You're a funny man John...I see when you knocked the side with your knuckles you shook your hand for a while after...Good demonstration on how solid The Decent aluminium knock box is I had a laugh....
Look as per usual, nice looking stuff IMO
I have a V2 and love it, level tamps and the colour is a nice dark mocca, almost gloss anodised type finish, looks pretty smart IMHO.
DE Tamper V2.JPG
It should be a pretty good match for the Mocca Airscape canister that I hope Santa has in mind for me - https://planetarydesign.com/shop/air...hen-canisters/
"Renders" of our products on our web site might look slick, but they are most inaccurate at showing color, reflectivity and texture.
For that reason, I've been slowly adding photos to the web site.
I'll put some tamper photos on the tamper page today, as I think your point about the handle color is bang on.
Recommendation: don't use tap water
My team here are still working through our understanding of how to properly clean a machine that has been using tap water, but speaking to baristas, I would like to recommend that nobody with a decent espresso machine use unmodified tap water.
James Hoffmann's video, for example, specifically calls out that he is careful about the kind of water he puts in any espresso machine. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1poWV0OLSMA
I have been using tap water in HK for some time and decalcifying, and it has been okay.
However, here in France, I have found that my steam performance would worsen every two weeks and I needed to decalcify. About a month ago I switched to using Volvic water in 8 Liter jugs (cost: €1.80) and in a month, the steam wand performance has not changed.
It's so cheap to buy good water at the grocery store. I think this needs to be our recommendation. It's insane to risk a piece of expensive equipment like the decent espresso machine in order to save maybe A$20 per year.
We have now repaired four machines which all failed during decalcifying. Bits were dislodged and then jammed when the aperture in the water flow got smaller.
I'm not sure that we will permanently be covering under warranty, damage caused to our espresso machine by debris in the water.
On that note, are there any recommendations what water would be regarded good water to use with the Decent Espresso here in Australia? I could not find Volvic water.
Perhaps to avoid the brand names here .... what are the specific attributes I have to look for when selecting a water.
Last edited by tinkerfrog; 28th November 2018 at 01:34 PM.
Depends where you are. Adelaide has 'hard' water and should be run through filters. Where I am in Vic the water is softer but I still use both tank and mains water thru a Bombora anti-scale filter. It has prevented scale build-up in the Elektra A3 even after 5 years. It should be changed once a year or more often where the water is harder. I don't really know anywhere here where the water is as crap as the frog's like John says.
An annual $60 filter is cheap insurance and I dont know why anyone would run even a modest machine without one let alone a mega $$$ whizzbanger DE or the like, unless of course you are in a rental.
I think there are two separate goals here:
1: water that will not develop scale quickly inside the machine, potentially damaging it.
2: water that yields the best tasting espresso
For No 2, I'm not an expert and this is a huge area of debate.
Even after reading https://eustore.sca.coffee/products/...ter-for-coffee I don't feel qualified to give an opinion.
However, I do feel that whatever water is recommended as best tasting for other machines will likely also be best testing for decent espresso machines. I don't see why that wouldn't be the case.
Regarding the first goal...
Over on the UK coffee forum, this was suggested:
I really like this advice, because virtually everyone owns a kettle, and this is a very low tech approach, thus likely to actually work.A good way to tell is by looking in your kettle, if you see calcium build up your water is probably a bit too hard, if not your probably ok
I was lulled to a false sense of security because the water in Hong Kong never seems to calcify.
Upon my arrival to France, with horror I find my kettle looks like this:
and indeed ("quelle coincidence!") my steam wand clogs within two weeks in France.
I've previously posted about the troubles we had with the USB charging cable that we ship with our espresso machine (see bottom right photo). This was caused by my choosing a very cool looking "boxy" and low profile connector (right photo) but it turned out to not always have enough space to reliably keep the wires isolated under charging loads.
