As many others here have doubtlessly done, I purchased a Flair Espresso Maker manual lever, late in its Kickstarter funding cycle. I bought the "hostess kit," which includes two brewing cylinders. I also purchased their extra metal tamper, which sold in the preorder for $12, and will be $20 at retail. I actually bought two sets of everything, and was pleased to give this to my visiting favorite aunt, before she left my home today. She is now well set-up with Helor 101, CCD, and Flair.
In a hurry to try this thing out, I cheated a bit. Boiling water came from the hot water tap of my Slayer. I used a Monolith Flat to grind the beans (Klatch Elida Honey/Elida Natural blend).
Low hanging fruit, if this thing is truly a functioning manual lever, right?
It comes in a lovely travel lunchbox:
Ooooh goody! what's inside?
Grinding 18.5g into the dosing funnel/PF/base unit:
18.5g, shown here, is probably a bit too much. 17.0g allows use of the screen thing they provide (not shown):
Pour in water after placing PF/base on heated cylinder:
Press the lever and this stuff comes out:
... and it tastes great! Thick, sweet, complex shot. This was a 17.0g extraction, and my second attempt. The first one was a very short ristretto with 18.5g, which was also delicious, but much too small.
This second shot is as good as good shots I've had on Pat's Cremina, so I think that this device is a real and fully functional manual lever. With a little grind adjustment, It will be as good as any other decent machine, and it fits in my suitcase.
Though I have much excellent equipment, and the skills to match, I should note here that I am quite a lever neophyte. I am exceedingly pleased with the results of my early experiments with this device. Though it is certainly not the first high-quality manual portable espresso making device, it may be that it is no longer necessary to pick only two of: portable, inexpensive, excellent.
May I apply for LMWDP membership now?
I look forward to hearing of others' experiences with this neat little machine.