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

  1. #1901
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by Otago View Post
    Bringing discussion back on topic, has anyone seen the James Hoffman video discussing the Scott Rao high yield extractions on the Decent at Berlin?

    The use of paper filters on the top and bottom of the puck and how this affects the fluid dynamics of an extraction are very interesting. I was particularly intrigued by the way in which the filters increased flow (seemingly because fines were prevented from blocking the filter basket) and, as a consequence, how the dose and brew pressure could be decreased. I thought it all very thought provoking and well worth a look.
    There was some discussion on it a month or so ago in this thread: https://coffeesnobs.com.au/brewing-e...st-result.html

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    A very high yield ratio shot with Decent Espresso
    4 way blend of beans from BeanBay



    shot_graph.jpeg
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    DamianB thank you for posting that, nice to see a CS poster posting about their DE. What is the brown line in the graph? Great photography!

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    Thanks 338,
    Brown is weight in the cup in grams, you can connect a bluetooth scale to the DE and graph the weight, you can also set a "stop at weight" value to end the shot
    Blue is water flow into the group (ml)
    Green is pressure behind the puck (bar)

    I've had mine DE for 9 months, great machine, great community too, for me it's a whole lot more than just a espresso machine.
    We use to love going on road trips, looking for quality cafes to visit, now we look forward to getting home.
    Last edited by DamianB; 4 Weeks Ago at 04:57 AM.
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    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    That is a nice looking pour! Is the brown total weight? It looks like it is stagnant from halfway through

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    The x axis is time, so the curve shows grams/second

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    That makes more sense

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    Decent ♥️ Niche

    niche_decent.jpg

    I'm today a proud owner of a Niche Grinder https://nichecoffee.co.uk which I'll be using when I'm "on the road" and away from home. I love my Lynn Weber EG-1, but at 30kg, it's a lot to lug around, and the Niche does a very capable job of producing tasty espresso with the Decent about 1/5th the carrying weight. At 1/5th the price of the EG-1, it's nonetheless a very competent grinder, and my recommendation for all home purchasers of the Decent espresso machines.

    A recent survey of Decent owners found the Niche to be the most popular grinder among them, with 17% of Decent owners, also having a Niche.

    Two weeks ago, Bugs and I visited Martin (inventor/founder/owner) of Niche, and greatly enjoyed two British pub meals, and a detailed audit of the Decent internals by super-experienced home-appliance engineer Martin.

    I love the clarity of Martin's vision for the Niche, and how cleanly and successfully he's executed on that.

    -john

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    Quote Originally Posted by TampIt View Post
    Today an extreme experimental shot: I just pulled a 56.8(!)g shot out of my 7.2g VST whilst I waited (and waited, and waited) for it to blond. I cut it at exactly the blonding point and it tasted pretty good as an espresso and also well balanced as a latte after my first "curiosity sip". The coffee: light roasted Colombian about 3 weeks old, the grind was closer to coarse Turkish rather than fine espresso. It had around 30 seconds of very low water flow preinfusion, an 8 second pause, it was then set for 5 seconds at 9 bar (which it didn't quite reach) and then a "fast transition" low flow controlled (1.5 to 1.0ml slow transition) finish in two stages. The tablet graph looked awful, mainly due to the huge pressure bump and flow bump in the middle. The actual pour was the one of the closest I have yet seen to the Electra, which shows the difference between measuring inputs (even as close to the group as the DE1) and outputs. A scale would have shown nothing until after the peak and then a slow fairly even flow until I cut it at 43 seconds of actual shot timmy Vario and e. Although this particular shot did not quite get the manual lever flavour, I am amazed at how long it took to blond and how balanced it was.

    Anyway, food for thought.
    TampIt
    Thanks Tampit. I tried this profile this morning (approximately!). I was trying to get some flavour out of a nondescript light medium roast using my Vario and 7gm VST basket with 7.2gms of coffee. Like you, I kept waiting for it to blonde out which usually occurs for me at about 18-19gms in the cup. With a finer grind, this time I got up to 39gms in the cup - more flavour and no bitterness at all. Very surprised. I too have been more than happy with 7gm VST basket with the DE, and don't use anything else for my morning coffee now (piccolo latte), but my other half still prefers 15gm VST with 16gm coffee with her local medium roast.

    Screenshot attached. I hope there is an easy way to swap profiles soon. I've still got a lot to learn from people like you who really know their coffee first and thus understand what's happening when they make changes to the DE settings.

    Edit: Wondering if its time to start a new thread for users and profile/shot/coffee discussions as opposed to details about the DE machine itself which people might come to this thread for.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Quote Originally Posted by gc View Post
    I was trying to get some flavour out of a nondescript light medium roast using my Vario and 7gm VST basket with 7.2gms of coffee. Like you, I kept waiting for it to blonde out which usually occurs for me at about 18-19gms in the cup. With a finer grind, this time I got up to 39gms in the cup - more flavour and no bitterness at all. Very surprised. I too have been more than happy with 7gm VST basket with the DE, and don't use anything else for my morning coffee now (piccolo latte), but my other half still prefers 15gm VST with 16gm coffee with her local medium roast.
    This is a nice discovery, thanks for sharing it. I frequently get questions about how to make a 7g or 10g shot, and my experience has taught me to reply with "don't !" because they tend to channel really badly. I personally use a 15g basket.

