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

  1. #1251
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    I am not in the market for a new machine but I must say if I was then Decent Espresso would be a the top of my list.

    The level of ownership and responsibility John takes for his machines and the teething problems to date is second to none. So often in today’s world people look for some one or something else to blame so it is a refreshing change to see a company put their hand up and own the issue without trying to Duck for cover and shirk responsibility.

    I take my hat off to you and all you have managed to achiveve... an exceptional bit of kit and with the business morals you have displayed in these pages I am sure that you and your company will go a long way.

    Good luck and I will certainly ntinue to enjoy reading your informative posts.

    Cheers,

    Alastair
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  2. #1252
    Senior Member JMcCee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post
    Attachment 19140

    So far, of the 45 machines we've sent out, we've been able to guide people with a problem back to a machine in good working condition without needing to send them a replacement machine.

    Except in three cases.

    Today, all three of these customers are getting free replacement machines from us. We'll pay to get those machines back to us and study them to figure out why they are anomalies.

    The 3 different causes of failure are interesting stories, though.

    - Michael's machine makes espresso about 5C hotter than the goal setting. We can't figure out why, but it's probably a defective temperature sensor (or bad connection) causing the control system to get confused. We thought that Michael must be "doing something weird" but have crossed out all the possibilities and now think "something is weird with his machine".

    - Jack was using the "calibrate" page when he accidentally didn't enter a decimal point, thus entering a huge number in by accident (ie, 300 ml/second flow rate, instead of 3.00). This caused the firmware to crash whenever the DE1+ was booted. Whoops: we hadn't thought to create an emergency mechanism for clearing the calibration settings. The DIP switch settings should have put Jack into "safe mode" so he could upgrade his firmware, but didn't do their job right.

    - Christian's machine had a retaining clip fall out during transport, so that steam was leaking. We resolved that with a video chat, but when he put the case back on, a pump wire wasn't tucked in enough, and the case scraped the insulation off as he closed it. This caused a short and blew a safety triac on one of our PC boards.

    Each new type of failure teaches us something.

    There is a positive side to our slowly ramping up our manufacturing speed: most of the big problems will have been solved by the time we can manage to ship machines at a reasonable pace.
    Just curious but what's the workaround with import taxes when machines are replaced?

  3. #1253
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    Initial thoughts - DE1+

    Sorry for the delay in posting some thoughts - bit swamped with work.

    With one weekend of tinkering under my belt, below are my initial thoughts on the DE1+. Please don't take this as a final view - both as I'm still exploring and learning the machine, and because Decent are still continuing to upgrade the hardware, software and firmware.


    tl;dr - This thing is awesome for coffee geeks, despite some early adopter niggles. No regrets so far.


    Equipment, for context:
    • My (home) grinder is a Kafatek Monolith Conical.
    • My other espresso machine is a Portaspresso Rossa PG Air. For those not aware of it, it can produce some seriously good coffee - assuming you can manage the poor temperature consistency and live with the significant time it takes to make a single shot.



    Making coffee thoughts - overall:
    • Like with any new machine, there is a learning curve. Given the plethora of options, my biggest problem is I keep trying new things rather than just focusing on optimising one coffee!
    • While I have made some very good coffee so far, I haven't yet managed to deliver something "top 10 cafe" quality. I believe this is just a matter of time - remember, I'm only 1 week in.
    • Initially, I ignored most of the data on the screen until after the shot has completed, and instead focused on the basics - initial drop pattern through the portafilter, then flow into and weight in the cup. Now that I'm fairly comfortable with the basics, I'm starting to spend more time watching the live data, however, my gut says the real value will continue to be in post-shot analysis when you can correlate with taste as well.
    • My hypothesis is that flow is more closely related to the final outcome in the cup than pressure - prior to the DE1+, I found I was intuitively managing pressure on the fly to achieve my desired flow anyway. This is something I'm keen to investigate with the DE1+.



    Making coffee thoughts - pros:

    • The ability to view precisely what's happening/just happened in the shot is incredible. Absolutely necessary? No, but very sexy, and really helps you quickly understand what impact any change you've made in the coffee, grinder, routine or profile has had. I've been able to perform better quality experiments, as I can directly compare the shot data (e.g. with and without WDT, grind setting x to grind setting y).
    • I suspect that the quality that's come from years of experience on my other espresso machine could've been achieved in under a year if I'd had this level of feedback - but your mileage may vary.
    • From my limited sample size, the DE1+ can repeatably deliver the same profile each time, if you keep things constant. The machine learning algorithms mean that you will sometimes see an improvement from the first time you run a changed profile to the second, but even the first is usually very close to target.
    • The ability for the DE1+ to hit a target temperature in the basketis incredible. Obviously it can't bend Newton's law of cooling/heating, but I normally have less than +-1degC in the basket through the whole shot. You can watch the algorithms try to compensate for the cooling effects of the coffee on the fly! I believe Decent are also working on a revised temperature model to help the DE1+ improve its' accuracy further, particularly where you've gotten aggressive with your profiling.



