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

  1. #2051
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    Decent Espresso on Telegram⁣

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
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    Matt Perger recently announced https://twitter.com/mattperger that he was moving to Telegram https://telegram.org/ the secure instant messaging alternative that has recently been quite in the news.⁣
    ⁣⁣
    ⁣Never to miss a trend , I decided to start a Decent Espresso Channel https://t.me/decentespresso on Telegram. ⁣
    ⁣⁣
    ⁣Some other channels I can recommend:⁣
    ⁣- The Matt Perger Channel https://t.me/pergfect
    ⁣- Coffee Ad Astra by Jonathan Gagné https://t.me/coffeeadastra
    ⁣- Raw Materials Channel https://t.me/raw_material_coffee
    ⁣- You can also message me directly on Telegram at https://t.me/johnbuckman

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    Last month it was announced that Decent users were doing some trials to improve mouthfeel. Just wondering if any users here were involved or had anything to report?

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    Quote Originally Posted by 338 View Post
    Last month it was announced that Decent users were doing some trials to improve mouthfeel. Just wondering if any users here were involved or had anything to report?
    It's still very much ongoing, as the variety of feedback ranges from
    - it's better overall with less headspace (many)
    - drier pucks (almost everyone)
    - increased mouthfeel (almost everyone)
    - reduced clarity of flavor (some)
    - some grounds sticking
    - greater shot consistency (many)
    - less channeling (some)

    Still a lot more tasting & testing before any verdict.

    Just FYI, the tests we're doing are to introduce a spacer behind the shower screen, so as to adjust the amount of headspace between the puck and the shower.

    -john
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    New "total espresso weight" line in Decent Tablet App

    Screenshot_2015-02-07-00-27-43.png

    Here is a picture of how the "total shot weight" charted line looks when making espresso. It's the thin brown line you see starting from zero around 20 seconds into the chart. The weight is divided by 10 (ie, 1= 10 grams) to fit on the same Y axis as everything else.

    I haven't added this feature before, as I wasn't sure what its use would be.

    However, with Scott Rao Scott Rao's "blooming espresso", I've found that tracking and controlling the amount of dripping that occurs before the pressure rise, is very relevant to the final drink quality. Generally, about 5g to 8g of "drippage" yields the best flavor for me. I've previously tracked this by hand, by looking at the scale as the shot proceeds. With the new "total shot weight" line, you'll be able to see the shot weight at each stage, later on. Seems helpful.

    Some remarks about this:

    • the thin brown line is enabled by default in the zoomed view, but not in the small-charts view (the default view) so as to avoid visual complexity in day-to-day espresso making.
    • an interesting thing to note is that the shot stops at around 27g, and the final cup weight was 33.5g. This is because, once the water stops and pressure is released, there is still some flow from the puck to the cup (about 5 grams' worth)
    • Also note that I've halved the smoothing in the weight line, from a "2 second window" to a "1 second window". The downside of this change is a slightly more jittery brown line, but the upside is that the brown line moves twice as fast toward the real weight. This is helpful when you're comparing the brown line (flow into cup) to the blue line (flow into puck) to judge the success of your preinfusion stage.
    • I've got the latest code running on my main home espresso machine. Once it seems solid for a few days, I'll release this publicly.
    • The upcoming tablet version release will also include the "allow yourself to start espresso only if the scale is connected" optional feature.


    QUESTION
    : should the zoomed espresso view automatically scale the Y axis appropriately, once the shot has finished?


    • In the chart above, the Y axis would have scaled to 9 bar, instead of the default 12 bar.
    • The downside to doing this would be that 1 to 1 comparisons between charts will be more difficult.
    • The upside will be a more zoomed chart that is easier to read detail from

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    Hi All,

    Ive read bits and pieces of this now very long thread and for a few reasons these have sparked my interest in looking for another machine. I will keep this pretty short and simple. If im to buy one can someone please explain apart from maybe the brushed steel and mirror finish is someone like me who is going to make 2-3 at most a day coffees going to see much difference in the DE1+ to the DE1PRO? When i say this im more talking durability, it seems what is on offer for warranty is fairly good for both machines.

    I somewhat understand that the internals are up scaled for the pro model to last longer and i guess i should ask the question i think i can answer myself and that is is it going to result in any way a better shot? Im guessing not, but will ask. as there is a bit of a price difference.

    My other question is Steaming, those who own one are you able to give me your gauge on quality of the steam power and how the milk turns out.

    I look at a lot of machines, and keep coming back to these as ive had the chance to use a friends one a few times and im rather impressed so far.

    Kind regards,

    Chris
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  6. #2056
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    Quote Originally Posted by coffeechris View Post
    I will keep this pretty short and simple. If im to buy one can someone please explain apart from maybe the brushed steel and mirror finish is someone like me who is going to make 2-3 at most a day coffees going to see much difference in the DE1+ to the DE1PRO? When i say this im more talking durability, it seems what is on offer for warranty is fairly good for both machines.
    For your use, I'd recommend the less expensive model, as you're looking at 10 years of guaranteed use, with the kind of coffee volume you're planning to make. The only reason to go with the DE1PRO in your case, would be to get the mirrored panel.


    Quote Originally Posted by coffeechris View Post
    My other question is Steaming, those who own one are you able to give me your gauge on quality of the steam power and how the milk turns out.
    The steam is slower, but hotter and lower water flow, than a traditional boiler machine. Generally, look at about 45 seconds to steam (8oz 200ml) of milk from refrigerator temperature to 60ºC. In january, our v1.3 machines will cut this time by about 10s, as the steam heater is increasing in wattage.

