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Brewzologist
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#231: Post by Brewzologist »

John; I realize Decent is a direct-to-consumer business. Do you have any plans in the future to allow potential buyers to get a hands-on demo? Even perhaps an "ambassadors" program of current Decent customers willing to help? Thank you.

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decent_espresso (original poster)
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#232: Post by decent_espresso (original poster) » replying to Brewzologist »

Before COVID hit, this was an extremely common thing.

Most people with an interest in a Decent, live near someone who already has one. I'd email the nearby owner and ask if they were ok with giving a demo, and with very few exceptions, that was fine.

So, instead of sales rooms, or resellers, I preferred to let local prospects meet local owners. You get a much more honest appraisal too. And, often, you make a friend.

That setup is current on hold until COVID passes. What I can do, for now, is find you someone who lives nearby that you can call or zoom with, but I don't feel comfortable facilitating 1:1 meetings until COVID is no longer a danger.

-john

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

GDK wrote:Hi John, is there a problem with pushing the DE1 in NA to 15A as opposed to 10A? I believe the 110V La Spaziale S1 and may be others can do 15A max (on a recommended 20A circuit) with flick of an internal switch. Is it because the La Spaz is fully certified commercial machine and that allows for higher consumption?
There are some technical problems that need to be resolved to go to 15A, yes:
1) the IEC cable and plug max at 10A. A different power socket is needed, which also requires a modified chassis.
2) the thermal safeties we use (German made) max at 10A. We're having a custom batch made that can go to 20A but this is an exotic, special order, higher cost thing.
3) it's not clear that we can effectively heat transfer 15A in a 2 meter long heater coil. There was substantive R&D to go from 6.5A to 10A : it required a total from-scratch rewrite of the steam control algorithm.
4) 10A is available worldwide where 200V-250V is available. I don't know of any country that goes under 10A, so this is a good "high end home machine" amperage to aim for.
5) no on-demand heaters exist that can do to this. 6.5A is the normal off-the shelf maximum power for off the shelf heaters. We've had to design our own heaters, and the very first 15A heater prototypes are set to arrive in a few weeks. The 10A heaters, we've had since September, and we know they work well.
6) it's not clear that you will be able to easily make good microfoam at 15A of steam power. We're now in the range of power consumed by on-demand showers (the kind you stand under to wash). So, new steam wand tip designs are also needed, and I'm working Zubing (of Force Tamper fame) to design new tips. We're getting his latest attempt later this week. There's a very good chance that this will be too powerful. Drink quality is always the #1 goal for me, with speed being less important.
GDK wrote:I am talking about a 10A limit which John mentioned elsewhere, a limit that the machine cannot exceed. This is one of the reasons the machine cannot steam and brew at the same time. If limit was higher, then they can put in a more powerful steamer and/or allow for simultaneous operation.
Yes, we could go to (say) 13A, and then have 6.5A heaters simultaneous on for steam and brew. However, then steam would be back to the lower power of the home machines, rather than being 2x faster. Personally, I'd prefer standing there steaming for 50% less time, and gaining the 10 seconds of steam-during brew. The best of both worlds (high steam when not brewing) would cause a very odd experience of variable steam power, and isn't a good idea.

To have 10A steam during brew, and still 6.5A for brewing, you'd need to get a 20A/230V power plug. That is not a normal thing to have around, whereas all over EU (and much of the world) 15A is the standard home plug.

Anyway... what you're asking, in sum, is if we could use more amperage to get "steam during brew" and the answer is "yes, we could but the steam would be lower powered, and I don't think this approach is worthwhile."

Generally, cafes value STAFF TIME more than MACHINE TIME, and so the "seconds a staff member needs to spend to steam a pitcher of milk" is the important metric, and that's what we're optimizing for.

-john

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#234: Post by decent_espresso (original poster) »

JM71 wrote:John, will there be a version 1.42 of the 110V machines? If so, what will the differences be between that and the current 110V version 1.4?
There seems to be some lingering confusion over what v1.42 is, that I thought would be answered by
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v1.40/v1.41/v1.42 are all identical to the customer, and all models and voltages will be made of v1.42.

There is no new feature in v1.42 over v1.40.

Next year, we'll make a v1.43 machine, and the only change planned on that model is how the tablet stand mounts. Otherwise, no other hardware benefits.

We have tons of big stuff planned for the de1app and DE1 firmware, but the features are (a) free and (b) will work with all machine models, going back to v1.0

-john

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

Out of stock of black-painted wooden handles for new DE1

As of today, all DE1 machines shipping to customers, will have this PDF included in the package:




To avoid this day, we had ordered the same handles from two different suppliers, that both looked good, back in September.

Unfortunately, both had different quality problems, which led to iteration after iteration, and both have made 3 separate attempts at making samples that we would accept.




