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

  1. #1301
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    100th espresso machine built today!

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    "It's a bit of understatement" to say that we "didn't have our act together" several months ago when started manufacturing the espresso machine we'd been designing for the past 3.5 years.

    If this photo is a bit underwhelming, that's good! This was just an ordinary day, and it took us 5.5 days to make this batch of 20 machines.

    Just a month ago it was still taking us 2 days to make 1 machine.

    I spent an hour myself checking about half the machines in detail for mistakes I've seen in the past and didn't find anything. We'll find out tomorrow if the 9 machines shaken tonight are all ready-to-go, or if we still have hard-to-spot mistakes creeping in in our process.

    screen 2018-06-14 at 5.24.39 PM.jpg

    Two weeks ago I switched our conceptual metaphor to be that of a kitchen. Every day, everyone knows what to do when they walk in the door. No meetings necessary. We complete a batch of machines every 5 days and then start again. The only thing that changes is that (hopefully) this kitchen gets faster and able to feed more people every day. For now, I'm not applying much pressure, because the emphasis is on zero-defects. Once we start achieving that, we'll gently crank up the speed.
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    A Stiff Upper Lip

    newlegall.jpg

    As I reported a few days ago we’re working on making the legs on our Decent espresso machine a whole lot stronger, because about 20% of our machines are arriving to customers with bent legs. We send them (free) new legs by separate post, but it’s still embarrassing for us, and annoying for customers.

    Our v1.1 espresso machines will feature a metal bend, at the front, which the effect of hugely increasing the rigidity and strength of this long sheet of metal. The customer’s bends are especially happening near the mounting screws 5cm/2" from the ends, so we’re extending this "stiff upper lip" all the way to the edge of the chassis, well past where the screws mount.

    Besides this change, we’re also taking a "brute force" approach of thickening the metal from 2mm to 3mm, with this revision. And our manufacturer says they can continuously weld both metal pieces, which should get rid of the hairline paint crack problem.

    I’ve verified that this "stiff upper lip" is totally hidden by the outwards-bending mirror panel lip (which people usually refer to as a "shot mirror").

    This new leg design is totally compatible with the v1.0 machines so I can send new legs (once they’re in stock) to anyone who needs them, who was a v1.0 customer.

    -john

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    Now with a month and a bit of tinkering under my belt, below are my slightly-less-initial thoughts on the DE1+. I've added (green) and removed ([red in square brackets]) comments from the last post, so you can trace the evolution in my thoughts. Again, 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. Still no regrets so far. I couldn't imagine going back to a regular machine now - would be like pulling shots blindfolded.


    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!] Ok,so I've spent much more time with fewer coffees and fewer profile changes in the last four weeks, and I'm really getting on top of things now. I'm still experimenting a lot, but only on weekends when I have more time.
    • [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.] I have definitely made one or two "top 10 cafe" quality coffees, and the average coffee is now better than my older machine. The consistency in the machine is definitely there to reach the top 10 target on an average basis, it's definitely all up to me.
    • 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+. Haven't had the opportunity to assess this as yet; I suspect it will take 12 months to come to a clear conclusion.



    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 was blown away this morning by a simple experiment someone had done, comparing three different flow profile outputs, on the private Decent forum. It had taken me many months to understand the same phenomenon on the Portaspresso, and they had communicated much of the same learning in a set of diagrams that too 2 minutes to read.
    • 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. There is evidence even the experts are learning from this machine (although admitting he's not the most independent expert): https://www.scottrao.com/blog/2018/6...presso-machine
    • 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] they're 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. The group ideation and experimentation going on in there is fantastic.
    • 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. So far, I haven't had a real problem with foreign matter in the water supply, but I've had a couple of grains of coffee and bits of dust get in, so I'm still tempted by the cover.
    • [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!] Ok, so this is no longer much of a pro. Although the prior statement is correct, I've found that the ancillary components (incl. portafilter head and basket) are not warmed sufficiently in the 5 minutes to give exceptional temp stability. As such, I've started using the schedule functionality in the morning to make sure everything is optimal. Later in the day, I switch on the machine heating about 15 min prior to use, which so far seems to be enough to warm the ancillary components as well. I think further experimentation is required on my part to work out the optimal routine.



    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, all of which Decent are addressing to my satisfaction. 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 last month has seen the tablet software stabilise nicely. The next firmware release is supposed to deliver some big benefits (e.g. new flow model), so anticipation (and expectation) is high for that.
    • 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. #1304
    338
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    Bromell thank you once again for your update and the smart way you did it to reflect your familiarity and updates to the machine.