    But... the slow preinfusion recommended above seems to avoid the channeling that happens with such a small dose at normal preinfusion speeds, which is a nice insight.

    As to sharing profiles, it's a big programming job. The feature will come, but involves my writing a cloud service, along with spam & security & privacy controls. At the moment, I prefer to put my programming attention to less difficult, higher payoff tasks.

    That shot above used an advanced profile, but using the simple pressure profile wizard, I can come up with something similar, just not with the short pause after preinfusion (got to move to Advanced editor for that). It's then fairly easy for you to replicate on your machine.

    -john

    screen 2019-06-19 at 11.46.11 AM.png
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    The upcoming "group head controller"

    Starting in November, the Decent Espresso machines will have this circular, glass-covered controller on the group head, sitting on top of a circle of full color LEDs.

    You'll be able to start/stop all functions (espresso, steam, etc) and you'll also have real-time "tap and drag" finger control over either pressure or flow (whichever you tap closest to). The tablet's charts follow you, showing what you're requesting (the dotted lines) and showing you what's actually occuring to your shot.

    Green (pressure) and blue (flow) leds on the white ring will give you real-time readings of pressure and flow.

    The price for our machines will go up by $300 for this feature, starting in November. And.... customers who have our v1.1 espresso machines (that's what we're currently making, since January 2019) will be able to install this upgrade on this machines, for the same price ($300).

    Attached is a photo of our "manufacturing prototype". We're still nailing down the final issues, such as how to align the icons perfectly, guarantee water tightness, testing insulation and heating over heavy use.

    This new controller is key to a few new things:

    1. real time control over flow and pressure
    2. UL approval (we'll be submitting this model for approval, and we think it'll pass).
    3. heavy duty use (ie a café), that a tablet could probably not withstand
    4. the tablet becomes optional, for cases (especially cafes) where a tablet might not be wanted

    -john

    64656404_1083221375206707_9097116834624176128_o.jpg
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    oh man, the patience is going to be so worth it.
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    That's a lovely piece of design John, congrats to João (assuming it was he).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lyrebird View Post
    That's a lovely piece of design John, congrats to João (assuming it was he).
    The original idea was Ray's (he's the main hardware inventor behind the DE1), and then it went through months of revisions with João (initial concept renders helped) and crucially, the current Decent owner's community.

    Most of the icons are 60% from other Decent owners, particularly Damian (who made icons for his own skin) and another customer (dang, forget his name) who is an industrial designer. And feedback from about 100 others on the Decent forums. As the user interface guy, I tend to make ugly photoshop mockups of how interaction will work, and that drives feedback, finding new solutions, and yet more revisions.

    For most of what is in the Decent, the process looks like:
    - Ray thinks of it
    - Specialized-skills people I've hired improve it
    - and then it goes through public discussion, and months of revisions
    - until (most) everyone is happy.

    We have a lot of programming work to do still, to make the real-time control work quickly and intuitively, and for the LEDs to clearly indicate what's going on in the shot. Thankfully, that's all in (programmable in the field) firmware, so while we'll do our best attempt in v1.0, we'll be able to improve it over the years.

    -john

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    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post
    The upcoming "group head controller"

    Starting in November, the Decent Espresso machines will have this circular, glass-covered controller on the group head, sitting on top of a circle of full color LEDs.

    You'll be able to start/stop all functions (espresso, steam, etc) and you'll also have real-time "tap and drag" finger control over either pressure or flow (whichever you tap closest to). The tablet's charts follow you, showing what you're requesting (the dotted lines) and showing you what's actually occuring to your shot.

    Green (pressure) and blue (flow) leds on the white ring will give you real-time readings of pressure and flow.

    The price for our machines will go up by $300 for this feature, starting in November. And.... customers who have our v1.1 espresso machines (that's what we're currently making, since January 2019) will be able to install this upgrade on this machines, for the same price ($300).
    G'day John

    Please let me know when you want my order (and payment).

    A truly great idea. That means I can (finally) adjust the flow "on the fly" just like a manual lever. As long as you can repeat the last setting (which I assume is a given if you have the DE1 tablet) that will save me a huge amount of time when I get unusual roasts (like my current Ecuadorian). One manual shot and then anyone can run the machine by simply pressing "start".

    TampIt

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    Quote Originally Posted by TampIt View Post
    One manual shot and then anyone can run the machine by simply pressing "start". TampIt
    I won't be having a "record the manual shot to memory" feature, as I find that makes for very messy, quirky profiles. Thousands of target points as you drag your finger across the controller, whereas the GUI supports a clean 3 targets (preinfusion, hold, decline).

    You will be able to see what you did with the manual override, and if you like, adjust the automatic shot to mimic what you did.