    Making coffee thoughts - cons:
    • There are some weaknesses in the Flow measurements received. Although I've found that the error between similar shots is immaterial, the overall calibration can vary. This is because there are a lot of factors that can affect the real flow rate, and the various measurement methods employed in the DE1+ all have their pros and cons. In their defence, Decent have a new model for measuring flow that they've started testing internally. They expect this will significantly improve the measurement and calibration accuracy.



    Non-coffee thoughts - pros:

    • Decent have a dedicated, private forum for owners, and they are very active in supporting everyone with their successes, failures and crazy ideas. I've had plenty of each! This might also be why there hasn't been as much chatter in the public forums.
    • You can log into your wifi and google (etc) on the tablet to easily and automatically share screen captures of your espresso charts and profile settings. Makes helping or being helped over a forum much easier.
    • The machine looks better in the flesh than in photos, and is certainly very inoffensive, although not personally my style (in context, my favorite looking one group is the KvDW Speedster which is in a very different price league).
    • Although gimmicky, the suitcase does hold everything nicely. I can see myself using it to cart the machine to events every couple of months.
    • I quite like the group-head handle.
    • The ceramic tank and trays are really nice and very practical, but I'll have to see whether there are any long-term issues with bugs or dust with the not-quite-sealed tank. John has mentioned he's working on an optional stainless cover which I think I will invest in.
    • Although the machine has schedule (time-based on/off) functionality, I've not yet found it to be required. The machine heats up in around 5 minutes, so I switch it on and then start prepping the basket. Similary, at the end of a session, I just switch it off again rather than leave it on. The benefits of not having a boiler!



    Non-coffee thoughts - cons:
    • There have been a few manufacturing issues with the early models (John has posted here about this), which is to be expected for a new company making a new, complex and innovative product. I've certainly got a couple of minor issues. However, Decent have been top notch to date in their customer service, so I don't expect any of the owners will have a long term problem.
    • The machine firmware and software have a few minor bugs and shortcomings at the moment than can occasionally be annoying (e.g. electronics cooling fan runs for too long). However, these are being rapidly addressed as they come up, so again I don't see a long term problem.
    • The tablet stand is OK, but it doesn't quite hold the tablet as stable as I'd expected.
    • No user manual / user wiki as such. The user forum (see pros above) is actually better at this stage, given how rapidly things are changing, but I'd prefer to see something formalised in a year's time. Mostly it's highly intuitive, but there are a few advanced settings and obscure features that would benefit from formal documentation.
    • No simple way to level the machine (e.g. to allow for a sloped bench), although it can be done.



    Please let me know if you have any specific questions/requests and I'll do my best to answer.

  4. #1254
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    Bromell, thank you very much for your review. The most detailed non pro review around at the moment and a great help in looking at the machine from an end users perspective.

  5. #1255
    Senior Member JMcCee's Avatar
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    The tablet stand is OK, but it doesn't quite hold the tablet as stable as I'd expected.
    I have heard this mentioned elswhere. One comment was particularly critical. I suspect it may be one of the first major non coffee making things John will change. I hope when it does happen the change can be a retro fit.

  6. #1256
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMcCee View Post
    I have heard this mentioned elswhere. One comment was particularly critical. I suspect it may be one of the first major non coffee making things John will change. I hope when it does happen the change can be a retro fit.
    Some people have been critical, but I personally think they're overplaying the issue. It's an annoyance, but doesn't impact the results or usability of the coffee machine.

    There is apparently a fixed position stand in development for the CAFE model that should be able to be fitted to the non-CAFE versions.

    In reality though, I quite like being able to take the tablet off and go use it on the couch. The answer for me will probably be adding a second stand (so one at each end) which will provide the extra support I'd prefer.
    Last edited by bromell; 19th May 2018 at 12:06 PM. Reason: Grammar

  7. #1257
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMcCee View Post
    If I ever get my DE1 there'll be pics everywhere. Apparently, even though I was one of the first to put money in I will be one of the last to get the thing
    I feel for you. If it's any consolation, remind yourself that the earliest owners have put up with the most issues.

    When you get yours soon, the experience should be much better straight out of the box!

  8. #1258
    Senior Member JMcCee's Avatar
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    I upgraded to the plus so shouldn't be too much longer. I better stop speculating about problems that probably wont even happen

  9. #1259
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    DE1+ reviews are starting to come out.

    Some reviews of the DE1+ came out these past few days:

    Home Barista
    https://www.home-barista.com/espress...ro-t52582.html

    Brian's coffee spot:
    Decent Espresso | Brian's Coffee Spot

    Baristas Quest:
    The DE1+ Pro by Decent- First look

    James Hoffmann
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUb5O7lQKbE&t=5s

    Even Reddit was friendly:
    https://www.reddit.com/r/Coffee/comm...hine_by_james/


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  10. #1260
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMcCee View Post
    Just curious but what's the workaround with import taxes when machines are replaced?
    We always ship our machines duty-and-taxes prepaid, with an express courier such as UPS.