    Great to know the machine is as good as everyone hoped it to be.
    Last edited by 338; 17th June 2018 at 07:24 AM.

  5. #1305
    338
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    Bromell, you mention the software has stabilised over the last month, is that due to updates or machine learning? I can imagine updates are coming pretty regularly at this early stage and with a base of users now out there.


    Ps agree with your comments on Scott Rao, just read his useful blog post, he doesn't even mention he is the co-designer, it reads as if he has just encountered the machine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bromell View Post
    I was blown away this morning by a simple experiment someone had done, comparing three different flow profile outputs, on the private Decent forum. It had taken me many months to understand the same phenomenon on the Portaspresso, and they had communicated much of the same learning in a set of diagrams that too 2 minutes to read.
    While the "Decent Diaspora" forum is for owners-only, the discussion there is not in any way meant to be secret. I'm reposting the message @bromell is referring to, where DE1+ owner Ed Laufer did a series of experiments to better understand the impact of preinfusion flow rate on the resulting drink.

    Because everyone on the Diaspora forum has the same espresso machine, and because that machine provides good control and visual feedback, we're finding that the DE1+ community is engaging in a very vigorous and rapid type of "coffee science experimentation", which isn't currently possible elsewhere.

    This is a side-benefit of owning a DE1+, and it was my hope that this would happen. It's also one of the reasons why I didn't want to make a less-capable (cheaper) model, because that would be splitting the (Decent) community.

    -john

    preview-full-fullsizeoutput_20fe.jpg

    From: Ed Laufer
    Following up on your puck compression info, I tried a little experiment. I've been pulling flow shots with moderately slow preinfusions of 2.5ml/s in order to allow the center of my puck to completely saturate, and extracting at 1.5ml/s, which comes out closer to 2ml/s in reality (19-20s to pull 35g). The shots have pulled very nicely and I'm getting some sweet flavors out. However I was struck by a few things. This is a roast I've used before (Redbird espresso - 'northern Italian roast') and flavorwise I previously was annoyed by the distinct slightly bitter roast flavors coming through. However these overtones were gone with this profile. I also am consistently peaking at around 4bar during the pour phase, and the ramp up to pressure is slow and takes about 22-24s to get there. I have timed out a few times and the 4bar bump was engaged, although I've been able to tweak the timer so that it barely gives a compression boost.

    So based on your comments about the speed of compression, I decided to pull exactly the same shot, changing only the flow rate during preinfusion, to see if that compressed faster, and how it would alter the flavor. My first try I preinfused at 3.0ml/s. Unsurprisingly the puck saturated more quickly. The compression slope was also a bit steeper, and the compression bump was not needed. Strikingly my peak pressure jumped from 4 to almost 9bar! In the cup, those harsh roast overtones were back.

    Reasoning that I might be able to control peak pressure simply by subtle preinfusion rate modulation, I next pulled a shot preinfusing at 2.7ml/s. I got the expected intermediate preinfusion/compression kinetics. This time pressure peaked at 5.5bar. The bitterness was still there, but much more subtle. I'm really surprised by how much this subtle change in only the preinfusion parameters has affected the execution of this flow profile. Certainly worth more experimentation.

    Here is a composite of the charts for those three shots, arranged in preinfusion rate order. Interestingly I got that end of shot flow to zero bug again, on the 2.7ml/s shot. The actual end of the pour is indicated.

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    Senior Member Erimus's Avatar
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    This is a side-benefit of owning a DE1+, and it was my hope that this would happen. It's also one of the reasons why I didn't want to make a less-capable (cheaper) model, because that would be splitting the (Decent) community.
    So does this mean that the basic DE1 will not be produced again?

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    Senior Member matth3wh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erimus View Post
    So does this mean that the basic DE1 will not be produced again?
    Think I’ve seen it written / announced that DE will only be producing the DE1+ and Pro+ and eventually Cafe models.

    I believe DE1 peeps got the option to upgrade to + or refund.

    Hope that helps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post
    While the "Decent Diaspora" forum is for owners-only, the discussion there is not in any way meant to be secret.
    I have to say that it irks me somewhat that, after having presumably benefitted from the exposure, discussions, and perhaps even advice given on a number of public forums over the years, you have then moved the discussion behind closed doors.

    What is your take on this, @decentespresso?
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  10. #1310
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    Quote Originally Posted by matth3wh View Post
    Think I’ve seen it written / announced that DE will only be producing the DE1+ and Pro+ and eventually Cafe models.

    I believe DE1 peeps got the option to upgrade to + or refund.

