Decent Espresso markets a wide range of other espresso gear, with three espresso machine models currently in the lineup: DE1+, DE1PRO, and DE1XL (DE1CAFE model is planned for next year). The DE1PRO features heavier-duty components than the DE1+, but is otherwise very similar. Both espresso machines are geared towards home baristas. The DE1XL and the planned DE1CAFE are designed for commercial use.
This is a review of the DE1+, but I will refer to both the DE1+ and DE1PRO models simply as "DE1".
Decent Espresso DE1+ - image and evaluation model courtesy Decent Espresso
Simply stated, the Decent Espresso DE1 is an espresso machine for the 21st century. After 6 months with the DE1, I'm hooked. The DE1 pulls great shots of espresso, offers unparalleled extraction control and feedback, and makes other espresso machines feel, well, primitive by comparison. Moreover, it's put a lot of the excitement and fun back into espresso for me. Highly recommended.
Let's take a look at the most interesting features of the DE1:
- Small form factor: The DE1 is roughly one half the size and one third the weight of my 1-group Spaziale Vivaldi S1, making it ideal for small kitchens. It comes in a wheeled suitcase, and is highly portable. The machine can be drained and packed for transport in under five minutes.
- User interface: The DE1 is controlled entirely by Android tablet. There are no buttons or dials, other than an on-off switch at the rear of the machine. The tablet communicates with the machine via Bluetooth, and controls it with a software app. Advantages of this should be immediately apparent:
- software updates can be "pushed" immediately via the Web
- multiple interfaces can be selected, ranging from simple 3-button GUIs to advanced extraction profile editors
- enterprising members of the community can contribute to the app software
- Temperature control: The DE1 heats water on the fly for brewing, milk steaming, and hot water dispensing, using thermocoil technology. A mixing manifold combines room temperature water with heated water to provide the desired temperature. There are several advantages to this approach: excellent temperature stability, temperature monitoring at the puck as well as the "boiler", near-instantaneous brew temperature changes, even automatic temperature compensation for cold coffee grinds at the beginning of the shot. From a cold start, the machine is ready to brew espresso in only four minutes.
- Sensor feedback:The DE1 provides temperature, pressure, flow rate and extraction weight in real time, throughout the extraction. This information is presented graphically as the shot progresses. Extraction data for every shot are stored on the tablet for later analysis.
- Extraction profiling: The DE1 allows you to specify temperature, pressure, and flow rate throughout the extraction. Different steps in the extraction may have different temperatures, pressures, and flow rates. These profile steps are specified using a profile editor. At present, no other home espresso machine offers
The DE1's combination of extraction control and sensor feedback provides an unparalleled opportunity for learning about espresso. For the scientifically inclined, the DE1 is a precision tool for experimentation and testing theories about espresso.
Bench threads are kept closed, so once the review is done, it's easy to read. There's a separate thread in the Bench forum (Comments on Decent Espresso DE1+ Review) for users to post questions and provide review feedback.