Decent Espresso news - Page 89

Read about current and future offerings from the site sponsors.
User avatar
decent_espresso (original poster)
Posts: 1738
Joined: 8 years ago

#881: Post by decent_espresso (original poster) »

Solid Resin Handles

A few months back, our wood handle maker sent us a catalog of materials he could order, to use instead of wood. He also indicated that olive wood, from old olive trees that have been uprooted as their no longer fruiting, was also possible, but very expensive. It's a beautiful wood, but because it's old, it's knotty and full of holes and defects, so there's a very high rate of discards.

Our black wood handles are painted black, which isn't great for longevity, because that paint can flake off if you had the wood handle on the portafilter bar (maybe you're not quite awake). I've been searching for a black through-and-through material to make our black handles out of, so that'd stay nice looking, permanently.

A number of handle samples arrived today, in solid resin. Despite not being wood, this is a quite expensive material. It's heavy, polished, and feels great in the hand. These are made on a lathe, like wood is, so there is no seam. They are not moulded.

On the bottom left of the photo I opted for a conservative choice, of black resin with just a small amount of sparkle. The bottom right is a much crazier mix of dark and light greys.

On the top row are two "fashion" colors. I surprised myself in really liking the top right, but I know it's a contentious choice.

On the top left is the olive wood handle. I really like it: it's an ecological choice, since it's essentially reclaimed, and a hardwood to as well. It's very lightly finished so that it doesn't shine of lacquer but still feels smooth in the hand. I don't yet have pricing for that, or even if it's possible to make a large quantity order with olive, but I've asked.

Here are some other solid resin colors that arrived, that I didn't mount on a machine for a photo.

and here all the olive handles we received. You can see a typical wood defect on the far right one.

I'm also talking to a wood turner based on southern Germany, who has a chemical process for changing oak wood into solid black (called "smoked oak") and they're also making light wood samples for me out of maple.

Besides the possibility of changing our black handle, I'm interested to see if we can "up our game" and offer both a more attractive standard handle (in both black and light wood) as well as optional woods and colors for those who might like that.

Very much looking for to hear your thoughts.


User avatar
decent_espresso (original poster)
Posts: 1738
Joined: 8 years ago

#882: Post by decent_espresso (original poster) »

I've been cooking all week for today's company feast, of homemade beef wellington. It's our tradition for the boss to cook the annual feast for everyone.

Alex, my first employee, has been asking for me to make this for years, because he used to work at the famed Mandarin Oriental hotel as a waiter, where he'd serve Beef Wellington to guests, but as an employee he never got to taste it.

I've been practicing for a month, as I'd never made it either, and made 3 practice runs over the weeks. In the end, I changed it up a bit, as I find filet mignon to be bland, and use slow cooked organic Australian beef cheeks instead. King trumpet mushrooms (similar texture to foie gras), browned shallots and black truffles as the stuffing inside a butter puffed pastry. A tried to make a duck liver mousse, as kind of a poor-man's foie gras (and kinder too), but wasn't as successful, and came out more like a liver quiche (yum!).

We've got so much to be grateful for, as the Decent team has really come together this year. I have a hiring policy of letting people have a try at working for us, and not being too fussy about their resume, so they have a stab at getting the job.

I do this because the college I went to, Bates College in Maine, makes SAT scores optional, and weighs the in-person interview as the most important criteria. They do this because they found that test scores and grades were a very poor predictor of future college success. As it happens, Bates was the only school that let me in, out of 14 I applied to. I was in the bottom 1/3rd of my high school class, but in fact, did succeed at Bates.

So, I take that lesson, and apply it to how I run Decent.

The downside is that we do hire more than we need to, and then have a high "drop out rate", just as a College would.

In the end, though, I love everyone who is here now, with me at Decent.

To thank them all for making this work, absolutely every employee got a significant and permanent raise today, right before desert was served.

So thank you everyone who has been reading my posts this year, as you're all part of the great year we've had. We feel all the more lucky for it, knowing how hard and awful it's been for many of you. Let's hope next year goes better.

ps: we are staying open through the holidays, and shipping every day.

Last year, we closed from the 24th to the 2nd, and we got quite a lot of grief from people for the long delay in getting their orders, as well as not having my best staff available to answer tech support. So now, we stay open. We might be slightly sleepy from over-eating, but we'll do our best to help.


Posts: 12
Joined: 8 years ago

#883: Post by Awainer1 »

Love the resin handles would definitely buy one!