    Hope that helps.
    He says somewhere on the thread that if they ever get ahead, they may do some basic one's again. However, reading the last statement from Decent Espresso it seems certain that they are finished with lower end machines and are just interested in higher end and cafes now.

  11. #1311
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    Quote Originally Posted by zeezaw View Post
    I have to say that it irks me somewhat that, after having presumably benefitted from the exposure, discussions, and perhaps even advice given on a number of public forums over the years, you have then moved the discussion behind closed doors.

    What is your take on this, @decentespresso?
    I'm just a (very) new owner of a DE1+ and thought that I would be sharing my views on this forum within the week of setting up my new machine. Despite being a long time home barista (20yrs) I quickly realised I had a LOT to learn about making coffee with this very versatile machine and that I would just embarass myself sharing what little I knew at this early stage.....and I was someone who is KEEN to share! I imagine there are quite a few other new owners experiencing similar reluctance as they gradually understand using this very different machine. The owners forum on BaseCamp for me is an early learning space and as I attain a little mastery you can be sure I will be contributing to discussions on open forums like this one.

    Meanwhile, I'm really happy to answer any questions from my point of view as a user if thats any use to you or anyone else here. For example, I have changed the coffee I use completely to a lighter roast and no longer use any sugar in any coffee because the DE1+ delivers me a more balanced flavour with fuller mouthfeel. Better than I had ever made with my old HX single boiler machine. And that's before I learn the subtleties of tweaking pressure, flow, and time!

    bromell's review above seemed pretty accurate to me and reflected my own experience with the DE1+ so far.

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    The next run of machines is now available

    The next five hundred DE1PRO machines are up for sale now, as well as two hundred DE1CAFE machines.
    https://decentespresso.com/

    limited.jpg
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    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post
    The next five hundred DE1PRO machines are up for sale now, as well as two hundred DE1CAFE machines.
    https://decentespresso.com/

    limited.jpg
    Time to start posting on the Extreme Machines section.
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    A bit more reliable

    IMG_8888.jpg

    We're becoming a bit more reliable at building espresso machines

    So far, only one of last week's batch of 20 machines has had any problems, which is good news. The week before, it was 3 machines, and before that, 11 machines had issues.

    The bad news is that I've only ever had one person (Tinny) on the "final assembly, clean up and pack up for shipping" job, and until recently that's been ... shall we say... "a part time job" (cough, cough).

    Jennifer is now helping Tinny get this backlog of 9 perfectly-healthy machines out the door and out of the way.

    IMG_8891.jpg

    In this second photo, you can see our "hospital" where sick machines go to get healed. At the moment, the hospital only has one espresso machine in it. It's the one place in the factory where I'm happy to see nobody working.

    -john
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    [EDIT Apologies, meant to quote zeezaw's post above]

    I appreciate your viewpoint, but also consider the perspective of new owners (approx only 100 globally) of a complex machine without an existing pool of knowledge to draw from.

    If each geographic group of owners split into their normal/regular forum of choice, it would be very hard for Decent to provide the support they do, and for owners to learn from each other. I'm glad it exists.

    Having said that, my hope is that the discussions will migrate off over time, as owners no longer require the support. There is a lot owners of other machines can learn from what's being experimented on with the DE1+ and vice versa.
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  16. #1316
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    Quote Originally Posted by 338 View Post
    Bromell, you mention the software has stabilised over the last month, is that due to updates or machine learning? I can imagine updates are coming pretty regularly at this early stage and with a base of users now out there.
    It's software defect fixes and enhancements. It's dropped from multiple releases a week to once every 2-4 weeks. The most recent update was 100% enhancements, I believe.

    The learning algos continue to only need a shot to dial themselves in.
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  17. #1317
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    Quote Originally Posted by bromell View Post
    [EDIT Apologies, meant to quote zeezaw's post above]

    I appreciate your viewpoint, but also consider the perspective of new owners (approx only 100 globally) of a complex machine without an existing pool of knowledge to draw from.

    If each geographic group of owners split into their normal/regular forum of choice, it would be very hard for Decent to provide the support they do, and for owners to learn from each other. I'm glad it exists.

    Having said that, my hope is that the discussions will migrate off over time, as owners no longer require the support. There is a lot owners of other machines can learn from what's being experimented on with the DE1+ and vice versa.
    Yeh, that explains why an owners forum exists...but not why it is invisible to everyone else (e.g. prospective owners). I can certainly understand why posting to that forum might be restricted to registered owners.
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    It should be open for anyone to read. It's like an elite owners club at present.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry O'Speedwagon View Post
    Yeh, that explains why an owners forum exists...but not why it is invisible to everyone else (e.g. prospective owners). I can certainly understand why posting to that forum might be restricted to registered owners.
    The forum is on Basecamp, the team project collaboration software, not pure forum software like snobs uses. I'm not sure why it was chosen, but I don't think it's possible to enable public access? John would need to answer why this call was made.