    As far as milk foam, there are various places where people indicate it's the best microfoam they've seen. I think that's due to the higher temperature steam (160ºC vs max 128ºC of a boiler) but I'm not sure that's definitely the reason.

    Quote Originally Posted by coffeechris View Post
    I look at a lot of machines, and keep coming back to these as ive had the chance to use a friends one a few times and im rather impressed so far.
    Glad to hear it.

    -john

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    John,

    Thanks for a detailed break down on that. Also being honest about what model to buy. I need to go back and think about this as I have placed one in the shopping cart a few times in the past month but stopped. Maybe its time to pull the pin as in many ways it suits what i need and the space i have.

    The milk steaming doesnt bother so much time wise, it is the ability to repeat and make great micro foam im look for.

    You say V1.3 will be out in Jan? is there a upgrade to machines that are not a v1.3 when this comes to be available?

    Once again, thank for you thoughts and honesty.

    Regards,

    Chris

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    Quote Originally Posted by coffeechris View Post
    You say V1.3 will be out in Jan? is there a upgrade to machines that are not a v1.3 when this comes to be available?
    The v1.3 machines will be about A$440 more expensive, as they also have the new real-time group head controller on them. The current v1.1 machines are upgradable to this controller, at the same price.

    But the bump up in steam speed is not something you can upgrade.

    -john
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    Quote Originally Posted by 338 View Post
    Last month it was announced that Decent users were doing some trials to improve mouthfeel. Just wondering if any users here were involved or had anything to report?
    Here are two posts today on the Diaspora (customer) forum, picked by me to show two different opinions:

    I have two of the original 3.9mm brass spacers on my DE1+ V1.0, and, while experimenting, removed one - and haven't gone back yet. Although I didn't like sloppy pucks, there seemed to me, to be flavour advantages (I'll leave it to the experts to to define these, if any) in the cup. So, I've settled half way with the single spacer. Pucks are not "sloppy", but not firm or dry either and I dose with a little headroom above the puck even after expansion so there is wetness there after shot. Looking forward to the second run of brass spacers to test between the current single spacer [3.9mm] and less than 7.8mm created with 2X version 1.
    and

    First 3 shots with spacer produced the puck consistency below. Easy to see pre- and post-spacer differences. Spacer pucks are intact, lying on top of the previous non-spacer puck fragments. All other variables were kept identical except the presence of the spacer. Flavor was better as well. In a separate thread I had reported sourness difficulties which were dramatically reduced with the spacer, although much more testing is needed with respect to flavor.
    preview-full-IMG_3474.jpg
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    Quote Originally Posted by coffeechris View Post
    Hi All,

    Ive read bits and pieces of this now very long thread and for a few reasons these have sparked my interest in looking for another machine. I will keep this pretty short and simple. If im to buy one can someone please explain apart from maybe the brushed steel and mirror finish is someone like me who is going to make 2-3 at most a day coffees going to see much difference in the DE1+ to the DE1PRO? When i say this im more talking durability, it seems what is on offer for warranty is fairly good for both machines.

    I somewhat understand that the internals are up scaled for the pro model to last longer and i guess i should ask the question i think i can answer myself and that is is it going to result in any way a better shot? Im guessing not, but will ask. as there is a bit of a price difference.

    My other question is Steaming, those who own one are you able to give me your gauge on quality of the steam power and how the milk turns out.

    I look at a lot of machines, and keep coming back to these as ive had the chance to use a friends one a few times and im rather impressed so far.

    Kind regards,

    Chris
    G'day coffeechris

    I can answer first hand the panel question.

    When I ordered my DE1Pro (arrival Feb 2019) I was given a choice of panels. I chose the brushed stainless as I regularly encounter three different commercial machines with mirrors to "see the shot". All three mirrors crap up constantly and are a true PITA to keep looking OK - and their mirroring is useless when it is covered with spray anyway. I actually judge the shot's flow by looking down at it, so the "looking up" is really only a novelty to me anyway. Ease and speed of maintenance rules my life... in all things, not just coffee... er, I mean not only coffee.

    I have been using "naked portafilters" since the '80's, so my shots almost never spray. Surprisingly, the DE keeps itself so incredibly clean (inside and out) so I only wipe down the front panel when someone else has used it and it sprays. I do a small "pre and post flush" each shot and wipe the group down (old habits die hard), however even wiping the DE group down rarely has even the smallest smudge of coffee puck / grounds. Also, my DE does not suck coffee back up into the showerscreens either. Cleaning is normally just emptying the drip tray and giving the base of the drip tray a quick wipe down - more for cosmetics than need. I do remove and clean the showerscreens every month or so, and they have only the tiniest disclolouration to show they are not new.

    If I could turn back time I would go for the mirrored panel on the DE - simply as a bonus in my case - as it is really useful for newbies to see the shot exiting the group.

    I cannot comment on the DE steam as I always "shoot and froth" at the same time (better crema and better froth IMO). My older machine is on the bench to handle the milk frothing. The DE has only steamed two jugs so far - it worked FWIW.

