Flair 58, initial impressions and ...

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#1: Post by MCal2003 »

the and... This machine is costing me over $1300.
Received one with a straight vs. down sloping portafilter holder. Beware. Flair noted some runs are coming out with straight handles which interfere with the lever arm when mounting or removing the portafilter holder. They attached a video work around in the email enquiry. Not really ideal. diy handle mod of cutting couple cm off and adding a nice curve.

Have been pulling shots on a lever machine since '03, but the Flair is my first non-spring lever machine.

Relative to the two other machines used (MCal and Ponte Vecchio 2) this machine requires a finer grind to hit ~1:2 brew ratio in a 25-30 second pull. Grinder is a couple decade old Macap M7 that required 11-13 rotations of the worm drive adjustment relative to the MCal grind. Solution. Excuse. Aquire a new single dose grinder! Also, wasting too many grams flushing the M7 has always been a niggle. How and the why the ~$500 Flair 58 ended up costing ~$1300.

Initial impressions only. Subjected to change with time.

After what seemed like a sink full of sink shots I got the grind and pressure profile down to an acceptable shot. Old taste buds attached to an old body. Guessing more tolerant and less discerning taste with the passing decades. Maybe a good thing? Not a steep learning curve to pull an acceptable shot. Work flow and user interface is straightforward and relatively simple. Giving Flair's design and construction credit. I'm no Barista God. The option to try different pressure profiles is a nice option.

Tear apart was simple, quick and almost a no tool procedure. This machine is at the opposite end of the spectrum from the long gone HX/E61 machine. Took me less time to disassemble and reassemble the Flair than it probably took to remove the case of the HX/E61 monster. Add not too many parts to ever need replacement makes this a high value in the long haul machine to operate.

Construction and materials look to be of high quality. The large power block and very long chord are a bit of an aesthetic distraction. It's becoming acceptable based on the modular system vs. built in power source, switch allowing for simple replacement in the event of part failure.

Bottomline. Meets my end goal. The Flair 58, at least for my taste buds pulls repeatable and acceptable shots.

LMWDP #151

MCal2003 (original poster)

#2: Post by MCal2003 (original poster) »

Sorry about the big empty box with ? mark.
One other thing. If using a scale when pulling. Scale needs to be sized no larger than ~12cm width wise. The scale used with auto timer feature is too large. Don't feel like adding a Acacia whatever to the price of this machine. Will need to diy a platform, base to elevate the scale above the frame.
LMWDP #151


#3: Post by rajbangsa »

congrats on a Flair!

can I offer you my cheap 2.5$ scale (no timer) that came with a lid/cap so I use it as a pseudo drip tray :D


#4: Post by boren »

Noel, you mentioned in another thread that you now switched to use the Flair 58 more often than the MCaL. Is this because the novelty hasn't worn off yet, or due to some functional advantage? And most importantly - does the Flair produce better espresso than the MCaL?

MCal2003 (original poster)

#5: Post by MCal2003 (original poster) » replying to boren »

The "newness" effect has some influence. MCal requires a bit more patience for temperature "stability" to establish. The large heavy brass "custom" portafilter holder requires a bit more time to reach equilibrium temperature. Years ago the MCal was slammed and still might be for running too hot beyond an initial pull or two. I find the opposite to be more true. Initial pull on the MCal has a high chance of being a sinker or marginal. Normally at breakfast 3 singles and 1 double are pulled.

Finding out the newly acquired puck screen for the MCal is not working out using the single basket. Not enough head space.

Shots pulled are different. The MCal has more "clarity" and brightness. Flair 58 relative to the MCal has more texture and heaviness. Neither is better than the other. Do enjoy the option and control of pulling different pressure profile on the Flair. Eventually will hopefully figure out a pressure profile on the Flair to mimic the MCal.
LMWDP #151


#6: Post by boren »

MCal2003 wrote:Shots pulled are different. The MCal has more "clarity" and brightness. Flair 58 relative to the MCal has more texture and heaviness.
I think you can use the Flair 58 to emulate the MCaL with this pressure profile. Care to give it a try?

MCal2003 (original poster)

#7: Post by MCal2003 (original poster) » replying to boren »

Different machines for different taste profiles. Why I kept the MCal and why it sits beside the 58.

With the current selection of greens roasted to different levels limits my machine choices. City+ roast of inherently bright beans I don't care for on the MCal. Too bright overwhelming other flavors for my palate. Just not into real citrus dominant espresso. Years ago did lose control and roasted a Guat deep into FC+. Last of that specific bean. Post roast blended with remanent stock of Ethiopian . Chocolate- orange shots on a HX/E61 vibe pump machine that I really enjoyed have never been able to replicate.
LMWDP #151