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

  1. #1401
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    Many tiny improvements in our v1.1 group head (left) as compared to our current v1.0 group head. This new design will be used starting in late September.

    compared_groups.jpg

  2. #1402
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    Hands-free milk steaming for two lattes

    With a larger milk jug (600ml) I can easily steam hands-free using this technique. No stand required.


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    the early bird gets the worm

    IMG_9194.jpg

    IMG_9195.jpg

    All our early customers now have a machine (or it's on their way to them via UPS)

    A big push today has us sending the very last machines that were pre-ordered.

    Next week, Mirjam and I will be offering v1.0 DE1PRO machines to the 70 people who have bought from us in the past few weeks. They'll have "first dibs" on these, or they can wait until the v1.1 model goes into production in about 2 months.

    And so I also hope that in the next 2 to 3 weeks, I'll have a few dozen DE1PRO models (plumbed and not) in stock for immediate delivery, to whoever wants to buy one.

    To all of you who bought a machine early from us, who put your confidence in Ray, me and the rest of my team: thank you! And a big apology to Mr Merhi, who had to wait the longest as he ordered so many machines from us (his is the big pallet).

    -john
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  4. #1404
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    Sensing when something is wrong.

    MezzanineRevF3Aug2018.jpg

    This post is about a change we've made to the v1.1 DE1+ pc board.

    With the first 50 machines we built and sent to customers, quite a few of them had wires come lose during shipping.

    It's a "major bummer" to order an espresso machine, that apparently "worked fine when it left the factory" only to find that it doesn't work when you receive it. It was also a huge "time suck" for me, as I got on video calls with each person, to resolve their issue.

    We've gotten much better at locking things down since then, but it's still a concern. I have one client who has--very rarely--steam that doesn't function. We haven't been able to detect the cause yet.

    So... with the version 1.1 espresso machines, I had challenged Ray to invent a way to detect "bad wiring", which can also be "intermittently or only occasionally bad wiring". Those sorts of problems are typically really hard to figure out.

    The v1.1 PC board now threads the neutral electrical line through a transformer, so that--in software--we can now see if the electricity we sent to a component was actually consumed by that component.

    For example, this will tell us whether a valve that we think is open, really is open and is using up the electricity we've sent it.

    It's also possible that the valve is blocked (say, by dirt in the water) and we believe that we'll be able to detect that too, because the valves' consumption of electricity will look atypical in that situation.

    We still have all the firmware to write to support this new idea, but in summary, we think we'll now be able to detect wiring that is disconnected, a partial (bad) connection, or even intermittent failures. We also think we can find when a component is consuming too much power, and thus know that something is wrong.

    We've had 3 clients have USB cables short out and melt. We believe that we'll now be able to detect that short and cut the USB power if it does happen.

    Ideally, a future iteration of the DE1+ will cycle through every electrical component (valves, heaters, pumps, USB charger) with a single cycle, at every power-up, and detect if anything is wrong. Because the detection happens early, this approach should also allow us to isolate the fault before it causes permanent damage (such as a spark and blowing a component).

    -john
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  5. #1405
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    G'day John

    Good thinking - well thought out. FWIW, I know of no other device that does this, so maybe patent it if possible?

    My order: Please send me the V1.1 Pro when it is ready - the self checking and the new group make it a no brainer when I "only" have 5 espresso makers at present.

    TampIt

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    Quote Originally Posted by TampIt View Post
    Good thinking - well thought out. FWIW, I know of no other device that does this, so maybe patent it if possible?
    I'm not so big on patents: I prefer to "win in the marketplace" than to "win in the courts". The odds are a bit better for the small guy. Patents are a rich company's game.

    I'm not entirely sure it's patentable either, as one has to pass the "obvious" test, and this looks to us like we've simply added a electrical clamp to the internals, which is a standard part of an electrician's toolkit.


    seaward-solar-power-clamp-af3.jpg

    Quote Originally Posted by TampIt View Post
    My order: Please send me the V1.1 Pro when it is ready - the self checking and the new group make it a no brainer when I "only" have 5 espresso makers at present.
    Tampit, can I ask you to send us an email from your decent login by going to:
    https://decentespresso.com/contact

    so that we've got a proper record of what you'd like.

    -john

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    Beautiful slow motion video of water flowing from the Decent Espresso Machine at the Institute for Coffee Excellence

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    Philosophical: heated coffee mug?

    screen 2018-08-06 at 3.17.57 PM.jpg screen 2018-08-06 at 3.20.31 PM.jpg

    I thought this bluetooth "smart mug" was pretty silly at first:
    https://ember.com/products/ceramic-mug

    but then I thought.... I do spend a lot of time thinking about the ideal beverage temperature. What if I could make a drink that I served at 50ºC, and which stayed at 50ºC during its entire drinking experience?

    Would that be a good thing?

    Or is the gradual cooling of a coffee drink an essential part of the experience?

    Because technically, with this mug, I could likely change the DE1+ app to have a "beverage temperature" setting.

    And that then seemed like an interesting idea.

    Your thoughts?