    As you probably already know, even disregarding the minimal cleaning, the DE is incredibly easy to live with - newbies can use presets and just press "start" (i.e. even "disinterested significant other" friendly) and those (like me) who want to tinker have an incredible array of options at our fingertips. It is truly rare to find any domestic appliance that can handle both ends of the technical spectrum with such aplomb. The DE will be on my bench until the "shoot and froth simultaneously" model is out, then I will upgrade it.

    I hope this helps.

    TampIt

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    New: zoom in on your espresso chart

    These two changes described in the video hopefully address two issues:
    - two separate Y axis (for pressure, and for flow) was complicated to understand
    - zooming allows you to get close to the details you want to see

    -john

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    I've been lurking for a while, and thoroughly enjoying theads like this. Decided to jump on the DE train and have one arriving soon. Now for many weeks/months/years of learning to come.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TampIt View Post
    G'day coffeechris

    I can answer first hand the panel question.

    When I ordered my DE1Pro (arrival Feb 2019) I was given a choice of panels. I chose the brushed stainless as I regularly encounter three different commercial machines with mirrors to "see the shot". All three mirrors crap up constantly and are a true PITA to keep looking OK - and their mirroring is useless when it is covered with spray anyway. I actually judge the shot's flow by looking down at it, so the "looking up" is really only a novelty to me anyway. Ease and speed of maintenance rules my life... in all things, not just coffee... er, I mean not only coffee.

    I have been using "naked portafilters" since the '80's, so my shots almost never spray. Surprisingly, the DE keeps itself so incredibly clean (inside and out) so I only wipe down the front panel when someone else has used it and it sprays. I do a small "pre and post flush" each shot and wipe the group down (old habits die hard), however even wiping the DE group down rarely has even the smallest smudge of coffee puck / grounds. Also, my DE does not suck coffee back up into the showerscreens either. Cleaning is normally just emptying the drip tray and giving the base of the drip tray a quick wipe down - more for cosmetics than need. I do remove and clean the showerscreens every month or so, and they have only the tiniest disclolouration to show they are not new.

    If I could turn back time I would go for the mirrored panel on the DE - simply as a bonus in my case - as it is really useful for newbies to see the shot exiting the group.

    I cannot comment on the DE steam as I always "shoot and froth" at the same time (better crema and better froth IMO). My older machine is on the bench to handle the milk frothing. The DE has only steamed two jugs so far - it worked FWIW.

    As you probably already know, even disregarding the minimal cleaning, the DE is incredibly easy to live with - newbies can use presets and just press "start" (i.e. even "disinterested significant other" friendly) and those (like me) who want to tinker have an incredible array of options at our fingertips. It is truly rare to find any domestic appliance that can handle both ends of the technical spectrum with such aplomb. The DE will be on my bench until the "shoot and froth simultaneously" model is out, then I will upgrade it.

    I hope this helps.

    TampIt
    Thanks for the detailed description, what comes to mind for is i never thought about the ability to only pull a shot and then steam. I have not thought of this as ive always been able to to steam and pull a shot at the same time.

    Everything else you have said makes sense, im a little like you with the brushed cover, im more happy to look up at it and see what is going on and think the mirrored finish is like many other machines and id use it early on then go back to my routine of looking up at it.

    all said and done im still very interested, more for the quality of shot ive seen and people say these pull but also the possible variation you can make to it right at you finger tips.

    Cheers,

    Chris

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    Did any of you aussie DE1+/PRO owners have your package held at Austalian Customs, with a request to supply further documentation? What usually happens there, how much tax do they normally ask for, and do they take into consideration the tax already paid?

    I received a separate package with accessories where DE has packed a blemished v1 tamper kit instead of the new v2 I ordered. So its a rough start to the world of DE for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by avian View Post
    Did any of you aussie DE1+/PRO owners have your package held at Austalian Customs, with a request to supply further documentation? What usually happens there, how much tax do they normally ask for, and do they take into consideration the tax already paid?

    I received a separate package with accessories where DE has packed a blemished v1 tamper kit instead of the new v2 I ordered. So its a rough start to the world of DE for me.
    Re the tax / duty, Customs will take into account and Australian tax / duty already paid, but not tax remitted to other jurisdictions.

    re the tamper kit, have you given DE the opportunity to rectify the error?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry O'Speedwagon View Post
    Re the tax / duty, Customs will take into account and Australian tax / duty already paid, but not tax remitted to other jurisdictions.

    re the tamper kit, have you given DE the opportunity to rectify the error?
    Thanks for that, shouldnt be too bad tax wise then.

    I've notified DE, I'm sure they'll take care of it - just an unnecessary hassle, but this stuff happens.

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    Quote Originally Posted by avian View Post
    Thanks for that, shouldnt be too bad tax wise then.
    I've notified DE, I'm sure they'll take care of it - just an unnecessary hassle, but this stuff happens.
    Sorry about, can you give me your order # and I'll look into it personally.

    As far as taxes go, I do need to clarify something. We do send the espresso machines and grinders duty-paid, but accessories (tampers, etc) are not sent duty paid.

    This is because, to send duty paid, we need to use UPS, DHL, or some other courier. For accessories, that would be a minimum of about A$50 per shipment, which for accessories, would be a huge cost addition.

    We send accessories via Airmail, and duty-paid is not an option. Thus, depending on how customs feels that day, you might be subject to a 10% GST, or nothing. Usually, they can't be asked, and no tax is due, but not always.

