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#851: Post by sergiyr »

Did I understand correctly that the v1.42 units listed as limited edition hybrid panels have the lip of the steel front panel polished directly without a glued on mirror? Does hybrid refer to the dual texture of the brushed+mirror front panel and the limited edition ones are where the steel itself is polished?

Can you comment on the front panel of a DE1XL, is there a 1.43 version that will have the polished steel lip?

Thank you!

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decent_espresso (original poster)

#852: Post by decent_espresso (original poster) »

sergiyr wrote:Did I understand correctly that the v1.42 units listed as limited edition hybrid panels have the lip of the steel front panel polished directly without a glued on mirror? Does hybrid refer to the dual texture of the brushed+mirror front panel and the limited edition ones are where the steel itself is polished?
We used to have two kinds of front panels:
- 100% mirror
- 100% brushed

In the past two years, we ordered samples made from 12 different suppliers, of the 100% mirror model. We even imported mirrored metal from Korea, but we never got failure rates with the 100% mirrored better than 50%. That's way too high. It's just really difficult to cut and bend mirrored sheet metal without causing a hairline scratch on the mirrored material.

We eventually settled on making 100% brushed panels, and then gluing a die-cut mirror onto the lip. The advantages of this design are:
- actually possible to manufacture
- if your scratch the mirror (it happens!) it's cheap ($29 to replace your mirror.

We call these brushed-with-mirror-lip "Hybrid" panels.

However, while we tested the various approaches, we did get have a small quantity of successes:
- some 100% mirrored panels
- some hybrid panels that do not have a glued on mirror. We hand-brushed mirror panels that had scratches not-on-the-lip, so the lip is still perfect.

The "limited edition hybrid" panels are what we have some of now, for the v1.42 DE1PRO line. Mostly 220V, some 110V. Here is a photo of that:

We will also, shortly, have about 60pcs "100% mirror" v1.42 DE1PRO machines available. I believe those will all be 110V. Here's a photo I took just now, of the 110V 100% mirror DE1PRO machines being tested. They'll be in inventory, available for choosing by those who bought one, in a few days.

Naturally, all these special models are first-come-first-serve. And, we're not charging anything additional for these limited editions.

We will have no v1.43 machines with these limited-edition panels, as the front panel design has changed, and now has a notch cut out for the tablet stand to slide into.
sergiyr wrote:Can you comment on the front panel of a DE1XL, is there a 1.43 version that will have the polished steel lip?
There will not be. We 100% switched to the glue-on-mirror approach, and the v1.43 needs a new panel design, so cannot use the existing stock of v1.42 panels.


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#853: Post by decent_espresso (original poster) »

New video: how pressure profiling changes flavor

I know that this video will seem oddly "retro" as it *only* has 3 steps: preinfusion, hold, decline, but bear with me! Understanding this stuff is the knowledge foundation you need before you go modifying those wizardly profiles from Stéphane, Gagné, Damian, and JoeD.

Away from the Decent and fully-controllable direct levers, 3 steps of programming is still "cutting edge, state of the art" from other companies, with (for example) the new San Remo machine being a 3 step machine. And, there's a reason: this is very classic espresso, really excellent with medium-light to dark roasts, and you should master part of history, this before you venture to more complicated profile programming.

The 3 profiles in this video only differ by the end pressure, which also affects the appropriate grind to use, and the running time of the shot.

I really recommend that you try this exercise. There is this gravitational pull toward more complexity with Decent profiles, and that's fine, but these simple profiles have very distinct flavor and texture, and I think they should be in everyone's arsenal.

I've seen criticism of these 3 step profiles that "they're all basically the same", to which I answer: Yes and No. Yes, they're quite similar, but no, they don't taste at all the same.

The "classic italian' profile has preinfusion, and then holds at 9 bar:

From there, I hand-edit the profile in the video you but can simply choose the "classic lever profile"

and finally, the middle ground, what I probably could have called "the classic pressure profile" ,which you can find as the "best overall" profile:

Careful eyes might have noticed that the temperature also declined in each profile. That's because 9 bar Italian espresso tends to be brewed fairly hot, lever machines less so, and those with profiling control tend to go between 88C (for dark/medium beans) to 92C (for light roasts).