    -john

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    Senior Member JMcCee's Avatar
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    Part of the enjoyment for me is drinking espresso out of shot glasses or sipping cappaccino out of traditional italian cups with the accompanying downward drift in temperature so no, not for me.
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    Senior Member simonsk8r's Avatar
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    Yep I'm the same, the gradual cooling really let's you experience the flavours and how they stand out or change at different temps

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    Decent Espresso ❤️ Espresso Forge

    forge.jpg

    Decent Espresso ❤️ Espresso Forge

    I've been a big fan of Andre's Espresso Forge https://www.facebook.com/espressoforge/ http://espressoforge.com/ project for some time https://www.home-barista.com/espress...ct-t34309.html and was very flattered when Andre bought a Decent Espresso Machine.

    A few years ago I'd pulled shots on a forge, found that they were excellent, but better with our Decent Baskets. Andre agreed and now sells our baskets as an option for the forge.

    The Forge can make some truly excellent shots, for two reasons. Firstly, it's a lever machine, so you have manual control of flow and pressure. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_c...&v=E3vtVYT_rhw

    Secondly, because it takes pre-heated (kettle boiled water) it has a natural "temperature profiling" capability, with shots starting high and ending at a lower temperature. A number of coffee experts think that a declining temperature curve makes better coffee.

    Indeed, Scott Rao's latest "blooming espresso" discovery on the DE1PRO makes use of a declining temperature curve. https://www.scottrao.com/blog/2018/7...ode-on-the-de1

    Andre has developed two advanced profiles for his DE1+ that mimic the best technique he's developed on the Espresso Forge. His idea is that when at home (where he has electricity!) he and his wife can easily have the best espresso they've become used to.

    And when they're on vacation or camping, they take their Espresso Forge and recreate this espresso by hand.

    Andre's two profiles for the DE1+ take advantage of temperature profiles, low-pressure preinfusion, multiple stages with conditions, flow and pressure profiling. This is fancy stuff, but Andre knows his stuff.

    Thankfully, he's created and tested this recipe, so the only thing the rest of us need to do is tap the preset and his START.

    These two profiles are now included by default to all our Decent Espresso customers, as a free "App Update"

    -john

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    The End of the Line

    IMG_9219 copy.jpg

    Next week, we'll finish building the last of our v1.0 Espresso Machines. We'll have about a week pause, as we await the parts for the v1.1 design to start arriving. The new parts will be arriving over a 2 to 6 week period. We won't be able to ship any v1.1 machines until every last part has arrived, likely around the end of September. But we'll have done a lot of prep work, so they should flow out fairly rapidly then.

    Making machines at an increasing speed and good quality has been our focus these past 6 months with v1.0. The pause gives us time to tidy up, document, rethink how we do some things, and (vitally) find space to store 2x as many parts as we've ever had.

    I took these two panorama photos early this morning, as I was the 2nd one to arrive, and things were nice and quiet. You can see how our factory, warehouse, and engineering spaces look. That's the final set of v1.0 machines (all 110V) being built, on the main assembly table.

    -john

    IMG_9220.jpg


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    Filter bliss

    IMG_9223.jpg

    It took 9 weeks, a lot of negotiating and paperwork, but I today have in my hand 20 precision filter screens by IMS. Made in Italy.

    Some Decent customers have put these screens into their machines, and reporting more even water flow, as these screens resist getting "gunked up" better than our current screen.

    If my tests over the next 2 weeks find the same benefits, then IMS screens will become what we use in the v1.1 models we're going to soon start building.

    -john


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    The Acid Test

    acidtest.jpg

    Here are the results from testing both PVD and Electroplating coated drip tray covers, in full strength Rinza Rinza® Acid Formulation Milk Frother Cleaner - Urnex Professional

    Note that this stuff is supposed to be 15x diluted, so this is a harsh test.

    The PVD did not fare well.

    Some of the PVD dissolved in the acid, and when we washed it residue off, you can see where the PVD is gone, leaving shiny electroplating below:

    Interestingly, there is no "boundary line" visible, where the air met the Rinza liquid.

    With the electroplating, the fully submerged portion suffered no damage. However, a boundary line is clearly visible where the air meets the liquid. Is there a chemist in the room who can explain why?

    Of the two approaches, I think I prefer the Electroplating, but neither approach can withstand pure Rinza.

    This weekend, for 2 days, we're soaking the samples in 4x diluted Rinza (aka "quadruple strength") as this is likely a more reasonable test than 15x strength pure Rinza.

    -john

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    Senior Member Lyrebird's Avatar
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    The answer depends on what the plating and substrate are. Looks like nickel so I assume you have a copper base layer on steel?

    A combination of a pH extreme and oxygen will often cause rapid corrosion, for instance titanium is very corrosion resistant, neither sodium hydroxide nor hydrogen peroxide cause any damage at 1M concentration. Combine the two and you have an excellent etchant.
    Last edited by Lyrebird; 10th August 2018 at 05:23 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lyrebird View Post
    The answer depends on what the plating and substrate are. Looks like nickel so I assume you have a copper base layer on steel?

    A combination of a pH extreme and oxygen will often cause rapid corrosion, for instance titanium is very corrosion resistant, neither sodium hydroxide nor hydrogen peroxide cause any damage at 1M concentration. Combine the two and you have an excellent etchant.
    We don't have clarity at the moment on the mix, but we're asking now and I'll report when I hear back.