    I do agree with you that prospective owners would get value from a lot of what's on there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post
    The next five hundred DE1PRO machines are up for sale now, as well as two hundred DE1CAFE machines.
    https://decentespresso.com/

    limited.jpg
    Unless I missed it, may be time to become a site sponsor?
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    Quote Originally Posted by bromell View Post
    The forum is on Basecamp, the team project collaboration software, not pure forum software like snobs uses. I'm not sure why it was chosen, but I don't think it's possible to enable public access? John would need to answer why this call was made. I do agree with you that prospective owners would get value from a lot of what's on there.
    I chose Basecamp because it's collaboration software, meant for groups of people who have a high degree of trust in each other. It's not really a "forum", though discussions are indeed at the center of it.

    You can read more about it here:
    https://basecamp.com/how-it-works

    One example of how Basecamp is not a forum: anyone can make a TODO and assign it to someone else. If you had a hardware problem, for instance, you can log your issue as a TODO. Most commonly, though, the TODO feature is used to suggest features or point out bugs. You can opt to be notified automatically when that TODO is completed.

    Another example is the "Campfire" feature, which is a group chat room. The beta testers used this extensively to help each other quickly dial in shots.

    Yet another example is the "Ping" feature, which is 1:1 live chat (like Whatsapp), which customers use all the time, for example to ping me when they're having a problem. Someone yesterday was trying to export historical shots to Excel, but couldn't find the export program that I had indicated in our documentation. Turns out that I had neglected to include it in the DE1+ app package, and that was rectified in 5 minutes.

    Note that everything is archived permanently, and searchable, including the group chats and 1:1 chats. There are also quite nice clients for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android.

    The authors of Basecamp chose to not have a "public view" feature. Maybe they'll add it in the future, but I would expect not, since their focus is helping closed groups work more efficiently.

    Both Slack and Basecamp and enormously popular group collaboration programs, and we use both (there's a link to our Slack group off the decentespresso.com home page).

    Below is a picture of the current TODO page, which will give you a view on how this works.

    Screen Shot 2018-06-21 at 8.04.44 AM.jpg

    If you google "how we use basecamp" you'll find a few articles going into this.
    https://secure.hines.digital/how-we-...g-bc4ba3d546f8

  22. #1322
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    Quote Originally Posted by CafeLotta View Post
    Unless I missed it, may be time to become a site sponsor?
    Pretty sure Decent are a sponsor, have been for some time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    Pretty sure Decent are a sponsor, have been for some time.
    Couldn't see their name in the sponsor's list?

    PS Did a thread search and found post #85 24th November 2016 announcing them as site sponsors. Apologies to Decent Espresso.
    Last edited by CafeLotta; 21st June 2018 at 10:07 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CafeLotta View Post
    Couldn't see their name in the sponsor's list?
    Look at the bottom of the page (just below the 'quote form' link). They've gone about this the right way....been a sponsor since the thread started.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CafeLotta View Post
    Couldn't see their name in the sponsor's list?
    It's there, below name, where avatar usually goes, also listed at bottom of page in site sponsors.
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    A few pieces of Decent News

    various.jpg

    A few pieces of Decent News:
    - shipping prices on DE1PRO were sometimes too high (whoops)
    - DE1CAFE will be in 110V as well
    - new Tamper v2 model coming
    - brushed steel front panels?
    - plumbing kit progress for DE1PRO
    - v1.1 group head progress
    - v1.3 group head controller progress report
    - signed machine

    ---

    Shipping prices on DE1PRO sometimes too high
    I made a mistake last week with the package dimensions when estimating shipping costs for the new DE1PRO v1.1 models. For the USA, the mistake didn't change the shipping price estimate, but for a few countries is caused a doubling (!). If you were scared off by the shipping prices, take a look again.

    DE1CAFE will be in 110V as well
    A few cafe owners who do catering/events/weddings have asked for a 110V version of the DE1CAFE model. There's no reason we can't make one, but I had previously assumed people absolutely had to have killer-fast steam in order to be interested in the cafe model. Well... if you're making espresso at a wedding, you don't have that option. So, I've added a 110V option for the DE1CAFE model, and changed the spec pages to explain the lower steam power. We will be able to get 11% more steam power with a custom heater, but that's all we can get out of 110V.