The main problems we encountered were slightly incorrect shape, imperfect paint, dents and non-straightness of the bolt.

We eventually got to a point where we were almost happy with both of them.

One supplier got everything right, except that their black paint subcontractor would then do a shoddy job:




This was depressing, because the samples we got from them were really nice.




It's only in mass production that they did a bad job.

Since we ran out of time, we decided to accept their natural-wood handles, as they're perfect and quite pretty:




the other company got everything right,





except that they were over-enthusiastic during final final sanding/buffing step, which caused this gappy look at the join with the portafilter head and too much wood loss on the outer diameter at the meeting point:




This company is also now making a production run, in theory not going to repeat this last mistake, but they won't tell us when they'll be done.

We find ourselves deprioritized by both factories because we're so fussy. Decent has two on-site employees permanently visiting the factories of our suppliers, and frankly, we're a pain in the ass to them. This is especially the case when their order book is full and they want to get these things done and move onto the next thing.

However, once the delays are all part of our history, and you have our products in your hands and your house, for years to come, I hope that the quality of the item will matter, and the delays will be forgotten.

For now, we'll continue to do our best to get machines out the door, apologize and find work-arounds as best we can, but never compromise on quality.

-john

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#236: Post by decent_espresso (original poster) »

I have a DE1 pro on order and wouldn't mind the natural wood handles if it was on both the portafilter and machine handles. John would you be able to clarify this? I think having the mismatched handles would kill me hahaha
Yes, of course you will receive both group head and portafilter handles in natural wood. It would be terribly ugly to get mismatched handles on your machine.

This is what we're shipping:




Note that the wood is natural, unvarnished. We were hoping to find someone on our own to paint them black for us, but we didn't succeed there either. So... those of you with your own varnishes, might turn this into a DIY project.

These are nice handles, just not painted black. Our option was to either "wait until someone can paint them" or "risk painting perfect nice handles with a company that previously did terrible work" or "grab what we have, get machines to customers, resolve this problem properly"

You can definitely feel the woodgrain in your hands, though. How you feel about that, depends on how you feel about natural substances.

I'm disappointed that we can't do better, but perhaps some of you will find a silver lining on this, and do interesting things with the wood handle you receive, perhaps with a staining oil.

-john

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#237: Post by Legend_217 »

Stain it then finish with clear coat

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#238: Post by GDK »

decent_espresso wrote:There are some technical problems that need to be resolved to go to 15A, yes:
1) the IEC cable and plug max at 10A. A different power socket is needed, which also requires a modified chassis.
2) the thermal safeties we use (German made) max at 10A. We're having a custom batch made that can go to 20A but this is an exotic, special order, higher cost thing.
... stuff deleted

-john
Thank you very much for the comprehensive explanation John, really useful!

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



A coffee cart for the office

We've built a two-DE1 IKEA coffee stand for staff use. There are about 30 people here, making coffee in their-own-preferred way.

Previously, we used a large bamboo IKEA table, that let us get away with being messy. However, that bamboo table isn't anything I'd recommend to our clients, as it was a huge pain in the neck to cut out (due to strengthening cross ribs) and to clean.

The two-DE1 stand is something I developed for tight-on-space coffee carts, as it does give you steam-during brew, or the ability to make two coffees at once.

But, space is tight, so you have to be disciplined about what you have on the table top, and to have a workflow which manages to work efficiently in a tight space.

I've got my preferred workflow, which is circular: grind->WDT->tamp->mount portafilter->make espresso->steam milk->pour->serve cup on right->knock out spent puck->rinse portafilter in pitcher rinser->dry basket->grind

Notably, this workflow requires you to be partially ambidextrous, but the benefit is that there is no passing objects between your hands. It's quite efficient.

I've made the poster above and over the next few weeks I'll be observing how well this works at Decent, with a group of people who are decidedly not baristas (they build our espresso machines).

And I've love to hear your feedback on any experience you've had in trying to get your coworkers to maintain a coffee-making area, and to follow a demonstrably-workable way of making drinks.

Note that this cart is completely self-sufficient, with clean and dirty water handled on the cart. It's also heavy-load, with those water containers not needing emptying (or filling) often at all. This is my first time splitting clean water into "espresso water" and "pitcher rinser water" so as to economize.

-john

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



Reddit "Ask me Anything" (AMA) for Decent / john

In 2 days' time I'll be doing a "Ask me Anything" on Reddit.

Announcement:
https://www.reddit.com/r/espresso/comme ... _espresso/

Which will be visible here:
https://www.reddit.com/r/espresso/

it will be at this time/date:
https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/ ... 179&p4=152

Thanks to Andrew Levenson (/r/espresso moderator) for proposing and organizing this.