Decent and next level of excellence

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GDK

#1: Post by GDK »

I do not have a Decent (yet) but have been following the developments and discussions closely for quite some time. DE is still way ahead of everything else in terms of innovation. There are a few things that can be improved which could bring it to the next level of excellence, I think.

This recent video from a DE owner touches on some: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FaEwPD655wU

Here is my wish list:
1. Lose the ceramic drip tray and make it from nice sturdy plastic. This would provide benefits:
a. easier operation/workflow:
- tray will not break easily while handling it
- it will be lighter
- it will slide in and out more smoothly (no need for tape)
b. less shape variation which should eliminate that imperfect fit and wiggle with the tray grid on top
c. there may be cost benefit (?)

2. Have a plastic water reservoir. Ceramic may be less susceptible to grime etc. but again the benefits of plastic outweigh that, adding a cover may become possible too.

3. Increase the machine dimensions by a little at least. It could still be one of the smallest machines that can fit in kitchens with space restrictions. I know portability will suffer (given the distribution and warranty models) but I would rather have a machine optimized for everyday use as opposed to transportation. Potential benefits:
- larger drip tray capacity
- larger and more comfortable work space under the group head
- more space on top of the machine to store cups - larger foot print does not necessarily mean loss of space

4. Modify the group head handle - for better aesthetics and less obstruction. How about a curved, quarter or half circle handle that goes around the front of the group head and is attached in two places, on either side, for example.

5. My last and unrealistic wish (due to certification challenges in NA) is to have an XXL model, i.e. powerful steamer, on 120V. Oh well, I already have a powerful enough voltage upconverter ready in case I decide to go with a 220V XXL machine. I know building a 240V line in NA is a possibility too but that would limit machine portability.

Dreaming is free, so here...

ShotClock
Supporter ♡

#2: Post by ShotClock »

Interesting points. I've had a DE1XL for almost 2 years now, here are my thoughts.

1 - I wouldn't mind a plastic drip tray, but the current one doesn't really bother me. If you flush into a cup, capacity is not an issue at all.

2 - I would not like a plastic reservoir. Partly this is concern over leeching into the water, and partly this is because the ceramic is fantastically easy to clean, to the point that I clean the reservoir almost every time I refill.

3 - I wouldn't appreciate the increase in size. It doesn't feel a cramped working space to me, drip tray capacity is fine for my purposes, and I put a few things on the top of the machine, but no cups. As a rule, I'm not convinced that espresso cups should be warmed, and when I warm my cappuccino cup, I do it with water from the hot water spout. I always use a cup to flush into after pulling a shot to keep the screen clean, and at this rate, I only empty the drip tray once a week or so.

4 - I replaced the GH handle with a stub from Sheldon, this is a minor bug. I'd like a factory plug or some alternative included with the machine though.

5 - I think that a 110V XXL would require a 30A outlet, which would almost certainly require running another circuit to your kitchen. I believe that the idea is that almost every kitchen in NA will have 220V for the range etc, so adding another outlet isn't too much work. Having said that, I'm not convinced of the utility of an XXL for domestic use. I have turned down the steam power on my machine to get better milk texture at the expense of a few seconds of steaming time. This means that to get a cap, I'm steaming for ~20s. Not a big deal for me at all.

There are a couple of things that I think could be improved:

6 - Easier way of adjusting headspace. I use a spacer/dispersion block from Sheldon which is great. I believe that there is a new block incoming from decent which will address this soon. Would be great if this could be adjusted shot-to-shot, but I'm not sure if this is feasible.

7 - A method of plumbing the machine that completely bypasses the reservoir. Currently, it looks like both refill and plumbing kits just refill the reservoir automatically. To avoid biofilm etc., it would be great to bypass the reservoir completely.

