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

  1. #2101
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Certainly miles in front of previous supplier attempts!

    Is the shininess of the cast cover going to show up scratches from cups over time more than the welded cover? Are the scratches you've made with the screwdriver adjustments visible from above?

  2. #2102
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    Lost wax method looks way better to me - at least from the video

  3. #2103
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    Quote Originally Posted by level3ninja View Post
    Is the shininess of the cast cover going to show up scratches from cups over time more than the welded cover? Are the scratches you've made with the screwdriver adjustments visible from above?
    My guess is that microscratches from unglazed ceramic will dull the top edge of the drip tray, but that it shouldn't be too visible, because they're round, and thus the scratch will only be on the top of the wire, not the sides. This is not a coating: it's polished stainless, so it should stay shiny with age.

    I wasn't able to see any scratches from my bending, but then again I did intentionally push from inside the wires, so as to make no (easily) visible mark.

    But ultimately, we have to make our best guess, and then watch what happens over years of use.

    The good news is that this piece is easily replaced

    -john
    Last edited by decentespresso; 3 Weeks Ago at 11:04 PM.
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  4. #2104
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    A problem with our Simple Scale

    In the past few months, I've been receiving reports that our Simple Scale isn't able to weigh single beans. It took a bit of time to track down the problem, as not every scale had this problem, and a year ago, the problem didn't exist at all.

    We found that the "load cell" that is in our scale has been going down in quality. We suspect the manufacturer of that part.

    The simple scale used to be accurate and fast, but recently it's been really not able to count single beans (0.1g increments) when there's 10g or more on the scale. Since that's a typical use for our scale, that's a quite bad development.

    We challenged the company that makes the scale for us, and made them videos of tests we needed them to pass, which were failing now. They agreed with us that the load cells were at fault and found another manufacturer, slightly more expensive. They built 100 scales for us, which we've now tested, and the new load cells look good.

    If you've bought a Simple Scale https://decentespresso.com/scale from us and found that it doesn't handle 0.1g weight increments well, you probably have one of these bad scales.

    If so, contact us https://decentespresso.com/contact I'll send you a replacement scale for free.

    Note that most older Simple Scales are likely OK, as they used to perform well.

    To determine if you've got a problematic scale:
    - put about 10g of beans in a paper cup, on the scale,
    - and then add beans one at a time.
    - you should see the weight increment in 0.1g steps
    - if adding several beans does not increase the weight, you've got a bad scale
    - note: beans can sometimes weigh less than 0.1g, so it can take 2 beans to increase the weight.

    Again: sorry about the problems, and please get in contact if you've got a bad scale, so I can fix this.

    -john


  5. #2105
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    Eye to eye coffee service

    Screen Shot 2019-11-25 at 10.19.00 AM.jpg

    Celadon Coffee just posted a photo of their beautiful installation of two black DE1XL Decent Espresso machines.⁣
    ⁣⁣
    ⁣I think this is the first cafe to deploy my goal of a conversation between clients and barista, possible because Joao and I designed this model to be very low profile. No Big Boiler Machine separates you from your guests.⁣

    I intended the countersink brack to hide all the tubes and wires, but also to lower the espresso machine further down, so you can make eye contact.

    The form of the machine is intentionally minimalist, so that it effectively vanishes, with your eye instead drawn to the setting (such as their spectacular mural).

    -john

    https://www.instagram.com/celadon.coffee/

    Edit: just received this photo of the cafe actually open, and you can see that they're tinkering a bit with the tablet stand, with different approaches on both machines.

    71917934_185484325837806_1133052272074203979_n.jpg
    Last edited by decentespresso; 2 Weeks Ago at 02:56 AM.
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  6. #2106
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    Spray your pucks!



    Stephane Ribes has been doing experiments with spraying his tamped espresso coffee puck before extraction.


    I've put together some of his findings in this short video.

    He's not reporting a difference in taste, but peak pressure (a function of puck resistance under constant flow) increases with prewetting, indicating a higher puck integrity during extraction.

    Also, as seen from the bottom of his portafilter, the wetting is faster and more even with the spraying.

    Stephane has posted his results on the Decent Espresso Owner's forum, which is called "Decent Diaspora"

    -john
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  7. #2107
    Senior Member Lyrebird's Avatar
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    John

    As I see it, peak pressure can have a number of causes so it doesn't necessarily indicate higher puck integrity during extraction.

    As an example, if all the prewetting did was cause the top layer of coffee to swell before extraction started, thus reducing the intersticial distance between granules, this would restrict flow during extraction and thus cause the peak pressure to rise.