In this video, I used a medium-light roast from, by Australian champ Scottie Callaghan and that roast level to darker, is where these profiles perform best.

I don't think the profiles above are the best choice for ultralight beans, but if you like how light roasted beans taste on traditional machines (a bit thin, a lot of brightness), then you should give this exercise a try.

And thanks to Paul Chan for playing along with this exercise, as I think this the first time he'd tried these profiles seriously, and was quite surprised at how good they tasted.


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#854: Post by decent_espresso (original poster) »

New: temperature changing of all steps

Probably the single most requested feature, is to make it easy to change the temperature of all the steps in a shot. Simple pressure & flow profiles could, but the Advanced profiles could not.

The reason: I have not programmed this because I could not see an elegant design solution. The "Advanced profiles" page is very complicated already and every "solution" I dreamt up made it even more so.

For some reason, looking at the problem again today, I saw a nice design solution that had never before occured to me. And so I programmed it, and it's in the nightly de1app version now.

The main PRESETS tab now has +/- buttons on the thermometer icon, that work on all profile types.

The video above is a demonstration of how this works.


Decent Paul

#855: Post by Decent Paul »

Hey all,

Those of us who have used the DE1 for a while now will be familiar with the limiter action feature and will be able to identify from the graph if the feature was triggered or not. Some are even now using them to widen the acceptable ranges for a profile, which is great to see.

Those of you that aren't so familiar will find that there are new data points to be mindful of when dialing in a bean.

We will be welcoming Shin, who will be joining me this week to help demonstrate some example graphs and shots. We will discuss what to look out for, why and what to change in certain scenarios like:

Pressure not reaching the peak point set by the profile


If you missed the last zoom you can find them below.

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#856: Post by decent_espresso (original poster) »

Lockdown prompts Decent Scale escape plan

On monday, a team for four salaried Decent staff few to Shanghai and descended on the factory that builds our Decent Scale. Their mission: to hand-test 2140 Decent Scale v1.1, with batteries, with the de1app. Yes, they really do bring tablets and connect to each one. This scale, for instance, appears to work, but... no bluetooth light, and no bluetooth connection can be made:

My staff take a video of every single failure, both to prove it to the supplier, and also to document every different problem.

At the end of each day, they post to our internal Basecamp discussion, the results of each day. Here's the start of the 1st day report:

For Decent Scale v1.0, we did the testing once we received the scales, and that turned out to be a mistake. 30% of them had light scratches, for instance, and had to be discounted. Others had problems.

That's why for v1.1, I decided to send 4 people, put them up in hotels, and really be a pain-in-the-neck, so that the supplier feels the pain of any quality problems. As the rules of the contract are that we only pay for scales that get shipped, with v1.0 we paid for all of them, but for v1.1, the supplier will not get paid the full amount until all problems are resolved.

But all that went to hell this morning, when 1 case of COVID was discovered in the factory district where the scales are made.

The entire area is under lockdown now, and only people with a negative COVID test in the past 48h are allowed out of the area. I'm worried that even that will get revoked shortly, not be able to go home on Friday, so I'm pulling my employees out right now. They're at the hospital getting tested right now, and then on the first flight out.

The good news is that 432 Decent Scale v1.1 passed the tests on monday and tuesday, and we'll get those to Decent HQ shortly, and send them to customers. As we have 446 pre-orders, most people will get their scale soon. But, we won't be able to send everyone one, and it'll be a bit longer before we have stock to send to new orders.

Such is the world of manufacturing.

I'm writing this to explain a bit what things are like, but also so that those of you who email me, angry about the delays, understand better why.


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#857: Post by decent_espresso (original poster) »

The amazing accidental physics of coffee grounds

We sell two different 'puck simulators', which are just portafilter baskets with a tiny, tiny hole drilled in them by an electron beam drill.

A single hole at 0.2mm in diameter lets through about 0.8ml/s (similar to a thick espresso) while a 0.3mm hole lets through twice as much as that, similar to what you'd want from making espresso with a light roasted bean.

Let that sink in for a moment.

