Flair 58 - Page 33

A haven dedicated to manual espresso machine aficionados.

#321: Post by jpender »

renatoa wrote:The response to all the above fatigue concerns is a screw based pushing system, instead lever.

Or a pump. Or pressurized air. Or gravity.

Wouldn't be a lever though.


#322: Post by vit »

renatoa wrote: Another plus, whose advantages can't be figured until you don't operate such machine, is that you can stop extraction any moment, and leave the machine as is, for some seconds. Good for emergencies, a phone call, or a kid that needs immediate attention... With a lever you can have surprises if doing such thing... :)
So what's the difference if you stop turning the screw on Aram and if you stop pushing the lever(s) on Flair or Robot ? I think that coffee stops flowing in both cases (ok. let's ignore cylinder displacement issue in Pro due to some design flaws that were actually brought from Classic where they didn't make problems due to slightly different dimensions, but that's finally corrected on 58)

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#323: Post by jpender »

vit wrote:So what's the difference if you stop turning the screw on Aram and if you stop pushing the lever(s) on Flair or Robot ?
With a lever under pressure the air is kind of like a spring. If you just let go I imagine it wouldn't simply return to a neutral position but would instead continue past that, pulling the puck up to some degree. Or at least it seems plausible to me that this could happen. You could release tension on the arms gradually but with a screw device that wouldn't be necessary.

Is letting the puck sit and steep for minutes (?) really inconsequential to the shot? And how often are there emergencies that force interruption? This seems like a feature that is not a realistic selling point. I'm more curious about the dynamics of using a screw versus a lever -- the user experience. I "get" pulling a shot with a lever. Using a screw seems less connected to me, less intimate. Maybe that's not how it really feels but I can't grok it.

The Flair 58 is not likely to break in normal use. But the flexing is somehow disagreeable to me. The Robot wiggles and wobbles some too. It's a tradeoff for having a smaller device.


#324: Post by vit »

This is of course purely academic ... in Flair (and it seems to be similar in Robot) there is usually a small amount of air between the piston and water, compressed to the pressure that is of course equal to the current brewing pressure. If I remove the arm from the lever, air just expands, pushing the piston and lever up and the flow stops. There is only a small pressure left, caused by own lever weight that isn't enough to make extraction

Now I don't have 2 seal original or Gabor's piston that have significant self breaking effect during extraction due to lateral force to the top of the piston caused by high friction in non-existing bearing of the roller, which is (according to my non scientific measurement) even around 1/3 of the vertical force + contact point not being in the center of the piston top (both causing mentioned cylinder displacement issue as well + higher force on the lever than needed with 1 seal piston btw), but even there, when the force on the lever drops to 0, lateral force on the top of the piston also drops to 0 so those pistons should return up by air pressure as well. But this problem seems to be mostly resolved in 58 by using additional link between lever and piston, where these lateral forces are much smaller (though still not 0 like in symmetrical designs like Robot or Rok)

I also think that possibility of pausing the extraction has almost 0 selling point. It's the look that sells this product (together with acceptable price/performance ratio) and makes them to pay more for new versions (that, until 58, mostly advanced in the look factor and price while number of improvements didn't exceed the number of added problems) - reminding me to some other very successful companies like Microsoft ...


#325: Post by renatoa »

I can make for you a video showing the group literally ejected out from the portafilter by the inflated coffee, on a Classic.
To be honest, the lever is completely raised, not touching at all the plunger.
Probably with the weight of the lever this issue would be greatly reduced, but it is still there.

However, until you don't try, please not judge even from a video the great improvement of control brought by a rotational movement instead pushing.
I have experience with both Rota and Flair, and they simply don't compare.
You can ask an orthopaedic doctor to confirm there is an anatomic explanation of this phenomenon, that I experience daily in my house: you have better dexterity/precision performing horizontal movements than vertical. I can much better modulate the water flow in the kitchen, where I have a horizontal rotating lever, than in the bathroom, where is a vertical raising lever for same task.
For manually profiling this apparently small detail is invaluable. For a lever guy it is really required a very great degree of focus on the handle pressure to fix or maintain a value on the meter, while for a Rota, after some exercise, is simply a mater of modulation of rotation speed, becoming almost automatic, like walking.

