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

  1. #1851
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    Right-handed people were shocked and appalled.

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    screen 2019-05-05 at 2.50.47 PM.jpg

    A few people wrote to me that they were shocked and appalled that I had suggested a left-hand-focussed workflow in my previous posting.

    They worried that I was about to make a terrible blunder, and release a coffee cart product that nobody would want to use.

    Just to be clear: WE ARE NOT MAKING COFFEE CARTS.

    Here in Hong Kong, we're buying IKEA tables, and experimenting with our own ideas for workflow. You can make your own coffee cart workflow.

    We have no plans to make coffee carts. We want to sell espresso machines. The IKEA cart is an example of one setup. We'll be posting videos of what we've done, and I'm hoping others will post what they end up doing.

    My assumption is that everyone "knows best" what works best for them, and will organize Decent Espresso machines, grinders, tamping areas, pitchers rinsers, towels, all as they see fit. This is one of the great advantages of a single-group head, modular approach. Set up your workflow as you like.

    In the attached render, we've removed the group head handles (they unscrew, so you can remove them too) and used a pitcher rinser to space each machine. This is just another idea: you should lay out out Decent Workflow however you like.

    -john
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  2. #1852
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    Hi all,

    Perhaps highly specific question, but posting here in case it is pertinent to others. I am fairly nomadic and am curious about which voltage would be most appropriate for a DE1+. I am currently living in Asia (220V/50Hz), but country hop around the world every couple/few years and want to make sure I won’t have trouble down the line. Eventually it will land permanently in 120v/60Hz. I am leaning towards buying 110v and just using it on a transformer while in 220v countries.

    FWIW, I have been using a Gaggia Classic 110v (1450 wattage, according to the internet) on a 1000w transformer here for the last year and a half without issue. A wattage meter I have inline shows it has maxed out at about 1070w. I would probably get a bigger (1500w?) transformer to be safe.

    So the question is, any issues expected running a DE1+ on a step up/down transformer?

    Thanks,
    Dan

  3. #1853
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    Quote Originally Posted by purplegreen View Post
    So the question is, any issues expected running a DE1+ on a step up/down transformer?
    120V in a 220V country, with a transformer, is no problem whatsoever.

    The espresso machine sitting next to me here in Hong Kong, that I do all my programming with, is 120V, and running on a variac. I'm actually giving it 120V->50hz, which is a bit weird, but it works fine as the machine automatically adjusts to the frequency. In other words, you need to adjust the voltage for the espresso machine, but it's okay to not adjust the frequency.

    However, I would recommend upgrading your transformer to a 2200W one, that way you'll have full steam power.

    Speaking of which, I was planning on selling this lightly-used v1.0 DE1PRO 110V machine at USD$2000, if you're interested (still fully warrantied). I recently switched to a 220V machine in my office to save space. I haven't listed this with anyone yet.

    -john

  4. #1854
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    workflow.jpg

    Here’s the final coffee cart, with workflow explained.

    Now with a smaller central steam wand.

    -john

  5. #1855
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    Hofex Coffee Cart

    redback_decent.jpg

    Here's what our coffee cart looks like, actually running at the Hotel Expo (HOFEX) monster-large trade show in Hong Kong.

    Basically, we're making free coffee, with beans and milk courtesy of Australian/Hk based roaster Redback.

    -john
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  6. #1856
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    A Decent Point-of-Sale System?

    screen 2019-05-08 at 12.04.49 PM.jpg

    I was asked if we had plans for a "point of sale" system.

    Yes, that's exactly where we're headed.
    - The DE1XL metal tablet stand can hold the tablet, secured to the table, customer facing. We've left space in front of each DE1 for this.
    - One customer-facing tablet sits in front of each DE1.
    - You can then order, and the order is sent to a queue.
    - The barista sees the queue and at the end of each drink, taps on the queue items they will now make
    - If a site needs more coffees/hour capacity, they buy more coffee stations, and the queue is automatically shared by all DE1s at the site
    - So: you can order from any station, and your coffee will be made wherever it can be made most efficiently.
    - For example: if you order an unusual coffee (decaf, or an expensive bean) you might have your order made at one of the two-grinder/one-DE1 stations. But the majority of the stations will be "caffeinated, house blend" two-group/one-grinder.

    Other topic...

    "Private cafés" are a big concept I'm running with.

    Here in HK, the big law firms/finance firms don't want their staff having business conversations at the local Starbucks. So, they install a "company cafe" in their office lobby. That means free rent for the roaster, who operates it, bills the client, and we supply the equipment.

    I suspect most large companies of office workers, would be interested in the private café approach.

    Plus, it's a nice perq to use to recruit staff.

