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Thread: A Mini Decent DE1+ Review

  1. #1
    Senior Member JMcCee's Avatar
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    A Mini Decent DE1+ Review

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Well, mini because at this stage it's just initial thoughts and after only two extractions.

    The machine arrived last week but I haven't had a chance to fire it up until today, the DE spending the week set up on the bench looking somewhat concerned at a very big Gaggia Tell looming over him.

    The unpacking-

    As Woody Allen (or someone) once said, 'you don't get a second chance to make a first impression' and, cardboard outer aside, the 'Decent' suitcase that wheels out is a pretty impressive piece of kit and a clever bit of marketing. But it's what's inside that matters and the DE that popped out of the foam packing was even more impressive but with a lot to live up to.

    After finally tearing myself away from the Lambro morning coffee I fired up the DE and although its supposed to be ready in five minutes it felt more temperature ready in 15. I tried to emulate a Lambro shot by using a lever preset with the same grind I use for the Faema but it was a gusher that made Niagra Falls look like a bat piddling. By cranking the HG one around a good 30mm the next one was as good as anything I've tasted from the Lambro, Gaggia or from any of the best coffee houses in Melbourne I've been to. The only change I made to the preset was to reduce preinfusion from 20 to 10 seconds.

    And the only niggle I had was the steelie stand did nothing to stablise the tablet and it wobbled around like crazy. I fixed it by cutting out two small pieces of self adhesive foam one under each end of the tablet which then settles in to the foam and makes it rock solid.

    The big test now is for wife to use it. Will report back shortly.

    WP_20180628_14_03_19_Pro.jpg
    Last edited by JMcCee; 28th June 2018 at 10:40 PM.
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  2. #2
    338
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    Thank you, appreciate taking the time for the review
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    Senior Member JMcCee's Avatar
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    I should add that after tasting the lovely second shot I tried the steaming and made a latte. A bit slow being a single hole and compared to what I'm used to but not excessively (I forgot to time it) and probably no slower than a Pavoni. I used a tiny 300ml jug so it was probably about 20/30 seconds.

    The result? As good as, if not better than a McCal, maybe not quite as sweet but as creamy as all getout. Still, that's saying something-

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    More pictures please

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    Senior Member JMcCee's Avatar
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    More pics to come next week..

    The honeymoon period totters on albeit with a couple of hiccups. This morning I made a coffee with the same grind from yesterday that produced nearly a 'god shot' and the machine choked. I can only assume the grind was affected by ambient temperature but I can't see why. I eased the adjustment off too far and got a bit of a gusher but still drinkable! The 6 bar lever pre-set has a 10 second pre-infusion after I changed it from 20 followed by a 37 second pour.

    I'm determined to get this pre-set right before moving on to another but unfortunately I'm nearly out of coffee until next week so any further playing will have to wait. Maybe I'll change it to a 28 second pour but the near god-shot at 37 tells me to leave it alone - for now.

    Aside from all that the thing continues to surprise and amuse me. From the little pops and farts when it starts up and pours to just about everything else like the timer on the steam function, idle time-out and the myriad of other geeky stuff like pressure profiles and temperature adjustments that I'll leave to others to comment on. I'm going to download custom presets from other users which should be interesting.

    Meanwhile, the Gaggia continues to intimidate..:-)
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    Would be interested to see a pic of the gaggia side by side with the Decent! It does seem like it will occupy a lot less bench space! Been following the Decent guys a while now but choked when I saw the price of their DE1PRO... hopefully the price for the DE1+ would a lot less dear when they finally start manufacturing it..

  7. #7
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    What does Mrs McCee think of the suitcase? Has she used the machine yet?

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    Senior Member JMcCee's Avatar
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    I'm baaack!

    It's been just over a week of excitement, high expectations and not a few frustrations and self inflicted disappointments. The high expectations because of the hype and stated potential of such a diminutive machine and frustrations because, not being a techhead it took a bit to understand the quirks of operating an espresso machine that is basically a complex high end computer.