A typical espresso puck lets through the equivalent of a 0.2mm to 0.3mm hole of water. That's over a 58mm size, which is 26 square cm, almost exactly 4 square inches.

Think of how amazingly effective coffee are at resisting water under great pressure. Only the equivalent of a 0.2mm of water makes it way through all that coffee. Not that many materials work so well.

Another mind blowing thing about espresso is to appreciate just how much pressure is on those coffee grounds. 9 bar is about 140 pounds of pressure per square inch. As there are 4 square inches of area on a coffee puck, that's about equivalent to 3 adult male ballet dancers "en pointe" on that coffee puck.

It's truly amazing to me that this tasty roasted fruit happens to optimally give its soluble material up at these low flow rates, and can this same material can create these flow rates under these tremendous pressures. Change the pressure down to (say) 3 bar, with a coarser grind, and espresso isn't as tasty.

Try to make a tasty extraction from ground cocoa, powdered cinnamon, or .... anything else.

Espresso blows my mind sometimes.


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#858: Post by Decent Paul »

Starting soon

Hey all, so its been 10 months since I first used a DE1 and what a journey it has been. As I reflect on the knowledge learnt and how to adapt them to improve my results.

As the DE1 is so innovative and the components are not your typical off the shelf type. We often forget how the DE1 requires a different approach to what we are used to or expect. This brings me to this weeks topic. "What you need to know before you turn on your machine."

We will cover what to expect out of the box, the things you will need to do before turning on your DE1 and also a brief run through the basics features of the app.

Of course if you have any question regarding the DE1 that you would love to have answered before you pull the trigger now is your chance.


If you wanted to catch up with lasts weeks zoom on the limiters feature you can find the summary ad full zoom below.




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#859: Post by Chert »

Is there a zoom or video covering best practices among persons running decent in cafe or cart?

I see Decent cart specific videos, the series of 10 min latte race videos and some others.

What kind of hiccups occur with intense frequent use and how are they avoided?
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#860: Post by decent_espresso (original poster) »

The Sniff Test

Our most recent batch of heaters arrived two weeks ago, and we noticed a plastic smell, that seemed to also permeate the steam. That got us very worried.

Every time we get a new batch of water heaters delivered, we do the sniff test. In the past, that's been running steam and several members of staff smelling the steam as it comes out of the machine. Our concern is that some cleaning product, solvent or other chemical used to make the heaters, might remain. We do run each machine for 2 hours before it leaves the factory, but the sniff test has always been part of our process.

In order to figure out where the smell was coming from, Decent Engineer Alfred did two things:
- built a hot water recirculation device, sending water from each heater through a fine mesh filter, and turning each area into a aeroseoling device, to make smelling defects easier.
- completely dismantled the heater into its parts, and heated each individually on a commercial warming plate.

We found the main culprit of the smell. Though the heaters are made for us, they have needed some reworking, and part of that has been us (at Decent HQ) putting high temperature shrink tubing around red-cable electrical connection. That's been fine, but with this batch, we asked the heater maker to do that for us, and... they didn't use the material we approved, instead swapping in a rubber that smells terrible when heated. That's the black tube on the right. So, we're going to cut them off the 6000 heaters we received, and put the correct shrink tube material on ourselves.

Alfred also found that a slight plastic smell comes from the insulating rubber ring right below the electric terminal, pictured above with the left arrow. Unfortunately, that's difficult to replace, and that has a very specific role, is glued in, and we would have trouble replacing it. On the positive side, we could only detect the smell when we put this part practically inside our nostrils.

Getting to a point where the Decent can get warm, without generating any smells at all, is my goal. Given, however, how many different materials are used (we worried about that cable tie, for instance, in the middle of the heater) it's an ongoing process, or of swapping out every part with another, until we slowly reduce all parts that give off smells when warm.

We do find that the warmth-caused smells drop off massively after a few hours of warm use, which has always been the case, and after 2h at the Decent factory, the machines have mostly lost their smell when warm. But... still, I do think that for a few days, after you get your Decent, you might notice a smell if you put your nose directly to one of the vents on the espresso machine. I'd love to achieve zero-smell, but perfection is hard to achieve. We'll keep working at it....