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decent_espresso (original poster)
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#181: Post by decent_espresso (original poster) »

Portafilter locking symmetry test

This is a jig we built to test that our portafilters lock symmetrically to the opposite wood handle. A number of sub-millimeter tolerance parts can change the locking point, not to mention "how hard to push" when locking it in. This way we're absolutely consistent, no matter who works on this.

I reported on this goal some time ago, but it's taken a while to design, debug and build. This model uses a torquing wrench which "gives up" at a certain strength.

Our v1.4 machines have each been taking about 30 minutes more to build, because the locking point of the portafilters was not consistent, due to a small variation in thickness on two different parts. We've had to disassemble each group head and re-assemble them with the right spacer (0.4mm 0.6mm 0.8mm) to get this alignment just right.

For our v1.42 machines, we're sending this jig to our CNC metal supplier, so that they can verify that all the parts they've made for us are exactly the right size, and we don't have to do this annoying rework.

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#182: Post by decent_espresso (original poster) »




30 minute coffee podcast with Decent John

The Craft Your Own Coffee Podcast yesterday posted a 30 minute interview I did with by Joel Joel Sigmon .

In the interview, I talk about my journey to "suck less at making espresso" and explain why I love lever machines, am not a fan of "flat 9 bar" espresso machines, and explain just why espresso is so hard to make well.

The podcast can be heard here:
https://anchor.fm/craftyourowncoffee/ep ... /a-a448h46

The "Craft Your Own Coffee Podcast" is up for a Sprudgie award, so if you enjoyed this episode, give it your vote at : http://sprudge.com/vote/

-john

Decent Espresso: espresso equipment for serious baristas
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#183: Post by decent_espresso (original poster) »

Weber's Spring Clean, Optimized for Decent

The new Weber "Spring Clean" https://weberworkshops.com/products/spring-clean espresso machine cleaning accessory is now optimized to work beautifully with Decent Espresso Machine. We've made a 3 minute long cleaning recipe, which builds pressure gently and then releases it slowly over several passes. This flushes a lot of detergent through the group head, significantly more effectively than a standard "blank basket" could ever do.

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#184: Post by decent_espresso (original poster) »

The Last Barista Kit

For the past four years, we've packaged up the coffee accessories I designed into one big suitcase, and sold it as a "Barista Kit". https://decentespresso.com/barista_kit




I first started designing coffee accessories for a few reasons:
  • I was learning to make better espresso, and as I did, I wanted to take what I had learned and make it easier
  • Sometimes, it was a journey, such as what I learned about tamping, moving from a focus on tamping pressure, to now being focussed on a level bed, and a level tamp
  • the suitcase looked great, very James Bond, and it was fun to go to events with everything I needed in one hightech suitcase
  • I really needed to learn about manufacturing, and have suppliers in place, before the DE1 design was finished (which would take 4 years)
  • I also knew that we had to get our sales, tech support, web site, and logistics (shipping, returns) all working well, before we started shipping espresso machines. If we waited until we had espresso machines to ship, we'd not have the time to do a good job on this vital part of the business.
In the four years of shipping this suitcase full of goodies, we've learned:
  • compact packaging hugely saves on shipping. We paid way too much of air shipping, because we used cardboard box and air space around the suitcase. When we started, it cost us about USD$65 to send the baristakit to the USA.
  • COVID doubled the cost of shipping these, because UPS raised their rates.
  • we were constantly running out of stock of one or more items in the baristakit. This meant we were frequently unable to ship the entire suitcase.
  • We tried to work around this sometimes by sending almost-complete suitcases and then following up with the remaining parts later. However, that cost us a lot in shipping and labor, and greatly complicated logistics.
  • Batteries turned into a constant problem, largely due to COVID. We've always been unable to ship lithium batteries in products via air mail, but during COVID all shippers started getting super-strict, and refusing any batteries. Even the watch battery in our digital milk thermometer, now causes the entire baristakit to become unshippable. This meant we had to remove the batteries by hand from all packages.
  • We had too many variations, with two different kinds of spouts, 3 different tampers, and Celsius vs Fahrenheit thermometers. Add "discount" kits for cosmetically challenged items. This meant that every order had to packed as the order came, and that's inefficient. It was also a incredibly hard to track all those variations.
  • People didn't seem to value the baristakit suitcase are rarely photographed in social media, unlike the DE1 suitcase, which gets lots of visibility.
  • Shipping these items without the suitcase is hugely less expensive.
  • Overall, I'd say the suitcase costs us over $100 in costs in shipping and materials cost, and that's to the USA. Shipping to other locations made the price more like $150.
  • I don't think people found the suitcase added $100 to $150 of value for them, so it wasn't a good way for us to spend money.
  • So, with these last barista kit suitcases, we now end this product.
We'll continue to sell the discounted bundled of products known as the baristakit (it's about 30% off from buying individually) but we won't do a suitcase again.