    And so, if we're replacing a customer's machine, we're going to suck up all the costs (new machine, shipping, duty) because it's our fault that the machine needs replacing.

    That being said, starting in August I'll have a "Decent Chap" in Australia (my engineer Ben, is moving back home, working for us remotely), so that repairs in Australia won't necessitate shipping to another country.

    I'm also in discussion with 3 repair shops in Australia, to have them be Authorized Decent Repair Places, so that might be an alternative too.

    At the moment, no machine has broken from use, so there isn't a huge rush for me to scale up the repair infrastructure.

    Quote Originally Posted by JMcCee View Post
    I have heard this mentioned elswhere. One comment was particularly critical. I suspect it may be one of the first major non coffee making things John will change. I hope when it does happen the change can be a retro fit.
    I evaluated tons and tons of tablet stands, with the Steelie Stand being the best solution I could find. However, the evidence that "people have different tastes" when it comes to tablet stands is very strong, since there are thousands of tablet stand models available on Amazon.

    So... if you don't like the included Steelie Stand, I choice to NOT pre-glue the stand to the table, so that you can spend AU$10 and choose whatever model tablet stand you prefer.

    -john

  11. #1261
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    My Morning Espresso

    all.jpg

    My DE1+ wakes up at 6:30am, so that when I stumble in the kitchen at 7:00, the machine and portafilter are nice and hot. Despite the machine being able to pull shots in 4 minutes, I find that if you want absolutely-bang-on temperature from the very first second, it pays to preheat the machine (and especially the portafilter) for a bit longer. In 4 minutes, the first shot on the DE1+ will likely be a few C under, for the first few seconds, as the machine compensates for the cooler portafilter, with warmer water.


    15g->32g
    I pull a "best for milky drinks" flow profile shot, with 15 grams of coffee grounds, aiming for 32 grams out. My Bluetooth scale stops the shot so I can focus my limited wakefulness on pouring 350ml of milk into the milk jug, as I will be steaming two lattes at once.


    6 BARS
    I aim for 6 bar of pressure because I find that at this lower pressure, channeling completely disappears, and I get a much smoother tasting drink. Also, pressure remains just about constant throughout the shot, probably because the 6 bars are kinder on my imperfect barista skills. At 6 bars, I don't see the typical declining pressure that constant-flow shots usually produce (due to erosion and general puck degradation).


    MY GRINDER
    I use a Decent Pro Grinder, with 2 year old burrs in it. I know that conventional wisdom is that you should have fresh, sharp burrs in your grinder, but these old burrs give me very few clumps and better taste, than the newer burrs at the office.

    flow.jpg

    PREINFUSION
    This DE1+ profile automatically pre-infuses at 4ml/second, until the puck is fully saturated (at 4 bar). 4 ml/s is about the same as a commercial machine's "gicleur" flow rate. Espresso is only pouring into my cup for 15 seconds, while preinfusion took 13 seconds. That's much more preinfusion time, and less pouring time, than convention wisdom would tell you. Also, I tend to prefer the taste of my espressos right around 27 seconds of total shot time.

    Looking at the brown line, which tracks espresso-into-the-cup, I can see that "water in" (blue line) equals "water out", almost immediately after the first drops. That tells me that preinfusion was very even, as any dry spots in the puck would have delayed the brown and blue lines meeting so rapidly. It's also interesting to note how much longer a fully successful preinfusion takes, than "common knowledge" usually states.

    temp.jpg

    TEMPERATURE
    Infusion temperature at the puck is quite stable, within 1C for the entire shot. My 2nd shot usually starts 2C lower for the first five seconds. I believe this is because I rinse my portafilter out with a bit of cold water. I should change my routine to use hot water to rinse the portafilter.

    STEAMING
    I use our 600ml decent milk jug, with a digital thermometer in it, aiming for 60C/140F. However, I know from experience that this takes 81 seconds, and I have the steam timer set to turn off then. When steaming starts, for about 5 seconds I quickly make a head of foam and then sit the milk jug on the drip tray. For 75 seconds, the steaming continues on its own. The milk foam quality is really perfect using this technique, probably because the foam bubbles had so much time to be "fined" by this approach.

    While the milk is foaming, I knock out the puck, clean the portafilter, and turn off the Bluetooth scale.

    Most mornings, I'm lazy and I pour both lattes from the same 600ml milk jug. However, this causes the first latte to be thicker than the 2nd. If I pour half the foamed milk into a 350ml jug, both lattes look good. I'm lazy, though, so I'm practicing various ideas to see if I can get away with making two lattes from one milk jug.

    Then I take two lattes back to bed, while my girlfriend and I read the news, and slowly awake.
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  12. #1262
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    Oh! If only I had this sort of information to get me started when my machine arrived! After much initial struggle to understand during setup I am discovering things that you mention John, like the 15 second pour time after PI because any longer tastes bitter. Withour having preinfusion as an option on my other machine I had never experienced it's effect before. And having you talking through a few different screenshots of espresso making certainly helps make meaning of the data. I've found there is a big difference between playing with the software on a PC and having it working in front of you.