    Will also pass on your oxygen/ph tip.

    -john


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    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post
    Will also pass on your oxygen/ph tip.
    I don't think he means during the plating, I think he means while you've dipped in the acid for your testing the air immediately next to the surface provides oxygen for a speedy oxidation thanks to the low pH of the liquid. That is always going to happen.

  18. #1418
    Senior Member Lyrebird's Avatar
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    L3Ninja is correct, sorry if what I posted was misinterpreted.

    Actually I am at a loss as to why you are looking to use a plating process for the drip tray cover in the first place, I wouldn't have thought this was a terribly expensive part to have made in SS?

    I know of no plating process that will stand up long term to acidic / oxidative conditions and inevitably when the plating peels it looks terrible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post
    acidtest.jpg

    Here are the results from testing both PVD and Electroplating coated drip tray covers, in full strength Rinza Rinza® Acid Formulation Milk Frother Cleaner - Urnex Professional
    Why use a milk cleaner? The only time I have ever seen it being used is for cleaning super auto machine's milk frothers. You should test with backflush detergent as that is what will be used all the time.

    Just go with stainless and be done with it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HBexile2 View Post
    Why use a milk cleaner? The only time I have ever seen it being used is for cleaning super auto machine's milk frothers. You should test with backflush detergent as that is what will be used all the time.
    I'm testing the drip tray with both a group head detergent, and a steam wand cleaner, because both chemicals will find their way to splash onto the drip tray, and potentially stain it.

    Quote Originally Posted by HBexile2 View Post
    Just go with stainless and be done with it.
    Unfortunately, manufacturing is always a set of compromises, and this design, which we were told was doable in stainless, we now find that no manufacturer wants to take the risk to do for us.

    The stainless casting companies have wanted us to make quite a few modifications to the current design, which would make it a lot less functional and uglier. For example, switching to stamped stainless is doable, but would cause water to bead up on the "wires". Or if we stay with casting, adding crossbars and thickening the wires quite a bit.

    Stainless is doable, but it's (a) very time consuming and (b) not assured of success, (c) so far, looks likely to require ugly modifications of the current design.

    In the meantime, we need to keep shipping machines.

    For me, the current design has the virtue of:
    1) it works now
    2) it's shipping
    3) it's attractive

    the only downside is the tarnishing problem, which should be solvable in a few ways.

    -john
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    Don’t go with the flow

    fllowmeter2.jpg

    Don’t go with the flow

    We’ve had a lot of trouble with our flowmeters. So much trouble, in fact, that we’ve invested months of dedicated R&D to work around its defects, and to try to invent our own hybrid flow meter. The new “method” will (theoretically) count pump strokes to be low latency and capable of tracking low flow rates, and then use the physical flow meter. I write “theoretically” because it’s proving to be a hard problem to solve.

    We’re currently using a big-name Italian-made flow meter. You’ll find this thing in most commercial machines. It’s ok. Really. But it only delivers 90% accuracy. And its electrical pulses are noisy and need filtering. And sometimes it double-pulses. And other times it skips a pulse. All this means that we currently wait 6 seconds before we can trust the numbers its giving us.

    I’m currently looking at a flow meter made by EPT. They make the same model in 98%, 97% and 95% accurate versions.

    I asked them what the difference was, and the answer surprised me.

    They’re all the same.

    But because small differences in tolerances have effects on the accuracy, they test each flow meter, and then sell them at 3 different prices based on how accurate that one was.

    I asked them how they thought their flow meter might be better than the big-name Italian one we use today. Three people came to visit us to deliver the answer (the lead engineer, the Big Boss, and the salesperson). We found:

    1) they’re using higher grade nylon and a higher tolerance process. Even then, though, there’s import variation between each flowmeter made.
    2) their tines are curved slightly, rather than straight, which they feel reacts better to water flow
    3) their magnets are larger, and deliver stronger, less noisy electrical pulses
    4) their tines are slightly taller and closer to the edges, so less water can slip through the cracks.

    I’ve been using EPT’s flow meter in my own personal machine for a few weeks. It definitely works. Over the next few weeks we’ll be testing 20 of them, to see if they are indeed better.

    They’re slightly more expensive, but if we can get a better flow meter, the additional cost will be very much worth it.

    In the photo, you can see the old vs new flow meter models, and in the espresso machine profile photo, the flow meter can be seen in the top left.

    -john
    Last edited by decentespresso; 11th August 2018 at 07:05 PM.

  22. #1422
    Senior Member Lyrebird's Avatar
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    That's been standard practice in electronics manufacturing for years. The devices are fabricated en masse and then sorted into bins on performance. The highest spec units sell for a premium, the lowest spec are sold off to second sources.

    Check , for instance, Cree's LEDs. You can buy the same LED at a range of efficiencies and a corresponding range of prices.
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  23. #1423
    gc
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    John, the usual question from V1.0 users - will this be an easy upgrade path? It looks like a simple replacement job, but the V1 firmware would have to support it I guess. Alternatively, is there any way to use the Skale output to manage flow in real time? (I REALLY want to use flow instead of pressure, but it seems a bit variable so far)
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    Quote Originally Posted by gc View Post
    John, the usual question from V1.0 users - will this be an easy upgrade path? It looks like a simple replacement job, but the V1 firmware would have to support it I guess. Alternatively, is there any way to use the Skale output to manage flow in real time? (I REALLY want to use flow instead of pressure, but it seems a bit variable so far)
    Yes, the new flow meter has identical operating specs, uses the same plug and mounting. It just "works better". No firmware change needed. Two minute swap, you can definitely do it yourself.

