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Thread: Decent espresso

  1. #2051
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    Quote Originally Posted by decent_espresso View Post
    the intention is for these heaters to make their way into our v1.3 machines
    -john
    Can I pre-order a UL-approved v1.3 machine now?

  2. #2052
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firedancer View Post
    Can I pre-order a UL-approved v1.3 machine now?
    Not yet.

    Getting UL approval by "such and such" date is by no means a sure thing.

    I kind of would prefer to actually have UL approval first before taking your money and promising you a machine by a certain date.

    -john

  3. #2053
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    Default New recipe: Gentle and Sweet

    I've been working on a new preset to recommend as "my first decent espresso" to people receiving an espresso machine from us.

    Previously, I used to recommend the "best for milky drinks" program, because that's what I generally use every day. Rao argued that this was a difficult recipe to get your grind calibrated for, and the discussions here on Diaspora have generally agreed. It's a great recipe, but it takes careful grind and dose adjustments to make it work well.

    We often find (on the Diaspora forum) that new users have too coarse a grind, and cannot reach much pressure. Or their shots channel badly. It'd be nice to have an easier first espresso.

    So.... this new "gentle and sweet" recipe is my attempt at a "first time user" friendly espresso. I have been pulling it myself as my morning beverage these past 2 weeks, as it's a great shot to pull when you're only semi-coherent. It does not demand excellent puck prep. Flow rates between 0.5 ml/s to 2.5 ml/s out of this recipe, all taste good.

    Here's my description for this preset:
    "This is a very easy espresso to successfully make and is suggested if you are having difficulty making good drinks. The pressure rises to only 6 bar and then slowly descends to 4 bar. The resulting espresso should be free of channeling, have low acidity and quite pleasant to drink straight or with milk."
    A few people on the Diaspora forum have already tried this and reported good results.

    This new recipe "gentle and sweet" is now available in the DE1+ app. Use Settings->App Update to get it. Exit the app and relaunch.

    -john

    screen 2018-08-20 at 3.38.31 PM.jpg

  4. #2054
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    Default Wow, Whoops, Whatever : a philosophy of product design

    ==============================
    INTRO: our "Decent owner's forum" was today discussing a new feature they want: a user-configurable sound that plays when the espresso machine is warm and ready. This also morphed into an "instant message notification service" to your mobile phone. That discussion prompted me to write the text below, to explain how I try to select and prioritize what makes it into the product.
    ==============================

    Despite the whimsical title above, this is actually how I design products. I will eventually write something more elaborate, but here is the summary:

    • WOW : I love this feature, I would buy this product just because of this
    • WHOOPS: I love your machine, but there is no way I am going to buy it, because of this
    • WHATEVER: I am absolutely going to buy your machine, but I would like you to add these (non-WOW) features.


    Thus:
    • Companies that ignore WOW tend to not have any sales. ("this product is not exciting")
    • Companies that ignore WHOOPS tend to have quite limited sales (only "true believers" can overlook the problems).
    • Companies that focus on WHATEVER tend to have declining sales. (no new WOWs = no new attention, and too much increasing complexity leads to "hard to use" and "buggy")


    As the Decent Espresso Machine is still a young product, there are still WHOOPS items that we need to address.

    • On the upcoming cafe model, top of the list is steam-during-brew, and 2x stronger steam
    • On the current DE1+/DE1PRO models, the biggest whoops on my list is "my machine is damaged (or malfunctioning) likely due to shipping damage".
    • Bluetooth has been a whoops that is mostly fixed (it was very bad on Skale until a big software update recently). Android Tablets slowing down is also a whoops that is mostly fixed. There are still improvements to be made on these two topics, but I think we can all live with the current state of things, whereas previously it was fairly aggravating.
    • Flow reporting not being as accurate as we all want, is also a big whoops that has getting almost 50% of Ray's this year. There's progress on that front, but as this is a heavy-R&D task, timely success is not assured.


    And once those addressed, Ray and I want to work on some new WOW features.

    I don't want to pre-announce them, because they're
    • a LOT of work, and I don't have estimates for when we'll be able to ship them
    • partially R&D, and thus it is not certain that they are all even possible.


    Once all the WOW and WHOOPS have been taken care of, you'll see more of the WHATEVER stuff being done. I will continue to spend time trying to keep the app modular so that the increasing feature capabilities don't result in bloatware for everyone.

  5. #2055
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    Default Decent at Prufrock / London

    I'm in London next week, with a demo and roundtable discussion planned at Prufrock.

