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Decent Espresso Machines (DE1) - Any thoughts?

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  • Scott Rao has a new book out, entitled "Coffee Roasting Best Practices"

    "The most advanced guide ever written about expert-level coffee roasting. There is little overlap with The Coffee Roaster's Companion, which focused on the basics of roasting and different roasting machines. This book focuses primarily on advanced techniques to craft and control roast curves, with numerous pages devoted to strategies to avoid "ROR" crashes and flicks, baked coffee, unnecessary roasty-ness, and other roast defects."
    You can buy it from Rao's own site http://scottrao.com or from Decent https://decentespresso.com/books

    -john

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    • 161 pages of highly informative and entertaining posts.

      Is that a site record for a single thread?

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      • Originally posted by SanderP View Post
        161 pages of highly informative and entertaining posts.

        Is that a site record for a single thread?
        It sure is a lot of information! Presently beaten by the 'what's in my roaster' thread at least,
        https://coffeesnobs.com.au/forum/cof...ster-this-week but John has 1147 posts up, most in this thread so 1100 posts in a single thread would be some sort of record for just about any forum

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        • Gotcha, I steer clear of that thread as I'm not allowed to roast and it makes me jealous to read all the wonderful blends you guys roast.

          Cheers

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          • It has begun.... other people have started writing their own Decent-compatible apps

            Within 24h of each other, two Decent customers posted photos of their written-from-scratch apps for the DE1.

            A native app for Windows from Mimoja https://twitter.com/WingsOfMimoja

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            and a native iOS app was announced too, by Brian K

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            both those images are only teasers of what they're working on. But it's interesting that both were announced so close to each other.

            I think that happened because in the past few months, Decent has crossed over from selling mostly to coffee geeks, and now we're selling to the (larger) tech geek audience. This new customer base recently started a crazy-long and technical "big data coffee analytics" discussion thread on our private Diaspora forum. It's causing dozens of posts per day, much of it above my competency, which is great.

            Last week, Decent customer Barney in the UK walked me through his skin for my tablet app, which completely rethinks how the Decent should be piloted. Barney's work is much closer to finished than the yesterday-announced Windows/iOS apps, which are just starting.

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            Barney's "metric" skin presents the Decent in traditional "advanced barista" terms of grind, dose, ratio and temperature. The profile that runs the shot is automatically made for you, and not the focus. Instead, you focus on traditional espresso terms that, if you have a coffee background, you already know.

            This is all very good news, because as good as my team might be, we can't compete with the talents of thousands of motivated Decent customers. This is the payoff for openness.

            -john

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            • Decent Coffee Cart at Falcon Roasters

              This appeared on an Instagram story today, and I thought I'd turn it into a video. This cafe has put their own very-large tablet on our DE1XL v1.1 model espresso machine. There is also what appears to be a K30 grinder, and a tamping mat.

              I also found it interesting that everything in that cafe is on wheels, or easily moved.

              They're using a scale to stop the shot : I need to let them know about the new "stop at pour volume" feature which removes the need for a scale for most cafes.

              -john


              Video by Adnan Coffee
              https://www.instagram.com/adnan_coffee/

              of Falcon Coffee Roasters
              https://www.instagram.com/falconroasters/

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              • Coffee Shin TV

                My plan for global world domination (mwaaaahahahah!) is to try to copy Tesla's model of no-resellers, but to have a strong presence in each major market, with my own employees in that country, and try to provide very good, appropriate-to-local-culture, support.

                South Korea is the first place I deployed that strategy, in hiring a local, and having set up a Decent Base in Seoul. Shin, a young ex-engineering-student who moved to Australia for a while, to learn about coffee, is my Decent Man in South Korea.

                I assume that the locals-on-the-ground know best, so I let each local Decent Base, do what they think is best. In South Korea, that means Shin visits tons of cafes and customers in person (they have a good train network), we exhibit (and sponsor, supplying machines) at the two major coffee trade shows, and..... Shin does "Coffee Shin TV"

                If you're not acquainted with the style of Asian television, it's usually a wacky, surreal, sensory overload.

                Nonetheless, Shin provides really excellent information about not just Decent, but also
                • coffee in general,
                • reviews grinders (as as the new Ultra grinder that's sold by Levercraft in the USA)
                • and of course, lots of Decent info.