    -john

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lyrebird View Post
    That's been standard practice in electronics manufacturing for years. The devices are fabricated en masse and then sorted into bins on performance. The highest spec units sell for a premium, the lowest spec are sold off to second sources. Check , for instance, Cree's LEDs. You can buy the same LED at a range of efficiencies and a corresponding range of prices.
    Agreed, but it was news to me that this same rule applied to something mechanical like a flow meter. I didn't realize that (a) the tolerances were so important and (b) that it was so difficult to "nail" the desired tolerances.

    -john

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    The Decent Tamper v2....

    ... makes tamping exceedingly boring.



    https://decentespresso.com/cart?s=200+1
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    Senior Member matth3wh's Avatar
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    Hi John
    I like boring tamping so thumbs up to that.

    What's the difference between v1 and v2? The lip locking in place over the top of the basket ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by gc View Post
    is there any way to use the Skale output to manage flow in real time? (I REALLY want to use flow instead of pressure, but it seems a bit variable so far)
    I don't think that'd be a good idea.

    Firstly, you'd have no idea about water flow during preinfusion, when no water (coffee) is flowing into the cup.

    Secondly, if preinfusion didn't fully saturate the cup, your flow would be incorrect as it wouldn't take into account the continuing "sucking up of water" that the puck is doing.

    I do have plans to have preinfusion optionally end on "first drop into the cup", but that's a bit different.

    -john

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    Quote Originally Posted by matth3wh View Post
    Hi John I like boring tamping so thumbs up to that.
    What's the difference between v1 and v2? The lip locking in place over the top of the basket ?
    The tamping base is "locked" to the handle with this version: it's the "leveling plate" that is now connected to a 25lb spring.

    So... it's now impossible to tamp in a non level way.

    Also.. I learned something important about CNC lathing with the v1 tampers. With lathes, the usual +/- tolerances don't apply, there is ONLY a +tolerance number. Thus, if you specify (as I did for our v1 tampers) a 58.5mm base, in reality the lathe will give you bases of sizes between 58.52mm to 58.57mm.

    That's getting a bit tight, and professional baristas have complained that our v1.0 tampers have a suction problem because of this tight fit. Rao didn't endorse our tamper because of this: it slowed down a professional's workflow. Amateurs liked the tight fit, since they are working slower, but pros did not.

    These new v2 tampers are speced at a CNC lathe size of 58.4mm, which has them land *in reality* at 58.42mm to 58.47mm (FYI confirmed so far on the 20 or so that I've measured today). No more suction problem, and pros tamp faster on these than traditional tampers, since they don't need to do the "finger dance" to ensure they're tamping at 90º.

    -john
    Last edited by decentespresso; 13th August 2018 at 07:20 PM.
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  30. #1430
    gc
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    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post
    Yes, the new flow meter has identical operating specs, uses the same plug and mounting. It just "works better". No firmware change needed. Two minute swap, you can definitely do it yourself.

    -john
    Great! So how do we get one?

    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post
    I do have plans to have preinfusion optionally end on "first drop into the cup", but that's a bit different.
    Would it be possible to have the Skale data take over from the end of preinfusion then to control flow as it can already control the end of shot by weight?

    Will you still be supplying an "update kit" to version 1.0 owners? I ask this because I could get a V2 tamper, new flow meter and the update kit all shipped together when it was all available.

  31. #1431
    Senior Member Lyrebird's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post
    I learned something important about CNC lathing with the v1 tampers. With lathes, the usual +/- tolerances don't apply, there is ONLY a +tolerance number. Thus, if you specify (as I did for our v1 tampers) a 58.5mm base, in reality the lathe will give you bases of sizes between 58.52mm to 58.57mm.


    -john
    We were taught this as "minimal material tolerance" eg the tolerance is specified so there's always more material left, not less. The obvious reason being you can always remove more but it's pretty hard to put back on.

    You should be able to change this in your drawing program: as an example, in Autocad it's a tab predictably called "tolerances" under the "annotate" tab.
    Last edited by Lyrebird; 14th August 2018 at 09:16 AM.
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    Testing 5 hole baskets for pour overs



    I'm working with Scott Rao to try to improve our espresso machines' ability to make pour over coffee. These custom made portafilter baskets are meant to have controllable pressure, in order for Scott to have control over agitation of the grounds. We've made 3 different hole sizes for Scott to try out.

    My hunch is that the holes could stand to go a bit larger. We calibrated these holes for 4 bar of pressure, so we'd be able to go up or down. However, now that I have them in hand and I can test, I think larger holes would be better, because a substantial jet is formed at just 1 bar.

    I told Rao this via email, and suggested that he might want to enlarge the holes with a sewing needle.

    These baskets are just our first attempt. There will likely be many more revisions before we're happy.

