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12 minutes ago, Michael87 said:

I have an observation/question on the decent tamper v3 (self-levelling), keen to hear others' thoughts.

The tamper calibration seems to work by restricting the downward travel of the tamp head into the basket, i.e. a depth limit, rather than a force limit. That means it is pushing however much coffee into the same volume, which means the puck density directly changes as you vary dose. So if you dose up, you may need to grind coarser to offset this extra effect.

I hadn't given this much thought until now (it's an excellent tamper) but I wondered if anyone else had noticed this effect in practice? Or maybe that is how all calibrated tampers work, I haven't owned one before!

Hi Michael,

I'm confused by your message, as the Decent tamper has NO depth calibration. You can tamp as deep as you like.

There are other tampers, by other companies, that feature a depth calibration, but my design does not.  

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27 minutes ago, decent_espresso said:

Hi Michael,

I'm confused by your message, as the Decent tamper has NO depth calibration. You can tamp as deep as you like.

There are other tampers, by other companies, that feature a depth calibration, but my design does not.  

Hello, I don't think I explained that right. I mean the tamper itself is set up in a way that allows the temping head to go down a fixed depth into the puck (but as you say this depth is not adjustable), rather than for the head to go down a fixed force. So if say someone tells me to try and tamp with 30lb of force each time, that can't be achieved with this tamper, as I am applying however much force is needed to make the tamping head reach its depth limit.  

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I thought the spring was calibrated to a certain force so if you have a 15lb spring like in the v3 you would be applying 15lb of force to compress the puck then the spring would compress if more force is applied stopping the puck from compressing further. So the tamper can only apply a fixed maximum force, the distance changes depending on when that limit is reached. If you wanted more force you could buy a different spring

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Yes. I had misunderstood how it works! I just tested it and it works as you say - there is sudden huge resistance at a certain depth (not the full ROM) which would be the spring engaging to counter my pushing force. I just assumed that was it hitting the max depth.

Thanks - one more (imaginary) complication eliminated!

 

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Now that that's solved, I have another question. Is there any way to work out if I have the 25/30/15lb spring? I bought my tamper second hand (which I now learned is v2). I can't figure out an easy way to measure it using scales. 

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13 hours ago, InfamousTuba said:

From what I can see the v2 is 25lbs: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Calibrated-Espresso-Tamper-self-Leveling-v2/dp/B07NHZKZXR 

You can also buy replacement springs, maybe taking the tamper apart you might be able to see which one it has

Yes, v2 is 25lbs, and v3 is 15lbs.

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10 minute challenge #2: latte, 2x DE1 (#2)

This is my first attempt at making lattes as fast as I can, on two Decent DE1XL espresso machines.

TLDR: I made 5 lattes, and spilled one. Scott Rao tells me that my goal should be 8 lattes in 10 minutes per barista, which would almost meet his peak when he ran his Montreal café.

Lessons learned:

  • I need to find one workflow, and stick to it.
  • When I deviate from my workflow, I make mistakes. Lots of them. I spill drinks, I forget to prep a portafilter.  I forget to hit START.
  • I made 5 lattes, but would have made 6 if I hadn't spilled one on the floor, and possibly 7 lattes if I'd remembered to hit START sooner on another.
  • Ghost (hands-free) steaming works well in all cases, with the new (coming in April) DE1XL steam wand.
  • The auto-steam-off timer didn't produce reliable results.  In order for it to be reliable, that feature needs the same amount of cool milk each time. If I don't use all the milk in the pitcher for one drink, and leave it in, my steaming time now needs to be shorter.  If I don't pay attention to this, I'll overheat the milk.
  • So, measuring milk correctly is important, so that I use all of it for each drink.
  • I usually make flat white in these cups, for myself, steaming by hand (not hands free). However, ghost steaming creates latte-style foam, which is more voluminous. To compensate, I should have reduced the cold milk volume per drink from 150ml to 120ml.  The extra 30ml I hadn't planned on was being used in the next drink.  This was the cause of the uneven final temperature results when using timed milk steaming here.  Or perhaps I should have thrown away excess milk each each pour (though I really dislike waste).

I spoke to Scott Rao Scott Rao about speed goals for cafes. He told me that, all optimised, his cafe in Montreal could crank out 100 lattes per hour, with two baristas on a La Marzocco pro machine (not sure if it was 2 or 3 group).

Per barista, this works out to 50 lattes per hour.

That works to a bit more than 8 lattes made in ten minutes (8.33, to be exact). That's 48 lattes/hour, per barista. With two baristas at two stations, each with 2 DE1XXL models, would get us to 96 lattes per hour.  