Yesterday, finally, a complete set of USB cables arrived here. In the end, we switched to a new manufacturer and the look of the cable changed a bit.
All cables were then tested using a circuit that we made for this (middle left photo) which puts 5A through the cable and intentionally creates as much heat as we can (notice the fan). All cables passed this test.
We also cut open a few cables, to inspect the soldering. A comparison of old vs new cables is on the middle bottom photo.
One slight negative with this manufacturer is that the lengths varied by about 5mm. We saw this in the 20 samples we bought (top right photo).
So, I added 5mm to our spec. We're going to sort cables into two piles. Some customers have indicated a preference for a longer cable, so I'll give them those from that box.
All v1.0 customers will be receiving a free "upgrade pack" from us, hopefully in January, and this cable will be part of that. And naturally, all v1.1 machines are now shipping with this cable.
The "kettle test" was one I've been using for years as a guide. When this subject came up again it reminded me to check again and our kettle has hardly a mark in it after a decade of use here in the rainforest. But I also have dual undersink filters to filter out particulates and chlorine etc.
If John thinks it's bad in France, you can almost stand a spoon in the calcium rich water of the lovely Kefalonia island in Greece :-)
A few of our espresso machines are being used by "coffee carts" to make coffee to the public.
I'm a bit nervous about the power cable coming loose either by accident or on purpose. Perhaps a troublesome teen having a bit of fun and seeing if the cable will pull out.
Also, I've found that some people have partially dislodged their power cables in their kitchens when they have pushed their Decent machine all the way back against a wall.
That can lead to a loose connection, which can cause either intermittent problems, an electric fizzing sound, or in the worst case, arcing, heat, and a real failure.
So.... I've ordered samples made of our cables.
These take a little bit of a push to plug in. But once in, they won't come out unless you push the red button as you pull.
We'll continue testing these, but this looks like a potentially useful part tweak for the future.
I like the idea of a locking power cable. I haven't seen them anywhere else.
Are they made with a right-angled connection as well?
Lockable IEC C13 connector, common enough that you can buy them at Jaycar. You can get right angles but they are much less common, only ones I've found are from suppliers OS.
Thanks for the tip, LB.
I will have to do an Ebay search for this item later.
Make sure it's the thicker spec DE power cable rather than the generic type appliance power cable.
What's the difference?
Last edited by Lyrebird; 2nd December 2018 at 08:42 PM.
The EU (and AU) plugs we make are rated to 16A, and use a thicker 1.5mm conducting metal. The normal thicknesses for these cables is either 0.75mm or 1.0mm.
Our USA cables are 14AWG, vs the normal 18AWG (50% thicker). Here's a comparison:
Normal IEC cables meant for PCs will get warm if you use them on our machine, and that heat will lose about 10% of the current (based on what I've read), lowering the machine's hot water heat output and increasing your electric bill pointlessly.
Here are our cable specs:
screen 2018-12-02 at 12.11.15 PM.png
With the firmware we released a few weeks ago, we've managed to shorten the warmup time to just under 4 minutes.
This improvement is available to everyone, including our 300 v1.0 existing customers, and is the same on both 110V and 220V machines.
In the USA, I used a normal IEC cable from a computer for a few days on my tour (2 years ago) and it got hot to the touch (maybe 50ºC). Of course, were talking about 110V here, but nonetheless I take this power cable specification issue seriously as a fire hazard as well.
Next week, we receive quantity=1000 of our ceramic drip trays that are meant to be plumbed into, so they drain dirty water away. There's a light curve to the bottom and a drainage hole. Like a sink, this design should mean that the water drains out cleanly. And that's unlike our previous designs (and those of other companies) where a fitting forms a lip where wastewater collects.
Under the drain, there will be a custom molded 90º silicon tube, which will be black. Black, so that it's not easily visible as you walk up to the machine.
This then connects to a long black tube that you connect to a waste outlet. This tube is also black so that it blends in with the DE1 espresso machine and is fairly invisible.
