Decent Espresso news - Page 18

Read about current and future offerings from the site sponsors.
User avatar
decent_espresso (original poster)
Sponsor

#171: Post by decent_espresso (original poster) »

What we're building now

The Decent Espresso queue page https://decentespresso.com/queue now shows you what models we're currently building, and what we're building next:




We run two lines "assembly tables", one for each voltage, and each is always at a different stage of completion.

What we build next is very simply defined as: whatever machines are at the top of the queue.

Each run takes a total of about 10 work days from start to being handed over to UPS. So, the "will build next" models should definitely ship in less than 20 days, and usually less than that.

In November we sold 202 machines to new customers, but we managed to ship 275 machines in that same month. So we're managing to make machines faster than they get ordered. 202 machines presented a 32% increase over our previous record of 152 machines sold in a month. I'm guessing that sales increased due to the decreased wait time.

I don't know if we'll be able to stay ahead of the order queue in coming months, as next year just has so many unknowns in the world. With a vaccine coming, but the economic cost hitting, will our sales go up or down? No idea, but for now, we're able to keep up, which is good news.

-john

mtbizzle

#172: Post by mtbizzle »

John

Since you are so involved in making equipment that surrounds the actual espresso machine -- I am curious -- what do you think about making a perfectly sized 'paper cutter,' for cutting espresso filters out of... whatever other filter you choose?

As you know well enough, using filters is not uncommon for Decent owners. I do it. There been some discussion about these sorts of things on Diaspora, sourcing papers or a way to cut them yourself. Some people buy comparatively much more expensive quantitative or qualitative lab paper. My gut is this would be easy to source something that would allow you to cut several papers at once. I'm sure no one doubts that you would get the sizing right. I would buy one straight away.

BPlus: turning your coffee spirit
Sponsored by BPlus
User avatar
decent_espresso (original poster)
Sponsor

#173: Post by decent_espresso (original poster) » replying to mtbizzle »

Die cut paper is quite cheap to do, as the die is just a piece of bent, thin sheet metal. But the nice paper, with no food safety or taste tainting, is expensive to buy. If memory serves, the Japanese stuff was really nice.

As it happens, we'd looked at offering this product, but we've also tinkered with ultra-thin metal fabric, because that's washable and re-useable. But for now we don't want to be in the "consumables" business as it's quite different from what we do now.

Ben Champion, a fellow HBer and mechanical engineer who I eventually hired, has worked heavily on this topic, so i'll ask him to reply here.

mtbizzle

#174: Post by mtbizzle »

decent_espresso wrote:Die cut paper...
Interested to hear what he has to say.

To clarify -- I was wondering about a product for home users to cut espresso filters themselves. Not for Decent to sell filters, but for Decent to sell a "cutter" so that home users can buy whatever filter they like, and cut espresso-basket fitting filters. (I have searched for something suitable and have not found amazing options) That would allow the endless experimentation that I'm sure people will want to do, if the filtered espresso thing has legs.

User avatar
decent_espresso (original poster)
Sponsor

#175: Post by decent_espresso (original poster) »

mtbizzle wrote:To clarify -- I was wondering about a product for home users to cut espresso filters themselves. Not for Decent to sell filters, but for Decent to sell a "cutter" so that home users can buy whatever filter they like, and cut espresso-basket fitting filters. (I have searched for something suitable and have not found amazing options) That would allow the endless experimentation that I'm sure people will want to do, if the filtered espresso thing has legs.
Amazon sells kits from $40 to $60 that specialize in die cutting paper:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07LB9HTDB

That looks like a good way to go.

bachampion
Sponsor

#176: Post by bachampion »

I did try using thin metal mesh that had a hole size similar to the paper filters, but after digging through a dirty knock box a dozen times I'm the search for the mesh I gave up on the idea.
Decent Espresso

User avatar
decent_espresso (original poster)
Sponsor

#177: Post by decent_espresso (original poster) »

How a soft silicone tube is made

This new tube is being introduced in a few weeks, inside the machines we build. Previously, we used several tubes with connectors, and found that occasionally the connectors would tire with usage and then leak. So, we designed a custom silicone tube to replace all that complexity.

