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#491: Post by decent_espresso (original poster) »

sew83 wrote:- scale integrated in drip, it could not only be integrated to software and used for making espresso, but also for weighing milk in jug, or even beans before grinding
The DSX skin has all those scale features today:
https://www.diy.brakel.com.au/dsx/
sew83 wrote: - temperature sensor in steam wand to check milk temperature which could introduce autostop frothing when given temp will be achived
This was accomplished yesterday with the $89 MEATER bluetooth thermometer, and will be released soon.

To say it again: bluetooth thermometer support, for steam auto-stop, is coming shortly, probably next week in beta.



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#492: Post by decent_espresso (original poster) »

New tablet stand for October 2021, news of upcoming version

This is the new slide-in tablet stand we're going to move to, starting with Decent espresso machines made in October 2021 (labelled v1.43). This is the only planned hardware change for that version.

Note the slot cut out of the chassis, in order to make this new feature possible. This is cut from the stainless steel of the front face and the aluminum chassis behind it. We weren't able to make this new feature work without modifying the chassis, which unfortunately makes it not backwards compatible to earlier machines.

With all other designs we tested (and we took 2 years to design and test this), we found them to wobble when tapped, which was super annoying. You can see in this video that this stand design is quite strong, and doesn't wobble. It appears permanently mounted to the chassis, if you were to guess, as you need to give it a good strong pull to get remove the tablet stand from the chassis.

This is the chassis that will start shipping in October, with the DE1 version we are labelling as v1.43. This is the only change in this version, from the DE1 we are currently shipping.

I do not yet have pricing for this v1.43, but it is likely that we will be raising prices, perhaps as much as 10%.


The Global Supply Chain is currently very Precarious

Products that need a lot of different parts are finding it hard to buy everything they need, in time to keep production going. Many car factories have stopped production, but as Ars Technical reports, there are shortages of many high tech products.

We are currently buying for this v.143 version, and finding that our parts costs have risen dramatically. Chips are particularly more expensive, with (for example) our Taiwanese-made CPU rising this month from $15 to $25 each.

What's causing these price increases? A vicious cycle, I think:
  • certain product categories, such as ours, have seen huge increases in demand. If it makes your life at home better, chances are that it's selling well, due to COVID-induced lifestyle changes. Decent is ordering larger quantities of parts, but so are all our other supplier's clients. https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2021/04 ... into-2023/
  • factories were shut down during COVID, so they have to catch up anyway. At the same time, production capacity has gone down, as many factories went permanently out of business during the COVID shutdown.
  • parts prices have gone up, delivery times have increased (typically, from 60 days now to 6 months)
  • and so companies are ordering even more, stockpiling parts, to avoid factory shutdowns
  • we previously were ordering enough for 7 months at a time. We're now buying for 2 years of parts.
  • I think everyone is doing this, which is further driving up costs and delivery times.
  • This week, we managed to order parts from the "spot market", at a huge markup, parts that were supposed to be delivered in April, but suddenly were delayed another 6 months. We literally had to pay whatever the sellers wanted to charge, otherwise we'd have to halt production.
Our white chassis supplier fired us a few weeks ago, for being too picky, but a few days ago we found a new supplier whose quality looks good. White is a notoriously difficult color to get in high quality, and I'm hoping the new supplier delivers.

Last week, things looked grim, like a July/August factory shutdown was inevitable. News this past week was all good, as we paid "whatever it takes" and we think we'll not have to stop producing our espresso machines due to parts lacking.

-john

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#493: Post by decent_espresso (original poster) »

Cleaning and testing our silicone F-Tubes

This post is going to seem a bit insanely obsessive, but so be it.

Back in December, I posted a video about the new all-silicone F-shaped tubes:
https://www.instagram.com/p/CIh4mSXB_eS/

This tube carries water from the water tank into two pumps (hot and cold paths).

Making a custom tube allowed us to remove a lot of other parts, improving reliability and simplifying assembly.

As you can see in the video, these tubes are made by heating soft silicone, and subjecting it to pressure. It's common, though, for little bits of silicone to be left inside, dangling but still attached.

