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Lefteye

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The Tea Portafilter

Our Tea Portafilter, when used on the Decent Espresso Machine, will make tea taste better than you thought possible.  "How so?" you say.  

Firstly, because our recipes use repeated short infusions of 30 seconds, each time flushing and using clean water. This avoids over-extraction, which leaches tannins out.  The clean water, every 30 seconds, is also a better solvent than already-brewed water.  Next, the temperature of the water and the vessel is precisely controlled.  

We provide recipes for different kinds of tea, from black to green and delicate white teas, to tisanes, over temperatures ranging from 105ºC to 70ºC.  All informed by Scott Rao, who wrote about tea in his book "Everything But Espresso".

Our tea portafilter does fit other espresso machines. However, because the Decent offers precise control over time, temperature and pressure, we can craft tea recipes that can't be done on other machines.  

We've been working on these recipes for about a year.  They're pretty good now. Good enough that you can just pick one and hit START.  But... we're also continuing to improve the tea recipes, with active involvement of tea enthusiasts in our Decent community.

Find it here:
https://decentespresso.com/c?filter=tea portafilter

--

Bugs and I start a 9-day "staycation" today, so I'll be vanishing from this forum for a bit, to enjoy some time off.

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On 26/06/2021 at 07:36, decent_espresso said:

The only change is a slide-in tablet stand, instead of having 3 screws.

Are you doing a video of this update John? Interested to see how it looks.

Lelit MaraX, VST 20g competition, IMS screen, Niche Zero

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10 hours ago, AlanSky said:

Are you doing a video of this update John? Interested to see how it looks.

I use strong velcro on mine and it is amazing. No way was I faffing on with those tiny grub screws time and time again to get the stand off the machine.

 

Likewise I use velcro between tablet and stand.

 

 

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@Stevebee yes but would also leave the velcro on the top of the machine. My preferred choice would be the tablet at the side or in a drawer out of the way unless I'm fiddling. I would also like to see the usb connection at the back, though I'm being fussy.

Lelit MaraX, VST 20g competition, IMS screen, Niche Zero

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Mine’s always on the machine. I don’t want to walk up to the machine, then find the tablet, position where you want it then have to put it away after the shot. Also the tablet will always be charged if on the machine. I can anticipate if left in a drawer going to make a shot and the tablet has run out of battery. With regards the holes, you could always insert the screws but without the stand making the holes less visible although there will be 3 screws, albeit flat to the case.

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@Stevebee yeah that would likely be what I would do, though I think I'll wait to see what the 1.43 slide in stand is like. Thanks for the info 😀

Lelit MaraX, VST 20g competition, IMS screen, Niche Zero

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2 hours ago, AlanSky said:

@Stevebee yes but would also leave the velcro on the top of the machine. My preferred choice would be the tablet at the side or in a drawer out of the way unless I'm fiddling. I would also like to see the usb connection at the back, though I'm being fussy.

The tablet talks to the de1 with Bluetooth, so you can put the tablet to the side and use your own charger. That’s tidier if the tablet is not on the de1.

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Biker Jacket Milk Jug

I'm currently working on a new design milk jug, and would like to get rid of the handle, if I can.  And, I'd prefer to use a existing product to provide a heat-insulating "wrap" around the milk jug, instead of making something custom.

I came across this miniature leather jacket, and ordered one, to see if it works. The fit it almost perfect (the handle is stretching it in this video, but I'm working on a handle-free jug) and OMIGOD this thing is so cute.

The material is imitation leather (ie, plastic), has no smell, and is insulating the fingers well from the hot milk.  Obviously, it's not the simplest thing in the world to clean up.  It arrived a bit dirty, from the shattered ceramic cup that it was originally wrapped around. I left the dirt on, as I kind of like the way the dirt looks here.

I have some other ideas for other off-the-shelf heat insulators, that have a lot of personality to them.  Wedding garters, for example, are typically lined on the inside with silicone, so they grab the jug well, and insulate. Plus, the cheap ones are all nylon, so they wash up well.  Who knows if any of these ideas will really work in the end, but it's fun to play a bit.

-john
 

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silkyskin.thumb.jpg.f42c3a47cf9c56f393ce6411a1c186ba.jpg

A better "silky silicone" steam wand sleeve

The steam wand on the Decent Espresso Machine uses a length of food-grade silicone tubing, to indicate the safe place where you can grab the steam wand to move it. 

Most of the time, you can actually grab the wand anywhere, as it's a "cool touch" wand, with an inner teflon tube, to keep the outer metal cool. However, with enough use, the hot milk will heat that metal up. Also, psychologically, it's nice to have a "this area is safe" visual indication on a potentially hot object.

Most other espresso machines use a moulded piece. Sometimes harder plastic, sometimes silicone. This is typical:


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With the Decent, I wanted something much longer, so you could grab it with your hand, not just two fingers. That's why I decided to go with the silicone tubing.