    -john

    ----

    At Prufrock (23-25 Leather Lane, London EC1N 7TE)

    Saturday September 1st,
    from 2:00pm -> 3:30pm "Decent Espresso Demo"
    from 3:30pm -> 5:00pm "Advanced espresso roundtable discussion: what we’ve learned so far, what we’re still very confused about."

    These events will be no cost, but ticketed. I'll post the link to obtain tickets as soon as Prufrock puts that up.

    You're welcome to come for 1, 2 or 0 of the events above, as your interest may be.

    ----

    I might also make an appearance Assembly, but as it was holiday time, the arrangements are taking a bit more time, and it might be too late. In which case I might show up at Assembly at the end of October.

  6. #2056
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    John

    will these new wow features be hardware or software?

  7. #2057
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    Quote Originally Posted by ttttt91 View Post
    will these new wow features be hardware or software?
    I hope to offer features which you guys will rate as WOW for several more years to come, both in hardware and software.

    Where possible, when in software, we'll offer them gratis to current owners.

    My next post is a hardware one, but I don't know if it rises to the level of WOW or just "neat".

    -john

  8. #2058
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    Default Cyclonic Steam Separator

    We're working on the higher powered steam for the upcoming DE1CAFE model. Ray and Ben wanted to test applying the concept of cyclonic separation https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclonic_separation to espresso steam. This idea is not new to the chemical industry but we haven't heard of anyone using this technique in an espresso machine.

    The concept is that the inlet is on a tangent to the chamber, this spins the steam mixture. The dry steam being much less dense works its way to the center where it exits out the top. The hot water ends up on the outside and drains to the bottom.

    Ben drew a model and 3D printed it at home. Happily, it did not melt. He then placed the DE1+'s steam wand in one end and put the whole thing on a scale.

    The steam coming out was much dryer. There was a good 15mm of "invisible" steam coming out of the separator before it started to condense. Compared to no separator his hand would get wet in seconds and there was no "invisible" steam at the exit.

    By weight, about 40% of the steam condensed inside the cyclonic separator. Some of this will be the result of steam cooling in the separator itself.

    Happily, Ben and Ray have no invented and built a device which can measure the water content of espresso steam. We can no objectively tell if changes we are making are causing the steam to get drier.

    In a few weeks, we'll be testing two steam heaters at the same time (in series and also in parallel) at various temperatures and flow rates. We'll be able to measure our improvements now.

    And, we might end up using a cyclonic separator in our DE1CAFE model to produce totally dry steam.

    -john




  9. #2059
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    Default Prufrock Tickets for Decent on Saturday Sept 1st:


  10. #2060
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    Default Power on indicator, BLE module

    The BLE module vendor we used has "upgraded" their module and made it completely incompatible (v1 https://redbear.cc/ble-nano.html vs v2 https://redbear.cc/product/ble-nano-2.html).

    And I've today learned that this company (RedBear labs) has been sold and is discontinuing even this v2 BLE module. https://redbear.cc/

    This scenario is exactly why we kept the Bluetooth module separate, and easily replaced/upgraded.

    Have no fear, as our BLE module uses a very well support BLE chip from a major vendor (Nordic Semi), that will be available for a long time.

    And so we have "cloned" the RedBear labs module, and improved it. Our new version is completely compatible with the old one, but adds two LEDs, that we will use to display status. Here's what this looks like (the debug cable in this movie would not normally be there)



    At the moment:
    - blinking white = on but no tablet connected
    - solid white = on and tablet connected
    - red led = BLE command received

    This module is totally backward compatible with v1.0 hardware, and the new firmware auto-detects the presence of the new LEDs. I'm also much happier having taken control over the Bluetooth board, in terms of managing future risk. If any v1.0 users ever want this feature, this tiny "upgrade" will be available to you.

    One reason we put this BLE board on a separate board is that we can make new versions of it in the future, to keep up with existing communications technologies.

    We also now have software control over the BLE range, so that we can lower the distance the tablet is allowed to be from the espresso machine. We might want this for safety reasons (limit the distance to within a few meters, for instance).

    This communications board is inexpensive, small, and easily replaced, without even needing to open the chassis up. Here's a photo of it, accessible once you remove the dark plastic back panel.

    I own a treadmill that is 20 years old, works great, that has excellent Windows software that talks to a heart rate sensor. Unfortunately, the treadmill requires an RS232 port to talk to Windows, which I don't have on any computer, so I can't use the software any longer. Ugh. That expensive lesson is one I didn't want to repeat with Decent.

    -john

    module.jpg

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