    Espresso machines are sent duty-paid, and usually (but not always) sail through. Two months ago, every shipment to AU was a problem. In the past 4 weeks, not a single machine has been held by customs. 90% of the time, they just ask for extra paperwork and there's a week delay. Sometimes, they ask for a bit more money. But recently, it's been back to normal, just a few days from HK->AU and no issues.

    -john
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    Avian, here is a TCO (Tariff Concession Order) I posted earlier - https://coffeesnobs.com.au/general-c...ncessions.html - which may help. My suggestion is be straightforward here, I have had officers google the item while on the phone with me, they will quickly find the real price of an item and in this case you are the importer.


    Disregard my post, John is on to it and seems it is accessories, I thought it was the machine. Will leave the TCO in case it helps others.
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    Thanks 338, so this TCO is something I can provide when handing in the the rest of the paperwork? I'll give it a go

    Nah it is the machine held in customs. The accessories was separate order that arrived today.

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    Yes Avian, just provide the TCO (which the decent would easily be eligible under with its programmable logic) and no 5% duty, just the 10% GST. Quote the TCO and whole thing when putting it in, maybe even just cut and paste from my linked post.

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    Avian, just reading that John already pays the duty and I assume the GST. Technically no duty should be paid on a Decent (under the TCO) just the GST, so assume you will actually get something like a $200 refund! (Duty is 5%) Worth putting the paperwork in and great news you wont be out of pocket, though morally I would suggest John overpaid so he should get the excess. Let us know how you go.

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    Thank 338, I've added that to the information I've provided customs. Great stuff. Also it seems the tamper thing was my error when ordering, and John was on it right away with a solution, a complete champion.

    Edit: Just saw your newer post. I'm not sure, cause there is the hardware and software component, and it seems I've paid tax/duty on the hardware side of things. I've provided them with as much information as I can and been as transparent a I can, so we'll see what customs come up with.
    Last edited by avian; 14th October 2019 at 09:52 PM.

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    Unfortunately the TCO won't apply to the software component though I have no idea if there is duty on software. There is definitely GST which I am guessing John already pays as it would be caught either under the Netflix tax ( digital services ) brought in a couple of years ago or under the legislation for companies selling over $70k (or maybe $75k) into Australia (assume Decent sell at least 20 machines here). You may still see a refund if all GST is paid. As you said it is in their hands and sure it will work out easily.

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    Customs ended up being an interesting process. After speaking to someone in the brokerage team, it seems as though customs were going to charge gst (I presume on the software portion), but UPS asked for a re-evaluation and it was then passed through without any additional tax/duty.

    So far the machine is great. I've been experimenting using some throw away beans today while I get the hang of things, and its interesting how the profiles can effect flavour. After trying to dial things to taste, I ended up running at a faster flow rate than I think is to be expected (close to 3ml/s), but I think thatll change once I switch to some preferred beans tomorrow.

    The steaming has impressed me a lot. First time using it I was able to produce a texture that could pour great art, and weirdly I wasnt even trying to, was just testing that it functioned okay. Anyway sorry for derailing the thread for a bit there, I'll be quiet now while I try to get my head around eveything this machine can do

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    steam.jpg

    At the HOST Milan trade show, we met the fine Australians behind this countersunk steam/pitcher rinser/hot water dispenser: https://www.steam.international
    Looks quite useful for our Decent Coffee Cart project.

    While our espresso machines make "not so bad" coffee, we're not optimized for steaming lots of milk. This steam unit could be quite useful for coffee carts that need to make gobs of lattes.

    -john
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    John, i did read thru 41 pages of this thread as much id love your machine, whats peaked my attn is your cart an the pump for the jug rinser as to how it works? Ie how does it know to turn on? Is the rinser same as regular ones connected to a mains supply? An really like the idea of your ikea cart setup!
    Pm me or post here just really interested in all of it!!
    Thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sullo View Post
    John, i did read thru 41 pages of this thread as much id love your machine, whats peaked my attn is your cart an the pump for the jug rinser as to how it works? Ie how does it know to turn on? Is the rinser same as regular ones connected to a mains supply? An really like the idea of your ikea cart setup!
    Pm me or post here just really interested in all of it!!
    Thanks
    I hook up the pitcher rinser to a flowjet, which keeps the water pressure on at all times.

    The pump automatically activates when the pitcher rinser is used. You coud likely skip the flowjet if you had access to a pressurized mains water line. I sell the parts to hook this together at https://decentespresso.com/de1xl

    I have a video showing the underside of my coffee cart, where you can see how this is wired up.

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    Smart Espresso Profiler, running on Decent Espresso Machines

    sep-decent.jpg

    Miklos at Smart Espresso Profiler “pitched me” on their porting the Android/iOS app to work natively with the upcoming v1.3 Decent Espresso Machine. It’s a cool idea, and we’re going to make it happen.

    Here is his concept: instead of running the tablet app I wrote (to control the Decent), you’d run their app (I’d pre-load it on our tablet) and that would turn the Decent into a fully manual “lever machine”.

    You’d use the circular controller on our upcoming v1.3 espresso machines to manually control flow through the entire espresso shot, and follow the curves on the SEP software display.

    This would allow you to totally emulate traditional lever machines profiles that SEP has in its software. It also sounds like fun, and a much more hands-on experience than our normal “the machine does it all” approach on the DE1.

    Thanks Miklos for suggesting this cool idea!