    I'm using HK to proof out this idea, debug it, and then will start pitching it to roasters in other cities.

    -john
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  7. #1857
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    Video: DE1XL Overview



    I just finished making this video explaining the differences between this new model and the existing Decent espresso machine models.

    One thing I realized afterward, is that I never talk about the actual functionality of the machine in this video. It's the same functionality as for our other models, so I'm expecting people to watch those other videos if they want to know about how we make coffee. Seem reasonable?

    All the parts for this new model are supposed to arrive in about two weeks.

    We've been having a bit of trouble getting an opaque white back panel that laser etches nicely. The current white panels are a bit translucent.

    The problem is that most plastics bubble in an unsightly way with laser etching, and I don't like screening because it wears off with time. We're hoping to finally have a solution to that this week, just about the same time when all the rest of the parts come in. The black panels were never a problem.

    -john

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    Two DE1XL in real-world use



    Here is Hannifa using two DE1XL espresso machines at the same time. You can see her steaming while making the espresso, and her overall workflow around the IKEA coffee cart.
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  9. #1859
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    Hi All,
    These are some specific questions for John, but I decided to post them here for the benefits of others. I've been searching for a while to finalize my decision for my next espresso machine (Heavily leaning towards DE) and I've been learning a lot about the Decent Espresso from this forum and others such as home-barista. Now to the questions:


    • Is the white color chassis and natural color portafilter handles only limited to the DEXL? Can the same be done for a DE1+Pro?
    • Is it possible to order a DE1+pro with a pro steam wand?
    • Can you run a 220v version with a transformer from a 110v source? If so, what are the ideal transformer specifications?
    • Does the 220V version reduces the steaming duration? If so, by how long?
    • Is the DECafe the only machine that can produce steam and shot at the same time?
    • Is there any plan in the future to expand this feature to other lines of DE?
    • Do you have a projected price range for the DECafe?

  10. #1860
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    Quote Originally Posted by baristafrenzy View Post
    Hi All,
    These are some specific questions for John, but I decided to post them here for the benefits of others. I've been searching for a while to finalize my decision for my next espresso machine (Heavily leaning towards DE) and I've been learning a lot about the Decent Espresso from this forum and others such as home-barista. Now to the questions:


    • Is the white color chassis and natural color portafilter handles only limited to the DEXL? Can the same be done for a DE1+Pro?
    • Is it possible to order a DE1+pro with a pro steam wand?
    • Can you run a 220v version with a transformer from a 110v source? If so, what are the ideal transformer specifications?
    • Does the 220V version reduces the steaming duration? If so, by how long?
    • Is the DECafe the only machine that can produce steam and shot at the same time?
    • Is there any plan in the future to expand this feature to other lines of DE?
    • Do you have a projected price range for the DECafe?
    G'day baristafrenzy

    110V comments only (John / whoever can answer the rest).

    I lived in the US for a while. Although Java"I respect his opinions greatly"phile reckons you can get adequate power out of a 110V system by going three phase I found it didn't work properly on three different properties.

    That was with my six mono (for 5.1 channel) audio amps (220V Oz designed / modified Tillbrook 6000's). Each channel has 1.8KVA transformers. Plugging in the first two in their (pathetic) 3 phase system meant that the houses lights flickered in reverse time to every drumbeat - and that was before I wound the wick up to normal listening volume (i.e. loud enough for metal or classical orchestral). I also had issues with several coffee machines where the Oz 220V version could run continuously whereas even "the US 3 phase version" ran out of puff in less than 10 shots.

    I would suggest you get the 220V version anyway and thank your lucky stars that the Decent is fairly light on power compared to the beasts I was dealing with over there. Oh, I have (and love) a DE1 - this is first hand info.

    TampIt

  11. #1861
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    Short and sweet answers below...

    Quote Originally Posted by baristafrenzy View Post
    Is the white color chassis and natural color portafilter handles only limited to the DEXL? Can the same be done for a DE1+Pro?
    White = only on DE1XL

    Quote Originally Posted by baristafrenzy View Post
    Is it possible to order a DE1+pro with a pro steam wand?
    yes: https://decentespresso.com/accessories

    Quote Originally Posted by baristafrenzy View Post
    Can you run a 220v version with a transformer from a 110v source? If so, what are the ideal transformer specifications?
    No. 110V on 220V yes, but not the other way.

    Quote Originally Posted by baristafrenzy View Post
    Does the 220V version reduces the steaming duration? If so, by how long?
    No.
    Quote Originally Posted by baristafrenzy View Post
    Is the DECafe the only machine that can produce steam and shot at the same time?
    yes
    Quote Originally Posted by baristafrenzy View Post
    Is there any plan in the future to expand this feature to other lines of DE?
    No, because there's no space for it in the DE1+/DE1PRO/DE1XL chassis. We have to expand the chassis 30% to do steam-during brew. Hence the future DE1CAFE, in about a year.

