Decent Espresso DE1 · Espresso Machine User Review

Coffee and espresso equipment reviews by the site's members.
From the Team HB review of the Decent Espresso DE1+:

Image The Decent Espresso DE1 model is an espresso machine like none other. The small form factor belies the remarkable capabilities of this machine. Significant technological innovations include rapid temperature adjustment, brew pressure control, flow rate specification, real-time sensor feedback, and upgradeable software interface.

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.

The Decent Espresso DE1 is a remarkably innovative espresso machine that combines many unique features: small form factor, excellent ergonomics, short warmup time, rapid temperature adjustment, pressure and flow profiling, real-time feedback, and more. But it's not for everyone.

Those who desire manual control over the shot (via a lever or paddle) will not be happy with the DE1. Although the DE1 provides extraordinary control over the extraction, it must be specified ahead of time. Like most pump machines, once the extraction begins, it will run to completion unless terminated early.

Most others will find the DE1 to be an exciting new development in home espresso. It offers unprecedented manipulation of extraction parameters, useful real-time feedback, a great online community for sharing recipes and solving problems, and an excellent tool for learning and exploring espresso. With the DE1's kitchen-friendly style and choice of simplified user interfaces, even your significant other can be happy with this espresso machine.

Rating: ★★★★★ (5 out of 5)

4 members found helpful reviews below

mtbizzle
★★★★★ Flexibility
Reviewed on December 19th, 2020

Offers a lot of flexibility, with the layers of control over parameters, and provides a lot of feedback. Community is there if you want to interact, dive deep, or seek advice. Some smart folks are regularly experimenting with new profiles and directions. There is a suite of Decent products, hope John keeps expanding the stuff they offer.

RapidCoffee
★★★★★ DE1 is an exciting new development in home espresso
Reviewed on December 19th, 2020

The DE1 gives you the ability to tweak temperature, pressure and flow in ways that no other home espresso machine can match. This increases your options, so be prepared to grind through a lot of coffee! This is not necessarily a bad thing. Espresso lapsed into a humdrum routine for me years ago. The DE1 has put back much of the exploration and fun into making espresso. There are many things to try, and every one provides a rich learning experience.

"Big gulp" latte lovers may find that steaming large quantities of milk is slow. Milk steaming time is proportional to the quantity of milk, so 15s for 3oz scales up to 60s for 12oz. Fortunately, the DE1 allows automatically timed steaming, and the no-burn steam wand can be positioned in the milk pitcher for hands-free steaming. For example, you can set steaming time for 6oz to 30s, position the steam wand for hands-free steaming, and let 'er rip. At the end of steaming, short puffs of steam continue until you hit stop, ensuring that microfoam does not separate and milk does not get sucked back into the steam wand.

This is brand-new technology from a small company, and you must have an early-adopter mentality to fully appreciate it. The hardware has not changed much since version 1.0 began shipping in April 2018, but software updates are still fairly frequent. This is both good and bad: updates bring new, improved features, but you must adapt to these changes. Documentation is spotty, and your best resource is often the online Decent Diaspora community.

As noted, the DE1 does an excellent job of producing microfoam, but steaming performance is slow for large quantities of milk. The DE1 cannot simultaneously pull a shot and steam milk, which is a requirement in commercial settings (the DE1CAFE model should be able to do this). For big gulp latte fans, an espresso machine with a large steam boiler may be a better choice.

Most others will find the DE1 to be an exciting new development in home espresso. It offers unprecedented manipulation of extraction parameters, useful real-time feedback, a great online community for sharing recipes and solving problems, and an excellent tool for learning and exploring espresso. With the DE1's kitchen-friendly style and choice of simplified user interfaces, even your significant other can be happy with this espresso machine.

Update: I received the DE1+ v1.0 in August 2018, and reviewed it in March 2019. Since then Decent has made incremental improvements in a number of areas (e.g., espresso mouthfeel and steaming performance), as well as one major change (introduction of a grouphead controller that allows real time extraction manipulations). Amazing machine, amazing company.
★ Helpful