    This will incidentally be a great example of the benefit of a “software controlled espresso machine”, i.e. a totally different concept for machine control, written by someone else who has a very different vision from mine. Choice is good!

    And… this will be offered for free, to all our customers.

    Here is a video showing how the SEP software works with Paul Pratt's awesome robot lever machine:


    -john
    Last edited by decentespresso; 23rd October 2019 at 08:50 PM.
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    No video link shows John.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Javaphile View Post
    No video link shows John. Java "Bad link format" phile
    Fixed (I think!)

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    Yup!


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  32. #2082
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    Post-trade show wrap-up

    cleaning_italy.jpeg

    Arrived home last night with 3 espresso machines, after making 2000 lattes in 3 days at HOST Milano in Italy.

    The photo above is what happens when you make that much coffee with no cleanup facilities. Everything stinks of souring burnt milk. Yum.

    I just ordered a 2 liter "milk cleaner" detergent bottle from Amazon. It can't come soon enough. I'm running "decalcificazione" (the tablet is still running in Italian) and cleaning cycles through my 3 machines. There's an "easter egg" on the tablet when you clean, that some of you might have not seen before.


    Some things I learned at the show:

    - baristas new to our machine, who are pressed for time, will tend to leave the steam wand in a full milk jug. This moves milk up the steam wand, and slightly clogs the wand, and cooks the milk on the next steaming.

    - there's "a process" we programmed for steaming this much milk. Use the steam timer and steam "hands-free". Because, at the end of the time, the steam turns off, but then continues making gently "puffs" of steam every few seconds, to (a) keep milk from going up and (b) keep the foam slightly circulating and thus of higher quality.

    - Once the baristas learned the "decent process" for steaming milk, we were able to crank out many more lattes per hour, and only needed one barista, instead of two, to keep up with orders. Two machines were basically steaming constantly, while the 3rd machine pulled long Blooming Espresso shots (15g in / 50g out)

    - The wheels on our IKEA BROR cart of made of fairly soft plastic. I didn't notice that one wheel "locked" during transport. After 20 seconds of pushing it along the pavement, I'd sanded 5mm off one wheel, so it no longer rolled smoothly.

    - I designed the PRO steam wand for use when the DE1XL is countersunk. If it's not countersunk, the steam wand is too high up to do "hands-free" steaming.

    - This prototype v1.3 machine locked its portafilter sooner than the other machines (that's since been fixed in later prototypes). When a barista switched from his machine to mine, he didn't squeeze hard enough to lock the portafilter in. The portafilter popped out during espresso making, and splashed me with burning water. Thankfully, the burn was not too bad, but this really does bring home the lesson that we need to get all the details right, as we're working with pressurized boiling water here.

    -john
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    Manument is really decent

    IMG_1110.jpg

    At the Berlin Coffee Show in July, Manument was the darling of the show, and you couldn't get anywhere near them.

    So, it was with great anticipation that Bugs and I were able to meet Francesca, the CEO
    https://manument.com/en/ as well as her designer and barista.

    My focus was not on the beauty of the machine (which is obvious) but on "can it make good espresso?"

    I was pleased to see a few coffee-quality related things that were well thought out:

    • a small handle controlling a needle valve, to control water flow rate in real time
    • the handle moves up at a speed proportional to the flow rate, giving you a rough flow meter
    • a front-panel control knob for the water temperature


    While the Manument is heavy and tall, it's very narrow, so there are lots of cases where it'd fit nicely.

    It's not yet in production, and with Francesca (who we got along famously with) we swapped notes on manufacturing. They've had some thoughts (not followed up on) about using a ceramic drip tray instead of plastic. I offered to put Francesca in touch with our porcelain manufacturer, as I think it'll work well for the drip tray design they've got there.

    They had a very nice welded wire drip tray cover, and gave me a few war stories about how hard it'd been to find someone who made that part nicely. They're passing their contact for that part over to me, which is kind of them.

    Francesca stressed that she wants to go slowly with their manufacturing and growth, despite lots of demand to "ship now!!!", as she wants time to incorporate barista feedback into the design, to make a truly decent product. I applaud her.

    -john
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  34. #2084
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    Big Five Rum Coffee Ice Cream

    rum_coffee_ice_cream.jpeg

    After the HOST Milano trade show, I was given 8 liters of heavy whipping cream, that went unused in the stand's "granita" machine. As this cream has an expiry date of tomorrow (November 1) I'm making LOTS of ice cream.

    I was also gifted by Cafezal https://cafezal.it/ some beautiful single origin Ethiopian beans Ethiopia - The Big Five roasted in Kenya by Big Five About us - The Big Five Coffee

    My recipe:


    • 500ml 30% heavy cream
    • 3 shots of espresso, using Rao's Blooming Espresso profile (15g in, 45g out)m about 150ml total. You want length and balanced acidity in your shots, to make this an interesting ice cream.
    • 200ml of milk
    • Sugar to taste
    • Vanilla essence to taste

    Blend and freeze in an ice cream machine.

    For extra credit:


    • instead of vanilla essence, use an oaked rum with strong vanilla flavor notes
    • the alcohol in the rum lowers the melting point. This makes for a more pleasant creamier texture when serving ice cream directly from my home freezer. My chest freezer sits at -28ºC, so I usually have to put ice cream in my refrigerator 30 minutes before serving, to soften it up.
    • I don't think you can buy ice cream commercially with this much alcohol, as it'd require a liquor license. That makes it something particularly special to make at home.
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  35. #2085
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    Mmmm...