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    I can't see how a low pressure or low flow preinfusion of say 2Bar or less would do anything different.

    When you make the whole process way more complex than it needs to be, you precipitate angst in those who spend way too much reading and not enough time actually doing.

    Sorry, but pass. I'm washing my hair.
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  9. #2109
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    Decentspotting in Malaysia

    One of my mechanical engineers, on vacation this week in Penang, Malaysia was “well chuffed” (that’s a good thing) to see a Decent Espresso machine in the cafe he went to: Spacebar Coffee @ome.space

    It definitely helped impress his wife that he’d made a good career choice, that’s for sure.

    Looking at older photos on the web, I see that the Decent replaced their two-group Faema E61 espresso machine. https://tinyurl.com/uvb9pln

    Spacebar Coffee https://www.instagram.com/ome.space/ https://www.taufulou.com/ome-by-spacebar-coffee-penang/

    -john

    new.jpg old.jpg
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  10. #2110
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    Welded wire drip trays

    Ten days ago, I posted a video comparing the two candidate designs for a new drip tray cover. https://coffeesnobs.com.au/brewing-e...tml#post664493

    I prefer the "lost wax" cast steel design. However, there is a real question of how well they can be hand-adjusted. Can we make successfully make a jig to guide the factory to do the adjusting well? What will it look like? Also, "lost wax" is a slow process, taking a minimum of 3 months. With this being a new design, and hand-adjusting, we should plan on it taking 4 to 5 months.

    We'll have run out of drip tray covers long before then, so we need something that works well enough, now. Can't stop shipping espresso machines!

    The welded wire design takes about 4 weeks to make, and with a bit more work, I think it'll be acceptable. We received photos of these samples today. The factory has ceramic drip tray samples from us, at two sizes, with different amounts of shrinkage. They recommend that they change the radius (the curve) on the covers, to make them fit the ceramic better. This is a well engaged supplier, making good suggestions, and their work looks to be of high quality. We also had the ends filed at an angle, with this latest sample.

    Our plan is to ship these "welded wire" drip tray covers for the next 6 months, for the next 500 espresso machines. If the "lost wax" process turns out to work, and to make a superior object, we'll switch to that. Until then, we'll bank on both approaches.

    -john

    wire_cover2.jpg
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  11. #2111
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    Transparent cases & Shanghai report

    shanghai_decent.jpg

    Transparent cases & Shanghai report

    Hannifa and  Winnie Lin Winnie  are in Shanghai this weekend, for the Cafeex show there. This is the first time we've been at a Chinese trade show. The usual way to sell to China is through a middleman, (who generally makes all the money) so this market hasn't been a priority for me.

    For years, it wasn't clear to me that we could navigate Chinese customs, selling directly. But, after being certified "Made in Hong Kong" (most of the value added has to be HK based to get this, and we've been audited twice already about it) we're now able to ship to China fairly pain-free. It seems we're able to persist in my "no resellers" policy, even in this market.

    The show was poorly attended on Friday, but we were able to draw a fair crowd most of the time, which is rewarding. The show organizers offered us a 1 hour speaking slot, as we're seen as an innovative foreign company.

    A few people asked us about the transparent case cover.

    We had a one-off made for trade shows, but I was wondering if there was any interest among existing owners, for this? We've never changed the cover since v1.0, so all current owners could swap it, if you wanted to.

    -john
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  12. #2112
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caffeinator View Post
    I can't see how a low pressure or low flow preinfusion of say 2Bar or less would do anything different.

    When you make the whole process way more complex than it needs to be, you precipitate angst in those who spend way too much reading and not enough time actually doing.

    Sorry, but pass. I'm washing my hair.
    A simple answer - at the recent CS meeting one of the roasts was way too green. I had my DE1 there and pulled a standard(ish) espresso shot - as expected, a cup of quinine would have been as bitter. Trying it with one of my own standard preinfusion settings (balanced for a light roasted Colombian for the info hungry) - no bitterness and no wheatgrass either.

    Apart from other delights, the DE1 can be tinkered to maximise the "gooditives" out of any roast even quite poor ones. Whether it increased the puck resistance as well I did not notice, however it made a pretty good cuppa out of a "way too green roast". Impressive toy - I haven't regretted picking mine up for an instant. No other machine I know can come close to its flexibility and it so easy to live with as a bonus. Even SWMBO friendly - just press "start" to repeat whatever the last settings were.