Decent engineer Alfred Nenada built a machine to clean out those bits. Actually he built several machines, as it took a few attempts to make something that actually worked.

In the end, Alfred decided to clean one tube at a time. A high powered pump fires clean water at 5 bar of pressure, and the water is reclaimed through a particle filter. The high pressure swells the tubes, spotting any weaknesses or leaks. The high water flow rips out any bits of silicone that might be dangling inside the tube.

This process takes about a minute per tube. As we built around 250 espresso machines per month, it takes Alfred a half day a month, to prepare the tubes we need.

Yes, this is a bit obsessive, but if we didn't do this, we would worry about a dangly bit inside the tube shaking loose some many months later, where it would then cause a blockage, and a real problem.

And yes, we could outsource this process, but we prefer to do our own cleaning and quality-control, so that we can closely monitor what our suppliers are giving us, and not get caught unawares if their quality slips.

A "Chinese Wall" between the manufacturing and testing of a part, is a really good idea. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_wall

-john

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#494: Post by threesips »

Very cool.

It's a small point, but if he's repeating that process 250 times a month, he might consider raising the height of his work bench several inches to avoid the repetitive strain on his neck and back.

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#495: Post by decent_espresso (original poster) »


DE1XXL steaming & latte art

Dennis Hew shows how he steams milk, and then makes latte art, on his DE1XXL espresso machine.

He uses two milk jugs: the 350ml to steam with, and the 600ml to pour the art with. The larger jug gives him better control over the foam, since he can angle the jug further.

https://decentespresso.com/de1xl

GDK

#496: Post by GDK »

Excellent microfoam at a good speed!

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#497: Post by decent_espresso (original poster) »


Adding a 3rd line for DE1XXL

Last year, we had one line of tables to build espresso machines for customers. In August we moved to a new space, and added a 2nd, and lengthened both. Each was dedicated to either 120V or 220V machines, Yesterday, we finished reconfiguring our space, so we can add another line.

The reason for the change? We're getting a lot more 220V orders, now that we have the DE1XXL model, that is 220V-240V only, and cafes are regularly ordering this model in batches of 3 at a time, and sometimes as many as 15 at once.

So... this new line of tables will be dedicated to building the DE1XXL model, and hopefully we can keep up with orders.

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#498: Post by decent_espresso (original poster) »

Masterclass: finding the right recipe for your beans

An hour long conversation between Decent co-founder John Buckman, coffee educator and judge Celia Wong, and trainer from Fuel Espresso, Paul Chan.

We start with medium roasted beans and move to light roasted single origin, discussing what recipe is appropriate for each bean, and tasting as we go.

You'll learn how to think about what espresso extraction recipe (on the Decent, a "profile") would extract a given bean best, or in the way you most want from that bean.

Note: shortly after this event, I hired Paul to work for Decent, focussed on our manual and training videos.

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#499: Post by decent_espresso (original poster) »

Movie rotating DE1 3 ways

Our web site http://decentespresso.com/?movie=1 now lets you see 3 different ways of installing the Decent, all animated 360º, at the same time. What do you think? Too much visual stimulation?

You tap on the movie button to enable/disable this animation. By default, it's off until you tap the movie button.

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#500: Post by decent_espresso (original poster) »

New Showroom process

As discussed on Home Barista Email from Decent Espresso and also with many customers, for some people the Decent Showroom is confusing.

However, many people do like it. It seems especially confusing for people whose English is less good.

So, we're changing the process:
- I've rewritten the email templates to be clearer
- If we don't hear from someone 48h after we've invited them to the Showroom, then my assistant Ihti will pick a machine for them, and email them a "public URL" of it. That way, they don't need to navigate Basecamp.
- After offering them a specific machine, after 48h if they don't reply, we send that machine.
- For those from countries where English is not well spoken, Ihti will pick the machine for them, thus skipping the first step. We're doing this as of today for our Arabic, Chinese and Korean customers.

Here is the first message that most will receive:




and here is the 2nd message (sent a few days after the first), but this is the 1st message that is sent to our not-so-good-at-English customers:





Here is an example of the records we provide on every machine, before it ships to you:
https://public.3.basecamp.com/p/6rRMu4m ... izYn7aMFek

-john