So now I know my goal: to move up from 5 lattes/ten-minutes, to 8 in ten minutes.  

In future episodes we'll be trying:

  • pre-weighed bean doses
  • a faster grinder
  • not screwing up

-john

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A new feature was added today for all DE1 owners.  

Each step in an espresso making can now have a water volume limit, expressed in ml.  Hitting that limit moves the recipe to the next step.

Why use this? 
- you might want to put 2x as much water in as your bean dose, to fully saturate the puck during preinfusion
- you might want to define a step in your espresso making (for example, the last part of a Blooming Shot) in terms of total water volume added into the cup
- other recipe ideas on the DE1 have been theorized, that are now easily possible.

This new feature was made available today in our beta de1app, for free, for all customers.

If you don't have a DE1, you can see the feature in our desktop app (Mac/Windows/Linux) freely downloadable at http://decentespresso.com/downloads

vol.thumb.png.64a75cc3f8407790b5546d6df839f37d.png

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10 minute challenge #3: espresso, 1x DE1XL (#3)

After doing two challenges with two DE1, now I'm doing two challenges with just one DE1XL machine.  The idea is to see how the slowest setup performs, and then critically evaluate each speedup independently, to see what optimization yield the biggest improvements.

Lessons learned:

  • Big surprise: I was almost as fast with 1 DE1XL, as I was with two. 
  • I made 9 double espressos, instead of 10, in the ten minutes.  Just under 1 per minute.
  • If I were using a double spouted portafilter, like many cafes do, I'd be making 108 single espressos per hour.
  • I'm very comfortable with this setup, because it's what I've had in my home for 4 years. Because of that comfort level, my workflow is smooth, unvarying, low stress, and fairly fast.
  • I'm pretty sure that the weighing and grinding process is what's slowing me down the most.  
  • The "please add water" pause on this model DE1XL slowed me down twice.  This has been addressed in a recent firmware update, so that water refilling happens transparently in the background without making the barista wait.
  • And so, foreshading a bit.... a few days ago I repeated this same challenge (one DE1XL), but with two Niches and preweighed doses in cups. This hugely sped me up, and I managed 17 double espressos in ten minutes.  This equates to 102 espressos per hour.
  • The next challenge is making lattes, not hands free on this 1 Niche/1 DE1XL setup.

-john


 

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10m challenge #4: latte, 1x DE1

In this Ten Minute Challenge I makes lattes on a coffee cart with one DE1XL machine, and one Niche grinder.  Result: 5 latte drinks in ten minutes.

The big surprise is that I was as fast with one espresso machine, as I was with two espresso machines.  With two machines I didn't make any more, and I was more likely to make errors, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJPTzfaP-W0 for me with two machines, making lattes.

The main lesson I learned in this video is that I should start the next espresso brewing before I pour the milk to make the latte art.  I only realized this at the last step, and you can see that it'd save a lot of time.  

However, in order to start the next espresso then, I'd need to have the next portafilter ready.  I'm not sure if I have enough time to do that, with just one Niche grinder.  It might be that I need two Niches, in order to have that next portafilter ready to go, after the milk was steamed.  But maybe there is enough time... I'll have to try that workflow in the future.

Nonetheless, without rushing or stressing, I was able to make 5 lattes, from double-espressos, poured into 200ml cups, in that ten minutes.  That's faster than many cafes I go to.

-john


 

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Hi John,

It is not important but couldn't you use a bigger spoon to avoid unnecessary gestures when you weight your grind? (you often use the spoon twice)

You could also use any object like a little plastic glass or cup that would fit better your specific weight!

Another idea to go faster could be to use a higher table (you bend a bit, maybe...) but I know what it means as you worked a lot around the Ikea table!

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On 28/02/2021 at 02:36, benbarista said:

It is not important but couldn't you use a bigger spoon to avoid unnecessary gestures when you weight your grind? (you often use the spoon twice)

You could also use any object like a little plastic glass or cup that would fit better your specific weight!

You're absolutely right, I should do that.  At trade shows, where I'm making a LOT of shots, I cut a paper cut down to size, so that it gives me the same dose, for those beans, every time. 

Ah, in fact, the cut-to-size cup is what I used in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZPlszyxjaU

and you can see how well it works. 15.2g in one motion.

215920429_ScreenShot2021-03-01at10_42_18AM.thumb.jpg.1e2c222bab708d5332d24036291240fe.jpg

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10m challenge #5: 17 espressos=102 per hour !