    Coffee ground turbulence during a pour over is super important. The famous "Rao V60 pour over” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0Qe_ASxfNM addresses this, for manual pour-overs.

    The question is: can the optimum turbulence be mechanized with our pressure and flow controlled espresso machine, and a bit of specialized hardware? We don't know yet.

    -john

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    Quote Originally Posted by gc View Post
    Great! So how do we get one?
    First: we need to test them further, and decide whether they really are better.

    Then: they'll be available (like all our parts) at https://decentespresso.com/cart?show=all

    Quote Originally Posted by gc View Post
    Would it be possible to have the Skale data take over from the end of preinfusion then to control flow as it can already control the end of shot by weight?
    It is technically possible, but there are a few steps that need to happen before we can do that, most notably: real time user control over the flow rate. Once we have that, it won't be too difficult.

    Note that I'm not sure that it would be all that useful a feature.

    When your puck is fully saturated, water flow rate into the group will equal flow rate out into the cup. And you *want* a fully saturated puck when making espresso. So... I'm not sure I yet see the point to the scale controlling flow.

    Doing so also adds a new "point of failure" since measuring flow into the cup requires bluetooth (or USB, and hence a wire) and is susceptible to table vibration. I worry that this would make espresso making less reliable, rather than more.

    Quote Originally Posted by gc View Post
    Will you still be supplying an "update kit" to version 1.0 owners? I ask this because I could get a V2 tamper, new flow meter and the update kit all shipped together when it was all available.
    Yes, there will be a free update kit to all v1.0 owners once we have stock of all the replacements. Probably November. Since the v1.1 flowmeter only costs us a few dollars, I'd likely just include it for free on request, for our customers who want to swap it out themselves.

    -john

  34. #1434
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    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post
    First: we need to test them further, and decide whether they really are better.

    Then: they'll be available (like all our parts) at https://decentespresso.com/cart?show=all


    It is technically possible, but there are a few steps that need to happen before we can do that, most notably: real time user control over the flow rate. Once we have that, it won't be too difficult.

    Note that I'm not sure that it would be all that useful a feature.

    When your puck is fully saturated, water flow rate into the group will equal flow rate out into the cup. And you *want* a fully saturated puck when making espresso. So... I'm not sure I yet see the point to the scale controlling flow.

    Doing so also adds a new "point of failure" since measuring flow into the cup requires bluetooth (or USB, and hence a wire) and is susceptible to table vibration. I worry that this would make espresso making less reliable, rather than more.



    Yes, there will be a free update kit to all v1.0 owners once we have stock of all the replacements. Probably November. Since the v1.1 flowmeter only costs us a few dollars, I'd likely just include it for free on request, for our customers who want to swap it out themselves.

    -john
    I do understand and agree with your points above. The reason I suggested the Skale to control flow was based on my observation so far, that the brown Skale output graph and the Blue DE flow output are usually different [but not always for me] and for some reason, I just trusted the Skale as being the more accurate.

    Perhaps a software/firmware update will fix this in future, or maybe I should just recalibrate again - except sometimes both readings do coincide.

    Good news about the update kit too. Keep us posted on that flow meter testing.

    Thanks for your input John.

  35. #1435
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    Quote Originally Posted by gc View Post
    The reason I suggested the Skale to control flow was based on my observation so far, that the brown Skale output graph and the Blue DE flow output are usually different [but not always for me] and for some reason, I just trusted the Skale as being the more accurate. Perhaps a software/firmware update will fix this in future, or maybe I should just recalibrate again - except sometimes both readings do coincide.
    We do use the brown Skale line to calibrate the blue line, at the factory. However, the world being a complicated place, things like dissolved oxygen, water temperature, pump temperature, water mixing and pressure all conspire to make the calculation from "pump strokes per second" to "flow per second" into a very complicated bit of maths. In some circumstances, we nail it, whilst in others we're as much as 20% off. This is what we're hoping to improve with further months of R&D.

    -john
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    Weighing from below

    I knew that it was possible to place the bluetooth scale we sell under the drip tray, but the fit wasn't right, and it didn't work that well. These problems seem to now have been resolved by the Decent user community.

    The advantage of having the scale underneath is that you now have access to the entire drip tray, and you don't have worry about spilling coffee on your scale. It's invisible, and out of the way. You can now also USB power your scale, since the USB cable will not be in the way.

    Decent customer Michel Wyss did the first draft of an idea, and shared his drawing as a STEP file. He replaced the top of the skale with his own design, which was a bit taller, and sized to fit the ceramic drip tray correctly.

    Steffen Lav revised this design, printed it and posted this video today on youtube of it working:



    Anyone with one of our "skales" and a decent espresso machine can download the shared STEP file and have it printed inexpensively, locally, with a service such as https://www.3dhubs.com/

    I'll be testing this myself in a few days as well.

    -john

    better_weighing.jpg
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    Heater Rethink

    newhwaters copy.jpg

    We're currently using off-the-shelf heaters (top left in the photo) at 1350W of power. We just found another supplier for this standard design, at both 1350W and 1500W, and we'll be trying that for v1.1. It'd only give us 9% more power, but why not take it...