    Here's a chart showing a manual recording of a shot I made on a lever machine last week in Berlin, tracked using the SEP software. I wouldn't want the DE1 to replay exactly what I've done by hand. All that muscle-pushing-created detail is mostly noise and should be discarded.

    Does that make sense?

    -john

    83959C49-4E45-4B4D-A25F-509B67E991A7.png
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    "A business run out of a suitcase"

    Here is a more detailed photograph showing the white DE1XL and pitcher rinser, built into a suitcase.

    I was waiting for someone to tell the joke about how we were a "business run out of a suitcase" (that's an English-language expression meaning "they are such a small business, that they have no office")

    I'll be making a short video soon, about the suicase, how it went, and also showing the wiring from behind.

    One unexpected benefit was how the suitcase lifted the machine up to a better height.

    -john

    coll.jpg

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    You guys are innovative in so many different ways...
    Always look forward to what you may come up with next.

    Mal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post
    I won't be having a "record the manual shot to memory" feature, as I find that makes for very messy, quirky profiles. Thousands of target points as you drag your finger across the controller, whereas the GUI supports a clean 3 targets (preinfusion, hold, decline).

    You will be able to see what you did with the manual override, and if you like, adjust the automatic shot to mimic what you did.

    Here's a chart showing a manual recording of a shot I made on a lever machine last week in Berlin, tracked using the SEP software. I wouldn't want the DE1 to replay exactly what I've done by hand. All that muscle-pushing-created detail is mostly noise and should be discarded.

    Does that make sense?

    -john

    83959C49-4E45-4B4D-A25F-509B67E991A7.png
    G'day John

    Yep, makes perfect sense. I hadn't considered noise issues in the reading.

    Your suggestion is only slightly less convenient anyway - I am getting pretty good at adjusting the flow on the current DE1 to match what I want - amazing how experience improves your luck.

    Regards


    TampIt

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    looks promising.

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    Quote Originally Posted by woodhouse View Post
    oh man, the patience is going to be so worth it.
    you can buy a decent machine now and upgrade it for the same delta ($300) in November - not sure you need to be patient!

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikehibbard View Post
    you can buy a decent machine now and upgrade it for the same delta ($300) in November - not sure you need to be patient!
    yeah...i’m happy to wait for the ul certification. also the aillio will hopefully be dropping soon so i don’t have to lose too much on coffee stuff too close together.

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    A Coffee Cart, in a Suitcase

    For our trade show stand, we modified one of our Decent suitcases to hold a pitcher rinser and espresso machine, with all the plumbing built in. Makes for a clean setup with a very fest setup and tear down.

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    Wire Cup Holder

    Two years ago, João Tomaz and I worked on wire cup holder designs for our Decent Espresso machine. We're now trying to make it work "in the real world"

    The standoffs are a bit too tall in this prototype; we'll fix that shortly. And there's a bit of movement back-and-forth on the wire, as there's nothing in this design to prevent that.

    However, I like the minimalist "wings" aesthetic in Joao's drawings, and so I'm tempted to sacrifice a bit of functionality for beauty.

    One idea I have to increase the strength is to put a standoff at the middle-end of the machine, as that would definitely secure everything. We'll be trying that too, and I'll post photos of what that looks like when we've done it.

    -john

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    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post
    All that muscle-pushing-created detail is mostly noise and should be discarded.
    It wouldn't be hard to design a filter that captured what you need and discarded the noise, I could do it in analogue but it would probably be easier to do in digital (and get a better result)
    Last edited by Lyrebird; 2 Weeks Ago at 07:15 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lyrebird View Post
    It wouldn't be hard to design a filter that captured what you need and discarded the noise, I could do it in analogue but it would probably be easier to do in digital (and get a better result)
    Agreed, but a filter can't decide what was a mistake, and was on purpose. On my SEP espresso (pictured above), I mistakenly dropped pressure toward the end for two seconds.

    My preference is to store the noisy shot as a background-drawn trace, let the user define a program that mimics it, and then draw both on the same chart, to let the user see how close their program got.

    -john
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    Color and reflection matching

    I've ordered 1000 new tablets, all running Android 8.1. They'll start shipping with our machines in about 8 weeks.

    I'm making 200 of them in white, to match the white DE1XL model. I was toying with a black front, white back, but decided all-white looked best.

    My tablet manufacturer sent me various whites, with different textures (plastic, textured plastic, textured rubber). In the end, the textured "oil plastic" is matte, has a nice feel, and color matches well (reflectivity is hard to match).

    Also, I don't have the worries about long term durability which rubber brings (it tends to turn sticky with age).

    I have to order 1000 of these white components (sigh) and store them for future orders, even though we're just ordering 200 white tablets for now.

    -john

    white_tablet.jpg

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    20190628-112250-White copy.jpg

    20190628-113458-White copy.jpg

    Decent engineer Ben Champion has pimped up his DE1PRO with a few changes:
    - white chassis
    - white ceramic drip tray
    - craquelure group head

    Personally, I think the craquelure looks great, and would love to see it on the entire body too.