    Once past that bit I got right into it and made some of the best coffees I have ever tasted. A lot. I mean like 20 in one day a lot and apart from quite a few gushers and chokers whilst dialling in both grinder and machine I tasted every one.

    The self inflicted disappointments were from me not paying attention and initially treating the DE like I would the Lambro, A3 or Gaggia. Grind near enough, walk up and pull a nice shot. Doesn't work. Grind and puck prep are critical. I also had to come to terms with having to adjust the HG up nearly a third of a turn and then even a mm would affect what went into the cup.

    So, I have now made espressos with modified and standard presets including Classic E61, Australian-Italian espresso, classic Italian, pour over and various lever profiles. Today, I made my first doubles using the two spout portafilter and a standard E61 profile. The first was okay but after loosening the grind by about a cm and preinfusing for a bit longer the next one was a cracker.

    I get app and firmware updates regularly and in my opinion the machine meets and mostly exceeds the expectations I had and with the almost infinite profile variables its a bit like having ten different machines on the bench. After settling on a slightly customised E61 profile I am now making consistently outstanding espresso. The steaming is a little slow but i can froth tiny amounts of milk by just shoving the wand in and resting the jug on the tray hands off.

    My wife is yet to use it as she is somewhat accustomed to having a tame barista wait on her every coffee whim. The suitcase is getting used on our next micro holiday. Without the Decent padding.

    Shall report back when she finally gets Decent :-p
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    338
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    Thanks for another good summary. A question, do you think Mrs McCee could, once she has been shown, get a coffee out of the Decent? Additionally would she be happy to? Basically wondering on the level of expertise required for someone with a low interest in making coffee? (Mrs 338)

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    Senior Member JMcCee's Avatar
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    Sure. Mrs McCee will be happy to have a go as long as I show her the prep. And she'll be pretty desperate when I'm away so a mild caffeine addiction will be a good motivator.. Then, as she doesn't like it quite as intense as me all she has to do is hit the stop button without having to change the grind.

    The only real problem we have at the moment is the tighter grind which she'll struggle with on the HG. When i have time I'll get another grinder, probably the Atom. I'm sure once Mrs 338 gets a taste of the end result of her own making she'll be happy to indulge in the modest effort getting there.

    One thing I find really interesting, as with some other machines I've used, is that tamping makes absolutely no difference to what goes in the cup. Which is good because its one less step to worry about. Mrs Mc actually had trouble gripping the DE tamper and pushing down. All she has to do is rest the tamper evenly on the grinds and give it a little polish.
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  11. #11
    338
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    Thanks for the great information and detail that a non coffee & non computer person could still get a coffee out of it. I ordered an Atom last week so one step closer to simplifying the process.

    It must have been quite a day with the twenty coffee taste test! I can imagine sleep didn't come easily, but satisfaction would be high. By your description it seems like that sort of morning is needed to get a rudimentary handle on the machine.

  12. #12
    Senior Member JMcCee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GaryT View Post
    Would be interested to see a pic of the gaggia side by side with the Decent! It does seem like it will occupy a lot less bench space! Been following the Decent guys a while now but choked when I saw the price of their DE1PRO... hopefully the price for the DE1+ would a lot less dear when they finally start manufacturing it..
    Sorry, I meant to reply to you earlier. I actually plonked the De on top of the Gaggia today but forgot to take a pic. Will do it again shortly and get a shot. It was pretty impressive. According to the DE website the price of the next run of DE1+ machines will be close to 4k which doesn't really surprise me considering the unexpected complexity and the intention by the creator to not do it for big profit margins.

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    Senior Member JMcCee's Avatar
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    Today I continued to make consistently outstanding double espresso for Mrs J and I, which surprised me a little because I just assumed consistently great 15 gram singles would be easier than two great shots out of a 20 gram basket. She baulked at making it herself because of the manual grinder but tomorrow I'll complete the first bit so she just has to prep the basket, lock it in and press the button. I'll steam
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