    Feel free to add lots more John!

    Edit: And for the serious minded, I should point out that my reference above to abandonment and struggle is entirely rhetorical. The assistance from John Buckman and other users at the DecentEspresso user forum has been truly exemplary - I just seem to need a lot!
    Last edited by gc; 24th May 2018 at 04:57 PM.
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  13. #1263
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    A cold portafilter affects the shot

    shot2.jpg

    In my previous posting about my "morning espresso" I indicated that my first espresso of the day had a more even infusion temperature than the 2nd one. The reason is that I currently rinse my portafilter out with cold water, and so my 2nd shot has a cooler portafilter than the first (which has been locked into the DE1+ for 30 minutes)

    Attached above are photos of this 2nd espresso.

    You can see that the shot starts about 1.5C under temperature. The DE1+ then tries to quickly compensate by putting in slightly-hotter-than-goal water. This causes the infusion temperature to 0.75C slightly over at 15 seconds into the shot, before it settles in at 0.3C over temperature for the last 7 seconds of the shot.

    Obviously, still very good temperature results, just not as perfect as a fully warmed up portafilter.

    A goal I have with this tablet software I've written, is to help you improve your barista skills, by seeing the effects of your actions.

    For comparison purposes, here's the temperature line on my 1st espresso of the day.

    bettertemp.png
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  14. #1264
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    Very cool to see what is happening. Especially factoring in patterns of behaviour in making follow up drinks.

    Good reminder for those of us without DE+ to factor in these observations and results.

  15. #1265
    Senior Member JMcCee's Avatar
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    Why would you wash a portafilter in cold water if you're not finish working the machine? Like most I wipe it out with a cloth and put it back in the machine. Just one less.complication .

  16. #1266
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMcCee View Post
    Why would you wash a portafilter in cold water if you're not finish working the machine? Like most I wipe it out with a cloth and put it back in the machine. Just one less.complication .
    Pucks can be much more slushy in my experience with the DE1+ than on my previous HX machine as there is a much larger gap between the shower screen and the top of puck. I really need to to rinse out, rather than wipe, the slop/mud on DE1+ with most roasts, but use the "flush" function on the machine to do this, precisely to maintain the PF temp with the hot water. It is more messy and less convenient than tapping out a dry puck cleanly on my old HX though. The price I pay for a significant upgrade to my coffee enjoyment I guess. One of the few negatives I noticed so far with the DE1+ - if you could even call it that.

    None of the above should be construed as a defence for John being lazy/hazy in the early a.m. and rinsing pf under the nearest tap!

    Afterall, its before the first coffee of the day!

  17. #1267
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMcCee View Post
    Why would you wash a portafilter in cold water if you're not finish working the machine? Like most I wipe it out with a cloth and put it back in the machine. Just one less.complication .
    Two reasons:

    1) At home, I'm only making two coffees each day, in the morning, and I don't want a damp, slightly-coffee-soaked cloth sitting around. I live in Hong Kong, and mold just loooooves to grow on wet coffee. I have to leave the coffee area totally clean when I'm done.

    2) I should be using the DE1's Flush feature to rinse my portafilter. However, I'm using a scale, which is sitting on the drip tray and "flush" would dump water all over it. It would splash, and potentially short the scale too. I could move the scale out of the way to flush with hot water, but (as mentioned above) I'm lazy.

    At trade shows, where I don't have a sink, I usually switch to volumetric shots and don't use a scale. I then use the "flush" feature to rinse the portafilter out after each shot. Also, my drip tray is plumbed in at the show, so the coffee grounds being rinsed out go away. At home, I'm not plumbed in. From a workflow perspective, this way is faster and cleaner, but I miss having a scale.

    This all is a strong personal motivator to figure out how to build a future espresso machine that integrates weighing directly into the drip tray cover. We drafted some ideas, but it's a big project, so likely a year away.

    -john

  18. #1268
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    1) At home, I'm only making two coffees each day, in the morning, and I don't want a damp, slightly-coffee-soaked cloth sitting around. I live in Hong Kong, and mold just loooooves to grow on wet coffee. I have to leave the coffee area totally clean when I'm done.
    Just use good quality paper towel, it's much more hygienic.
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  19. #1269
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    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post
    Two reasons:

    1) At home, I'm only making two coffees each day, in the morning, and I don't want a damp, slightly-coffee-soaked cloth sitting around. I live in Hong Kong, and mold just loooooves to grow on wet coffee. I have to leave the coffee area totally clean when I'm done.

    2) I should be using the DE1's Flush feature to rinse my portafilter. However, I'm using a scale, which is sitting on the drip tray and "flush" would dump water all over it. It would splash, and potentially short the scale too. I could move the scale out of the way to flush with hot water, but (as mentioned above) I'm lazy.