    In November, we’ll have a limited quantity of white drip trays, as part of our new ceramics order, and people with the white DE1XL will get that with their machines (and we’ll send them to those who already received theirs).

    A white tablet would also look better here, and that’s been ordered too, coming in August (and we’ll ship those to white DE1XL customers too).

    -john

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    Ahem...cough.

    So from reading many of the page pages of thread I may be in the wrong place, please take no offence.
    So why invest in a DE1 over other similarly priced machines?
    I started reading about the DE1 about 6months ago & have been trying to save since - just cant get all the way

    Not being funny, just trying to understand.
    I have about AUD$4k total (machine, grinder etc etc (& shipping...)) I know - like I said I may be posting in the wrong place as the conversation here is quite design specific but I hope you can assist me.
    I would only need 3-4 coffees pd (macchiato + long black) but importantly Im not after a new hobby - just awesome coffee.

    Are my expectations to high, is the DE with low grade grinder the right move OR should I succumb to the .....(excuse any sacrilegious talk) and get a ....integrated breville (set forget with passable coffee...)

    I really like what Ive read about the DE, actually no that's not quite true. Im most impressed with the TEAM at DE and that gives me huge confidence and insight, I really have no idea about the machine compared with others and hope you all can help.
    Last edited by GreenHorn; 2 Weeks Ago at 10:45 PM.

  30. #1930
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreenHorn View Post
    I would only need 3-4 coffees pd (macchiato + long black) but importantly Im not after a new hobby - just awesome coffee.

    Are my expectations to high, is the DE with low grade grinder the right move OR should I succumb to the .....(excuse any sacrilegious talk) and get a ....integrated breville (set forget with passable coffee...)
    No matter what espresso machine you buy, don't pair it with a low grade grinder. Get a Niche. The grind quality is incredible, regardless of the price.

    As to "not looking for a hobby", you should be able to make better coffee with the DE1, by just pressing START on the "default" profile. Maybe about 20% of customers stick with that. Most find the ability to improve their coffee over time, with the feedback and control, to be hard to resist, and they do then chase the hobby.

    I don't want to compare the Decent machine to others, as I don't think it's my place. That's for others to opine about...

    -john
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  31. #1931
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    I own a Breville Oracle and a DE1. The Oracle made ok coffee, most of the time, as good as the average cafe
    The DE1 is on a different level, it can make awesome coffee, better than your likely to find in most cafes.

    Either machine can make crap coffee if your not willing to learn how to use them.
    The Niche grinder would be my recommendation also, it’s what I use.

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    I've got a DE after an E61. I'm also just after a couple of really good (decent) shots per day for me and one other person. I don't want to become a coffee nerd either. I agree with the other comments. It's entirely up to you whether you choose to endlessly play with all the profiles, which I admit is a serious risk and temptation, or simply dial in your grinder for one of the standard profiles, sit back and enjoy the coffee. I admit I succumbed to a bit of the former early on, but now mostly stick to the latter. The fast warm-up is a real boon.

    I also agree about the grinder. I often caution people against buying an expensive, fancy machine and an inexpensive grinder. Better the other way around IMHO. But better still is to buy them as a well-matched pair. I don't have a Niche myself, but it seems to be the machine of choice for many DE owners.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GreenHorn View Post
    Ahem...cough.

    So from reading many of the page pages of thread I may be in the wrong place, please take no offence.
    So why invest in a DE1 over other similarly priced machines?
    I started reading about the DE1 about 6months ago & have been trying to save since - just cant get all the way

    Not being funny, just trying to understand.
    I have about AUD$4k total (machine, grinder etc etc (& shipping...)) I know - like I said I may be posting in the wrong place as the conversation here is quite design specific but I hope you can assist me.
    I would only need 3-4 coffees pd (macchiato + long black) but importantly Im not after a new hobby - just awesome coffee.

    Are my expectations to high, is the DE with low grade grinder the right move OR should I succumb to the .....(excuse any sacrilegious talk) and get a ....integrated breville (set forget with passable coffee...)

    I really like what Ive read about the DE, actually no that's not quite true. Im most impressed with the TEAM at DE and that gives me huge confidence and insight, I really have no idea about the machine compared with others and hope you all can help.
    Fair question. I can give you my experience. I worked in coffee part time for about a decade, about a decade a go, and got to use a bunch of really high end equipment. At home, I've gone Sylvia -> Maver Marte (HX) -> Breville 920 -> Vesuvius 2 (DB e61 with gear pump for pressure profiling) -> Decent. At work (office), I have a Giotto. I visited the LM factory in 2005 and later got great results on a GS3 and always thought that was what I would end up with. In December last year, LM Australia kindly let me bring some coffee in to play around on a demo GS3 and I was considering buying it. I was deeply sceptical of the DE, so reached out to John when I saw he was coming to MICE to ask him if I could jump on a machine for the show to demo it to people, really so I could get hands on experience with it before I decided if I wanted to buy it. So I think I've got a pretty good frame of reference and I think I put in a fair amount of due diligence.