Sadly, as you wrote, this is not a selling point, in today marketing... "it requires thinking, which is not good" ;)
I am not joking, was a quote from one of my US customer sales manual !


#326: Post by malling » replying to renatoa »

Yes and it's physically even better for you to push a button or pull the pedal left or right, but you probably would not call those lever machines either. All of these will be 10x more reliable then that horizontal manuel brew method as you would have all sorts of sensors and computerised to monitor ever aspect.

The Rota, Aram & Portapresso isn't lever machines, it's just another manual way to make espresso. They might on some point be better as you don't have vertical movements, but then you need to hold it with the hand to keep it sturdy, it's also a PITA to use if you want my honest opinion, all the steps involved is really too much, that might be acceptable compromises in a camp, but in a home I would not find the complete lack of ergonomic and usability that fun, I'm sure not all will mind it, but there is other reasons why those are not massive sellers.


#327: Post by vit »

Renato, I don't have problems with Classic you mentioned (not actually sure what was meant by group being ejected - is it a cylinder or something else). You can post the video in one of Flair threads to let us see ... On every pull, I extract desired amount into the cup, then raise the lever and extraction stops. Then I usually extract some more coffee into empty csezve to check was the ending of espresso in the cup overextracted (sometimes I push the PF out first and pour out some water that remained above the screen, to end up with dry puck and check it for channeling)

But anyway, Flair 58 has "normal" locking of PF so I don't see the problems with something being ejected or am I missing something

As about lever vs screw, I think that both types of espresso machines have some advantages and disadvantages (as mentioned by Mikkel). I actually have quite unusual technique with Flair - I set both arms on the lever and then put the side off my lower jaw onto the hands and follow the lever with my head. I suppose it looks very funny but is giving enough control without using much force with arms, so I don't feel the need to have a better control or device that needs less force or even a pressure meter ...

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#328: Post by tarzan_monkeyman »

I just got my Flair 58 tonight along with the puck screen, previously used the original flair pro. It was a little late for coffee but I decided to spend some time dialing in my grinder to the new machine so I could play with it and be ready tomorrow morning.

My first impressions are very positive. First thing I noticed was the group head warmed up super fast, must have been only 2-3 minutes and it was hot to the touch (they suggest warming for 10 minutes to get the portafilter and pressure gauge parts warmed up as well). Also with the longer lever, reaching and maintaining a certain pressure was SIGNIFICANTLY easier than with the flair pro, repeatability with pressure profiles should be much easier with the 58. Something I noticed with my flair pro is that no matter how good my puck prep was I would always get donut looking extractions, not so much with the 58, I was getting textbook even looking extractions.

My only complaint so far is I wasn't able to get a dry puck after the shot like in the demonstration videos I watched(user error?). After I pulled the shots I switch out cups and push the rest of the water out of the group head but when I remove the portafilter there's still a little water left on top and the puck is still wet.

It's still early but I'm liking the workflow much better than the flair pro, I'm also liking the new accessories I was able to use with the standard 58mm portafilter.


#329: Post by cleftofvenus »

tarzan_monkeyman wrote:I just got my Flair 58 tonight along with the puck screen, previously used the original flair pro.
How loose is your pressure gauge piston? I just got mine today and the piston will not seal properly, it just sits loosely on top. All my shots pour right out of the bottom with zero pressure and no lever resistance. Took my grind size extremely low just to be sure.


#330: Post by tarzan_monkeyman » replying to cleftofvenus »

When I have the pressure gauge piston hooked in with the lever all the way up or when I'm applying pressure it seems pretty tight. Only with the hook off or when the lever is sort of in between being up or down it kind of just sits there loosely but I think it's meant to be that way to easily take on/off.