However, there's a downside.  Silicone tends to "sweat" a bit of oil over time, and this tends to attract dust and dirt, which then requires soap and water to remove.

I asked my engineer Alex Alex to look into this for me, and he found that there exists a special kind of silicone, which feels silky to the touch, and to which dust does not stick.  It's almost skin-like, to the touch.  I remember first encountering this silicone on the silicone-covered power cord to an apple laptop, but otherwise, it's not a material I often see.

In the photo above you can see that the white matierial does not reflect light, and it's also remained clean while the black cover is dusty.

We're now testing this new silicone here at Decent HQ.  I like it, and I've given Alex the go-ahead.

Once we get these in stock (in about 2 months), they'll be given freely to existing customers, on request as a +1 to any other purchase they're making with us (such as a coffee accessory).  We'll have them in black and white, in two lengths (for our two steam wand models).

To swap the sleeve yourself, there's a trick to get it to slide on easily.  First, remove the steam wand tip. Then, put some dilute dishwasher liquid inside the sleeve, and all along the shaft length of the steam wand. You can then easily slide the new sleeve on. When the water dries, the sleeve will stay put, and you can wash the detergent off the rest of the wand.

-john
 

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10m challenge #6: two people making lattes

In this Ten Minute Challenge, Paul and John make lattes on one machine each.  Most of the time is spent waiting for the one portafilter to finish the shot, so that the next shot can then be prepared.  Nonetheless, not too bad a result, with 9 lattes in ten minutes (equivalent to 54 lattes/hour).

The main lesson learned was that a 2nd portafilter would have hugely helped John, as he'd then be able to prepare the next espresso as one is currently being made on the Decent.  Instead, he had to wait, doing not much, about 40 seconds for each espresso to finish, which is about 9x40 seconds wasted, or 6 minutes of unused time.  

The next video will be the same as this, but with two portafilters, and possibly larger cups, so that we can make full size lattes, instead of these 100ml ones.

-john
 

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Steam profiling progress on the Decent

I recently added real-time control over the steam flow rate in the app, and we're working on having profiles that you can quickly select. That way, you could for example go to a slower but easier to make micro foam profile, or a very high-powered one if you had a liter of milk to heat.

Today, I've added a dashed line to the de1app that shows the goal flow rate.

In this video, you can see me moving the goal steam flow rate as the steaming progresses. Note that this video was shot with the app on my Mac, which isn't actually steaming, which is why the other lines don't run after the goal. 😄



The built in steam profile on the Decent has a pressure and heat rate increase around 15 seconds, based on the assumption that you will make your microphone early on in the steaming, then dive the tip into the milk and want that final heating stage to be as fast as possible.

Not everyone wants that, so the steam profiles will enable different approaches to steaming.

Also, I have an XXL model at home, and I find the steam without this feature to be much too powerful to heat a piccolo latte with 100 mL of milk. That was actually the impetus behind this feature 🙂

In the future, there will be a dropdown list of steam profiles. You will be able to save the steaming you just did as a new profile, or choose existing other ones before you steam.  You'll also be able to "take over" during steaming, over override the existing profile.  That's a feature that's in progress, but it requires some firmware changes, and I'm working with Ray on that.

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Free Soul Coffee Popup in Hong Kong

Last week we decided to drop by local coffee popup Free Soul Coffee https://www.instagram.com/freesoulcoffeehk/ and say hi to Karen who runs it.

She really wanted me to try her Honduras Sherry Barrel Fermentation Single-Origin bean.  I was impressed, as it really did have a clear "rum/raisin ice cream" impact on me, from the cream/buttery flavor to the rum in the mouth, and raisin on the nose.

I was doubly impressed to find out that she roasts the beans herself, at home, with a Korean-made Gene home roasting machine http://baristahk.com/product/gene-cbr101-home-roaster/

I asked her how she managed to pull this off, as the beans were actually well developed, low acidity, as a light roast should be but rarely is, without roasting into the medium level and getting chocolatey notes and obliterating the bean's other flavors through roasting.  She confessed that she went through quite a few trials at home, and most of her failures were under-roasting. She only had a small quantity of the green beans, as supply was ultra-limited, and was very nervous that she'd not manage to get the roast right before running out. She only had beans left for a few more shots, when we showed up.

Karen and her stand-mates are all airline stewardesses, currently out of work, and they've banded together to run this popup.  Karen makes espresso drinks, while the other two on the stand sell their homemade savory scones.

Karent told me that the compactness of the setup was genius for her.  She arrives with just two suitcases: one with the DE1XL and the other with the Niche grinder, beans, milk and cups.

Karen also sells her beans online https://www.freesoulcoffee.com/ so if you live in Hong Kong, I'd recommend you her beans a try.  She clearly has great intuition, and a knack for roasting.

-john
 

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