    At trade shows, where I don't have a sink, I usually switch to volumetric shots and don't use a scale. I then use the "flush" feature to rinse the portafilter out after each shot. Also, my drip tray is plumbed in at the show, so the coffee grounds being rinsed out go away. At home, I'm not plumbed in. From a workflow perspective, this way is faster and cleaner, but I miss having a scale.

    This all is a strong personal motivator to figure out how to build a future espresso machine that integrates weighing directly into the drip tray cover. We drafted some ideas, but it's a big project, so likely a year away.

    -john
    ^^All makes sense I guess. I'd have a strong personal motivator too if I got my machine ..

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    Chasing down a strange shipping damage problem

    ship3.jpg

    7 of our espresso machines so far have arrived at their customer's house with a bent leg. Nothing else is broken: not the suitcase, not even the tablet or the ceramic parts. The legs are made of 2.5mm thick aluminum metal, and we cannot bend by hand. And it only happens occasionally. What's going on?

    Today, we think we finally figured it out.


    Here's the scenario we're imagining...

    First: UPS takes our espresso machine and tilts the box 90 in his truck, and then loads several boxes on top of it/

    Next: the steady weight and consistent truck bouncing induce metal fatigue that can bend even a thick piece of metal.

    Ok, yeah, I know: we should have put THIS SIDE UP on our cardboard boxes. I didn't bother to because I didn't think the delivery people would follow the directive. I figured we needed to determine how to have our protective packaging survive most scenarios.

    5 of us engineers brainstormed for a long while on this, and tomorrow we're going to try out our idea.

    By luck, the front feet have 3.5mm screw holes in them, for the rubber feet. We're going to cut a bar out of angled aluminum and bolt it onto the legs before shipping. Not only will this prevent the legs from moving, but the bar will be slightly wider than the DE1+ so that it bears the load.

    Attached are two photos of a cardboard mockup of the idea.

    ps: for the 7 customers who have suffered this problem, we've sent them a free leg replacement sent in the mail. It only takes removing 4 Phillips screws to swap the leg base out.

    -john

  21. #1271
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    Sure hope that gets it licked this time. The courier who delivered mine also said you should put "Fragile-Handle with Care" and "This side up" stickers all over the boxes. He said that they mostly do take note of that when handling.

  22. #1272
    Senior Member JMcCee's Avatar
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    Hopefully things have changed for the better. Those stickers used to be a motivator to do exactly the opposite..

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    A certain famous bike company was finding that its bikes wee being delivered damaged. So it changed the box it was deliver3d in to look like a TV... damage down 80%.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/w...-a7328916.html
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  24. #1274
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    Great idea Black Poison. The Decent box looks like it could house an early mac, maybe a graphic of an early mac on the outside and the catchphrase 'this computer is so good it can even make you coffee' - all of which is true.
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  25. #1275
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    Quote Originally Posted by gc View Post
    Sure hope that gets it licked this time. The courier who delivered mine also said you should put "Fragile-Handle with Care" and "This side up" stickers all over the boxes. He said that they mostly do take note of that when handling.
    Nice to hear "from the horse's mouth" that they do pay attention to the stickers.

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    Preparing for v1.1

    brassparts1.jpg

    We today received the group head parts for v1.1 of our Decent Espresso Machine. These parts receive water into the top of the group head, and then evenly distribute the water onto the coffee.

    With this new revision, our goals are:

    1) to reduce the overall brass mass, so that the espresso machine heats up faster from cold-power on, and also so that temperature profiling during an espresso shot can be easier and faster accomplished (less thermal inertia to battle).

    2) slightly better placement of temperature probes for faster and more accurate measurement (especially in quickly measuring the effect of the cartridge heater, that goes in the middle)

    3) much easier wiring of the triple safeties (thermostat and two thermal fuses) around

    4) use of a different brass material that is less likely to tarnish

    5) drier pucks (less headspace above the basket)

    6) black anodized aluminum parts, to lengthen life and impede tarnishing

    7) a better thermal isolation design, so that the heated group head transfers less heat to the espresso machine. Lowers electrical use and improves espresso temperature stability between shots.

    In a few weeks, we'll be opening up orders for 500 more Decent Espresso Machines, and they will be built with this design.

    IMG_8608.jpg

    Useful to compare to current v1.0 brass parts (photo above). You can see the smaller size, but also the simplification in wiring this should bring.
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  27. #1277
    Senior Member JMcCee's Avatar
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    How much more will the V1.1 be than the V1.0?

  28. #1278
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    As per JMcCee question wondering if price will be as per current and also of the next 500 machine which models will they be?

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    Quote Originally Posted by JMcCee View Post
    How much more will the V1.1 be than the V1.0?
    About 10% more, but the final price hasn't yet been decided. Partially, this is because I'm looking at upgrading a few components to more expensive (and higher end) alternatives. But it's also because my labor costs are about 5x more than expected, because this machine is a lot more time consuming to build than we had planned.