Posts: 42
Joined: 4 years ago

#884: Post by sergiyr »

The olive wood handles look beautiful but the resin handles, although well done, are not particularly appealing to me. I personally like how natural woods break up modern industrial design. Maybe a good place to look for sourcing wood handles would be knife manufacturers? For example Messermeister has both natural olive wood and walnut handles on their Oliva and Royale Elite lines. The knife handles are subjected to harsher handling than they would be here but the size of the handle required to be defect free is about the size you would need for the Decent. The wood is unfinished by the way so it requires mineral oil to maintain but mine have held up nicely.

Also Fellow sells maple and walnut handles on their kettles. They also need defect free wood even larger than for the Decent.

I bet you can tell I would be really into American walnut handles :lol:

Posts: 8
Joined: 2 years ago

#885: Post by statst »

With the plan of new quieter pumps, would these be easily swapped onto the v1.43 and what would the cost likely be? Is it in the 100-300 range or like 500+?

User avatar
decent_espresso (original poster)
Posts: 1738
Joined: 8 years ago

#886: Post by decent_espresso (original poster) replying to statst »

There are no current plans to change the pumps. We're in R&D on this, and maybe in 2 years, we'll have our own-design pumps, if we're successful.

Besides, the pumps are not nearly as loud as non-owners think.

Posts: 2
Joined: 2 years ago

#887: Post by dini »

This thread has a lot of good info.

Even though, i have no plans to buy a Decent I am really enjoying going through this thread.

User avatar
decent_espresso (original poster)
Posts: 1738
Joined: 8 years ago

#888: Post by decent_espresso (original poster) »

COVID causes move to faster USA shipping from Decent, no extra cost

While we ship our espresso machines via UPS/FEDEX, so they arrive in 2 to 4 days, we've continued to use the postal services to send our coffee accessories.

Due to COVID, postal services have tripled in prices, and become much slower. This is mostly due to the lack of passenger flights, with unused baggage capacity used for most air mail packages.

A few days ago, Postal Services from Hong Kong to the USA were completely suspended. And yesterday, Hong Kong ordered all flights from most of the Western World, to be stopped for (at least) the next 2 weeks. We're battling a COVID outbreak here, and trying to get back to COVID-zero, which we've enjoyed for about a year.

A year ago, I had programmed support in our shipping software, for a lower cost service from UPS, called World Wide Express (WWE). It has a completely different programming API, and a need to pre-sort packages. Back then, it was much more expensive than the postal services, so we didn't use it, but now....

We've done the calculations, and while we charge customers $10 to ship accessories to the USA, the average package is actually costing us $14. That's not too much of a difference. Now, with UPS's WWE, that's going up to an $18 average, which I feel is still OK.

So: we can continue to afford to offer the same shipping rates to the USA on our accessories, as well as free shipping for purchases of 3-or-more items.

Delivery time to the USA will hugely speed up with this change.

Previously, using the postal service, the average delivery time was 10.8 days. But via UPS in December, the average was an incredible 1.9 days. You can see 15 months of tracking stats I've been keeping, in the chart above. It's a really good service.

I've been long wanting to change to UPS for accessories for another reason.

Every day, after our chef Michael has finished making lunch, he walks over to the post office with a massive quantity of each days' orders. There's no package pick up with an inexpensive airmail rate, you have to take packages to them. The load has been getting to be a btt much for him. I knew we had to transition to another way, soon.

So, turning misfortune around, this new COVID news means that:
  • our accessories will now get the USA blazingly fast, fully tracked, via UPS WWE, in an average of 1.8 days
  • at a relatively most 28% increase in cost for us, which we can bear,
  • at no price increase to you
  • At the moment, WWE is not available to the UK and EU, so we'll be continuing to use the postal services for orders going there.

Posts: 8
Joined: 2 years ago

#889: Post by statst »

Is the current large(r) headspace and lack of crazy high flow rates the sole two reasons why some people have been preferring the texture of classic lever machines?

Posts: 248
Joined: 12 years ago

#890: Post by GDK »

I hope we will get confirmation on this but my reading so far suggests these are the two factors being questioned. John and team are working on new water distribution piece/screen as mentioned above in this thread. Since the new part is 4mm thicker, the headspace will be sufficiently decreased for good mouthfeel, I hope. If you want less of the latter, use deeper basket they suggest - I like that vs. swapping spacers in and out.

I am now speculating. A spacer was practically shifting headspace from below the water screen to above it, while the new thicker water distribution piece is solid. That will decrease the space below w/o increasing the space above, thus leading to a smaller overall group-head volume. As a result, perhaps and may be, the pumps will be able to increase the pressure more rapidly. End of speculation :)