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Spray your pucks!
Stephane Ribes has been doing experiments with spraying his tamped espresso coffee puck before extraction.
I've put together some of his findings in this short video.
He's not reporting a difference in taste, but peak pressure (a function of puck resistance under constant flow) increases with prewetting, indicating a higher puck integrity during extraction.
Also, as seen from the bottom of his portafilter, the wetting is faster and more even with the spraying.
Stephane has posted his results on the Decent Espresso Owner's forum, which is called "Decent Diaspora"
-john
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Decentspotting in Malaysia

One of my mechanical engineers, on vacation this week in Penang, Malaysia was “well chuffed” (that’s a good thing) to see a Decent Espresso machine in the cafe he went to: Spacebar Coffee.

It definitely helped impress his wife that he’d made a good career choice, that’s for sure.

Looking at older photos on the web, I see that the Decent replaced their two-group Faema E61 espresso machine. https://tinyurl.com/uvb9pln

Spacebar Coffee https://www.instagram.com/ome.space/ https://www.taufulou.com/ome-by-spacebar-coffee-penang/

-john

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Welded wire drip trays

Ten days ago, I posted a video comparing the two candidate designs for a new drip tray cover.

 

I prefer the "lost wax" cast steel design. However, there is a real question of how well they can be hand-adjusted.  Can we make successfully make a jig to guide the factory to do the adjusting well? What will it look like?  Also, "lost wax" is a slow process, taking a minimum of 3 months. With this being a new design, and hand-adjusting, we should plan on it taking 4 to 5 months. 

We'll have run out of drip tray covers long before then, so we need something that works well enough, now.  Can't stop shipping espresso machines!

The welded wire design takes about 4 weeks to make, and with a bit more work, I think it'll be acceptable.  We received photos of these samples today. The factory has ceramic drip tray samples from us, at two sizes, with different amounts of shrinkage.  They recommend that they change the radius (the curve) on the covers, to make them fit the ceramic better.  This is a well engaged supplier, making good suggestions, and their work looks to be of high quality.  We also had the ends filed at an angle, with this latest sample.

Our plan is to ship these "welded wire" drip tray covers for the next 6 months, for the next 500 espresso machines.  If the "lost wax" process turns out to work, and to make a superior object, we'll switch to that.  Until then, we'll bank on both approaches.

-john

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25 minutes ago, -Mac said:

Out of curiosity, have you tried 3d printed metal?

The cost is prohibitive, you're looking at well into £300 per part printed.  Works well for a single custom part for a luxury part, or for R&D, but not for production.  We're a long way still from replacing traditional ways of making things.

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14 minutes ago, decent_espresso said:

The cost is prohibitive, you're looking at well into £300 per part printed.  Works well for a single custom part for a luxury part, or for R&D, but not for production.  We're a long way still from replacing traditional ways of making things.

I guess it depends on volumes. We're 3D printing metal parts for aircraft cheaper than we can CNC them.

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20 hours ago, -Mac said:

I guess it depends on volumes. We're 3D printing metal parts for aircraft cheaper than we can CNC them.

Also depends greatly on the shape, and how complicated it is to print. Rounded shapes are generally slower.  A drip tray cover is very complicated.

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Catering Kit Improvements

A little less than half the people who buy a Decent Espresso machine, buy the refill kit. It keeps the water topped up automatically, from either a pressurized water source, or from a water tank (such as store-bought mineral water).

We initially made 500 of the refill kits, so we're almost out of stock. That gives us a chance to revisit it, and see what we can improve.

 

MOUNTING BRACKET

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There's a screwed on mounting bracket, which allows you to:
- mount the kit to a vertical wall
- hook the kit to the back of the DE1

Of those two features, it's nice to be able to hook it to the back of the DE1, but I never found myself mounting the kit to a vertical wall.  And the bracket design was not good when mounting upside down, such as for a coffee cart.