    Because our machines are hand-made by us, and we can only currently manage to produce 1.5 machines per day, our next 500 machines we build will be the DE1PRO+ model. Those are AU$4200 each, are plumbable and feature the more expensive (commercial grade) valves and pumps, as well as a much longer (200,000 shots) warrantee. 44% of our v1.0 customers were cafes, and it appears that percentage will grow with this new version. Performance and longevity are a particular focus for us with this next revision.

    In August, we plan to beta test the DE1CAFE, and I have about 100 confirmed orders for that model, which should start to ship in October. It will sell for about AU$6500.

    So... because of our slow production speed, and a higher demand than we can catch up with, for now we'll be focussing our manufacturing efforts on the PRO+ and CAFE models.

    In a year, if we manage to be making machines faster than we can sell them, I would love to come back to selling the less expensive DE1+ machines.

    -john

  30. #1280
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    Ummm, okay. Sounds exciting for the company going forward. Apart from the fully pre paid beta versions of V1, I take it those who paid the 50% for machines a couple of years ago, including abandoned de1 upgrades, anticipated deliveries are still on track?

  31. #1281
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMcCee View Post
    Ummm, okay. Sounds exciting for the company going forward. Apart from the fully pre paid beta versions of V1, I take it those who paid the 50% for machines a couple of years ago, including abandoned de1 upgrades, anticipated deliveries are still on track?
    Yes, those early customers are my highest priority, and they're the reason I haven't taken any new orders.

    I anticipate about 3 more months to fully satisfy those remaining orders (still about 180 machines to build) and all those customers will receive a machine before the new orders are fulfilled.

    It will take about 2 months for parts for the v1.1 machine to arrive, once we order them. Thus, I'll delay taking new orders until I'm about 2 1/2 months away from running out of paid customers.

    Also note that if I have accepted money from anyone, they are grandfathered in at the old pricing. And they get DE1+ machines made for them. The people I've had to disappoint who ordered a DE1 (that model, we're not going to make) are being offered USD$200 in free coffee accessories if they do chose to upgrade to the DE1+, and that's at the old early-adopter price, or a full refund if it's too rich for them (understandably).

    One exception to the shipping schedule, and that's those who do not want a machine until it is UL certified (about 10 people, at the moment). UL approval probably won't come until October, given the current schedule. I've pushed the schedule back on the R&D needed to do the group head controller (which is needed for UL approval), so that all our engineering efforts go into the v1.0 and v1.1 models. UL approval won't be something we submit for until the v1.2 model. The group head controller, to be done well and fully integrated into the coffee making workflow, is a big endeavour, and less important to me than satisfying current customers.

    -john

  32. #1282
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    Thanks John for clarifying. So, as a DE1 abandonee who agreed to upgrade to the plus, i can remain optimistic and excited about getting my machine in short order.

  33. #1283
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    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post
    brassparts1.jpg

    We today received the group head parts for v1.1 of our Decent Espresso Machine. These parts receive water into the top of the group head, and then evenly distribute the water onto the coffee.

    5) drier pucks (less headspace above the basket)


    IMG_8608.jpg

    Useful to compare to current v1.0 brass parts (photo above). You can see the smaller size, but also the simplification in wiring this should bring.
    John, would it be possible to retrofit just the brass part that holds the shower screen into V1.0, or is it completely different? The cleaning wet pucks drives me nuts [no simple bang on the knockbox any more], so anything that would reduce that space between puck and screen would be good in my view.

  34. #1284
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    Quote Originally Posted by gc View Post
    John, would it be possible to retrofit just the brass part that holds the shower screen into V1.0, or is it completely different? The cleaning wet pucks drives me nuts [no simple bang on the knockbox any more], so anything that would reduce that space between puck and screen would be good in my view.
    Is dosing a bit higher an option? Not sure if this would fix the wet puck issue but it usually does on other machines, but then again not sure of the mechanics of the Decent machine..

  35. #1285
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    Not really an option on the DE1+. I tried it initially before someone kindly explained that its different because of the substantial gap between screen and puck and screen is pretty much flush with the groupe rubber seal

  36. #1286
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    Quote Originally Posted by gc View Post
    Not really an option on the DE1+. I tried it initially before someone kindly explained that its different because of the substantial gap between screen and puck and screen is pretty much flush with the groupe rubber seal
    Not sure who told you that, but I'd disagree. I dose 16.5g in my 15g baskets, on my DE1+.

    But to go back to the "wet pucks" thing in general, a few thoughts:
    1) our current basket headspace is the average of the surveyed users on home barista, who reported the headspace they had on their machines
    2) a coarser grind, and a different basket (not VST or Decent) will get you a drier puck
    3) it's not clear what causes our wetter pucks. According to two conversations I've had with other engineers (at other companies) it generally is caused by a more complete preinfusion and a finer grind. I don't necessarily agree, but there it is...

    That being said, we are *testing* taking 4mm off the headspace off the top of the puck, to see if that changes anything. I don't know yet if it will.

    It also might very well be that the "water maze" that we have in our group head, that makes for very even preinfusion, impedes flush velocity.

    If that's the case, it might be that there's a trade to be made between "better tasting espresso" vs "a dry puck".

