Help me choose an espresso machine - Decent or Dalla Corte Mina or ?

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
BVLDARI
Posts: 28
Joined: 1 year ago

#1: Post by BVLDARI »

I think it's finally time to step up to a more prosumer machine... I've had the Breville Oracle (regular and now the Touch) over the last six years and while we love the machine overall, it's been super unreliable. Breville is great at supporting it, but maintenance is running about $400 a year... I say this because my last machine was replaced by Breville 15 months ago, and it too is now leaking and back to Breville for repairs. So I spent $400 15 months ago and now $400 again. Of course this also means that we are without a machine for about a month. My wife really enjoys the convenience of the Oracle so I would like to somewhat be able to replicate that for her.

Wife mostly drinks americanos. I pretty much exclusively drink espressos. We rarely drink milk drinks - mostly when we have company. We did about 2,000 pulls last year according to the Oracle shot counter.

I really enjoy the automation of the Oracle and if I am going to get a new machine it must have flow / pressure control. I really like the idea of being able to replicate a shot - so electronic flow control appeals to me (instead of the manual E61). This is how I settled on the Decent and the Dalla Corte Mina. I love the Slayer but I don't think it will do quite the stuff that I am interested in. I also looked into the the R9 but that machine seemed to have known issues and based on my Oracle experience that makes it unappealing. I am open to suggestions.

For those that know the Mina and Decent directly, and especially if you have the Mina, can you talk to me about why you chose whichever machine and what your experience has been? Anything else I need to know?

I recently bought the Versalab M4 grinder and will probably keep this for a long time.

Thank you all in advance.

NelisB
Posts: 968
Joined: 14 years ago

#2: Post by NelisB »

Which are the known issues for the R9?

Have you thought about the San Remo You?

I had the Mina for a year. Lovely machine. But it's atypical. It's a flow profile machine. You can get beautiful pressure profiles by chosing the right flow settings (DFR), but you have to keep in mind that pressure on the coffee is the result of the flow together with the resistance of the coffee puck.

Satchmo780
Posts: 84
Joined: 2 years ago

#3: Post by Satchmo780 »

No comments con the machines you are asking about, but wondering about the maintenance issues you have had with the Brevilles, is it possible your water is the cause? If so, you will want to address that so you don't encounter similar issues with more expensive machines.
LMWDP #737

BVLDARI (original poster)
Posts: 28
Joined: 1 year ago

#4: Post by BVLDARI (original poster) »

Satchmo780 wrote: No comments con the machines you are asking about, but wondering about the maintenance issues you have had with the Brevilles, is it possible your water is the cause? If so, you will want to address that so you don't encounter similar issues with more expensive machines.
I've had different issues from leaking to bricking. I doubt it's the water because I had issues in Chicago and now the latest problems were 100% in LA (and the water is different). I always use filtered water for the machine before putting in the tank and then using the filter that's included in the Oracle's tank. If I plum the new machine I will 100% get an in line water filter for that line.

BVLDARI (original poster)
Posts: 28
Joined: 1 year ago

#5: Post by BVLDARI (original poster) »

NelisB wrote:Which are the known issues for the R9?

Have you thought about the San Remo You?

I had the Mina for a year. Lovely machine. But it's atypical. It's a flow profile machine. You can get beautiful pressure profiles by chosing the right flow settings (DFR), but you have to keep in mind that pressure on the coffee is the result of the flow together with the resistance of the coffee puck.
Never looked into San Remo at all but will do - thank you for the suggestion.

Can you share a bit more about the Mina experience? Why did you sell it and what do you have now?

I didn't do a thorough deep dive on the R9 but seemed there were enough complaints that I decided to move to something different.

NelisB
Posts: 968
Joined: 14 years ago

#6: Post by NelisB »

i didnt sell the Mina, I gave it back because of an issue with the DFR. The issue, which was a software issue, was solved shortly after the machine left my house :cry:

By profiling the flow, you create a pressure profile. (depending on the puck resistance). So that's a different mind set. We like to think in pressure. So probably that's the reason why the Mina is not that popular.

Build quality is beautiful. Leadless brass boilers. I really like the design. Heavy pump etc. I would buy it again if it was not that expensive.

NelisB
Posts: 968
Joined: 14 years ago

#7: Post by NelisB »

I am looking at the R9 to replace my ACS Vesuvius Evo leva. So I like to know first what the issues are.

ACS is a nice machine, no issues, but I want to try a pump machine again.

HH
Posts: 471
Joined: 7 years ago

#8: Post by HH »

I have a DE1 and really like it.

There were several reasons it stood out as the right machine for me.

1. It's small and energy efficient
I tend to travel a fair bit and like the fact I can take it with me on holiday.

2. It's very flexible
I can't think of another machine that has the capabilities or flexibility that the DE1 has. It has the ability to both follow a multi-step pre-set profile and adjust pressure, flow and temperature at multiple points throughout the shot. It can also be used fully manually. You can even intervene with overriding manual control part-way through an automated profile to tweak pressure and flow if wished. The level of control it gives you is astounding.