    New Tamper v2 model coming
    I finalized the design on v2 of our tamper. This model adds a leveling plate, to ensure perfect 90º tamps. There's still calibrated pressure spring. Rao tells me he doesn't like it because he misses the feedback of traditional tamping. I like it because perfect tamps are really foolproof now. I'll write more about this tamper when it arrives in stock, in a few weeks.

    Brushed steel front panels
    We're still struggling with making perfect mirror panels, but the latest samples are better. However, we also made a single brushed steel version, to see what we think. Photo attached.

    Plumbing kit progress
    There's progress on the Plumbing Kits for DE1PRO customers. We're hand assembling a smaller set now, to do final testing before we make 1000 of these. We're going to try having these assembled for us, which we're all very nervous about since we currently do all our own product assembly. However, the assembly is fairly simple, we've developed tests for the assembler (using water, pressure, and leak testing equipment) and I prefer to not take my staff away from building espresso machines.

    v1.1 group head progress
    The v1.1 group head design is almost done. For customers, the main notable difference will be less head space above the coffee puck. For repairmen and assemblers, the new design is hugely easier to work with. There's a photo of white 3D printed group head in the photos.

    1.3 group head controller progress report
    A few people have asked about progress on the "group head controller". We've designed the PCB, but we haven't yet assembled a prototype. We've engineered this controller for flexibility, with 12 color LEDs around a circle, a dedicated CPU on the PCB to control animation, and a protocol for the controller to talk to the main DE1+ computer. This will allow us to improve the controller over time, via firmware updates, but it does make this more of a "project". Our plan is to introduce this in the DE1CAFE model first, and once it's debugged, bring it into the DE1+ v1.3 model, starting in 2019.

    Signed machine
    And finally, super-fan Austin wanted us, the two founders, to sign the back of his DE1+ machine. It's a bit embarrassing, and we practiced for a while before marring his machine. I insisted on signing the (removable) back panel in case Austin regretted his decision.

    -john (verified sponsor )

  27. #1327
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    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post
    various.jpg

    v1.1 group head progress
    The v1.1 group head design is almost done. For customers, the main notable difference will be less head space above the coffee puck. For repairmen and assemblers, the new design is hugely easier to work with. There's a photo of white 3D printed group head in the photos.

    1.3 group head controller progress report
    A few people have asked about progress on the "group head controller". We've designed the PCB, but we haven't yet assembled a prototype. We've engineered this controller for flexibility, with 12 color LEDs around a circle, a dedicated CPU on the PCB to control animation, and a protocol for the controller to talk to the main DE1+ computer. This will allow us to improve the controller over time, via firmware updates, but it does make this more of a "project". Our plan is to introduce this in the DE1CAFE model first, and once it's debugged, bring it into the DE1+ v1.3 model, starting in 2019.
    Out of interest, is there a "v1.2" group head in the mix there somewhere?

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    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post
    I chose Basecamp because.....
    Good deflection there, 10/10. I believe the important point further back was, why is the discussion now private? If you are trying to sell another 500 units then potential owners should see what is happening to the machines in the wild. Otherwise all we can do is just speculate on why the discussions have been made private.

    Also the highly publicised reviews seem to stop dead after 1 or 2 initial posts. Hardly anything about coffee again.

  29. #1329
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    Quote Originally Posted by HBexile2 View Post
    Good deflection there, 10/10. I believe the important point further back was, why is the discussion now private? If you are trying to sell another 500 units then potential owners should see what is happening to the machines in the wild. Otherwise all we can do is just speculate on why the discussions have been made private.

    Also the highly publicised reviews seem to stop dead after 1 or 2 initial posts. Hardly anything about coffee again.
    Ah ease up...

    Who cares? It's John's machine and forum, he can do what he wants. Why the pressure?

    Read this thread, ask current owners, plenty of info here. Otherwise contact John for more info about the machine and specifics of how to use it, he's been an incredible source of support and info, always going the extra mile to answer so many questions especially considering just how insanely busy he is, and he's put himself and his machine out there more than anyone I've ever known.

    I'm sure more regarding the specifics of brewing will be posted (as other owners have said they plan to once they have had a fair trialing and experimenting).
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    Quote Originally Posted by HBexile2 View Post
    Good deflection there, 10/10. I believe the important point further back was, why is the discussion now private? If you are trying to sell another 500 units then potential owners should see what is happening to the machines in the wild. Otherwise all we can do is just speculate on why the discussions have been made private.