    But there's still lots to learn, and plenty of room for improvement.

    -john

  37. #1287
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    Unless I was planning a quick game of shuffleboard or hockey, a wet puck is the last thing I'd be trying to correct when trying to dial in my machine. Just leave it in the machine for few minutes if it worries you.
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  38. #1288
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    Me too but that scenario may not work out too well in a busy cafe/coffee shop environment with a row of DE's and baristas having to wipe out wet pucks between shots instead of just knocking them out..

  39. #1289
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    I dose 16.5gms in the 15gm DecentEspresso basket too.

    Will be interested in the outcome of the headspace reduction testing as the results come in. And for readers here, despite the small negatives I raise, this DE1+ machine can make really great coffee and is incredibly versatile - it's capacity greatly exceeds my current ability.
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  40. #1290
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMcCee View Post
    Me too but that scenario may not work out too well in a busy cafe/coffee shop environment with a row of DE's and baristas having to wipe out wet pucks between shots instead of just knocking them out..
    It's not yet clear to me what causes a dry puck. A lack of headspace above the puck, before the shower screen, is likely a sine qua non requirement, and that's why we're removing 4mm of basket headspace in the v1.1 DE1+ version.

    However, a dry puck might also be a side effect of a low TDS. A coarser grind helps keep the puck dry.

    A finer grind generally yields a higher TDS, but will also increase the water retention capacity of the puck, thus making it more of a slurry.

    Our baskets, like VST baskets, require a finer grind. I've had reports from people using non-VST style baskets, that their pucks are drier.

    Regarding the "lack of a 3 way valve" in the DE1+, that's not correct. What we do differently is have a separate "forward flush path" for dirty water to go through, instead of using the same path for dirty and clean water, as other machines do. However, this makes the distance the flushed water has to travel longer. We did this to increase coffee drink quality, and it might be that this decision means we have a less powerful flush.

    What I'm trying to get across is that this "wet puck" thing is not a simple topic with a simple solution.

    If it turns out that a wetter puck is the compromise to make in order to get a better tasting drink, higher TDS, and cleaner water, I might choose to stay with wetter pucks.

    Or we might figure out how to "have it all". Either way.... there's work to be done on this topic.

    -john
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  41. #1291
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    Getting ahead of myself here because i don't know if its even going to be an issue but is it feasible to have an add-on type thingy that can fit between the puck and dispersion screen? Eg., a round filtery type thing?
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  42. #1292
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    Decent Espresso Machines (DE1) - Any thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by JMcCee View Post
    Getting ahead of myself here because i don't know if its even going to be an issue but is it feasible to have an add-on type thingy that can fit between the puck and dispersion screen? Eg., a round filtery type thing?
    This will have to be quite a thingy. Like a total redesign of the head parts and dispersion screen to fit in a thingy. Sounds to me that the head redesign that Decent are doing is the thingy.

  43. #1293
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    Thanks! I await with interest to see my thingy in the flesh in a few weeks. If the product is as good as I have been led to believe the thingy will be of no consequence..

  44. #1294
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    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post

    I evaluated tons and tons of tablet stands, with the Steelie Stand being the best solution I could find. However, the evidence that "people have different tastes" when it comes to tablet stands is very strong, since there are thousands of tablet stand models available on Amazon.

    So... if you don't like the included Steelie Stand, I choice to NOT pre-glue the stand to the table, so that you can spend AU$10 and choose whatever model tablet stand you prefer.

    -john
    My turn for a mea culpa..

    My critical comments re a wobbly Steelie were based on anecdotal advice. Turns out the duffer mounted the Steelie upside down with an incorrectly placed sticker..

    How embarrassment!

    Sorry John

  45. #1295
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    WechatIMG151.jpeg

    Our "Decent" production speed getting a bit better.

    Monday: 5 machines shipped
    Tuesday: 7 machines shipped
    Wednesday: 3 machines shipped

    17 machines out of last week's batch of 20 (that we built at the same time) had no problems.

    Problem espresso machines this week:
    - One had a bad PC board (despite being tested before assembly)
    - One had a gasket leak
    - One had the cable break to a thermometer probe

    Thus far, we have made and shipped 73 Decent Espresso machines. Shipping 15 machines in 3 days (21% of the total out in the world) is good progress.

    And "this side up" is now on all our boxes, as we noticed that UPS was otherwise immediately putting the boxes on their sides, stacking and occasionally damaging them in shipping.
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  46. #1296
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    Get your Decent Machine in a week

    jumpahead.jpg

    We still have two to three months work in order to fulfill our existing espresso machine orders.

    However, we've had a slight snag.

    We've found that all our remaining "mirror panels" have slight scratches around the mounting holes. I don't want to ship machines to people who will immediately be disappointed by this fault.

    However, if you're waiting to receive a machine from us, and you don't mind the scratches, I will build your machine right now, with one of these mirror panels, and you'll get your machine before anyone else.