8 - Separating the update of profiles from the rest of the software would be a great addition. Currently, if you want to test the "80s espresso" low temperature profile (or any other experimental profile that decent is developing), you either need to move to a less stable build of the decent app, or download the profile via a third party app such as visualizer. Reducing the friction of trying new profiles would be a nice step in my opinion.

ira
Team HB

#3: Post by ira »

Many of us just remove the handle and there are aftermarket short handles. It's just a threaded hole, so you can replace it with anything that fits. And FWIW, you can have all those wishes, but in my observation, you're talking to a wall and none of that is happening. There are aftermarket bigger drip trays if you want and if you really want more steam in real time, it takes more current than you can get out of a standard 120V 15 amp plug. in this case I think 220V at 10 or 15 amps. Properly you'd need a 30 amp 120V outlet to power it, something I've only seen in commercial/industrial buildings.

p4lxrich

#4: Post by p4lxrich »

i've only had my decent for about 3 weeks. i love everything but the drip tray so far. i wish it was more sturdy and intact and not easily removeable. perhaps also the steel cover on drip tray. i just wish that whole thing is sturdy and doesn't move. it just felt like an after thought to me.

HH

#5: Post by HH »

GDK wrote: I do not have a Decent (yet)...

Here is my wish list:
1. Lose the ceramic drip tray and make it from nice sturdy plastic. This would provide benefits:
a. easier operation/workflow:
- tray will not break easily while handling it
- it will be lighter
- it will slide in and out more smoothly (no need for tape)
b. less shape variation which should eliminate that imperfect fit and wiggle with the tray grid on top
c. there may be cost benefit (?)
I really like the ceramic drip tray and water reservoir. It's feels lovely to use and much nicer than any plastic alternative I have ever used on other machines. They don't break easily, and are made by Loveramics who know what they're doing when it comes to manufacturing ceramics. I agree moving away from ceramic would allow a more uniform product, but I haven't had any issues with my drip tray wobbling or being irregular. The QC at Decent is really good in my experience.
2. Have a plastic water reservoir. Ceramic may be less susceptible to grime etc. but again the benefits of plastic outweigh that, adding a cover may become possible too.
I'm not sure what the benefits of plastic are you're talking about. Ceramic is great. It has been used for liquids for thousands of years. It feels lovely, and is food-safe.
3. Increase the machine dimensions by a little at least. It could still be one of the smallest machines that can fit in kitchens with space restrictions. I know portability will suffer (given the distribution and warranty models) but I would rather have a machine optimized for everyday use as opposed to transportation. Potential benefits:
- larger drip tray capacity
- larger and more comfortable work space under the group head
- more space on top of the machine to store cups - larger foot print does not necessarily mean loss of space
Again, I'm not sure why you would want to do this. I don't want a hot cup for my espresso. It tastes more flavourful slightly cooler in my experience, but there are various aftermarket cup-warming shelves available for the DE1 as mods from third-party sellers.

The dip tray capacity for me is ideal, as it fills up at pretty much exactly the rate the water reservoir diminishes. When the DE1 is out of water is a good time to empty the drip tray. It makes it very convenient to do both at the same time and means I don't forget!
There is ample space under the group for me, I would want to make it bigger personally as I really value the DE1's small size and portability. There is no benefit in my eyes in going bigger.
4. Modify the group head handle - for better aesthetics and less obstruction. How about a curved, quarter or half circle handle that goes around the front of the group head and is attached in two places, on either side, for example.
I find the group head handle really useful as I use it as a guide when steaming milk. Having something to rest my hands against means I always hold the jug in the same place in relation to the steam wand and has helped greatly in building muscle memory and improving the consistency of my microfoam. If you don't like the look of it it's easy to remove. I agree it would be nice to have a blanking plug included however if you don't want to use it.
5. My last and unrealistic wish (due to certification challenges in NA) is to have an XXL model, i.e. powerful steamer, on 120V. Oh well, I already have a powerful enough voltage upconverter ready in case I decide to go with a 220V XXL machine. I know building a 240V line in NA is a possibility too but that would limit machine portability.
Again, I'm not sure why you need this in a home environment. The steam is too powerful for me on the base DE1 and I have dialled it down almost to the minimum settings so it doesn't cause the milk to fly out the jug. Granted I have a 220V version so that may explain the discrepancy with the 120V model.