    Also the highly publicised reviews seem to stop dead after 1 or 2 initial posts. Hardly anything about coffee again.
    This has already been addressed adequately before. It's not a 'private' discussion forum where machines are reviewed and the results swept into some Orwellian conspiracy. As the name implies it is a resource and workshop for DE owners to discuss current or potential issues and to have how-to's explained by John or other owners without the discussion being hijacked or derailed. There's plenty of other threads in other forums where issues can be openly discussed by owners and non-owners alike and where members can speculate to their hearts content.
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    Guys, just to give a contrary way of looking at things, rather than seeing HBexile post as an attack on John who has been open and upfront - it is a plea by someone who is interested in the Decent and wants more end user reviews. On a day when there was a single post here, it was stated there was 100 on basecamp, at a time when there wasn't even 100 machines in the wild. I am assuming HBexile feels like he only got1% of the available data that day?

    It is stated there is plenty of info here, but most written by John, who cant help view things through the prism of a designer looking at his baby, no matter how hard he tries. Or as his post are replicated on different forums may have pieces which don't apply (who here cares about 110v mentioned above?). End users give a different perspective - who else but a user with a tilting bench would have noticed there was no leg adjustment?

    I thinking nothing but time will solve the review issue, this is a highly complex product evolving fast, most are probably wondering if they have enough understanding of where the machine is today to review it, some have said that here. Not defending HBexiles delivery, but I have no doubt his frustration is real. It would be great if basecamp did have an observer mode, though probably most fairly used in a few months time when many of the teething posts have waned.

  32. #1332
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    I never thought it was an attack on John. The question had been asked and answered before.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 338 View Post
    ...(who here cares about 110v mentioned above?)...
    I suspect that the roughly 20% of our users who log in from the US would care.


    Java "Welcome to the World Wide Web" phile
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    Toys! I must have new toys!!!

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    I recently received a DE1+. I originally ordered a DE1 and upgraded a few months back. I gave up on making espresso at home several years ago due to the inability to attain any consistency. Using the DE1+ is delightful. It is great to be able to watch the pressure, flow and temperature in real time while also looking at the portafilter bottom reflection simultaneously. Observing the pressure and flow interaction through both the preinfusion and extraction stages is revelatory. As you adjust your grind, you immediately can observe the effects on pressure and flow. For me, the acceleration of the learning curve is a terrific benefit of this machine. I also like being able to dispense a precise, specified amount of water at a specified temperature with a single touch which is awesome for the quick Americano before heading off to work.
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    Sounds exciting . Two days from Honkers and my DE is in transit from the local depot to me, or so the tracking says. Although I haven't paid duties yet-

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    Coming back to the "private forum" subject: nobody seems to have noticed the forum name I picked for it.

    The forum is called the "Decent Diaspora"

    The name and metaphor it implies is very much on purpose.

    My intention is for a group of people to come together, perhaps build up a certain culture, knowledge, and way of looking at things and eventually....

    They will disperse into the world, sharing their experience, knowledge and worldview with those they meet.

    -john

    screen 2018-06-22 at 3.55.38 PM.jpg
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    If I might be allowed a slight digression....

    At SCAE in Hungary last year, I met Csanady Miklos https://www.facebook.com/csanady.miklos and we spent quite a few hours together. He even got up early and drove me back to the airport.

    He wasn't (at the time) involved in the coffee business, but he was really excited by the DE1+, and wanted to get into the field. A friend of his made lever machines.

    He asked me if it was ok to do something similar to my app, but for Lever Machines. We have been exchanging a bunch of iMessages over the past year, as he's shown me his progress and I've offered feedback.

    And that's exactly what he's done, and it's now a product being shown at WBC in Amsterdam.
    https://www.naked-portafilter.com/sm...esso-profiler/

    There's obvious similarities between this project and my work. I'm both flattered and happy to have helped.

    Note that I have no financial involvement in this; I helped where I could, because it's fun and interesting to work with smart people.

    If you've got a lever machine with a pressure port, I seriously recommend you check this out.


    EDIT: Csanady tells me that it works on any machine with a pressure port, not just levers.


    This is an example of what I mean by a Decent "Diaspora"

    screen 2018-06-22 at 4.10.27 PM.jpg
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  38. #1338
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    Quote Originally Posted by HBexile2 View Post
    Good deflection there, 10/10. I believe the important point further back was, why is the discussion now private? If you are trying to sell another 500 units then potential owners should see what is happening to the machines in the wild. Otherwise all we can do is just speculate on why the discussions have been made private.

    Also the highly publicised reviews seem to stop dead after 1 or 2 initial posts. Hardly anything about coffee again.
    About 2/3rds of the customers for those first 300 machines are to the USA, and maybe a dozen are to Australians. You're not going to see lots of user reviews here on an Australian forum.