    Memories of home made Rum and Raison ice-cream comes to mind.
    Sounds great John...

    Mal.

  36. #2086
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    Bluetooth milk thermometer?

    I'm ordering a new batch of our digital milk thermometers https://decentespresso.com/milk_thermometer as we're down to 100 Celsius thermometers in stock. This new batch will have a water proof coating on the thermometer PCB, for improved water resistance.

    When talking to Mingle (our thermometer manufacturer https://www.mingle-instrument.de/digital/) I also brought up the topic of adding bluetooth to it.

    They said that they can't add bluetooth to the existing thermometer, as there's not enough space.

    But they propose this two-part bluetooth thermometer (photo attached) to me, which they made in 2015 for another company:
    At Google London a few years back, I saw that their La Marzocco Espresso Machine had a probe like this clipped permanently on the steam wand. In their case it was simply going to a digital thermometer readout, but it was useful.

    I was wondering: would it be helpful to do the same on a DE1? That would give us true "stop steaming on temperature" as the tablet app could connect to this over bluetooth, and stop steam at the right moment.

    There are some serious downsides, though:


    • cleaning up after steaming will be more difficult since the probe will be attached
    • battery life is about 170h, or one week, if left always on.
    • However, I believe it is USB charged, and I'm asking Mingle if it can be left on permanently if attached to a power supply
    • it's likely this will fit on a thermometer clip, if you were willing to put it on a milk jug. But that becomes something else to clean.

    Damian's DSV2 and DSN3 skins already feature automatic steam stopping, by calculating the desired temperature difference, and dividing by heat transfer/second, which is constant on the DE1. However, with different heaters coming out, and milk sometimes at different starting temperatures (ie, out of the fridge vs on the countertop, warm vs cold milk pitcher) that approach doesn't work so well in a cafe.

    Would love to hear your thoughts...!

    -john

    ET556 image.jpeg
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    New Decent Heaters

    decent_steam2 copy.jpg

    About 18 months ago, I was contacted by Kawai and told that they are the world's largest thermocoil manufacturer, that they make models for a few big name pro espresso machines, and that they'd like to work with us to design a heater to our needs.

    Our Decent Espresso Machines are "heat on demand", or boiler-less. However, our machines aren't "sitting around cool", but instead have 1.2 meters of stainless steel tubing, coiled tightly inside a block of aluminum, sitting at 110ºC (for espresso) and 160º (for steam). That's our stored energy.

    We currently have two limits imposed on us, by the fact that our demands are beyond what anyone else is doing. The maximum power heaters we can get are 1350W, with 1.2 meters of coiling. This limits us in two ways:


    1. our maximum flow rate for espresso is 8 ml/s. Pro machines are typically around 10 ml/s to as much as 12 ml/s. This matters mainly for espresso making styles that want to hammer the puck quickly with water.
    2. our steam is about half as powerful as a pro machine, so you need about 40 seconds to steam milk that would take 20 seconds on a La Marzocco Strada.

    For the past 14 months, Decent and Kawai engineers have been working on a new design for heaters. The main changes are:

    • 2 meters if stainless steel tubing
    • standard wattage of 1500W, with test models now in our hands, going up to 2200W
    • 30% taller
    • but the overall assembled size stays the same, because we've also designed molded insulation to fit efficiently around the heater
    • each heater used to take us 90 minutes to hand build (top photos). We would build a case, add aerogel insulation, temperature probes and triple thermal safeties (two thermal fuses, one thermostat).
    • Now each heater comes ready-to-use, with easier mounting as well.

    We're now testing the 1500W models, as we plan on using them in production for our upcoming v1.3 models. That represents an 18% power boost over our previous heaters.

    Through 2020, we'll be testing and refining our control software, with the goal of releasing higher powered steam and faster flow rates, in our 2021 espresso machine models. It's alas not so simple as just increasing the wattage. Heat transfer is a complicated affair.

    What's interesting about this progress is that it was impossible to short-circuit this step, and launch 2 years ago with this. A company this size only co-designs products with a company it believes is worthwhile. We first had to prove ourselves.

    -john

    Last edited by Javaphile; 4 Weeks Ago at 01:59 PM. Reason: Link removed
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  38. #2088
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    Screen Shot 2019-11-03 at 12.24.16 PM.jpg Screen Shot 2019-11-03 at 12.24.13 PM.jpg

    Beautiful café coming together in Austin, TX, at Celadon Coffee. Two of our black DE1XL nicely countersunk.



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  39. #2089
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    Drip tray cover progress

    After several attempts at a "lost-wax process" stainless steel drip tray, even with the cross bars, the result is too wonky to be acceptable.

    wax-mold.jpg

    Here's a photo (top) of the final attempt, compared to the current chrome-plated aluminum drip tray cover. Hopefully, you'll agree that our current cover is a lot nicer looking. It's main problems are (a) it's aluminum, and can tarnish and (b) the company that made them for us tried to hold us hostage.

    So... we're giving up on "lost wax process" molding for this piece.

    I will mention in passing that the supplier has been honorable throughout this time, and promised to refund our money if they couldn't succeed. That's a big loss of money for them, since the molds have been made, used, and aren't useable. We'll definitely do business with them in the future, for parts where lost wax molding is more suited (ie, parts that can be machines afterward, to remove the casting defects).