But also black so that sunlight doesn't feed algae in your tube, and cause this problem: https://www.home-barista.com/espress...ae-t54584.html
And finally, also black so that from the back, you can reason "white tube = clean water" and "black tube = dirty water" and not accidentally connect the lines to the wrong place.
This drip tray will be part of our DE1PRO, and people who buy that machine get two drip trays. One plumbed in, and one normal. That way, they can run their espresso machine whichever way they want, or even switch as needed.
People who already bought a DE1PRO will receive this for free soon from us (January or February) along with some other things (refill kits and more).
Just a stray thought. The 90º silicon tube seems likely to clog up over time. I have never seen a 90º plumbing bend that doesn't suffer from a build up. Having said that, it should be fairly easy to clear any blockage anyway, and some installs will have no extra depth and will need the bent tube.
Why not (optionally) just take the waste tube straight down so a more gentle curve can be used? I doubt most benches have so little room that your tube is the only way to do it.
Anyway, when my Pro arrives (hopefully Jan 2019) I may very well see first hand if straight down is a better option.
PS: thanks for the honesty in explaining in detail why all parts are morphing into their current format (plus some of the "interesting" hassles you have encountered). I really wish Oz Telcos and "Smartphone" (now there is a classic oxymoron) makers would do the same...
The usage case that I am trying to work with is one where someone puts the espresso machine on a countertop and does not have a hole to take the tubing. Instead the tubing goes all the way to the back of the espresso machine, down the back of the table. It's hard to drain such a situation without having some buildup. Nonetheless, that's the setup I have here in Hong Kong and thus far it has been okay. The coffee silt that builds up seems to be carried away by the water that passes over it and a clog does not develop.
Here are some photos of the set up.
Note that two of those pictures are Shin deliberately trying to gum up the works by knocking spent coffee pucks directly into the drip tray. He hasn't actually managed to make it back up yet.
Unless we get a surprise during final testing, the v1.1 machines should start shipping next week, so January is indeed when you should receive your machine.
Today, we are ordering parts to make one prototype of what I'm calling the DE1CS espresso machine. The goal here is to make a no-cables-visible and more minimalist version of our espresso machine.
This is a variation on our DE1PRO machine, but with the following changes:
1) all the cabling goes downwards rather than out the back.
The chassis is 45 mm deeper to hide this cabling.
2) the rear panel is now completely clean and mounted with four magnets.
3) the tablet can be optionally mounted with a new stand we have designed, or with our traditional steelie stand
4) a stainless steel countersunk bracket, kind of like a sink, holds the machine
5) the countersunk bracket has its own drain, in case any water were to overflow into it, so that your floor can never get flooded
6) an additional on/off power button (lit) is mounted directly under the USB plug. Both the rear and front panel power switches must be enabled for the machine to be on.
7) the metal for the legs have been thickened further, and made slightly taller as well, to increase strength.
8) the machine can be lifted out and used tabletop. Or if it is needing repair, we can pick it up from your location via UPS.
9) Note that this model can still be used tabletop: the bracket is optional. In that case, though, I would recommend that a hole is cut into your tabletop for the cabling to disappear into.
As this model only requires sheet-metal changes and no internal changes, I'm hoping to put it into beta testing in January, with some customers working with us to beta test it.
I don't know that DE1CS will be the final product name for this, but that's what I'm using for now.
Would love to hear your feedback on these ideas.
Today we received a dozen samples of our espresso machine plumbing kit. This is an external box which automatically tops up the water tank as needed. We provide adapters for both European and American connector standards.
We tested the dozen that we received both for aesthetic perfection :-) and also that they function correctly. All good, so I've given the go-ahead to build the remaining 500.
There is a huge EU-approved valve inside that is a bit expensive because it has to have a double safety to absolutely, positively never allow water back into the city water system. And it has to be certified as such.
