Flair Espresso Maker Review - Page 3

Behind the scenes of the site's upcoming equipment reviews.

Postby schneckerl » Apr 18, 2018, 11:59 am

While we're at it Andrew, how about an update on the bottomless portafilter? :)


Postby SunSurfH2o » replying to schneckerl » Apr 18, 2018, 12:12 pm

There will be a private invite going out next week to any and all that have inquired about it by email, a pre-release of sorts to 100 individuals. If you were one, you should receive the offer. If not, better go send us an inquiry stat--the current list is approaching the quantity available. It will then be made available to the rest of the public end of May.


Postby Gig103 » Apr 25, 2018, 11:43 am

Thanks for the thorough review! I had not heard of this product, but the idea of office espresso is tempting. So a question for Dominick - how long were you preheating the cylinder in the hot-not-boiling water? We have a "no heating element" rule so I'd need to boil water in the microwave, use it to heat the cylinder, then heat more water to actually brew with.

(side note - good advice on being careful for super boiling. I'm used to it since I boil my water a few times a day for Aeropress at work but not everyone is)

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Postby dominico » Apr 25, 2018, 3:58 pm

Gig103 wrote:Dominick - how long were you preheating the cylinder in the hot-not-boiling water?

It was the first thing I would do, so at least 2 minutes, maybe closer to 3. It works well enough to make a decent shot, but even then as I mentioned in the review it provides a temp best for dark roasts or Italian blends.
Il caffè è un piacere, se non è buono che piacere è?

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Postby doubleOsoul » Apr 25, 2018, 10:35 pm

Great review Gary! I had the chance to check one out when visiting Randy last year. Love the simplicity of the thing.
Ways to win my heart:buy me coffee, make coffee, be coffee LMWDP #354


Postby vit » May 18, 2018, 2:30 pm

After some further experiments, my steaming preheat method recently looks like this


Procedure for medium roast (Illy, Lavazza and SO from local roaster) is as follows

- pour about 1 dl of water into czesve, put on the cylinder and the cup; induction set to 9 (no powerboost used)
- while it warms up, preheat the PF separately by pouring some hot tap water to about 40°C
- 1:30 water boils
- 2:00 reduce power from 9 to 7
- 2:45 remove the preheated cup and put on the scale on the Flair, then pour out the water from the PF, wipe, dose the coffee, tamp with 8-10 kg, mount onto stand, put the shower screen
- 3:30 switch off the stove, move the cylinder to the PF with hand (no tongs required)
- 3:40 pour the water from the csezve into cylinder, wait 20-30 s checking the water temperature in the cylinder with thermometer until it drops to around 94°C, then mount the piston and preinfuse with force about 5 kg, about 10 s
- extraction with force around 16 kg (around 9 bar according to my measurements), decreasing the force towards the end to keep constant flow, 25-40 s

For darker espresso blend with significant percentage of robusta, I don't preheat the PF, but dose the coffee at the beginning, then after preheating the cup until around 2:45, I immediately mount the cylinder (which is less preheated than for medium roast) onto PF, pour the water from csezve, wait until temperature drops to 91-92°C, no preinfusion, extraction 20-30 s with constant force around 16 kg (or slightly less towards the end)

Of course, no need for extreme precision regarding the timing, I just wrote it down as some kind of reference, and it should be adjusted depending on the stove power etc ...


Postby smt » May 19, 2018, 4:49 pm

Thanks for the great reviews and the passion that drives it!

I used to have a Silvia and a Mazzer Mini, which I sold about 8 years ago, and didn't really have espresso at home since then.

When walking around Baltimore the other day, I went into a "roast your own coffee" place and the owner poured me an espresso from a La Pavoni lever machine. It was a sign!!!

I went home and started researching lever machines. I came across the Flair, and ordered one. I'm so glad I did. It makes great shots.

For anyone thinking about getting one...do it. My process involves heating everything on the stove while I prepare everything else. The setup and cleanup is really not much more involved than it is for an AeroPress.

Now...I need a better grinder...


Postby MikeTheBlueCow » May 22, 2018, 5:53 pm

So I just got a Flair and I've been playing around with different ways of preheating. So far I like the dry heat method, which I achieve by putting the cylinder directly in a pan on the stove. With the boiling or steaming methods it never stayed hot enough for me, but with this dry heat method I actually have to be careful to make sure that it's not too hot. I just wanted to check in to see if there was a reason not to do it this way, since I can't think of any as it isn't getting any hotter than 250 F generally. I'm thinking that isn't too hot to worry about hastened degradation of the non-metal materials, but would appreciate it if someone could confirm our deny that. I'm mostly questioning this because nobody else seems to do it and usually people seem to use boiling or steaming.

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Postby drgary » May 22, 2018, 6:16 pm

Good question. Perhaps you could ask the Flair folks about the heat tolerance of their materials and report back to us.

What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!


Postby MikeTheBlueCow » replying to drgary » May 22, 2018, 8:48 pm

Just had a quick communication with them and it looks like the o-rings are good for at least 350° F. It's definitely not necessary to get the heat past about 250° in my basic testing, since I have found that sufficient to get a good temperature and low enough that it won't flash boil too violently. This has given me good starting brew temperatures, though I don't have the ability to tell what the temperature stability is once I put the piston in (so I'm just assuming the same rate of decline as stated in the review). My thermometer and methods are basic, so "your mileage may vary". The heat does get pulled away some to the filter and shower screen if those aren't preheated. You do also have to be careful to not get the cylinder too hot because the flash boil could be violent and cause burns. The silicone sleeve is also very hot so it is good to use tongs or a heat resistant glove, or even a towel has worked for me.

I'm hoping to try this out with a preheated steel piston as well, once I get one of those.