    Longer term, though, we want to switch to our own design. There are a few reasons: (1) we'd like to go to 2200W of steam power or possibly (2) two heaters at 1100W and (3) we'd like to simplify/speed up assembly/wiring/insulation of the heaters (3) make repairs easier.

    Our current design takes an hour and a bit to assemble each heater, build its insulating box and wire it all up. There are two in each machine. Wouldn't mind cutting that time down some.

    In the various photos attached, you can see our current heater, two different designs for an enclosure (snap lock vs cable tie) and our experiments using 3D printing to test these ideas out.

    We still have a few iterations to go on this before we're happy. The mould fee to try this is USD$15,000 (!!!) and several months, so this is something that we are slooooowly approaching.

    The intention is for these heaters to make their way into our v1.3 machines, but they'll also be backward-compatible with all previous models too.

    -john
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    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post



    Unfortunately, manufacturing is always a set of compromises, and this design, which we were told was doable in stainless, we now find that no manufacturer wants to take the risk to do for us.

    The stainless casting companies have wanted us to make quite a few modifications to the current design, which would make it a lot less functional and uglier. For example, switching to stamped stainless is doable, but would cause water to bead up on the "wires". Or if we stay with casting, adding crossbars and thickening the wires quite a bit.

    Stainless is doable, but it's (a) very time consuming and (b) not assured of success, (c) so far, looks likely to require ugly modifications of the current design.
    Why would you cast the drip tray in steel? Stamping sheet metal is the way to go as you can get nice curved edges on the bars for water draining - something laser cutting can't get. Classic Linea has a great drip tray and is done by stamping. GS3 not so good and was done by laser cutting the holes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HBexile2 View Post
    Why would you cast the drip tray in steel? Stamping sheet metal is the way to go as you can get nice curved edges on the bars for water draining - something laser cutting can't get. Classic Linea has a great drip tray and is done by stamping. GS3 not so good and was done by laser cutting the holes.
    There was a huge conversation thread about the different types of drip tray cover styles on Home Barista. Can I point you to it for an answer?
    https://www.home-barista.com/marketp...0.html#p514131

    Regarding your suggestion, it reads:
    2. Punched and bent stainless grate. By this I mean that the grate is made from a solid sheet of stainless, which has strips punched out of it and bent down. This minimises the flat areas and the bent bits block most of the view of the contents of the drip tray. These are a sensible compromise between cleanliness and obstructing the view of the mess in the drip tray. I think they aren't as good as the wire grate because they still need a bit of a wipe down. See the original linea (and maybe breville dual boiler; really a hybrid between 2 and 3).

    That conversation on Home Barista is why we went with a "wire" design.

    On the pages that follow that first message you can read so much design discussion about this little part.

    That being said, we have drawn up a punched metal version of our current drip tray, which you can see below. It's possible we might do this someday, though this design has its own compromises too.

    -john

    22105_dup2_large.jpg

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    New recipe: Gentle and Sweet

    I've been working on a new preset to recommend as "my first decent espresso" to people receiving an espresso machine from us.

    Previously, I used to recommend the "best for milky drinks" program, because that's what I generally use every day. Rao argued that this was a difficult recipe to get your grind calibrated for, and the discussions here on Diaspora have generally agreed. It's a great recipe, but it takes careful grind and dose adjustments to make it work well.

    We often find (on the Diaspora forum) that new users have too coarse a grind, and cannot reach much pressure. Or their shots channel badly. It'd be nice to have an easier first espresso.

    So.... this new "gentle and sweet" recipe is my attempt at a "first time user" friendly espresso. I have been pulling it myself as my morning beverage these past 2 weeks, as it's a great shot to pull when you're only semi-coherent. It does not demand excellent puck prep. Flow rates between 0.5 ml/s to 2.5 ml/s out of this recipe, all taste good.

    Here's my description for this preset:
    "This is a very easy espresso to successfully make and is suggested if you are having difficulty making good drinks. The pressure rises to only 6 bar and then slowly descends to 4 bar. The resulting espresso should be free of channeling, have low acidity and quite pleasant to drink straight or with milk."
    A few people on the Diaspora forum have already tried this and reported good results.

    This new recipe "gentle and sweet" is now available in the DE1+ app. Use Settings->App Update to get it. Exit the app and relaunch.

    -john

    screen 2018-08-20 at 3.38.31 PM.jpg
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    Wow, Whoops, Whatever : a philosophy of product design

    ==============================
    INTRO: our "Decent owner's forum" was today discussing a new feature they want: a user-configurable sound that plays when the espresso machine is warm and ready. This also morphed into an "instant message notification service" to your mobile phone. That discussion prompted me to write the text below, to explain how I try to select and prioritize what makes it into the product.
    ==============================

    Despite the whimsical title above, this is actually how I design products. I will eventually write something more elaborate, but here is the summary:

    • WOW : I love this feature, I would buy this product just because of this
    • WHOOPS: I love your machine, but there is no way I am going to buy it, because of this
    • WHATEVER: I am absolutely going to buy your machine, but I would like you to add these (non-WOW) features.