We're still selling the tamping kit with suitcase https://decentespresso.com/tamper until the stock of suitcases runs out, and then we'll stop that too. It has no batteries, and no thermometer or milk jugs, so all in all, fewer variations. And we packaged it up in a air-bubble envelope, so shipping costs are much more under control.

-john

icantroast

#185: Post by icantroast »

Not sure this is the right place for this, but I recently learned you can make pour over with a decent. Whats the process for that? Also, what are some other non-traditional things a decent can do? I am strongly considering buying one. Thanks!

Jeff
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#186: Post by Jeff »

There's a pour-over dispersion basket available, as well as a tea portafilter. People are even experimenting with Japanese dashi broth.

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#187: Post by decent_espresso (original poster) »

icantroast wrote:I recently learned you can make pour over with a decent. Whats the process for that?
icantroast wrote:what are some other non-traditional things a decent can do?
Tea is the most recent thing I've been focussing on, and I'll be making a video about that shortly.

Because the DE1 can be programmed to hit an exact temperature, and to make recipes with very specific times (pauses, flushes, etc) it's able to make quite good tea, with several kinds of variations.




We have a special "tea portafilter" we sell, and recipes that work with it. The Portafilter features a latch that opens at a specific pressure, so the DE1 is able to reliably open/close it, as is needed to make proper tea.


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icantroast

#188: Post by icantroast »

Oh man, you guys are telling me all the things I want to hear, lol. And I dont even have to haggle with you to toss in a bottomless portafilter. :) That tea portafilter is awesome. Though Im not sure I understand why the latch is important. Also, I have heard about scratch and dent/blemish models. But that I have to get permission to sign up for the decent forum. Is this a fact? Might be worth considering. I really appreciate everyone's help!

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#189: Post by decent_espresso (original poster) »

icantroast wrote:That tea portafilter is awesome. Though Im not sure I understand why the latch is important.
Because tea doesn't want to be brewed under pressure, it wants to steep. So you need a portafilter that will hold water on demand, and then release it when the steeping is over. That turns out to not be that simple. We can't take the credit for inventing that, it's a Taiwanese "espresso bubble tea" invention, but we can do a lot more with it than they can, due to the programmability of the Decent.

Tea made under pressure is delicious when you mix it with lots of condensed, sweetened milk, because it's quite astringent and over-concentrated, but great for that style of tea.

For more traditional teas, you need to avoid pressure during brewing.
icantroast wrote:But that I have to get permission to sign up for the decent forum. Is this a fact? Might be worth considering. I really appreciate everyone's help!
No problem. Drop me a PM here on HB with your email address, and I'll add you to the Decent Bazaar. That goes for anyone reading this, too.

-john

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#190: Post by decent_espresso (original poster) »




Live view of all Decent Espresso Stock

The Decent Queue page:
https://decentespresso.com/queue

now has public, live links to the Showroom (new, full price espresso machines) and the Bazaar (discounted espresso machines)

All those who buy a new machine from us receive an invitation to choose their machine. Every machine, even the perfect ones, has a 360º 4k video of that machine, as well as a video of the calibration and testing, and a text file of the tests.

You can also ask any question you have about any machine, and my staff will answer you there, with the entire discussion visible to any who looks at that machine.

People often ask questions like "did I see a defect at 0:12 in the video, on the group head?" or "the steam on this machine has lower pressure than others, why?"

These live inventory links will also let you understand exactly what models and options are currently available. For example, we have no "mirror lip" DE1XL models in stock at the moment, only DE1XL mirror panels with minor flaws are in stock. This week we'll finish building 80 DE1XL with mirror lips, and those machines appear in those live views.

My goal is to continue to be as transparent as possible.

As our queue shrinks and we sell machines more and more from stock, I'll continue to improve this feature, with the eventual goal of being able to show non-customers the videos and other details of every machine in stock. That will take some programming work on my part, which is why it's not yet done. At the moment, only buyers have access to all information about every machine in stock.

-john