    We decided to reach out to manufacturers of traditional drip tray covers, but to design something that looked less like a BBQ, and closer to our existing design.

    We paid for 5 suppliers to send us samples. I've previously posted the *horrible* first sample we received. The rest of the 4 samples have taken more time to arrive, but the workmanship is much improved. All of them are a bit too large, and 2 of have a slight wobble to them. The one on the bottom right is my favorite.

    other-design.jpg

    However, there are two manufacturers who are really close to acceptable, that we're going to follow up on.

    I've included one photo below of the new design, on the DE1XL countersink. Except for it being a tad too large for the ceramic underneath it, I think it looks ok.

    The price for these is much lower (around $5) and being made of stainless steel, they're very tough. They're heavier, so will cost more to mail to people. But overall, I'm pretty happy with how this is turning out, even if we've been sweating daily since August (!!!) about this part.

    Thankfully, so many customers sent in their ugly-but-still-functional spare old drip tray covers in, that we've been able to continue shipping espresso machines, with the promise of a free gift and a much better drip tray soon to arrive.

    I'm optimistic for a happy ending to this story.

    -john
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  40. #2090
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    The story behind our digital milk thermometer

    We're almost out of stock of our first run of 3000 digital milk thermometers.

    I designed these 3 years ago, with my Portuguese designer Joao Tomaz, based on a meat thermometer https://www.mingle-instrument.de/et578a/ design that German thermometer maker "Mingle", already manufactured. Here's what their meat thermometer looks like:
    
    ET578A.png

    To morph their thermometer into ours, we:
    - changed the probe length
    - changed the firmware to appropriate temperatures for steaming milk
    - added a silicone sleeve for water-ingress-prevention
    - changed the printing

    But otherwise left the rest alone, since it was a well made product already.

    I picked Mingle because they made my favorite oven thermometer (for roasting meats), and it was the only one that had survived my use.

    However, steam ingress has been a persistent problem for us. Very heavy milk steaming (or washing up in a sink) gets water inside. The thermometer shorts out and doesn't work.

    Luckily, the thermometer is not permanently broken when this happens. You have to twist to open it up, and let it dry overnight with the batteries removed, and it comes back to life. Still, that's inconvenient.

    Home users rarely have this problem (not enough heavy use) but it's been a problem for us, when our thermometer is used in cafes.

    Before re-ordering, I challenged Mingle to try to address this issue.

    They suggested that the PCBs be "nano-coated" with a water resistant coating.

    Yesterday they delivered 3 samples to us, and I asked my engineer Alex to run them through ever-more-punishing tests.

    I didn't expect them to survive the total-immersion test, but they did. I'm pleased. Only $0.80 extra cost to us oer thermometer, and so much more useful.

    We'll have these new models in stock, by the end of December.

    The milk thermometer page is here:
    https://decentespresso.com/milk_thermometer
    if you want us to hold your order until the new ones come in, please say so in the "Notes" of your order.

    -john

    new-therms.jpg

  41. #2091
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    lostwax copy.jpg

    Lost-Wax Stainless Casting: good, but not good enough

    We just received the polished, "as good as it gets" attempt from the lost-wax folks trying to make a stainless version of our drip tray. They don't think they can do better.

    It's almost-but-not-quite good enough. The occasionally distortions are very noticeable due to our repeated parallels lines design.

    The cross-bars certainly helped, but not enough.

    So, for now, we're proceeding with the welded-wire design you can see in my recent other posting.

    -john

  42. #2092
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    cart_prototype3.jpg

    Decent Coffee Cart Progress

    I've previously written about my experiments converting a $99 IKEA BROR tablet into a coffee cart. We've now moving to the next stage in our experiments.

    We're having a new tabletop made for us, with computer-controlled-CNC, so that all our coffee components fit into the table, with no sawing needed.

    My idea is that we'll sell this at our-cost-plus-shipping, and you'll put it into a IKEA BROR table that you buy locally.

    By using CNC, we'll be able to offer a few different configurations. Possibilities such as a left-hand-oriented, or right-hand-oriented layout. Or a larger BIGGER BROR version with two countersunk Decent Espresso Machines. Or with a combination countersunk steam unit/pitcher rinser instead of our simpler pitcher rinser.

    With the tabletop we chose, we greatly thickened the top, from IKEA's 8mm to 15mm for ours. We also went with pre-varnished wood, so it's ready for you to use and fairly water resistant.

    The CNC cuts are much more precise than I was able to do with a jigsaw.

    One effect of that precision is that we were able to put a wider "margin" on the right hand side, where I was intending on putting customer drinks.

    Next steps are: power stripe, cable management, receiving a Niche Coffee grinder for this project, and wiring it all up.

    -john
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  43. #2093
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    I love this thread, I was asked the other week if money was no object what machine would you get, I said GS3 or Johns DE1
    Until that day I can pull the trigger Im off to IKEA tomorrow to buy a bror cart(149AUD) to fit my new jug rinser and flowjet system to it inspired by this thread
    The cart will just have to suffice with the new sette and grimac mia in the mean time until I can get my grubby paws on one

    love reading about the development of this machine and thank you for sharing and being so open about it all!
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  44. #2094
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    small.jpg

    Think small

    Decent Espresso is currently at the big annual Korea Coffee Show, with 5 staffers and we’re maxed all day. Shin made two Ikea BROR coffee carts, with a 1 countersink machine on a small cart, and a larger cart with two machines (2nd photo). Martin from Niche is presenting tomorrow at 3pm, at our stand.