We've recently modified the firmware in our espresso machines so that the valve automatically shuts off after 30 seconds if the water level detector has not indicated the tank is now full. This is to prevent overflow cases where some electrical problem is fooling the circuitry. Perhaps the valve is bust, or the ethernet cable is loose, or the water level sensor is malfunctioning. No matter: no more than 30 seconds of water will flow. After 30 seconds, the user has to tap on the tablet to try again.
About 20% of the catering kits we received have minor scratches on them. These are indicated with a little sticker, and we will be discounting these at 25%. Since this kit is usually hidden behind the machine or under a table, I'm not sure people will really care about the little scratches, and I've received a lot of email asking about the availability of discounted versions of this part.
We have already received 500 catering kits, which is similar to the plumbing kit, but for water tanks where there is no pressure and the water must be sucked up.
We've been trying all sorts of different tubing, including silicone and PVC. Today I decided to go with the much more expensive black silicone tubing (dirty water) and white silicone tubing (clean water) with a USDA food safety certification (our cost: about USD$2/meter). It is completely odor free whereas the PVC tubing was not.
I'm hoping to have all this stuff in stock in early January. This is the last remaining piece in the DE1PRO puzzle, which is currently holding up our sending the update pack (with this, and other stuff too) to those customers.
Decent customer Damian Brakel has made his own user interface skin. It features an all-on-one-page design, as well as 3 "favorites" programs that you can easily switch between. There are lots of other interesting ideas here as well.
This is a great example of the benefits of the open-source nature of the Decent Espresso tablet software, as well as the community that is developing around our espresso machine.
Congratulations on having the machine in production.
On the plumb-in kit, what protections do you have so that the it doesn't fail in the open position? The GS3 has a neat feature so that if it ever has any problems over filling, it is diverted through the drain out part.
I'm kind of interested in your machine; is there some way I can use one to get a better sense of it?
From using the Vesuvius 2, I think what I really want is manual control with a paddle as the shot flows. Did you ever end up allowing for the bluetooth logitech volume knob to be added on to perform this function?
Looks like my drip tray suggestions ended up being a bit of a headache - hope the drip tray is at least performing well for you!
If this level of paranoia is not sufficient for you, you might consider buying the countersunk bracket that we are working on. Below is a drawing. If an overflow occurs it will be captured in the drainage hole, which you should plumb.
I'm fairly sure that with all these safeties, we should be fairly well protected from ever flooding someone's floor.
Alternatively, I'm trying to arrange a booth share at MICE in Melbourne for February, and you could come there to see us.
This Saturday, when the factory was closed, I made this video showing you how our espresso machine gets built.
this is a great video! thanks for sharing john.
Excellent update, thank you John. And a first view on my new machine (as I should be within the first 20 shipped....) ;-)
If you're looking for real-time, manual control of the shot, you might want to wait until our version 1.3 machine (~August 2019), as that's exactly what we're adding. The group head controller will allow real-time control over flow or pressure via a touch controller. There are also LEDs showing you pressure and flow on the group head. This upcoming capability hasn't yet been widely announced but we should have it in internal testing next month. Here is a render of what that will look like:
Very cool. Will previous versions be compatible for this upgrade of the group head controller?
There's a bunch of new circuitry on the main computer board to enable this new controller, as well as a new "light pattern description protocol" between the main computer and the new (separate) computer that exists under the group head controller. This allows us to upgrade the "light show" over time via a wifi-downloaded firmware upgrade. The controller itself is actually 3 separate concentric rings, each with independent X/Y touch resolution.
I'm also very aware that other companies with paddles have latency issues (2 to 3 seconds is typical, I'm told) between moving a paddle to it having an effect. We're designing for minimum latency to hopefully be at least as responsive. I can't tell you yet if we'll succeed, as I have a lot of respect for the two paddle machines I'm referring to, and shouldn't assume that we can do better.
FYI here's a render of the controller stack:
I also can't promise that this future v1.3 machine, incorporating this group head controller, will be the same price as the current v1.1 machine.