    Quote Originally Posted by baristafrenzy View Post
    Do you have a projected price range for the DECafe?
    Around USD$5300.

    -john

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    Lessons learned making a coffee cart

    lessons.jpg

    My lead barista Hannifa spent 4 days last week making hundreds of drinks a the monster-large HOFEX trade show in Hong Kong. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwJnnsAyViI

    The coffee cart had some issues.

    Here's what we learned:

    1) the 3M double-sided tape that we used to mount the Android tablets to our own-design tablet stands, didn't hold up to heavy use. We need to find a stronger adhesive (bottom right photo)

    2) the magnets used to hold the printed signage allowed the signage to sag with time. We had to stack magnets at the bottom of the sign, making a magnetic ledge, to hold the signage in place. That was a bit of a hack.

    3) the many magnets holding the fake-drawers in place on the IKEA table, also allowed sagging. The drawer fell at one point on Hannifa's foot (ouch!).

    4) Don't assume that a pallet jack will be available. Two people showed up with small 4-wheeled trolleys and pushed the table FAST through the show floor. At one point, the table fell off the wheels, but surprisingly (for IKEA quality) the table held and didn't break. Big wheels mounted to the table would be been better.

    Otherwise, things held up well.

    -john

  13. #1863
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    John,
    Thank you for responding to my questions. A few more questions as I am trying to finalize my decision on the DE.


    • Is the scale in barista kit compatible with the the DE bluetooth to pull gravimetric shot with it?
    • When will you begin the production of version 1.3 grouphead?
    • Some of your videos refer to version 2 and 3. Which version are you producing now and would briefly highlight the difference?


    Thanks,
    Matt

  14. #1864
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    Quote Originally Posted by baristafrenzy View Post
    Is the scale in barista kit compatible with the the DE bluetooth to pull gravimetric shot with it?
    No, that scale is without Bluetooth. It is a standalone scale.


    Quote Originally Posted by baristafrenzy View Post
    • When will you begin the production of version 1.3 grouphead?
    I'm estimating October/November as a ship date for version 1.3. It will be both available as a new model, about US$300 more, or as a upgrade kit for people who already have the version 1.1 model from us. In other words, you don't need to delay purchasing in order to get the group ahead controller eventually on your machine.

    Quote Originally Posted by baristafrenzy View Post
    • Some of your videos refer to version 2 and 3. Which version are you producing now and would briefly highlight the difference?

    I'm not really sure what videos you are referring to, so it's hard for me to comment.

    We're currently producing version 1.1, and when we start shipping version 1.3, the main difference will be the group head controller, and a slightly higher price for that extra feature that is now standard.

    -john

  15. #1865
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    We're a few weeks out from receiving the parts to be able to ship the DE1XL models, and I'm getting more questions about "what's different about it?". Same goes for the DE+ model. So, I made a video:


  16. #1866
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    Forgot to include a power cable

    Unfortunately, about 20 machines last week got sent without a power cable.

    I'm the one who screwed up.

    Here's the backstory: our overall order volume has gone up 50% in the past three months, and my staff is having trouble keeping up. I decided to help do boxing for a few weeks. So: I changed the way in which these suitcases were made up.

    With the new method, they were all done ahead of time, 10 at a time (instead of one at a time), and then, whoops, in changing the process, I forgot to put the power cable in. My bad, and my apologies again. I'm UPSing out cables to people where I screwed up.

    IMG_0201.jpeg

    Note that you can use a normal computer cable with your espresso machine for now, so at least you can make coffee while you wait for the better cable to arrive.

    Here is a short film about how we used to box each machine, one at a time. It took 30 minutes for each.



    My new way reduced this to 6 minutes per machine, though obviously there are some "bugs in the process" that need to be worked out. The power cable (which is unique for each order, based on destination country) was supposed to be included right before shipping. We have a checklist, but because I'd changed the process, I didn't use it. Lesson learned.

    -john

  17. #1867
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    Natural wood handles, beta 1

    4 samples of the pale-wood group and portafilter handles just arrived form our wood-turning supplier. These are for the DE1XL model, or as an optional accessory for everyone else.

    The finish is virtually invisible, which I like, and they got the shape right. However, the company appears to have used a too-aggressive buffing wheel, and 90º scratches appear on the handles. You can see these scratches at 1:01 in the video.

    I'm really fussy, and I also do the tech support here (with help from others) and in 3 months I'd rather not be apologizing for these scratches. So, I'm asking them to try again.

    Except for this issue, the handles look great to me.

    -john




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