    A few things made me decide to buy the machine:
    1) I thought I would want a manual paddle to pressure profile. Most of the time, what everyone ends up doing is using the manual paddle for low preinfusion flow, waiting until the puck is saturated and then ramping up the flow rate to brew, then decreasing the pressure to maintain a constant flow. The decent can do all of these things automatically through a flow profile and can do it more repeatably than we can by eye. As much as I think using paddles is cool, I think we have enough sources of potential error and variation in dose, grind and distribution, so it's better to just let the machine handle that. With the GS3 conical valve, it is way too sensitive to be able to make smooth adjustments to pressure; at best, I could make staggered adjustments in probably 3 bar increments at the finest, and not repeatably, plus the GS3 dumps a lot of water into the drip tray to do this. I don't know how other machines like the Bianca and the R9 one compare in paddle sensitivity.
    2) The graphs have a lot of very useful information. At the show, we used a flow profile, so pressure was the dependent variable; ie. the machine graphed pressure. I had never used a mythos before and could see that I was doing a poor job preparing the puck from the graphs. Others had graphs that were repeatably a certain shape. Some of my shots wouldn't attain the same pressure peak; some dropped off very quickly. In short order, I was able to adjust how I was settling the ground coffee and tamping to be able to make repeatable shots. The graphs also gave information that repeatably correlated to what the cup would taste like; on the day, the shots that peaked a bit higher than 9 bar were generally a bit bitter and the shots that failed to exceed about 7 bar tasted a bit underextracted and flavourless. The more delicate fruit flavours really only came out in the shots that peaked around 8-9 bar. Of course, you sort of don't need graphs to do all of this, just like you don't need a refractometer to make great coffee, but having the information provided by either makes it easier to dial in coffees and improve your technique.
    3) You can adjust just about everything. The truth is, for everything that people write about how to make espresso with whatever particular in cup characteristic you can name, you can probably find that people have written the opposite. So I don't think that we really have clear and good answers about the best way to do most things. One of the things on my to do list was to examine the effect of very fast pressure rampups vs very slow ones. To do that on a GS3 or a Vesuvius, you have to get your spanners out, drain water and start switching the flow restricting orifices with ones with different diameters. It's all software on the DE (albeit I gather the almighty tsunami effect is a firmware upgrade/downgrade that might be coded into the software as standard if there's enough demand). It might well be that different and seemingly conflicting theories are correct, in that different things might be the best thing for different coffees and roasts. (What I didn't really realise at the time, but am now using quite a bit - although based on guesses and not rigorous data - is that you can actually temperature profile on the decent, which is another thing that competing machines can't do.)
    4) There is the crazy pourover basket thing that Rao was playing around with next to me at MICE, which is still in the works. I don't know how much I'll be using that, but it's almost free when they do get it into production. Basically it will turn the machine into something like a Marco SP9 for when you want to make a pourover coffee.
    5) It has a drip tray with basically no water pooling on the top. I know people kind of roll their eyes when I go off about this, but drip tray covers are hardly NASA level engineering and half of the "prosumer" machines on the market have shiny bits of metal with holes punched in them, which I think are probably marketing tools. In actual use, you get heaps of water and mess on top of the drip tray and that transfers to the bottom of your cup, then to the top of your table and then everything that you know and hold dear. So basically you end up having to wipe the drip tray all of the time, which is a stupid waste of time when a properly engineered drip tray would avoid that problem.
    6) It has a group head heater and doesn't rely on a large mass of metal and water to get the temperature that it wants, so it is ready to go in a few minutes from cold and it changes brew temperatures very quickly.
    7) The shot mirror is surprisingly useful!
    8) Volumetric, temperature controlled, hot water is great if you like long blacks/americanos or want to preheat your cups.

    I do treat coffee as a hobby; I usually have a different coffee on every week and I have a fondness for light, but properly developed (ie. not grassy) roasts, so the ability to make a lot of adjustments is important to me. I've attached two shot graphs to this post. The solid lines are the most recent shot. This was an espresso roast colombian coffee using the "best overall" profile that comes with the machine. The pale lines are the shot before it, which was the "blooming espresso" profile. The previous coffee that I had had on was a great new crop kenyan, at a light, but developed, roast level. The blooming espresso profile and the temperature (well, temperature profile) for that produced really great results with the Kenyan; tonnes of plum, almost a bit of blackcurrant and I managed to eliminate the grapefruit that I don't like in kenyan coffees (this coffee didn't have much of it to start). The colombian coffee was from the same roaster, so it was a fair guess that it would have been similarly roasted and I used the profile for the kenyan as the starting point. It was terrible; it tasted kind of chocolatey and roasty. I dropped the temperature and it was a bit better, but pretty bland. I had had good success with the "best overall" profile with the darkest roasts that I can stand, so I switched to that with the colombian coffee and was instantly rewarded with a great shot; I had started to think that the roast had been overdeveloped and had dulled the coffee right down, but on that flavour profile I had a surprisingly strong floral note; jasmine or coffee blossom; something like that. (Grind and dose weren't properly dialled in for that shot, either.) That definitely exceeded my expectations, which is why I took the photo of the graphs for those shots.