Our work-around was to take the cover off, and push screw through the feet, into the wood that we're mounting to.  Besides being a lot of work, it was often inconvenient, if (for example) the position of the kit meant you couldn't get access to the screws holding the cover on.  Not a great solution.

Alex developed a bracket that screws into the threads inside the feet, holding the kit in place. Two easily accessed screw holes then hold the thing in place.  Also nice is that unless you over-tighten those four screws, you have vibration isolation through those rubber feet.

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We're going to keep the side bracket, and include it with the kit, but not screw it on by default. It's there if you want to hook the kit to the back of the DE1.


NOISE LEVEL

I wanted to reduce the noise as much as possible.  By going to a new pump supplier, and a more expensive model, we were able to drop 13db, from 79db to 66db.  That's a huge improvement, and very welcome in homes.

In the new firmware, coming out in January, the refill kit will automatically engage when you put your DE1 to sleep, so that you always have a full tank for the next morning.  This also avoids having a refill while you're making your morning espresso.


WATER FLOW SPEED

The previous pump could lift 1 liter per minute of water.  The newer model can do twice that, at 2 liters per minute. We've measured it, to make sure it really does.

 

WHEN?

These new refill kits will arrive in late January, and will be included with all plumbed in machines from that point on.

 

-john

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Infrared vs In-Milk Temperature Readings

I've been wondering whether it's possible to reliable measure milk temperature while steaming, with an infrared thermometer pointed at our matte-black Decent milk jugs.  This experiment (tried 3 times) shows that there is measurement lag, but it's repeatable and linear.  So, it should be possible to have steam stop automatically, so that no in-milk thermometer is needed.  

As this is a bluetooth-enabled infrared thermometer, the next step is to have the Decent tablet app talk to the infrared thermometer, and see if this works.

Note: this is my personal development beta machine, with firmware that is currently making uneven steam pressure.  The Decent steam on released machines is a bit more even. 😄

Attached is a spreadsheet of the results.

Here is the $40 bluetooth infrared thermometer I'm using:
https://www.amazon.com/HOLDPEAK-HP-985C-APP-Thermometer-Non-Contact-Temperature/dp/B07QKYLSS5/

It would be incredibly cool if one of the programmers who owns a Decent, tried talking to this infrared thermometer, to see if this idea works reliably.

If this does work, my eventual goal would be to have an infrared thermometer built into the Decent Espresso Machine, seeing the milk jug through a small hole in the mirrored front panel.

-john

 

 

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Infrared Thermometer Milk Steaming, test #2

I did another test with the IR sensor, this time at about the distance it would be, if the IR sensor were built into the DE1, as per  Charles Temkey's idea.

This time I used the iPad to save the IR readings, so that I have smoother data. I hand typed the milk thermometer readings into Excel.

Ray sent me better control firmware last night, so the steam went to higher temperatures than you'd take milk usually (to 75ºC) than the previous videos.

Nonetheless, it seems that the IR readings were the same, about as far away from the in-milk thermometer.

At 60ºC milk, the IR reads at 50ºC. 

What I *really like* about this chart, though, is the very consistent IR readings, that are not jumpy at all. So, I think this could work.

-john

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DE1XL in a Decent Suitcase
We are working on making the DE1XL fit nicely inside our suitcase. We've done a design for the foam, and we are ordering samples to test. I think we can make this work. If any of you have a DE1XL and want the foam, let me know. When it is ready, I will send it to you for free.
My goal is to make the DE1XL model as portable as the DE1+/DE1PRO models.
Also, once we have accomplished this, we will be making DE1XL models in our factory, and shipping them ready made. You will no longer receive a "DE1XL conversion kit" from, and you won't need to convert your DE1PRO by yourself.
-john
 

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On 18/03/2016 at 07:24, Lefteye said:

 

 

Yes I get that this takes the art out but if I can get consistantly good results on a machine that may come in under £850 then that's appealing.

Just spotted this on the front page and chuckled a little bit in hindsight 

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1973 La Pavoni ++ Niche Zero ++ Aeropress ++ V60

Coffee by the Casuals

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