In this Ten Minute Challenge John makes espressos on a coffee cart with one DE1XL machine, two Niche grinders, and pre-weighed bean doses in paper cups.  Result: 17 espressos in ten minutes, which is equal to 102 espressos per hour (17x6=102).

Lessons learned:

  1. for the first few minutes I'm work with both Niche grinders in parallel, preparing two portafilters at a time.  This was a big speedup, but I lost that work-flow after a few minutes, and reverted back to one-Niche running at a time.  Since I had plenty of spare portafilters, I should have been able to continue with two-at-a-time.
  2. 17 espressos were made in 10 minutes, which averages out to 35 seconds per espresso, or 102 espressos per hour.  Given that the Londinum shots run for about 30 seconds normally, it's not likely I can go much faster.  Average delay between shots was thus about 5 seconds.
  3. I had dialed in the grind in the black Niche, and set the white Niches to the same grind setting, thinking it would be the same. It wasn't: it was coarser, and so my white-Niche shots ran fast for 2 shots until I corrected this. I should independently dial in each grinder so they have the same end-shot time, and not rely on the Niche grind setting number.
  4. Pre-weighed doses was a massive speedup, with only 5 seconds of "idle time" between each espresso shot.  It's unlikely I'll be able to go any faster, since espresso takes ~30 seconds per shot, unless I bring in another espresso machine.
  5. What about lattes?  Our next challenge will be with another barista joining me, and she'll be dedicated to steaming and pouring milk.  I don't know that she'll be able to keep up with the speed at which I'm putting out espressos (every 35 seconds!).

My speed goal with the DE1 is:

  1. 100 espressos/hour with one barista, and one DE1XL.  Done!
  2. 100 lattes/hour with two baristas, with one DE1XL (for espresso) and one DE1XXL (for milk).  Still to be proven.

-john
 

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16 hours ago, spasypaddy said:

so what did you do with the 17 shots??

I always schedule these Challenges on Friday, so I can pour all the drinks I made into a Thermos, and drink them at home, during the weekend.  Until last week, I've been living in a 1 room flat with no space for a DE1 (no kitchen, actually) but just moved into a larger space last week, and getting a DE1 in the flat as soon as my Niche shows up.

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DE1+ discontinued, DE1PRO delay, DE1XL/DE1XXL new focus

Here at Decent HQ, we've been working 6 day weeks, with double-pay on Saturdays, to try to make enough espresso machines to keep up with orders, and to try to keep our wait time reasonable. We're not succeeding.

We can currently make about 250 espresso machines per month, if we're working 6 days a week. Historically we've managed 200 machines a month.  Working saturdays, my staff will burn out in a few months, so I can't ask them to do this permanently.

Last month's DE1 sales (February 2021) were surprisingly strong (248 machines). This was 20% better than the previous best (November 2020) of 207 machines.  I thought we might be able to keep up, with our 6 day working week.

Toward the end of February, and now into March, our machine sales are exploding, way beyond what we can fulfill.

The DE1XXL model was released last month, and combined with strong demand for all our models, sales this month are forecast to grow another 46% over last month's record month.

There's absolutely no way we can increase our machine production this fast.  Even if we could, we'd run out of parts, because it takes about 5 months these days for us to get a new run from our suppliers.

Here's what our monthly espresso machine sales look like:

monthlysales.thumb.jpg.7a65987371cd88206b0b2a18911bd4af.jpg

Unless we do something to dampen demand, we're going to be taking money for machines that we can't deliver for an ever increasing longer time.  That's not the kind of company I want to run.

And so, effectively immediately:

  • we are temporarily discontinuing the DE1+ model
  • the DE1PRO model is still available, and we promise to deliver your order within 6 months
  • we will focus on DE1XL/DE1XXL production, and guarantee delivery of those orders within 4 weeks.
  • If you have already placed an order for a DE1+ or DE1PRO, we will honor the delivery date we stated when you paid.

I'm really sorry to have to drop the DE1+ and delay the DE1PRO, but we have to do something drastic, or otherwise we're going to trash our reputation, by taking money and not delivering as promised. 

Here's a chart summarizing all this:

decent-model-change.thumb.jpg.c26fb8d4ddf5e7cd4897149c37fe59be.jpg


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7 hours ago, decent_espresso said:

I always schedule these Challenges on Friday, so I can pour all the drinks I made into a Thermos, and drink them at home, during the weekend.  Until last week, I've been living in a 1 room flat with no space for a DE1 (no kitchen, actually) but just moved into a larger space last week, and getting a DE1 in the flat as soon as my Niche shows up.

im pleased it didnt go to waste, but sad you didnt just stand there and drink them all and then not sleep for a week 😃

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