertek and their obstructionist motives concern me. The inference is compliance depends on how much you pay them. . Is there an alternative to using Intertek? And if there is would changing compliance methods be prohibitively regressive, ie going back months or even years?

  44. #1044
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMcCee View Post
    Intertek and their obstructionist motives concern me. Is there an alternative to using Intertek? And if there is would changing compliance methods be prohibitively regressive, ie going back months or even years?
    Yes, there are alternatives to Intertek.

    However, every month we don't ship is:
    a) a month that pre-payers get more annoyed
    b) a month that people who want to buy from us get annoyed
    c) another month where I get to write a check to cover payroll.

    I prefer to make small compromises now, get the product out, and get people making coffee. We can then take 6 months to move the machine to a slightly different direction (ie, USB comm instead of bluetooth, fixed stand instead of Steelie) and do it in a calmer way.

    There's considerable pressure on us to ship, and since the machine is very close to my being happy with doing that, that's my preferred course.

    -john

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    You replied quicker than I got my edit in but okay, all clear. I look forward to getting my DE1 whenever.

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    Help me Proof the Standard Profiles

    screen 2018-03-06 at 6.43.26 PM.jpg

    I've cleaned up the set of default pressure and flow profiles that are included with the DE1 and DE1+. It would greatly help me if those of you with greater knowledge of coffee machine history were to check that what I've written is (a) true and (b) doesn't omit some important information.

    In writing this post, I realized that we're very sparse on "volumetric" profiles because I've always used either a timer-based espresso machine (before I met Rao), or a scale (post-Rao).
    Volumetric profiles are definitely more consistent than timed ones, and not all of you will have a scale, so I'll do a bit of work this coming week to create some useful profiles.

    For "boiler temperature" I've generally with the rule of "if it's Italian-style, it's hot (92C to 94C) whereas the other styles of espresso are in the cooler range (88C to 91C). I'm not sure this generallisation is entirely defensible.

    ps: the DE1/DE1+ app downloads for Windows/Mac/Linux have all these profiles in them. Seeing the curves might help.
    https://decentespresso.com/downloads

    -john

    -----

    Best overall pressure profile
    {We recommend this pressure profile as the most likely to produce a good espresso in the most varied number of cases. The decreasing pressure will help reduce acidity.}

    Classic Italian espresso
    {This will imitate the espresso style of the majority of cafes around the world. It uses a short preinfusion with a flat 9 bar pressure profile.}

    Flow profile for milky drinks
    {John Buckman, the founder of Decent Espresso, finds that this flow profile produces the best espresso shots for milky drinks in the widest variety of circumstances. It is especially tolerant of not-yet-very-good barista technique.}

    Flow profile for straight espresso
    {John Buckman, the founder of Decent Espresso, finds that this flow profile produces the best espresso shots for straight espresso drinks in the widest variety of circumstances. It is especially tolerant of not-yet-very-good barista technique.}

    Gentle flat 2.5 ml per second
    {Created by French barista Adrien Senac of "Cafeism", this innovative technique allowed Adrien to produce excellent shots from very aromatic, lightly roasted beans that he had never before managed to successfully pull.}

    Gentle preinfusion flow profile
    {Created by a famously innovative Seattle-based espresso machine manufacturer, this technique works well with aromatic, lightly roasted coffee beans.}

    Gentler but still traditional 8.4 bar
    {Professional baristas worldwide have found that slightly lowering the pressure from 9 bar down to 8.4 produces great espresso more often. The gentler pressure still produces traditional flavors but requires less perfect preparation skills from the barista.}

    Hybrid pour over espresso
    {Another approach created by a famously innovative Seattle-based espresso machine manufacturer, this technique requires you to grind your coffee very finely. Try this with very lightly roasted coffee beans. The resulting flavor is a blend of pour-over and espresso techniques.}

    Innovative long preinfusion
    {Another approach created by a famously innovative Seattle-based espresso machine manufacturer, this technique requires you to grind your coffee very finely. Try this with very lightly roasted coffee beans. The resulting flavor is more like a pour-over than espresso.}

    Low pressure lever machine at 6 bar {Lever espresso machines are why we refer to "pulling an espresso." Your arm muscle pulls a long level to create pressure on the coffee puck. This 6 bar espresso is a classic Italian technique, and will result in a very sweet and gentle espresso.}

    Preinfuse then 45ml of water
    {A famous Australian barista champion suggested this technique to us. The idea is to fully saturate your puck, and then squeeze the brewed coffee out using a calculated water volume. This results in consistently brewed espresso without needing to use a scale.}

    Traditional lever machine
    {Lever espresso machines are why we refer to "pulling an espresso", because your arm muscle pulls on a large level to create pressure on the coffee puck. This 9 bar espresso is the most common type of classic lever espresso you'll have, and many fans consider lever shots to be the best espresso they've ever had.}

    Trendy 6 bar low pressure shot
    {Some lightly roasted espresso beans smell great but resist being well extracted into a drink. Sometimes, the solution can be to lower the pressure to 6 bar. Try this technique if you're having trouble with a particularly sophisticated lightly roasted bean. }