    If you'd like to "jump to the front of the line" please email us https://decentespresso.com/contact

    Everyone else: we're going to be hit with a 15 day delay before we can get perfect mirror panels. I've ordered 100 to be made via laser cutting, from a rapid prototyping company that we use frequently. However, they will cost us $80 each, so ouch! this hurts, but it's the best solution I have on such short notice. We should have noticed this earlier, as people are generally quite fussy about the quality of the mirror panel.

    Our existing mirror panel manufacturer doesn't want to make them for us anymore, because they think we're too fussy. Well... they'll make them if we switched to "brushed steel". We're getting samples made by two other companies, but that's going to take a month. Then our price drops to $20, which is a lot better.

    Unfortunately, changing the mirror panel once the machine is fully assembled is really difficult, so the option of "ship out a perfect panel to customers later" is not a good one.

  47. #1297
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    I received a shipping notice today for the DE1+. I also received unboxing instructions and an invite to the Decent Basecamp users forum. It has been a fun ride observing the development process. My order was originally for a DE1 in April of 2017 and later upgraded to a DE1+ about a year later. Now I better get serious about claiming some counter space since UPS says it should be here in four days.

    There appears to be over 100 posts just today on the basecamp site which helps me understand the paucity of posts here and elsewhere. The anticipation has been fun, now I will finally get to start using this new tool.
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  48. #1298
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    Espresso Puck Simulator

    preview-full-EDM cutting.jpg IMG_8846.jpg

    This week, we received a small batch of "blind portafilter baskets" (a basket with no hole in it), but that we'd modified by having a very tiny hole precision cut in it.

    Our goal is to be able to simulate a coffee puck's water resistance but without coffee. We want to do this for stress testing, and so we can calibrate under pressure.

    The "Scace 2" is what we've used to do this in the past, but
    1) it's very expensive
    2) the hole in it is a bit larger than real espresso
    3) it clogs very easily.

    I'm wondering if anyone else would find these "espresso puck simulators" useful. They were quite expensive to make as one-offs but if people had their own uses for this, we could get them made in quantity, likely at a reasonable cost.

    Ideally, these:
    1) would not be expensive
    2) would have realistic hole size(s) that mimic espresso pucks better
    3) would clog less often, and if clogged, would be much easier to clean (a sewing needle should do it).

    Any interest?
    Last edited by decentespresso; 11th June 2018 at 05:37 PM.

  49. #1299
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    Hairline Cracks

    hairline.jpg

    We've been talking to our metal fabricator about the hairline cracks that some of our clients have on their espresso machine legs. These paint cracks are hidden by the drip tray, but still, I'd be happier if they weren't there.

    The fabricator today provided a messy, but very useful, explanation of where and how they weld the leg pieces together. As it turns out, the hairline cracks are appearing exactly where no welding is indicating on their drawing.

    I really appreciate this company's honesty and transparency. They indicated today to us that they believe they've found a new approach that would allow them to continuously weld, instead of spot welding. It's really not an easy task, because we intentionally designed the sheet metal pieces to close in on themselves. The goal was to give the visual impression that the legs were made of solid 3cm thick bars of metal.

    We're also working on a design for the leg where the top front would have an added "lip" that bends 90 upwards for strength but is invisible (if we do it right) by being hidden under the mirror panel's lip.

    For the next 200 machines, if a customer gets a damaged leg, I'm going to ask whether it's merely a cosmetic problem, or if it unbalances the machine. If it unbalances, I'll send them a new leg assembly right away. However, if it's merely cosmetic, I'll ask them if it's ok to have them wait 90 days so that we can send this reinforced leg design version to them instead.

    I'm also hoping that the fractures happen less often, as they seem to be caused by UPS tilting our machine 90 and stacking heavy things on it. I'm 100% certain that our THIS WAY UP stickers will 100% solve this problem. Cough.

    For those customers who have already received a machine from us. If they have hairline cracks that are merely cosmetic, I'd like to hold off on sending a replacement leg set, until we have this new, stronger design in stock.

    -john
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  50. #1300
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    Switches, Panels, Grinder Video, Puck Simulator

    various.jpg
    (clockwise by photo)

    - I've received the waterproof, lit, push-button switches that I'm planning on putting on the front plate of our DE1CAFE model. This will let you put the machine in standby (bluetooth and USB charging on, heaters all off). If this works well on the cafe model, we'll add this feature to our other DE1 models too.

    - samples from other companies making mirror panels are starting to come in. These are laser cut, and using transparent protective plastic lets us see the defects early. Oddly, our laser-etched logo comes out brown with this company--hopefully not a sign of rust.

    - I've made a video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-BlIz7MXpI showing how to assemble and adjust the grinder we sell https://decentespresso.com/pro_grinder - this is a fairly low-tech, low-feature, do-it-yourselfer-friendly product. Instead of made-from-scratch, we modify another company's grinder quite a bit.

    - the company who makes our baskets for us has made us a prototype "puck simulator" with a 0.3mm hole (see posting earlier this week about this). What do you think of that product name for this?

    -john

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