That's Hannifa in the Youtube preview, building a machine at the end. She asked me to upload a more friendly photo as she says she usually isn't so cross seeming.
Last edited by decentespresso; 19th December 2018 at 06:09 PM.
It occurred to me that some people who have our standard Espresso machine might want to countersink it.
This is simply a "sink" that is perfectly shaped for our espresso machine so that the legs, tank, and drip tray disappear below the level of your countertop.
If you want to go on holiday with your espresso machine, no problem, just lift it out and place it in the suitcase it arrived in.
Ben and I had a bit of a disagreement about how the cables and tubes should be tidied.
Ben prefers a simple rectangular bracket for the espresso machine and a separate simple circular bracket for the electrical cables and tubes. In the left-hand photo, that's the actual 50mm hole he cut in his table and his tubing.
I prefer cutting a more complicated shape which incorporates cable management into the single bracket.
Ben has drawn up both approaches and we are making two samples out of stainless steel of both models. We've also ordered off-the-shelf brackets for round holes, for Ben's preferred approach. I'm going to use a jigsaw to mount both these approaches into a pallet and will post photos here once I've done that.
Which do you prefer? Two brackets or one?
Loved the video. I have been more and more excited abiut the prospects of getting a DE1 and the video only boosted my enthusiasm. I was wondering what your thoughts are on the new group head pricing, obviously you can’t be anywhere near specific but do you have in mind pricing within a few hundred if things go well or are you considering a more significant mark up?
My preference is the single cutout of an odd shape, however I'm guessing that 99% of installers will want the simpler approach of 2x holes.
preview-full-screen 2018-12-21 at 10.25.09 AM.png
So I'm going to try a different idea, which is adding 3 cm to the depth of the bracket, leaving enough space for cabling to go through
and we'll compare that with Ben's idea.
We used to work with the HK government, to try to hire people recovering from serious mental illness.
But after three failed attempts to make it work, we had to give up.
The worst case was a clinical paranoiac electric engineer, who stopped taking his medicine a few weeks into his job because things were going well here.
He became convinced that the (real world) soap opera star who owns the roastery next door was the actual (hidden) owner of decent espresso and was invisibly calling all the shots, as part of an evil subplot from this soap opera TV show. This guy's character is kind of evil on the show, and it's weird that he is also in coffee, so close by, so I kind of understand how he got there.
Turns out we’re going to be at MICE 2019 in Melbourne this February, taking up one end of the Veneziano Roasters booth. Hope to see you there.
It’s been my intention to eventually make it easy to make an Americano with one button push.
The way I make Americanos at home is that I first put the water in, then the espresso goes on top. Typically about 2x as much water as espresso, at 60ºC.
Here is a mockup I did in Photoshop of how I might change the "Hot water" tab to enable automating this. A new third icon appears in the left settings panel.
In "Americano mode" after the hot water has been dispensed, the tablet software automatically switches to the espresso tab and starts the espresso.
You would tap the coffee icon to switch between the two modes ("water only" vs "Americano" mode).
I understand this approach doesn’t support automation for people who want to put water after the espresso. This is of course still possible manually just not automated.
Would you use this feature? Do you like this implementation or would you like something different?
I think if you are successful enough then in 15 years people will be saying “I ordered an Americano so you should have put the water in first” and then go on to explain how the molecules don’t mix properly if the water is placed “on top” after brewing the espresso.
I have always thought of an "Americano" as one of those big, dark coloured mugs of a water drink that passes for coffee in the US! 2:1 water ratio sounds much more drinkable. In fact I do something like that for my wife each morning 34gms expresso shot and 70gms water, but I pour the water into a little jug and then add slowly to the coffee to retain the crema. I've found the water pour rate from the DE destroys the crema if poured onto the espresso shot. But I would have called my shot a "piccolo" (in contrast to a piccolo latte).