    I'll repeat here what I have said elsewhere: if you buy a machine where you can't adjust the variables, you don't need to despair that you won't be able to make a good coffee. However, what will happen is that you will gravitate to buying coffee that performs well on your particular machine and grinder. In the above example, if I only had the "blooming espresso" profile available to me, I would have thought the colombian coffee was garbage and would have been quite disappointed. Instead, I was delighted. At the office, I still enjoy pretty good coffee off the giotto. In fact, if you don't have much experience tasting lots of different coffees, you should probably be wary changing too many variables at a time. Best to stick to a coffee you know you like, make sure your puck prep technique is down pat, get that repeatable and then start experimenting more broadly. Regardless of which machine you get.

    There are a few downsides on the machine, but they are pretty minor. For whatever reason, my tablet won't maintain charge when plugged into the USB on the machine, so it is running off a separate wall charger. Longevity? No one knows. I'm banking on it being built such that we can service it by replacing parts ourselves if necessary. There have been some people saying that they don't think the DE makes shots with as good body/mouthfeel as other machines. I don't really care much about that; what it makes is good enough in that arena for me, so I haven't investigated it.

    After 20 years of making espresso, I still feel that there is so much more to learn and explore, but, thankfully, the DE makes it easy. It's also nice that there's more in development for it; eg. the pourover basket. Damian has also made a great interface for it, which I'm yet to load but need to get around to, as well as a really cool stand for using the scale with it and spacers for changing the shower screen depth. I guess I should mention you can have it talk to a bluetooth scale to get shot weights measured, too. I gather there are still lots of software features in the works, like the ability to graph the derivative and a library for recording notes on shots.

    I've had the machine for a few months and it's probably too early for me to really say anything definitive about the quality of the coffee other than that I'm very happy with it. I have a suspicion that there is one in-cup characteristic that it does better than most machines I've tried, but I haven't actually looked for it with any rigour.

    Having said all of that, I agree with Damian and John. Don't get a DE and pair it with a bad grinder. Don't buy a machine with a built in grinder either. The niche is very hard to beat for home use. If you check our review on home-barista.com, we ran it through an afternoon of blind tastings against the EK43 using a lighter and a darker espresso roast and the gap wasn't huge; most people couldn't pick it. We didn't test unconventionally light roasts on the espresso machine. If it is within your budget, I don't think it makes sense to buy anything worse than a niche; it is amazing value for money and it is great that it isn't monstrously huge.

    Hope that helps,
    Luca
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    Oh, and one other thing - anyone who is thinking of buying a DE and another machine should measure where they are going to go. The DE is tiny. It's great.

  35. #1935
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    Luca, thank you, that is one of the most comprehensive reviews of the DE by a CS yet. Great amount of information.

    Bit worried that you didnt do enough pre purchase due diligence, only a few hours on a GS3 and 3 days working for John! I had a laugh
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    Thanks, 338. However nothing in the above was intended to be comprehensive. That was just the things that made me decide to buy it. I don’t know if I’ll do a comprehensive review; I’ve got a lot of other coffee goals on my plate this year; I just refurbished my quest roaster and hooked it up to artisan, so I’ve got a lot of focus on sourcing green coffee and learning how to roast, plus I imagine it will take me a long, long time to get a handle on what I can do on the de in a systematic, meaningful way. So don’t hold your breath for a comprehensive review from me any time soon. What I can say is that the Vesuvius 2 has a lot of capability, makes great coffee and uses off the shelf, proven parts, so I had no real need to change espresso machines and wouldn’t have unless I thought the additional features were significantly useful.
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  37. #1937
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    Quote Originally Posted by luca View Post
    so I’ve got a lot of focus on sourcing green coffee
    That part shouldn't be a problem!

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    "Turn Junk Into Art" Sighting: Walnut and Green paint

    Decent owner Chris applied a walnut veneer to his espresso machine body and tablet, and painted his machine green. He also chose a custom skin on the tablet to match better.

    Chris did this with the 80% discounted body part "cosmetic rejects" I'm selling. I was hoping people would re-paint these and thus bring them back to life.

    Beautiful, or hideous?

    -john

    walnut_green.jpg
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  39. #1939
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    Quote Originally Posted by luca View Post
    Oh, and one other thing - anyone who is thinking of buying a DE and another machine should measure where they are going to go. The DE is tiny. It's great.
    Hi Luca. Thank you for your in depth reasons for your purchase. I’m looking at the Pro and your post pretty much gave me a nudge to move forward. I will be coming from the traditional E61 machine (Rocket Giotto Evoluzione V2) along with the hopper based Rocket Fausto grinder. Both fine machines! To say this dual on my coffee cart looks formidable and dominates my kitchen look would be an understatement. I have 5 years with it and can pull ok shots with it at times. I’m a home roaster so sometimes they come out ok. Sometimes I miss the mark on my roasts.


    Your post hit upon quite a few check marks. To to touch upon a few of my favorite check marks:

    The DE appears to have an unimposing footprint. It won’t dominate but yet elegant and its there.