                Here's a sampling of his recent videos, which are a good introduction. Everything is in English, with Korean subtitles. You'll notice the Youtube videos don't have many views, but that's because South Korea has their own video-sharing platforms, where he's huuuuge.

                His Youtube station:
                http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCy0g...eOkx8-w/videos













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                • Decent parts catalog

                  I have written a web site viewer for all our product parts.

                  You can find it here: https://decentespresso.com/parts
                  
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                  It's also mentioned on the bottom of the shopping cart page, and in the DE1 warranty page.

                  You need to first pick a product:
                  
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                  and then the first level of parts and assemblies is shown:
                  https://decentespresso.com/parts?fil...LUS110V2-00211

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                  You can further drill down to individual parts in the assemblies:
                  https://decentespresso.com/parts?fil...ER110_R2-13145

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                  Some comments:
                  • not all parts displayed can be ordered.
                  • some parts have been discontinued, and there's a "contact us" link on those parts, to ask for help
                  • some parts have been are "not yet available". That means the part is in stock, but we haven't yet done the database work to make it available for purchase. If you need this part now, click on the "not yet available" linked text and send us an email, and we'll prioritize if for you.
                  • about 1/3rd of our parts have photographs. We're going to work hard of fleshing that out in the next 3 months, as we've hired  Nicole Chow Nicole  recently, to manage our parts inventory and ordering process.
                  • There are mistakes in the database. For example, both the 120V and 220V AC boards are listed for one of the DE1 110V models.
                  • One big motivation behind my writing this, was to provide an easy way for both Decent employees, and the outside world, to see how well (or not) we are organized.
                  • By making errors much easier to see, and by making this all public, I'm hoping to clean this data up faster, and make it more accurate for everyone.
                  • You don't need to report errors in our database yet, but I will announce again when I think the database is accurate, and then you guys can send us emails showing us how wrong we were. 🥰

                  -john


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                  • New: much better previewing of espresso profiles

                    Fairly big app version release today, as I've been coding full time during 2 weeks of quarantine in Hong Kong. I was holding back on a release until I could test on an espresso machine, which I didn't have access to during quarantine.

                    The main feature in today's new app version is much better previewing of all profiles.
                    - all profiles now show temperature, pressure and temperature
                    - previewing advanced profiles now work
                    - real-time chart while you edit advanced profiles
                    - a "cursor" on the advanced profiles editor as you pick a step.
                    - the title of each profile is displayed on its Settings Tab.
                    - New profiles get a name of "untitled #xx" automatically
                    - Tapping on the profile tab shows you that it was saved.
                    - Here's a quick video showing you all this.

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                    • A bit of backstory..., and the view from my new desk in Hong Kong

                      After 4 years of building a business up from nothing, Bugs and I were thoroughly exhausted, and needing a break. We left Hong Kong in May 2019, with plans to exhibit at a few trade shows (Berlin, London, New York, Portland) as sales were quite slow back then (about 40 machines/month).

                      At the "World of Coffee 2019 Show" in Berlin, someone pulled me aside... worriedly. He told me he'd had been comparing my current Youtube videos, could see burnout, and wanted to warn me that I wouldn't last long. He said "I don't think you're having fun anymore" (his words).

                      At that time, it was sleeping pills at night and painkillers during the day, just to keep going. So, that was a wakeup call. Coming off Ambien was not fun, and took a month of no sleep. With Scott Rao's help, we learned that Bugs' shoulder problem were a biome reaction to alcohol.

                      In some ways, COVID has been well timed for Bugs and I. It forced us to live in California for 6 months, in the middle of a forest, and just have a very simple life. A BIG reset, and a tan.

                      COVID has also caused a big increase in people wanting to take up espresso-making at home, which for us is a silver lining to an otherwise sad situation, since we happened to have an appropriate product for that very need.


                      So....

                      16 days ago Bugs and I flew back to Hong Kong, to get "back in the game".

                      I've set my desk up with the other engineers working on making machines. This is the new factory, which moved production into just 10 days before our arrival.

                      Both bugs and I were bit shellshocked and emotional by what we saw on arriving. We'd seen the CAD files of the factory, and interviewed everyone via video chat, but it really didn't hit us, until we were here, this is our company, and our employees, and this is what we're building.

                      Whoa.