    Shin didn’t tell me what he was designing for the stand, he just got on with it. This is my first look at the backdrop.

    I don’t know if Shin intentionally is making a reference to the super-famous Volkswagen mini ad that changed the advertising world, 50 years ago.

    -john
    Attached Images Attached Images
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    Screen Shot 2019-11-09 at 6.03.27 PM.jpg

    App update: favorite profiles, user-created lever profiles


    • your "top 3" most used espresso profiles are now automatically labelled with a heart symbol.
    • The reason I added this, is that I find it very hard to find my favorite profiles among the long list. I hope the heart symbol helps.
    • My goal with the way I've implemented this, is for it to not cause you to have to think, nor be distracting or in your way. Subtle, but helpful. Hopefully.
    • if you have never used 3 different profiles, then (in this order) these 3 profiles are marked with a heart, to recommend them (especially for new users): "default", "gentle and sweet", "blooming espresso". The goal is to guide new users to the most popular profiles. But once you've used 3 profiles of your choice, the heart icon follows your choice.
    • the "top 3 profiles" is only calculated when the app starts, and is not dynamically based on your espressos in the current session. I may change that in the future and make it dynamic.

    Also:

    • I've added the "advanced lever profile" created by John Weiss and Damian Brakel's extremely popular Londinium R profile.
    • I've added Spence's popular "Dark Theme" to the built-in themes in the app, so you no longer need to manually download it. You can see it often in instagram photos of people's Decent espresso machines.

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  46. #2096
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    DE1XL: countertop or countersunk

    People often ask me if we have a version of this espresso machine that can sit on a countertop, as they don't want to cut a hole in their table. Yes, we do, it's the same model.

    So... we made this very short video to show the two ways the DE1XL can be placed at your place. :-D

    -john

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  47. #2097
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    I received photos this morning, of a big banquet for Heritage Radio that Ace Coffee Co ran in New York. Very nice to see a big production setting with our little espresso machines. Nice one, Charles!

    https://heritageradionetwork.org/ https://www.acecoffee.co/

    -john

    If you don’t know HRN, their radio program on foods are really something:
    “HRN is the world’s pioneer food radio station. The studio broadcasts live from two recycled shipping containers inside Roberta’s Pizza, an innovative restaurant at the epicenter of Brooklyn’s culinary renaissance”
    ace_catering2.jpg
    Last edited by Javaphile; 3 Weeks Ago at 08:47 PM. Reason: Fix link
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  48. #2098
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    Tinkering with colors and controls

    We're finalizing how your interaction with the new group head controller will work. Here you can see me telling the machine to heat up, after which a closewise red LED fills the controller as it heats up to 100%. Next to do: an equivalent "cool down" animation. Every typical action you'd need to do with the tablet, you'll now also be able to do with with the controller on the group head.

    -john


  49. #2099
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    Put a lid on it

    Our 2 liter ceramic water sits a few millimeters under the legs of the espresso machine. Not much can get in there, but an enterprising little insect could, depending on your climate.

    Ben has designed a lid that can be 3D printed, that fits on the water tank. We're going to open source the design, so that others can tinker, as we'd like this lid to be as uncombersome as possible. Maybe, an hinged opening is possible, like the sous vide lid in the photo.

    Besides people 3D printing it themselves, we're thinking of making these out of food-safe silicone.

    Another idea: most water tanks that sit at room temperature eventually grow some algae. Someone suggested a fish tank UV light. I'm wondering if anyone has tried plunging one of these in your espresso water tank, to prevent anything from growing?

    -john

    put_a_lid_on_it_2.jpg

  50. #2100
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    Comparing drip tray covers

    Today I received samples of all the drip tray covers we're considering.

    I was very surprised by what I found.

    At first blush, the "lost wax" (cast stainless steel) cover looks "more imperfect" than the "welded wires" one.

    welded_wires.jpg lost_wax.jpg

    However, in actual use, the viewing angle and background has a huge impact. The "welded wires" looks more imperfect in use.

    I made a movie comparing the two.



    The "lost wax" cover I received was less nice than this, when I received it. However, 6 little adjustments with a dull screwdriver (about 30 seconds work) and it looked much better.



    What I think we're going to do next is ask the "lost wax" people if they'd be willing to make manual adjustments like this, using a jig (of our making) that mates with a cover, and repeatedly adjusting the cover until it fits properly into the jig. I don't think it'll take much time, and the result should look pretty good.

    I was hoping for "perfection" but at the HOST Milano trade show I looked at other welded wire covers from other espresso machines, and all of them look "so so", aka imperfect, a bit shabby.

    The polished finished on the "lost wax" is *beautiful* and catches the light in an amazing way. I hope you will be able to see that in the video above.

    Ben placed the two vertical wires so they they center a cup under the group head, which I find quite pleasing now.

    Now... the bad news. "lost wax" casting is a slow process. It'll likely take us 3 to 4 more months to get a batch of acceptable covers using this technique. So, I'm going to have to order 500 pieces of the best of the "welded wire" covers, to ship with the upcoming v1.3 machines, or else we won't be able to send espresso machines to customers.

    My intention is to continue to work on this part until we're happy with it, and then replace the trays for everyone since August 2019, as well as everyone who sent their (ugly) trays in to help us out.

    What do you think?

    -john
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