    Fast start up time in comparison to 45min-hour. I have my Giotto on a Wemo and it stays on for about 12 hours a day. No doubt sucking up energy and putting out heat in the kitchen. Energy savings with the DE. Bonus.

    10 seconds in between shots with the DE. No recovery period like you need for the E61. To make back to back in the mornings or whenever is huge for me and for the Mrs.

    Ability to to go self contained or draw from a tank and empty into a tank. My Giotto has a 2.8L tank. To have the ability to draw from a larger tank is nice! I will be looking at making water or buying water. To be determined once I get my machine.

    On my Giotto, I have a thermometer attached to the group head. But that’s hit and miss. The ability to accurately temp surf on the DE will help a lot!

    There have been discussions about the DE not being able to pull a shot and steam. Non issue for me. I always pull my shot and then steam anyway. On the DE, it will be nice to see how the shot is progressing and see if I need to steam or if it’s a sink shot. Saves milk.

    I really like like how John designed the DE with an upgrade path. If I so choose to get the XL kit so I can countersink the machine and hide wires. That option is open. Or if if just want the Pro steam wand. I can get it. Even with V1.3 around the corner, there really is no reason not to get one now. There appears to be an upgrade path to 1.3 if one chooses. No buyers remorse.

    The big one. I do believe the DE will help me become a better Barista. To learn profiling, temp surfing and how all that interrelates. While I don’t believe in magic and I do believe in garbage in equals garbage out; if I miss the mark a bit on one of my roasts. I like to think that the DE can help salvage it. If it’s salvageable. There is a lot of tinkering that can be done. I like that.

    Incidentally on the grinder front. I ordered the Niche and will go back to single dose grinding. The Fausto is a good grinder. But it seems like the Niche is a nicer fit with the DE. Not to mention a little more toned down aesthetically.

    Anyway, I wanted to chime in for my first post here.

    William
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  40. #1940
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    Wow - this community is awesome.
    Ive been unwell for past few days since my original post and Ive just come on to see how gracious this community is with such advice and insight. Thanks everyone!

    By the by Ive ordered the niche and am continuing to save for the DE.

    Sincerely appreciate all of the feedback and luca your post was great, ironically I had read your review on home barista earlier in the year
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  41. #1941
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    DE1XL Conversion Kit - Just about ready to ship

    xl_docs_2b.jpg

    We have all the parts in to ship the kit that lets people change their DE1PRO espresso machines into DE1XL models.

    I've made a video, showing the process (it took me 14 minutes to do the conversion, babbling away all the time). We provide the Torx T10 screwdriver (for the chassis conversion) and two wrenches (for the steam wand conversion)

    Because there are lots of parts involved, I asked Fabrice to make an IKEA style drawing of the parts, their name, and the quantity they should have.

    I'm hoping that in the next 48h we'll get everything right (3rd draft, at the moment) and ship out the black DE1XL kits. About 10 days later, we should be able to ship the white DE1XL kits.

    I negotiated to have the wood-turning company redo the "natural wood" handles with sharper tooling, so as to avoid the (light, but still visible) scratches they had on their first run. That's caused a bit of a delay in shipping the white kit, but we're almost there.

    -john
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  42. #1942
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    Change the Steam Wand




    I’ve made a video showing how to change the steam wand on a Decent Espresso machine. The most common reason for this would be that you want to use the PRO steam wand, which is longer, and more suited for steaming larger quantities of milk.

    I’ve started reading Steve Stockman’s book “How to Shoot Video that Doesn’t Suck”




    and this is my first attempt to edit video, using some of the lessons in the book.

    Specifically, Stockman recommends that no scene should last more than 5 seconds. There are many frequent edits in this version. Mostly “zooming in on the action” as well as “fast forward” whenever I can, to speed up things that’d be tedious to watch (such as screwing things in).

    I’m curious as to whether all this editing is noticeably distracting, or if it feels natural.

    My model for this is Epicurious’ excellent video series “Which is more expensive” about different foods. It’s just a guy talking and pointing at stuff, so very similar to my video situation. I’ve been studying their editing and camera use, as it’s very natural feeling. The condiments episode is brilliant:




    -john

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    IMG_0407 copy.jpg

    William from Loveramics was kind enough to give us a set of his new Dale Harris signature mugs. In the photo that’s Scott Rao making James Hoffmann one of his recently-invented 28% extraction coffees, footage of which ended up in James’ video



    Bugs and I have fallen in love with these 150ml mugs, which are perfectly sized for a potent latte or flat white (a bit less milk). It’s been our new morning mug since coming back from Berlin.

    More info on these mugs:
    https://www.loveramics.com/collections/dale-harris

    Loveramics, like us, is based on Hong Kong. We’re mutual fans of each other’s work, and always chatting about doing some interesting work together. Maybe you’ll see the fruits of those talks next year…

    -john

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    My "Decent" affogato approach

    Affogato.jpg

    This nice photo on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/p/Bznleg7JHsb/ made me think about sharing how I make Affogato.