    TampIt

  13. #2113
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    Catering Kit Improvements

    refill_kit_improvements2.jpg

    A little less than half the people who buy a Decent Espresso machine, buy the refill kit. It keeps the water topped up automatically, from either a pressurized water source, or from a water tank (such as store-bought mineral water).

    We initially made 500 of the refill kits, so we're almost out of stock. That gives us a chance to revisit it, and see what we can improve.

    MOUNTING BRACKET

    There's a screwed on mounting bracket, which allows you to:
    - mount the kit to a vertical wall
    - hook the kit to the back of the DE1


    Of those two features, it's nice to be able to hook it to the back of the DE1, but I never found myself mounting the kit to a vertical wall. And the bracket design was not good when mounting upside down, such as for a coffee cart.


    Our work-around was to take the cover off, and push screw through the feet, into the wood that we're mounting to. Besides being a lot of work, it was often inconvenient, if (for example) the position of the kit meant you couldn't get access to the screws holding the cover on. Not a great solution.


    Alex developed a bracket that screws into the threads inside the feet, holding the kit in place. Two easily accessed screw holes then hold the thing in place. Also nice is that unless you over-tighten those four screws, you have vibration isolation through those rubber feet.

    
    We're going to keep the side bracket, and include it with the kit, but not screw it on by default. It's there if you want to hook the kit to the back of the DE1.

    NOISE LEVEL

    I wanted to reduce the noise as much as possible. By going to a new pump supplier, and a more expensive model, we were able to drop 13db, from 79db to 66db. That's a huge improvement, and very welcome in homes.
    In the new firmware, coming out in January, the refill kit will automatically engage when you put your DE1 to sleep, so that you always have a full tank for the next morning. This also avoids having a refill while you're making your morning espresso.

    WATER FLOW SPEED

    The previous pump could lift 1 liter per minute of water. The newer model can do twice that, at 2 liters per minute. We've measured it, to make sure it really does.

    WHEN?
    These new refill kits will arrive in late January, and will be included with all plumbed in machines from that point on.

    -john


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  14. #2114
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    Infrared vs In-Milk Temperature Readings



    I've been wondering whether it's possible to reliable measure milk temperature while steaming, with an infrared thermometer pointed at our matte-black Decent milk jugs. This experiment (tried 3 times) shows that there is measurement lag, but it's repeatable and linear. So, it should be possible to have steam stop automatically, so that no in-milk thermometer is needed.

    As this is a bluetooth-enabled infrared thermometer, the next step is to have the Decent tablet app talk to the infrared thermometer, and see if this works.

    Note: this is my personal development beta machine, with firmware that is currently making uneven steam pressure. The Decent steam on released machines is a bit more even. :-D

    Attached is a spreadsheet of the results.

    Here is the $40 bluetooth infrared thermometer I'm using:
    https://www.amazon.com/HOLDPEAK-HP-9...dp/B07QKYLSS5/

    It would be incredibly cool if one of the programmers who owns a Decent, tried talking to this infrared thermometer, to see if this idea works reliably.

    If this does work, my eventual goal would be to have an infrared thermometer built into the Decent Espresso Machine, seeing the milk jug through a small hole in the mirrored front panel.

    -john

    Screen Shot 2019-12-02 at 8.15.42 PM.jpg
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    I did another test with the IR sensor, this time at about the distance it would be, if the IR sensor were built into the DE1, as per  Charles Temkey's idea.
    
    This time I used the iPad to save the IR readings, so that I have smoother data. I hand typed the milk thermometer readings into Excel.

    Ray sent me better control firmware last night, so the steam went to higher temperatures than you'd take milk usually (to 75ºC) than the previous videos.

    Nonetheless, it seems that the IR readings were the same, about as far away from the in-milk thermometer.

    At 60ºC milk, the IR reads at 50ºC.

    What I *really like* about this chart, though, is the very consistent IR readings, that are not jumpy at all. So, I think this could work.

    -john

    test2.jpg
    Last edited by decentespresso; 1 Week Ago at 10:52 PM.
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  16. #2116
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    Wouldn't the sensor be much closer than that if mounted inside the body of the machine? That looks to be about the length of the machine away, surely you'd mount it within a cm or two of the front panel?

  17. #2117
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    Quote Originally Posted by level3ninja View Post
    Wouldn't the sensor be much closer than that if mounted inside the body of the machine? That looks to be about the length of the machine away, surely you'd mount it within a cm or two of the front panel?
    Shouldn't make that much difference to be honest, since the IR sensor is sensitive to light bandwidth, not radiated thermal energy...