3. It's simple
I really wanted a machine my wife would use. Originally I was set on getting a lever machine, however I knew that my wife would never want to use a lever. With the Decent, my wife happily makes espresso and microfoam at the touch of a button. She doesn't need to do any adjusting of profiles or monitoring flow rates. She couldn't care less about doing that - she just wants a delicious cup of coffee.

4. Their customer service is amazing
The last thing I wanted was a machine I had to get serviced by a tech every year. I really like the fact that the overwhelming majority of repairs can be done by the end user, and Decent will ship you the parts (in my experience for free). They will then guide you through any necessary repairs by video call. If it is something you can't fix (or would rather not do yourself) they will courier it back to Hong Kong (again, for free), fix whatever the problem is and send your machine back to you in a matter of days.
Everyone I have spoken to or dealt with at Decent has been a genuinely lovely person. I particularly like the fact John and Bugs pay their staff well, and seem to care for every member of their team, ensuring they have good holiday provision. It feels good to support a company which values and supports its staff. It may seem like a little or inconsequential thing but it means a lot to me.

5. It makes lovely coffee!
This should probably have been first on the list. I would hope however that it's pretty much a given when you're spending money at this level that the coffee is good. With the Decent I can get the best out of any roast level from ultra-light to dark, just by changing the profile. As a plus with the DE1, it also makes excellent filter coffee and tea.

6. The microfoam is the best I have ever made
The milk steaming on the DE1 is something which people tend to criticise. I think this is because it can take longer to steam milk on the DE1Pro and XL than comparable dual-boiler machines. As I don't work in a commercial environment, I have to say I prefer being able to set the steam level a bit lower in order to give me time to incorporate the bubbles properly. I can happily make much better microfoam on the DE1 than on other machines I have used, which includes the Linea Mini. I will be the first to say though that this is due to my technique not yet being good enough to handle the power of the steam on the Linea, not through any deficiencies of the Linea itself!

7. It's always getting better
A huge plus for me with the DE1 over any other machine out there is that it is constantly evolving and being improved. Future updates to the DE1 are able to be retrofitted to almost any prior machine (possibly excluding some of the v1.1 models without the GHC). Software updates are free, and hardware upgrades like the upcoming shower block are available at cost. As a guide John has said the new internal block will be available to purchase for $99, which seems a very good deal to me given the multiple years of R&D which have gone into it, and the fact it will improve the in the cup really. It's nice to know that my machine will be even better in a year's time than it is now. It pretty much stops FOMO in its tracks.

Things I don't like:
It's only fair after the rather gushing list above that I also go over some of the things I don't like so much about the DE1.

1. The vibe pumps
The DE1 uses vine pumps by design, as they allow very accurate mixing of hot and cold water to ensure temperature accuracy and flow profiling. They don't sound as nice as a gear or rotary pump, however they are generally petty quite when compared to other espresso machines I have used. They certainly sound better in person than they do on video.

2. The visual design
The stock design of the DE1 is very much a function over form, Bauhaus approach. Everything is considered in order to optimise function, even down to the ceramic drip tray and group head handle. This does mean it is not a particularly 'flashy' machine. Its looks will not wow people or give any idea of how much it costs. Some people will want a machine that visually makes a statement, whereas the DE1 makes a statement with the coffee it puts out.

3. It's very digital!
I don't mind this, but do occasionally feel like it would be nice to have a classic lever for the old school analogue connection to the shot. For my set of needs however as mentioned above, the DE1 is a much better fit. A nice thing about having an external android tablet is it can be replaced/upgraded in future for something like $99 if it fails (or you could use one you have at home if you have a spare), as opposed to having to junk the whole machine or send it in for a costly repair.

4. The learning curve
Again, I probably should have led with this. If you decide to get a Decent, I can guarantee it will be different to any machine you have used before. There is a fairly steep learning curve to using the DE1, or at least there was for me. Having so many variables to play with means that inevitably you are going to make some mistakes when you first use it and make some dishearteningly dreadful coffee. I know I did! I feel like I know so much more now though about why a coffee tastes bad when dialling in a bean and, more importantly, how to fix it!

Hopefully this is of some use, please feel free to shout off you had any other questions about the Decent. I might not know the answers but I'll do my best to help.

Henry

BVLDARI (original poster)
Posts: 28
Joined: 1 year ago

#9: Post by BVLDARI (original poster) »

NelisB wrote:I am looking at the R9 to replace my ACS Vesuvius Evo leva. So I like to know first what the issues are.

ACS is a nice machine, no issues, but I want to try a pump machine again.
I did a google search and read through numerous posts. I could be more sensitive due to my issues with the Oracle. I don't claim to be an expert on the R9 at all and I could have misread things, but based on my Oracle experience I am looking for reliability.

loscorrales
Posts: 85
Joined: 1 year ago

#10: Post by loscorrales »

NelisB wrote:I am looking at the R9 to replace my ACS Vesuvius Evo leva. So I like to know first what the issues are.

ACS is a nice machine, no issues, but I want to try a pump machine again.
look at vbm domobar super electronic