    Thus:
    • Companies that ignore WOW tend to not have any sales. ("this product is not exciting")
    • Companies that ignore WHOOPS tend to have quite limited sales (only "true believers" can overlook the problems).
    • Companies that focus on WHATEVER tend to have declining sales. (no new WOWs = no new attention, and too much increasing complexity leads to "hard to use" and "buggy")


    As the Decent Espresso Machine is still a young product, there are still WHOOPS items that we need to address.

    • On the upcoming cafe model, top of the list is steam-during-brew, and 2x stronger steam
    • On the current DE1+/DE1PRO models, the biggest whoops on my list is "my machine is damaged (or malfunctioning) likely due to shipping damage".
    • Bluetooth has been a whoops that is mostly fixed (it was very bad on Skale until a big software update recently). Android Tablets slowing down is also a whoops that is mostly fixed. There are still improvements to be made on these two topics, but I think we can all live with the current state of things, whereas previously it was fairly aggravating.
    • Flow reporting not being as accurate as we all want, is also a big whoops that has getting almost 50% of Ray's this year. There's progress on that front, but as this is a heavy-R&D task, timely success is not assured.


    And once those addressed, Ray and I want to work on some new WOW features.

    I don't want to pre-announce them, because they're
    • a LOT of work, and I don't have estimates for when we'll be able to ship them
    • partially R&D, and thus it is not certain that they are all even possible.


    Once all the WOW and WHOOPS have been taken care of, you'll see more of the WHATEVER stuff being done. I will continue to spend time trying to keep the app modular so that the increasing feature capabilities don't result in bloatware for everyone.
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    Cyclonic Steam Separator

    We're working on the higher powered steam for the upcoming DE1CAFE model. Ray and Ben wanted to test applying the concept of cyclonic separation https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclonic_separation to espresso steam. This idea is not new to the chemical industry but we haven't heard of anyone using this technique in an espresso machine.

    The concept is that the inlet is on a tangent to the chamber, this spins the steam mixture. The dry steam being much less dense works its way to the center where it exits out the top. The hot water ends up on the outside and drains to the bottom.

    Ben drew a model and 3D printed it at home. Happily, it did not melt. He then placed the DE1+'s steam wand in one end and put the whole thing on a scale.

    The steam coming out was much dryer. There was a good 15mm of "invisible" steam coming out of the separator before it started to condense. Compared to no separator his hand would get wet in seconds and there was no "invisible" steam at the exit.

    By weight, about 40% of the steam condensed inside the cyclonic separator. Some of this will be the result of steam cooling in the separator itself.

    Happily, Ben and Ray have now invented and built a device which can measure the water content of espresso steam. We can no objectively tell if changes we are making are causing the steam to get drier.

    In a few weeks, we'll be testing two steam heaters at the same time (in series and also in parallel) at various temperatures and flow rates. We'll be able to measure our improvements now.

    And, we might end up using a cyclonic separator in our DE1CAFE model to produce totally dry steam.

    -john



  43. #1443
    gc
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    Very clever idea. But the 40% loss seems to be a significant factor to contend with given the limited steaming/heating power you've had.

  44. #1444
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    Quote Originally Posted by HBexile2 View Post
    Why use a milk cleaner? The only time I have ever seen it being used is for cleaning super auto machine's milk frothers. You should test with backflush detergent as that is what will be used all the time..
    Just to circle back on this.

    I bought a package of CAFIZA cleaning product, and two kinds of drip tray covers were tested with a 6 day soak.
    Cafiza® Espresso Machine Cleaning Powder - Urnex Professional

    Both kinds of coatings were unaffected by CAFIZA.

    -john

    IMG_9283.jpg

  45. #1445
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    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post
    ==============================

    Despite the whimsical title above, this is actually how I design products. I will eventually write something more elaborate, but here is the summary:

    • WOW : I love this feature, I would buy this product just because of this
    • WHOOPS: I love your machine, but there is no way I am going to buy it, because of this
    • WHATEVER: I am absolutely going to buy your machine, but I would like you to add these (non-WOW) features.


    As the Decent Espresso Machine is still a young product, there are still WHOOPS items that we need to address.

    • On the upcoming cafe model, top of the list is steam-during-brew, and 2x stronger steam
    • On the current DE1+/DE1PRO models, the biggest whoops on my list is "my machine is damaged (or malfunctioning) likely due to shipping damage".

    (heavily edited by me)

    G'day John

    I must be a "whatever buyer" (or simply have run out of patience and want to play with a "next gen" machine anyway) as the main reason I didn't buy earlier was no "steam-during-brew" - which is still almost a deal breaker for me in this micro kitchen (no possible room for a second machine, or even a wider machine). Also, the fact that if a $A700 SB6910 can do steam-during-brew (and almost anything over $A1500) how hard can it be using 220 / 240V for a $A5,000+ machine?

    Considering IMO LM couldn't succeed making a 110V GS3 without introducing some unacceptable limitations (to me, anyway after using the 220V one first), I cannot blame a newcomer for running aground in that under powered environment.

    I am at the first stages of a new build here. A (massively) larger kitchen means I will have room for a second machine to froth milk when my DE1Pro arrives. I really hope I can retrofit the "Pro" to do both at once later. Especially if the "DE steaming function" works better than any of my current machines...(sigh - I can just see that one coming).

    Having said that - full marks John for being so honest and open about the whole process.