    Mal.
    Last edited by Dimal; 1 Week Ago at 09:26 PM.

  18. #2118
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    Shouldn't make that much difference to honest, since the IR sensor is sensitive to light bandwidth, not radiated thermal energy...

    Mal.
    It was only that he specifically said he had it at the distance it would be when built into the machine...
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  19. #2119
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    Quote Originally Posted by level3ninja View Post
    It was only that he specifically said he had it at the distance it would be when built into the machine...
    True enough. I put the IR meter as close as I could to the coffee cart, given that it was mounted on a tripod. You're right that it'd be another 50% closer if it were in the machine itself.

    However, this new measurement was about 80% closer than the previous placement of the IR meter, which was to the right of the table. And I got similar numbers.

    So, as @dimal notes, it doesn't seem that distance from the IR to the milk jug, matters that much.

    Now... what would matter, is if someone were holding the milk jug on the back, and blocking the IR from seeing the jug. Gotta think about that a bit...

    -john
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  20. #2120
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    DE1XL in a Decent Suitcase

    de1xl_suitcase.jpg

    DE1XL in a Decent Suitcase

    We are working on making the DE1XL fit nicely inside our suitcase. We've done a design for the foam, and we are ordering samples to test. I think we can make this work. If any of you have a DE1XL and want the foam, let me know. When it is ready, I will send it to you for free.

    My goal is to make the DE1XL model as portable as the DE1+/DE1PRO models.

    Also, once we have accomplished this, we will be making DE1XL models in our factory, and shipping them ready made. You will no longer receive a "DE1XL conversion kit" from, and you won't need to convert your DE1PRO by yourself.

    -john
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  21. #2121
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    Little and Simple

    Two couples opened up their own cafes recently, with Decent Espresso Machines.

    simple.jpg

    As Olivia writes https://www.instagram.com/p/B5svqoTll5i/ it’s still early days for Decent Espresso and commercial use situations. By my count, there are perhaps only 30 cafes worldwide, putting the Decent in front of customers. There are another 400 machines in the back rooms of cafes and roasteries. They’re used for catering, training, extra capacity or most frequently: just to learn about what they think the future likely will look like. But not many facing customers. Yet.

    Olivia did her homework, called up every Decent Cafe she could find, before trusting her dream cafe to a small (but Decent) espresso machine company.

    For me, working hand in hand with small owners is incredibly rewarding. Our story (Bugs and I) is much the same: build something from zero, with just our own money (and a bit of help from Mum) and years of hard work and lots of risk.

    The attributes of our machine: small, very good drink quality, low cost (half per group head of competing commercial machines), the fact that you can start with 1 machine and add more as you grow, and of course: 1:1 relationship with us, fit well with the needs of small cafes.

    Simple Coffee Co is in Tabernash, Colorado, USA:
    https://www.instagram.com/simplecoffeeco/

    --

    Josiah and Noel opened their Little Light Coffee this week. They built it themselves, with quite a bit of help from their friends. Before opening, they had run a coffee stand at the local outdoor market.

    littlelight.jpg

    Little Light Coffee is in Takasaki, Japan:
    https://www.instagram.com/littlelightcoffee/

    -john
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  22. #2122
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    A quick tour of the Decent Coffee Cart

    I've been working on a web page, with everything about my "convert an IKEA BROR cart into a coffee cart" project, and it's up now:

    https://decentespresso.com/coffeecart

    and made a video today showing the cart I have at home:



    I've ordered 10 replacement tabletops to be made, and will be selling them at cost to folks, to see if this idea has legs.

    -john


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  23. #2123
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    that Bror cart is brilliant so much so it made me get one! Thanks for these posts John, one day I hope to have a DE machine on mine!!
    If I can stop collecting machines an grinders long enough

  24. #2124
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sullo View Post
    that Bror cart is brilliant so much so it made me get one! Thanks for these posts John, one day I hope to have a DE machine on mine!!
    If I can stop collecting machines an grinders long enough
    Great!

    FYI I've got a DIY video I'm almost done editing, which might help you build your BROR cart, regardless of whether you have a Decent or another espresso machine.

    I'll post about it here when I get it online.

    -john

    Screen Shot 2019-12-10 at 9.59.51 AM.jpg
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  25. #2125
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    DIY coffee cart instructions

    I've finished editing this instructional video, and it's up now. It shows you every step to make your own BROR coffee cart, from scratch.

    To those of you who actually have DIY skills, my apologies.

    I'm sure there are many moments where you'll wince at my incompetence.

    But at least this proves "if Buckman can do it, anyone can!"


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