    For espresso on ice cream, I pull the shot onto some ice, and then shake it into a cocktail shaker, usually with half a teaspoon of simple syrup. That dilutes the espresso a bit, and also prevents the whole mix from being a "cream soup" from the hot coffee melting the ice cream.

    I make my own ice cream for this, simply by mixing (in a blender) half-and-half (this is a 10%ish liquid cream) with vanilla extract and sugar, in a blender. I've recently tried adding two eggs, and sous-vide cooking it to 60ºC, to create an egg custard. In that case, less milk fat is needed or it's too thick.

    Do you do anything special when you make an affogato?

    -john

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    Cracking up

    ultem_mixer.jpg

    Now that cafes have been starting to use our espresso machines in heavy use situations, we're now able to tell what components are up to the task.

    About six months ago, Charles Temkey came on board. He's an engineer specialized in the longevity of marine equipment. He completely took apart his DE1PRO, after making several thousand shots with it, to find what was wearing. He identified two weaknesses, which we addressed with the v1.1 launch in January.

    A month ago, a customer developed a leak in the mixing chamber of their Decent espresso machine. This is where hot and cold water comes together with temperature sensors and flow constrictors, so that we can dynamically change the espresso water temperature.

    We found cracking around the inserted flow constrictors. (see photo)

    We've identified two causes of this: (1) the flow constrictors are inserted under too much pressure, putting the Ultem resin under strain, and (2) the semi-transparent Ultem we're using allows cracks to propagate.

    We're currently testing a variant material called Ultem 2100F, which mixes 10% glass fibers into the resin, for hugely increased crack resistance. It's no longer translucent. This material is what we're going to use in the v1.3 machines, which we'll start building in November.

    Since these cracks would fall (in my opinion) under the class of "manufacturer's mistake" Decent will repair any Ultem (v1.0 and v1.1 machines) that had cracks and leaked, forever, and for free.

    Note that we've only seen cracks so far in a few machines (I think it's less than 5) but that's also probably because cafes have been cautiously (and slowly) ramping up how close they put Decent espresso machines in their main line.

    We've also made a jig to insert the flow constrictors, which puts less strain on the Ultem, once the constrictor has been inserted, and started using that right away.

    One reason we've been slow to put out a DE1CAFE model, is that we want to learn everything we can about our DE1PRO line, how it can fail, and how to avoid that, before we make a model that we claim is ready for any use.

    It's largely a question of getting our machines out there, in real use, getting extremely involved when there is a failure, and repeatedly addressing each area of failure.

    I suspect that the process will take about another year, and we'll continue to hugely support the cafes kind and brave enough to trust our new company with their business.

    -john
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  46. #1946
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    John, Where does that leak show up for the user as it might be something we should routinely monitor from time to time, or is it catastrophic (to machine functioning, not my psyche!) and therefore obvious if it occurs.

  47. #1947
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    Quote Originally Posted by decentespresso View Post
    IMG_0407 copy.jpg

    William from Loveramics was kind enough to give us a set of his new Dale Harris signature mugs. In the photo that’s Scott Rao making James Hoffmann one of his recently-invented 28% extraction coffees, footage of which ended up in James’ video



    Bugs and I have fallen in love with these 150ml mugs, which are perfectly sized for a potent latte or flat white (a bit less milk). It’s been our new morning mug since coming back from Berlin.

    More info on these mugs:
    https://www.loveramics.com/collections/dale-harris

    Loveramics, like us, is based on Hong Kong. We’re mutual fans of each other’s work, and always chatting about doing some interesting work together. Maybe you’ll see the fruits of those talks next year…

    -john
    The mugs look great, pity the postage to Australia kills the value.

  48. #1948
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    Quote Originally Posted by gc View Post
    John, Where does that leak show up for the user as it might be something we should routinely monitor from time to time, or is it catastrophic (to machine functioning, not my psyche!) and therefore obvious if it occurs.
    Since this is the main mixing chamber, it means:

    1) you can't make much pressure during espresso
    2) water leaks out the left and right sides, as designed. There is an air gap under the machine, and there are UL-mandated drain holes inside the chassis, to drain into that. From standing height, this air gap isn't visible, as it's in shadows. You do not need to monitor it: it's meant to be obvious.

    Photo (and arrow) below shows where water comes out, in the event of a leak.


    Note that while I might complain about Intertek's waffling on Bluetooth acceptability, we did hire them as consultants all through our 3 year R&D phase, and their many safety suggestions were all implemented, and I felt they were all worthwhile. Some amount of failure is inevitable, the trick is to cope with it gracefully.


    1941400542_ScreenShot2019-07-11at5_56_02PM.jpg
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    Opaque Mixing

    We've been testing the new glass-fiber mixing chambers this week. This new material will prevent cracks from propagating. So far, we can't find any performance difference, which is good. You can see the current material, as it's amber-colored and fairly transparent.

    In the photos, you can see us testing externally, separately, under a 19bar testing jig, and finally integrated into a machine.

    -john

    new_ultem.jpg



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