Flair Pro 2 vs. Cafelat Robot vs. ROK GC

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
Halfrican2004

#1: Post by Halfrican2004 »

I'm becoming exhausted looking through endless reviews. I need some guidance on which on of the three listed devices you think will be best. Obviously, espresso making on a manual like this takes dialing in, but being new to this whole thing, I'm trying to find one that will be the most user friendly, and produce a quality shot. I suppose they all can make a decent shot with the right amount of development, but surely one is a better option than the other two. Which would you buy? Thanks I'm advance for any help!

Jasper_8137

#2: Post by Jasper_8137 »

I have a flair pro which I really like to travel with. The only issue I have is it's a bit of a process to get all the parts heated prior to pulling a shot. From what I've read, the robot is more straight forward to preheat. If it's going to be stationary, this may be a better bet.
That being said, both are quality machines that will produce excellent espresso, so you won't go wrong either way.

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Bluenoser
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#3: Post by Bluenoser »

A friend and I looked at all 3. We were purchasing for him.

The ROK GC is the least effective of the 3. The seal around the PF/screen is a bit prone to leaking when you apply maximum pressure. The ROK created the thinnest espresso. He originally bought the ROK and returned it. We made identical espresso with the ROK and Robot (before he had gotten the Flair) and the Robot was significantly richer and better tasting. Same beans, same grinder, grind dialled in for each machine.

The Flair Pro 2 is very good.. large basket capable of 16-22g shot, I estimate. Heats up well. I'd say the flair can be preheated a bit easier than the Robot and so might be better if you were doing mostly light roasts. The flair has more bits and pieces and so the workflow is slightly more involved. It comes with a carrying case if you decide to travel with it.

The Robot basket is deep and a bit hard to get an even distribution before tamping. But the robot workflow is dead easy. The easiest of all 3. One difficulty of the Robot might be preheating the piston when using light roasts as it can suck a bit of heat from the water. You can do it.. its just harder than the flair. I read somewhere that the flair can be preheated about 5 deg. hotter than the robot.. but both are pretty equivalent here.

I wouldn't consider the ROK compared to the other 2. Of the other 2, both make very good espresso. In fact, I'd say my Robot makes as good, if not better espresso than my Profitec Pro 500. My friend bought the Pro 2 and likes that a lot. He prefers that taste over the Robot (just slightly). But they are pretty equivalent. I'd buy the Robot again.

I only preheat the Robot basket when using medium and medium-dark roasts and my extractions are very good. With dark roasts no preheat is necessary.

You'd be happy with either.. read more and see which appeals to you for workflow.

You need a good grinder. My friend bought a Kinu Phoenix with his Flair Pro 2 and it is a great combo.. Don't skimp on on a grinder..

Urupackers

#4: Post by Urupackers »

I have the Flair Pro 2 paired with a 1Zpresso Jx Pro manual grinder and I pull shots in the level of commercial espresso machines, the Flair is a fantastic little machine to brew espresso, if you choose the Flair Pro 2, you are going to enjoy it.

GregoryJ

#5: Post by GregoryJ »

I've owned both and enjoyed good espresso from both. Now I only own the Robot (two actually!).

Robot Pros:
Very deep basket makes WDT super easy
Two arms provides a more stable pressing experience
More solid construction
Easier to perform back to back shots

Flair Pros:
Less expensive
Takes up less space (the robot is quite wide when the arms lift up)
Includes carrying case

Halfrican2004 (original poster)

#6: Post by Halfrican2004 (original poster) »

I appreciate all the help and advice. I'm leaning towards the flair Pro. I'm also juggling some manual grinder options, but I haven't decided on that yet, either.

Halfrican2004 (original poster)

#7: Post by Halfrican2004 (original poster) »

Urupackers wrote:I have the Flair Pro 2 paired with a 1Zpresso Jx Pro manual grinder and I pull shots in the level of commercial espresso machines, the Flair is a fantastic little machine to brew espresso, if you choose the Flair Pro 2, you are going to enjoy it.
I was considering this grinder, or a Chestnut G1. Thoughts?

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Halfrican2004 (original poster)

#8: Post by Halfrican2004 (original poster) »

Bluenoser wrote:A friend and I looked at all 3. We were purchasing for him.

The ROK GC is the least effective of the 3. The seal around the PF/screen is a bit prone to leaking when you apply maximum pressure. The ROK created the thinnest espresso. He originally bought the ROK and returned it. We made identical espresso with the ROK and Robot (before he had gotten the Flair) and the Robot was significantly richer and better tasting. Same beans, same grinder, grind dialled in for each machine.

The Flair Pro 2 is very good.. large basket capable of 16-22g shot, I estimate. Heats up well. I'd say the flair can be preheated a bit easier than the Robot and so might be better if you were doing mostly light roasts. The flair has more bits and pieces and so the workflow is slightly more involved. It comes with a carrying case if you decide to travel with it.

The Robot basket is deep and a bit hard to get an even distribution before tamping. But the robot workflow is dead easy. The easiest of all 3. One difficulty of the Robot might be preheating the piston when using light roasts as it can suck a bit of heat from the water. You can do it.. its just harder than the flair. I read somewhere that the flair can be preheated about 5 deg. hotter than the robot.. but both are pretty equivalent here.

I wouldn't consider the ROK compared to the other 2. Of the other 2, both make very good espresso. In fact, I'd say my Robot makes as good, if not better espresso than my Profitec Pro 500. My friend bought the Pro 2 and likes that a lot. He prefers that taste over the Robot (just slightly). But they are pretty equivalent. I'd buy the Robot again.

I only preheat the Robot basket when using medium and medium-dark roasts and my extractions are very good. With dark roasts no preheat is necessary.

You'd be happy with either.. read more and see which appeals to you for workflow.

You need a good grinder. My friend bought a Kinu Phoenix with his Flair Pro 2 and it is a great combo.. Don't skimp on on a grinder..
Thank you for this excellent write up. I can't find a Phoenix in stock to save my life.

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Brewzologist
Supporter ♡

#9: Post by Brewzologist »

Great responses so far and agree with them. I was in a similar situation a few months back and went with the Flair PRO 2 mainly due to the substantially higher cost of the Robot here in the USA. Happy with my decision. Don't overthink too much as both are capable of excellent espresso.

I am using Lido ET and Niche Zero grinders and they work well with the PRO 2.

Bluenoser
Supporter ♡

#10: Post by Bluenoser »

Halfrican2004 wrote:Thank you for this excellent write up. I can't find a Phoenix in stock to save my life.
They are often on back order and you can contact shops to find out when they are back in stock.. I don't think the Timemore brands have any great espresso grinders..

The Commandante C40 and Orphan Espresso Lido 3 are both considered very good.. I'm not familiar with the JX Pro.. I know they make a grinder especially for espresso.. You want one specifically designed for espresso. Many of the cheaper grinders are not precise enough and/or don't have fine enough steps to really dial in espresso well.

Here's some videos worth watching: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXU2NXT1mlg

And http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dn9OuRl1F3k