    There are a few DE1+ owners on Home Barista
    https://www.home-barista.com/espress...0.html#p596530

    such as this review/post from yesterday:

    #31:Post by r7 » Yesterday, 6:28 pm

    As a new DE1+ owner here are some of my early observations:

    I had quit making espresso at home several years ago due to the frustration and difficuly in attaining consistency with consumer grade equipment. The DE1+ interface allows you to observe pressure, flow and temperature simultaneously while waiting for and watching the flow begin at the bottom of the portafilter basket; all from a single observation point. So far, I have done very little experimenting with different profiles. The feedback is invaluable. Being able to see the relationship between flow and pressure through both preinfusion and extraction has been a revelation. A change in the grind is immediately reflected in the data stream in your next pull. The temperature stability is very solid and knowing that it is sensed at the top of the puck interface gives confidence. For a quick Americano before work, I can have it deliver a precisely specified amount of water at a specified temperature of choice. I believe it has the potential to rapidly accelerate the learning curve. It may take a long time to scratch the surface of the many features and capabilities.
    There are other comments by owners in that thread, and other threads besides, on HB.

    However, I think that most people are more interested in making coffee than they are in promoting us, which is reasonable enough.

    That's generally why I think people tend to post a short "my initial thoughts" rather than spending half their saturday writing an extensive review. On HB, there's also more than a little bit of trolling, which makes writing reviews a bit less fun.

    -john
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  39. #1339
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    ^^well said-

    I will be doing an initial thoughts post alongside a mini review as i'm not a nerd's nerd.

    My wife will review the suitcase-
    HBDecentRefugee likes this.

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    Paint microfractures hopefully solved

    I've written about https://coffeesnobs.com.au/brewing-e...tml#post632009 the microfractures we're seeing on the legs of our espresso machines.

    We recently discovered the cause. It's because there are only spot welds between the metal parts that make up the legs. Where there are no welds, the two metal parts move slightly, which causes the powder coat to crack a little bit.


    welding.jpg

    The company that makes our legs for us has come up with a new process. They're now doing a continuous weld, and then grinding the extra material off to come back to a smooth texture. They're making a sample for us and sent us these photos today.

    It looks promising, but I'll withhold final judgment until I see a powder coated completed sample.

    -john

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    Decent Funnel used by WBC 2018 winner

    wbc_funnel.jpg

    A big congratulations to Agnieszka Rojewska https://www.instagram.com/agarojewska/ the new World Barista Champion.

    I was surprised and flattered to see her using the Decent Funnel that João Tomaz and I designed. https://decentespresso.com/funnel

    https://www.facebook.com/WorldBaristaChampionship/videos/10155862862059069/
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    rinza.jpg

    Our current drip tray covers are prone to getting slightly tarnished with use, and we're working on a solution. Once we figure it out, we'll send free replacements to customers who experienced any tarnishing.

    I yesterday received a sample of our drip tray cover with an electroplating coating. It's very shiny!

    Unfortunately, the electroplated drip tray cover could not withstand overnight in Urnex Rinza, a common steam wand cleaning product.

    I put just the bottom centimeter in so I could see a line.

    Interestingly, it appears that the submerged part is fine, it's the part that got splashed and exposed to air, that got tarnished.

    The reason I did this test, is that I think when using our espresso machine's "clean" cycle, it's likely that people will have it run overnight, and let the cleaning product drip out of the group head (and steam wand) into the drip tray, thus splashing (and sitting) on the drip tray cover.

    Nonetheless, the electroplated version is more robust than the raw aluminum. This was the undiluted cleaning product, after all.

    As to the idea of remaking this part in stainless steel, I've been told that this design could not be cast in stainless; it would have to be made as a stamped piece. The thickness would then double, and all the rounded wires would become hard angles.

    I've used machines with stamped drip tray covers (our prototypes used this type) and water beads tend to not roll off, due to surface tension created by the stamped "cuts". Thus, I really don't want to go to this different approach.

    We sent photos of this staining to our manufacturer, and they have an idea for a different kind of plating, which they think could resist an acid bath.

    -john


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    Scenes from an espresso machine factory

    IMG_8917.jpg

    I've been asked to give a presentation locally about our espresso machine workshop. So...I took a bunch of photos, and plan to tell a bit of a story about the various steps that go into making the Decent Espresso Machine.

    But first: why Hong Kong?
    Almost nobody builds anything in Hong Kong anymore: it's mostly a financial/legal center now. Manufacturing has moved to mainland China. Foreigners like us are welcome to own and run companies here, which is not so much the case in mainland China.