    Two spring lever machine to 9 bar
    {A final evolution of the classic lever machine style was to add a second spring. This helped work around a deficiency with single springs, namely that the top pressure gave was reduced almost immediately. The second spring required more arm muscle but is often considered the final perfection of the lever espresso style.}

    default
    {This profile is gentle on the coffee puck and not too demanding on the barista. Produces a very acceptable espresso in a wide variety of settings.}

    e61 classic at 9 bar
    {The E61 machine was invented by Faema in 1961 and is still the most classic and most copied espresso machine design. It is likely what most people mean when they say "Professional Italian Espresso Machine"}

    e61 classic gently up to 10 bar
    {A high tech variation on the classic E61 10 bar shot, this version brings more acidity out at the end with its increasing pressure. This makes it more appropriate to drink without milk. It will be quite thick, so adding water to make an Americano is recommended.}

    e61 rocketing up to 10 bar
    {With a technician's help, you could sometimes boost the pressure on the classic E61 machine to 10 bar. You will need to grind finer, and your espresso will very thick. Excellent for medium roasted beans mixed with whole milk.}

    e61 with fast preinfusion to 9 bar
    {E61 machines evolved with time, with some models adding an optional, manually controlled preinfusion step. In most cases, preinfusion will produce a more evenly extracted shot.}
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    John,

    Been having another play this morning with the DE1 and DE1+ software, it's so great to be able to do this.

    One thing did occur to me again and that is the integration of the Bluetooth scales on the DE1+ and not on the DE1.

    As you are finalising the software thought I would raise this.

    Appreciate you are trying to differentiate the two models to support the different features and price points between the DE1 and DE1+, but if the base capability is already in the DE1 then are you just precluding the potential sale of an additional $ 136 product from your range for little trade-off.

    I am assuming here that a DE1+ purchaser is after a lot more than just scale integration.

    Anyway just a thought ...... Happy for a simple "Yes good idea" or "No, just too ^&*% busy" answer

  48. #1048
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    Quote Originally Posted by Downunder55 View Post
    Been having another play this morning with the DE1 and DE1+ software, it's so great to be able to do this. One thing did occur to me again and that is the integration of the Bluetooth scales on the DE1+ and not on the DE1. As you are finalising the software thought I would raise this.
    Appreciate you are trying to differentiate the two models to support the different features and price points between the DE1 and DE1+, but if the base capability is already in the DE1 then are you just precluding the potential sale of an additional $ 136 product from your range for little trade-off.
    I am assuming here that a DE1+ purchaser is after a lot more than just scale integration.
    Anyway just a thought ...... Happy for a simple "Yes good idea" or "No, just too ^&*% busy" answer
    Two thoughts:
    - "gravimetric dosing" (the espresso machine stops at at a given weight) is only available on two top end pro machines, the Black Eagle and the Linea PB
    - we're the only machine, at any price, that shows you "gravimetric flow rate"

    Yes, the software is written, but it wasn't free to write, and that cost has to be recouped somehow. And there's more programming planned, with channel detection, inflection marking (more on that in the future), Delta curves, and more. Software doesn't write itself.

    The USD$100 cost to buy our BLE scale isn't what I'm seeing as the cost of this set of features. The increased cost of the DE1+ is where people pay for the advanced feature set. If I include the advanced features in the DE1, I remove a key motivation to get people to spend more.

    My feeling is that the DE1+ is already hugely underpriced compared to the competition. If a big Italian espresso machine company bought Decent, I wouldn't be surprised if they 10xed the price.

  49. #1049
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    Australian Italian espresso

    Attachment 18537

    Australian coffee roaster Ben Johnson explained to me that in Australia, the Italian baristas make a different style of espresso than they do back in Italy.

    In Italy, the boiler is typically set to 102C, and by the time the water hits the coffee puck, it has cooled to about 95C/96C.

    In Australia, the Italians use a lower brew temperature of around 90C. They still use their dark roasted beans, but the lower temperature helps avoid over extracting.

    When I was in Italy this summer, I was brewing their beans down at an 88C puck temperature for the Italian roasters I met.

    I would ask for their lightest roasts (typically medium roast, rather than dark) and this technique would cause the dark-chocolate flavors typical of Italian coffee to disappear, to be replaced with a layered chocolate set of flavors, more reminiscent of blended artisan chocolates such as Lindt.

    Thanks to Ben, I now know that this approach is common in Australia's Italian barista community, and I've added "Italian Australian espresso" as a standard profile on the DE1/DE1+.
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    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post
    Two thoughts:
    - "gravimetric dosing" (the espresso machine stops at at a given weight) is only available on two top end pro machines, the Black Eagle and the Linea PB
    - we're the only machine, at any price, that shows you "gravimetric flow rate"

    Yes, the software is written, but it wasn't free to write, and that cost has to be recouped somehow. And there's more programming planned, with channel detection, inflection marking (more on that in the future), Delta curves, and more. Software doesn't write itself.

    The USD$100 cost to buy our BLE scale isn't what I'm seeing as the cost of this set of features. The increased cost of the DE1+ is where people pay for the advanced feature set. If I include the advanced features in the DE1, I remove a key motivation to get people to spend more.

    My feeling is that the DE1+ is already hugely underpriced compared to the competition. If a big Italian espresso machine company bought Decent, I wouldn't be surprised if they 10xed the price.
    Fair call, I don't disagree

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