                      -john

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                      • level3ninja
                        level3ninja commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I'm glad you both had a chance to correct a concerning trajectory and are feeling much better for it. FWIW I think what you've started already has enough momentum that it would continue in some form even if you wanted to stop it. Glad you're still at the helm though

                    • John, I procrastinated for a long time buying a DE as evident by my panicky, bordering on ridiculous posts earlier in this thread with my major concern being local support and yet having my machine for quite a few weeks now I realize that I couldn't get any better support, honesty, technical support and transparency from any coffee machine suppliers, even ones in my local town. I can post a concern on diaspora at any hour of the day and get a quick response from head technicians, head engineers, experts and even your good self. No other company does that! You and bugs have not only created a first class coffee machine like no other, you have created a friendly community of like minded people willing to support each other regardless of how trivial. On behalf of all DE owners I can just say you deserve your success and I applaud you and bugs for it and best of all we're getting the best quality coffees that we've ever had.

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                        New order queue page, new v1.4 water and steam heaters

                        I've rewritten our "Queue" page to now display v1.4 orders. Since that model will be built after all the v1.3 machines have been built, I've placed v1.4 orders in the queue immediately after the last v1.3 order.

                        https://decentespresso.com/queue

                        There are currently 98 v1.4 machines sold, and a total of 208 machines sold, overall in the queue.

                        I previously projected that we'd ship the v1.4 machines in October. If we manage to get v1.4 building started by October, we should be able to ship almost the entire existing order log of v1.4 machines in that same month, as we've been making about 90 machines per month.

                        It's too early to tell if v1.4 machines will be built faster in October, as there be a "new model slowness" factor, offset by a few speeding-up-assembly improvements.

                        Most notably, all models up to now have required 2 hours each of hand-soldering to make a fiberglass box, aerogel insulation, sensors and triple thermal safeties, around an off-the-shelf water (and steam) heater. There are two heaters in each machine, so that was 4 hours work per machine.

                        In about two weeks, we changeover to our-design heaters, that have a custom moulded insulation, and everything pre-assembled for us by the heater manufacturer. They also make heaters for a rather well known American pro espresso machine, and we've been happy with the quality (less happy with the mould costs, but c'est la vie).

                        The insulation rating is slightly better with this new model, as we used infrared cameras to find where heat was leaking out of our old design, to capture that heat loss with our moulded design. FYI the heat loss was significant around that central thermostat safety feature in the old design.

                        The new heaters, like the old ones, have 1500W of power each. However, the internal tubing length has gone from 1.2 meters, to 2 meters. That gives us more time to heat the water (and stabilize its temperature) as it passes by the hot tubes.

                        -john

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                        • Originally posted by decentespresso View Post

                          It's because we're not making v1.4 machines, that they don't appear in the https://decentespresso.com/queue page. As soon as we start making them, your order will appear there.

                          We've sold about 50 v1.4 machines so far, FYI, so that's likely where you are in the queue.

                          We're still waiting for the final parts to arrive for v1.4. Hopefully in the next few weeks. But we won't start building v1.4 until the entire run of v1.3 is complete.

                          -john
                          I was somewhat alarmed when I checked the queue to see it had ballooned out to 9 weeks. But I recovered my composure when I saw it's because you added 106 v1.4 orders, of which I am number 60. Looking good for a DE1Pro on my birthday.

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                          • Steaming in two stages

                            New firmware from Ray landed at Decent Espresso today. Previously, we've used one dedicated 1500W heater, running at 160ºC, for making steam, using room temperature water. That steam heater has a 1.2 tube length on it. Today's firmware now uses the espresso heater to preheat the water from 20ºC to 95ºC, before it then goes to the 160ºC steam heater.

                            We still have the same amount of current available to us (1500W total) but now we're seeing greater steam power because (1) we've doubled the heating tube length, to 2.4 meters, and (2) we've used our water mixing technology to stabilize the steam, as the input is now always 95ºC, almost water vapor already.

                            The new firmware is on the v1.3 machine on the left. The old firmware is on the right. You can see that the steam is "thicker" and goes about 30% higher toward the ceiling now. It's also jumped from 2 are of pressure, to a bit over 3 bar.

                            We'll be testing this new firmware over the next few weeks, and it'll then be made available for free to all DE1 owners. Even our v1.0 machines will be able to use this new firmware and approach to steam.

                            -john

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                            • Really looking forward to this update for steaming.... and even on my V1.0 DE. 👍😊

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