I'd encourage you to try a DE1 in person if you can, as once you've seen and used one in person you may not find some of the items on the list as important as they may currently seem. Or you might absolutely hate it :D. I think I am lucky in how closely the DE1 fits with my idea of an ideal machine, and appreciate that not everyone will share my impressions of the interesting thoughts you have raised in your post.

GDK (original poster)

#6: Post by GDK (original poster) »

I'd encourage you to try a DE1 in person if you can, as once you've seen and used one in person you may not find some of the items on the list as important as they may currently seem. Or you might absolutely hate it :D. I think I am lucky in how closely the DE1 fits with my idea of an ideal machine, and appreciate that not everyone will share my impressions of the interesting thoughts you have raised in your post.
One day... and you are right, I will probably not mind all the stuff that other DE owners complain about, but there are things that I know I will not like for sure as I have built certain expectations from performance and convenience point of view. I may be able to lower these to certain degree and get the other benefits of the DE :) And yes, steaming is better on the 220V DE versions of the same model albeit not by a ton. I think they have a note on it on the DE site.

Quester

#7: Post by Quester »

GDK wrote:5. My last and unrealistic wish (due to certification challenges in NA) is to have an XXL model, i.e. powerful steamer, on 120V.
This depends on how much milk you are steaming. For me it's most often 2-4 ounces. There's more steam power than I need. The GS3 I used to have was hard to steam small amounts of milk on. The DE1 is easier. But if someone is steaming a larger amount of milk, I could see where more power could be helpful.

I too like the ceramic water and drip trays. Safe and easy to clean.

The top of my "wish list" would be a DE1 that has fewer software and connection issues. I don't have that many, but it's frustrating when you are ready to make coffee for a group and you have to fiddle, reboot, reset Bluetooth, etc. I now have two machines, so I have twice the issues. But those issue are infrequent, so it's a minor inconvenience.

I've also never been able to get my two DE1s to behave similarly enough that the same grinder, bean, and recipe produces the same result. Lot's of work with calibration has helped, but they still behave differently. This would be unfortunate in a cafe setting. But John and others have done this a lot and not had any issues.

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Randy G.

#8: Post by Randy G. »

The list is maybe a list of non-issues, at least for some users. Both 1 and 2 are mostly eliminated by fully plumbing the machine. A reservoir cover would be nice. I do not even have the group handle installed. As mentioned, a stub handle works, but still, mine doesn't move. Larger? No. The top doesn't heat so placing cups there doesn't get you much benefit.

My only major thought in terms of such improvement would be to have the plumbed drip tray made so that it 'plugged into' the machine or had a simple quick-disconnect of some sort so that the hose did not interfere with the removal of drip tray so that the reservoir could be more easily accessed for removal and cleaning.
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GDK (original poster)

#9: Post by GDK (original poster) »

Quester wrote:This depends on how much milk you are steaming. For me it's most often 2-4 ounces. There's more steam power than I need.
I do 12 oz at a time for two lates as I usually I make 4 to 6 lates in one session. I would have to do 1 latte at a time with the DE1PRO/XL.

This is info from the DE1 site (decentespresso.com/compare):

DE1PRO/XL on 110V - 42 second 200ml (8oz) latte
DE1XXL on 220V - 24 second 200ml (8oz) latte

There is no such thing as too much steaming power on the DE1XXL. AFAIK, it will have a feature (FW upgrade in progress) where you can preprogram the power to match the typical quantities that you use - you have whatever you want, which is great and I do not believe any other machine has it!

I wonder if there are any Canada/US owners on this forum who have the XXL.

GDK (original poster)

#10: Post by GDK (original poster) »

Quester wrote: I've also never been able to get my two DE1s to behave similarly enough that the same grinder, bean, and recipe produces the same result. Lot's of work with calibration has helped, but they still behave differently. This would be unfortunate in a cafe setting. But John and others have done this a lot and not had any issues.
I hope you figure it out eventually. Are both running with the same FW/SW, including profile definitions etc.? You probably use the same PF and basket on both to minimize variables.