Such a simple little part is actually quite a bit of work to make. In this video we show you how a soft silicone tube is actually made.

Weber Workshops: tools for building better coffee
Sponsored by Weber Workshops
User avatar
decent_espresso (original poster)
Sponsor

#178: Post by decent_espresso (original poster) »

A few people emailed me, asking if they could delay their DE1 shipments until we had the new silicone tube in stock.

I told them there was no reason to wait, as we switched off the plastic "T" several months ago, when we received a bad batch, and moved then to a much-more-expensive stainless steel T, as well as several UK-main tube crimps. There's no way this is fail, it's actually a bit "over engineered" for the role.

So, this is what we're currently doing, which will all be replaced by that single molded silicone tube:


User avatar
decent_espresso (original poster)
Sponsor

#179: Post by decent_espresso (original poster) »

An Espresso Profile that Adapts to your Grind Size

Coffee researcher and author Jonathan Gagné shared with me a breakthrough-paper he's working on "An Espresso Profile that Adapts to your Grind Size"

Essentially, he's come up with a theory on how the Decent DE1 could be programmed to automatically adjust the recipe to your grind size, to produce a near-optimal espresso curve. This recipe would radically simplify your need to "dial in" a grind to be "just right" and would adjust the recipe instead.



He wrote me about his ideas, and I shared with him our plans to implement a simple "scripting language" for making an espresso, which would run on the DE1 itself. This future capability will allow recipes to change themselves based on what's currently happening. For example, what's the flow rate coming out preinfusion, as we reach peak pressure? Should we take that flow as a our baseline flow and then adjust our flow relative to it? But... this feature doesn't yet exist (hopefully, next year).

Ater a bit of brainstorming, Gagné realized he could do almost what he wanted, with the our existing Advanced Profiles, which feature a conditional "exit this step if..." logic. It's not quite a full programming language, but it does allow a fair amount of logic to be programmed in.

Visualizing his profile, it looks like this:



Gagné's research paper is available now to his Patreon followers:
https://www.patreon.com/coffeeadastra

He's also shared the results with all Decent DE1 owners on our Diaspora forum, and is engaged in a very active discussion with the community about this idea.

-john

User avatar
decent_espresso (original poster)
Sponsor

#180: Post by decent_espresso (original poster) »

Struggling a bit to keep up

This is what our "DE1 shipped per month" looks like. The last 3 months have been kind of insane.




Considering that curve, I think we're doing "fairly well" and not screwing up too often, but I do want to note that we have been failing in these ways:
  • there have been an increase in shipping mistakes. We used to never make them, but occasionally we send the wrong color USB cable out, or a mis-fitting drip tray cover.
  • sometimes it takes us a few days to get an order boxed
  • and there's more discussion on Diaspora than I, Charles, or anyone else on my staff can keep up with.
  • So much has been discussed on Diaspora in the past, and there are so many knowledgeable people here, that the vast majority of questions or
  • issues can be solved within a few hours, here on this forum.
  • We do have a "ticket system" in place to make sure we don't "not respond" to something.
This is where your emails go when you https://decentespresso.com/contact us.

This is what our internal tech support dashboard looks like, and each Decent staff member can see their own messages.




If you have a problem and we reply back to you, and you never reply back to us, currently there won't be any more followup. Our system is based on the assumption that "we have to be the last message in a discussion".

So if we write to you with a question and you don't reply, there won't necessarily be any more followup from us.

In that case, if you think a problem has been dropped, please send us an email https://decentespresso.com/contact saying "hey, my problem XYZ still hasn't been resolved" and that'll re-open your ticket and get our staff to follow up with you.

I know there are systems with "open tickets" and "closed tickets" and we might someday move to that concept. However, the tech support I've had from companies that use that sort of thing, tends to encourage staff to close things much too soon, and I've not had quality communications with those companies. So, I've resisted moving to an "explicit close" ticket system. "Explicit close" tickets works when you have a lot less volume than we have.

-john