    FWIW, That is exactly the same process I used within a "team of fanatics" to develop my audio gear "hobby / business" with a 25 year successful run. Worked then, should work well now.

    Heres hoping the new group can make flow profiling more accurate. At least I know it will not be for lack of trying.

    TampIt

  46. #1446
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    Quote Originally Posted by TampIt View Post
    (heavily edited by me)

    I am at the first stages of a new build here. A (massively) larger kitchen means I will have room for a second machine to froth milk when my DE1Pro arrives. I really hope I can retrofit the "Pro" to do both at once later. Especially if the "DE steaming function" works better than any of my current machines...(sigh - I can just see that one coming).
    TampIt
    Here's the water flow diagram for the DE1+ & DE1PRO.

    Unfortunately, it won't be possible to change it to steam at the same time. It's not a software or power issue, but a design decision. If you see the water flow for the DE1CAFE you'll see that the water path for steaming is different.
    All that said, I love the quality for steam from my DE1PRO. I don't know where it ranks with others, it's more powerful than my previous Pasquini Livia 90 and it produces fabulous texture. It makes me look good.
    I need 25s to get ~100ml of milk to ~150C

  47. #1447
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    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post
    We're working on the higher powered steam for the upcoming DE1CAFE model. Ray and Ben wanted to test applying the concept of cyclonic separation https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclonic_separation to espresso steam. This idea is not new to the chemical industry but we haven't heard of anyone using this technique in an espresso machine.

    The concept is that the inlet is on a tangent to the chamber, this spins the steam mixture. The dry steam being much less dense works its way to the center where it exits out the top. The hot water ends up on the outside and drains to the bottom.

    Ben drew a model and 3D printed it at home. Happily, it did not melt. He then placed the DE1+'s steam wand in one end and put the whole thing on a scale.

    The steam coming out was much dryer. There was a good 15mm of "invisible" steam coming out of the separator before it started to condense. Compared to no separator his hand would get wet in seconds and there was no "invisible" steam at the exit.

    By weight, about 40% of the steam condensed inside the cyclonic separator. Some of this will be the result of steam cooling in the separator itself.

    Happily, Ben and Ray have now invented and built a device which can measure the water content of espresso steam. We can no objectively tell if changes we are making are causing the steam to get drier.

    In a few weeks, we'll be testing two steam heaters at the same time (in series and also in parallel) at various temperatures and flow rates. We'll be able to measure our improvements now.

    And, we might end up using a cyclonic separator in our DE1CAFE model to produce totally dry steam.

    -john

    G'day again John

    Yep - go for it and see if it works. You may end up with a machine with (yet) another groundbreaking feature.

    I have always wondered if transferring more energy into the milk more rapidly and with less water droplets is as beneficial as some aficionados claim. Mostly those machines are notorious for scalding the milk - froths like lightning, looks great, tastes like a lightning strike hit it. Hopefully your taste testers will sort that issue out.

    TampIt

  48. #1448
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    Quote Originally Posted by rimblas View Post
    Here's the water flow diagram for the DE1+ & DE1PRO.

    Unfortunately, it won't be possible to change it to steam at the same time. It's not a software or power issue, but a design decision. If you see the water flow for the DE1CAFE you'll see that the water path for steaming is different.
    All that said, I love the quality for steam from my DE1PRO. I don't know where it ranks with others, it's more powerful than my previous Pasquini Livia 90 and it produces fabulous texture. It makes me look good.
    I need 25s to get ~100ml of milk to ~150C
    G'day rimblas

    I actually suspected that, I had already gone through the earlier schematics. Although when my final build stage is finished I will also have a pretty well equipped stainless steel / restoring car workshop (other than coffee, music, bridge & reading my two other main interests). It starts to look like a choice between butchering a Pro, or awaiting the "cyclonic DE1Cafe" or "cyclonic DE1Milk frother" (if it is made) if it is truly a breakthrough in milk texturing. For now I will look on with (vested) interest.

    BTW, I hope you didn't get your milk to 150C - it totally breaks down in the low 70C range. I am guessing you meant 150F (65C - which is about right). FWIW, my 7000 does milk at that speed and my 6910 and 2 group La Pavoni are faster again. As long as the milk and shot time are similar it is just a matter of adjusting your timing to finish them at the same time. I have posted before (on CS) that a 5 second difference is a total fail in my world.

    TampIt

  49. #1449
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    Quote Originally Posted by TampIt View Post
    G'day rimblas

    BTW, I hope you didn't get your milk to 150C - it totally breaks down in the low 70C range. I am guessing you meant 150F (65C - which is about right).
    Oops! ha! Yes I meant 150F / 65C

    Oooh "cyclonic DE1Milk frother" I like it! But I already told John that we need a "Decent Roaster" for the home first. I had a laugh

  50. #1450
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    After reading posts I think this is going to be a whole new level of coffee machine that once proven, other manufacturers will start following.

    However, like most things, they need to go through the usual round of refinement iterations and reliability trials. I think in another 12 months many of the small tweaks required will be worked out and users will have had some hours on the clock.

    So, at that time I will be ready to commit to buying this fabulous machine.

    I will be reading this post with interest

    Cheers
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