    And... there are still a lot of talented engineers here, stranded from the not-so-distant manufacturing past. There are plenty of 40 to 60-year-olds who yearn to stay in their chosen careers. Salaries are reasonable (about USD$40k/year) for people of very high competency. There's the "free port" (no duty or taxes), so we can get parts hassle-free from all over the world (not just China). We have the world's busiest air-freight terminal, which helps with shipping costs.

    ---

    So, with that preface, let me introduce Simon.

    He knows it's completely mad, but he loves to solder, and he's crazy fast at it. He laughs at himself for liking to build the "heater boxes" so much.

    Until Simon was hired (about a month ago) the heater boxes were a major problem, because our best person could make only one in 2 1/2 hours. This was holding up our entire assembly line, as each machine needs two heaters (hot water and steam) . Simon can make 10 in an 8h day, including lunch. He's on a diet, though, so lunch is shorter for him than most. As we're making 5 machines per day, that's working for us, for now. Our best student Intern from this summer, Stanley, just started on Monday and is helping Simon on the heater boxes.

    These boxes are pieces of flat fiberglass, that are soldered together to hold the heater suspended inside. We push insulating mineral wool all around the gaps, and then before we seal it up, we put a temperature probe into a threaded hole in the heater, as well as two thermal safety fuses. Finally, a thermostat (3rd safety) gets screwed onto the top.

    We're working on a new heater design that simplifies all this, for our v1.2 machines. Until then, I'm very glad that Simon is good at this, and enjoys doing it.

    -john
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    brushed steel

    preview-full-639253396623702061-1.jpg

    Just received this photo from our current mirror panel maker. We asked them to make a brushed steel sample for us. Another company we also use is also making a sample, and probably next week I'll make a decision.




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    Laser etching a mirror panel

    Strangely satisfying to watch...

    This video is from a new supplier who wants to make mirror panels for us. This is one of 20 samples they're making. I don't see any scratches on it, so I'm hopeful...



    WechatIMG32.jpeg

  46. #1346
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    They left off the 'D' and the 'E'..

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    New DE1+ owner Alastair Drong made this humorous video about his decent espresso machine arriving at his apartment.

    kwantfm likes this.

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    Hurrah: someone *can* make good mirror panels for us!

    IMG_8942.jpg

    On their 2nd attempt to make a "perfect" mirror panel (we rejected their first attempted), a new vendor we're thinking about using has done a really good job. I could only find a not-very-deep 3mm scratch on one panel. All the rest were as close to perfect as I could hope for.

    So.... it looks like we won't have to abandon the "mirror panel" feature after all. Phew!

    We're going to convert the ~150 "slightly scratched" panels that we don't want to use, into a brushed steel version. For people who prefer the fingerprint resistance (and more durable) of brushed steel, they'll be able to ask us to put that on their machine instead.

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    Stating the water level: cast not the first stone

    water_level.jpg

    On our customer forum, Ed rightfully pointed out:
    "One could make a similar argument about the way you report water in the tank. 3mm isn't useful measure of the amount of water, it just happens to be the depth you measure without applying the necessary conversion to get that to a true volume."
    He's right. I can't really go criticizing other manufacturers for using measurement units (ie, "preinfuse at 3 bar") that aren't particularly helpful, and then go ahead do the same thing in my DE1+ app.

    So today, I brought out the postal scale and measured the water level at each 100g increase in weight.

    The caused the attached curve to appear. The spreadsheet can be downloaded at https://decentespresso.com/p/water_levels.xlsx

    My measurements are accurate more or less to a millimeter, as surface tension on my metal ruler was an issue.

    I then went off to read google results about "find a function in excel that fits a curve". I failed out of mathematics in college, so I have no doubt someone else here can fit the curve better than I did.

    Nonetheless, this function worked fairly well (average error = 3%), and it's what I've implemented in the DE1+ GUI for the moment:
    > ml = mm * 22 + (mm ^ 1.52)

    where ml = "millimeters of water in the tank"
    and where mm = "millimeters measured"

    A side effect of my doing this was that I've now verified that the water tank really can take 2 liters of water. Our SolidWorks model said it could, but that's very much not reality (ie, ceramic shrinkage needs to be taken into account).

    If you "App Update" today, you'll get milliliters of water in your tank, as well as millimeters of water measured.

    I couldn't decide whether I should continue to display the millimeters of water depth number, or not. What do you think?

  50. #1350
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    +1 for milliliters....altho....at what depth do you run out of water? Or can you specify the 'danger' level in milliliters as well?

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