What's the best way to pre-heat the Flair Espresso brew chamber?

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#1: Post by boren »

The official method of putting it in a bowl and pouring hot water inside doesn't work so great, because water normally leaks from the bottom emptying much of the chamber. If I then add more water the whole chamber is surrounded by water which makes it problematic to handle.

An alternative method is to put the piston in, turn the chamber upside down and lay it on the piston handle, then fill it in. This works well, but I feel there's a risk that the whole thing will topple over and make a mess.

Another alternative is to assemble the chamber on top of the portafilter, put hot water in for pre-heating purpose only, then replace with the hot water intended for the actual brew. The downside of this is that some water reaches the ground coffee, resulting in an uncontrolled pre-brewing/pre-wetting. I'm not sure it's a great idea to then turn everything upside down to empty the pre-heat water when the puck is already softened by some water.

Any preferred method? Other alternative which I missed?


#2: Post by Kaffeind »

Hi Boren,
FWIW here's what I'm doing (tho I can't claim it's the best way!). Lots of users perch/immerse the brew head in/on a moka pot. That's an extra item on the stovetop..I use the gooseneck kettle that I'm using to heat the brew water. A pineapple container with a hole in the middle provides a platform and drives the steam up into the chamber. Place the brew chamber on top and put the kettle's cap on top of the brew chamber. I bring this to a boil while I'm grinding coffee, getting cups ready etc., probably 10-15 minutes of activity before I disassemble the stack.

Caveat: It's obvious this is tippy so don't do this with children or other peeps milling around the stove..boiling water and hot metal. This post is for informative purposes only and as such proceed at your own risk.

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#3: Post by MikeTheBlueCow »

I personally do the moka pot steam preheat. I have my coffee station away from the stove, with an electric kettle, so I bought a small burner specifically for the moka pot. It is an extra item on my coffee cart, but I have also used it to brew the moka pot or Turkish coffee.

Another tip that's come about, long after I developed the moka pot preheat, was basically doing the same thing with your kettle. You needed a collapsible silicone funnel that is wide enough to sit inside the kettle, then you cut the bottom off to get a bigger opening for the steam to come through while still allowing for the cylinder to sit in it. This method works best if you use a straight boil. I personally like the moka pot method still, because I can then set my kettle to whatever brew temp I want instead of being limited to boiling. I brew a range of coffee roasts and with a full preheat I am often using brew temp below boiling.


#4: Post by vit »

I'm using steaming preheat at 1cup czesve for several years. Exactly 68g of water, needs about 1:30 to boil ((I dose, level and tamp the coffee until it boils), when I start the stop watch. Leave boiling until 0:15 - 0:40 (depending on the roast - it's the temperature surfing part - this however depends on the altitude), switch off, at exactly 0:47 move the cylinder from csezve to basket, pour the water from csezve and at 1:00 start extraction, so I don't need to start the stop watch separately

For very light roast I sometimes use inverted steam preheat, mounting the basket onto cylinder while still on csezve, turn over and pour almost boiling water immediately, which can achieve a bit higher brew temperature. This isn't possible with the new type of shower screen like of Flair pro

Everything else is way to slow and inefficient ...

Original preheat method was slow and worked for me only with dark roast and water temperature in the cylinder plummets very fast
Boiling the cylinder in the pot of water had about 10 or so disadvantages ...


#5: Post by BildoMcBaggins »

Unfortunately I am selling my flair because I'm a single dad with a toddler, and the amount of things containing boiling hot water and requiring patience aren't conducive to making coffee with a toddler.

But I digress. The best way to preheat is with the open top travel kettle and a silicone funnel. I'm able to max out the temp strip easily.

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#6: Post by walr00s »

The best way to preheat is with the open top travel kettle and a silicone funnel.
Any chance you could provide links to these products?


#7: Post by BildoMcBaggins »

Absolutely. Link is direct to manufacturer since I don't want to promote any websites in case that is against rules.

The kettle is the Bonavita .5L Travel Kettle. The kettle holds enough to pull a shot and make it into an Americano. It's perfect.
https://bonavitaworld.com/products/5l-d ... vel-kettle

The silicone funnel are these dimensions and can be easily found at the worlds largest online retailer. It was a pack of 3 sizes. One of the other sizes fits the Bonavita 1L kettle perfectly as well.

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boren (original poster)

#8: Post by boren (original poster) »

Thanks for all the suggestions. I think I'll stick with the "inverted piston" method (and yes, I just came up with this name :wink:). I find it simple and effective enough.

I basically place the chamber on top of the piston (laying upside-down on its handle), then place the chamber into a small cup to prevent it from falling over and finally fill it up with boiling water.


#9: Post by BildoMcBaggins »

I agree this is good enough for the signature group. With the Pro 2 you need a lot more heat to get the components up to temp.

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#10: Post by walr00s »

I have a signature and simply immersing the top of the group in a cup of boiling water only brought it to about 145 degrees. Filling it with boiling water afterwards rapidly cooled the water to about 160