The flair espresso maker has turned some heads over the past couple of months, so we thought it was time to evaluate this home espresso maker and its respective benefits. In our Flair espresso maker review, you can also discover some of the downsides, ensuring you make an informed decision if you do decide to purchase one of these espresso machines.
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More Affordable Than Most Manual Espresso Machines
When you are a coffee aficionado, you’ve undoubtedly discovered how much a manual espresso machine can cost you. $1000 is not that uncommon for a manual espresso maker, but fortunately there is now an alternative with the Flair espresso machine.
The Flair espresso machine is only a small fraction of the regular price for manual espresso machines. While we will elaborate on its performance next, we can already say that this espresso machine can certainly compete with some of the more expensive options out there.
The lower price of the Flair espresso maker does not mean that this machine is less beautiful. Quite the contrary in fact, because the flair espresso machine comes with a really sleek design that will look stunning on your kitchen counter.
Performance Rivalling More Expensive Espresso Machines
Let’s look a little closer at the performance and the design of the Flair espresso maker. There are several factors to consider, and we look at each one in great detail.
The Flair espresso maker can deal with a variety of coffee beans to create the perfect brew. It handles light roasted beans just as well as darker option, and this is an important indicator for performance alone.
Remember, some beans require the right hot temperature to get the best brew, so some simple boiling water just won’t do. Fortunately, you don’t have to mess around with boiling water, as the Flair espresso maker can handle even Nordic Ethiopian beans.
Since this device has a really good brew range, you could certainly use it to make a shot of espresso for your Americano creations. As you may know, the right shot consistency is important for this drink and you can undoubtedly achieve the best shot with this espresso maker.
The Flair is an espresso maker with quite a bit of durability too. While many people could be hesitant to purchase it because of the lower price, manufacturers have not skimped on durable materials.
The components to make your brew fit like a glove and the lever mechanism is unlikely to give way. The manufacturers have chosen stainless steel for the majority of the design, which certainly bodes well for the longevity of the espresso maker.
It is important to note that not only the main construction of the espresso maker is made from stainless steel, as the same is the case for the cylinder, the incorporated portafilter and the shower screen. While the piston inside the espresso machine is made from plastic, the manufacturer recently updated it with a steel cap for additional durability and longevity. So, the design certainly delivers.
Whether you are trying to make a shot or a full cup of espresso with this espresso machine, the temperature control is completely in your hands. You can easily create the best brew on the right temperature, as there is no boiler that can make your brew overheat.
While this is not really an essential for an espresso machine, we need to mention that it does not include an accompanying grinder. To get the most from this machine, it is important that you do get a good grind from your coffee beans.
There are many devices on the market today that could help you grind your coffee beans to the perfect consistency. As you may know already, a good espresso brew requires a fine grind, so this is something to consider when you look for a device to grind your coffee beans.
Even the best espresso makers can have issues with user-friendliness. They can contain a million different levers and a variable pressure gauge, which makes it more difficult to get that perfect shot of espresso. Fortunately, this is not the case for the Flair.
You can easily make your favorite coffee with the Flair, as you don’t have to wait for the temperature or mess around with the pressure gauge. Since the construction is relatively simple too, even those who have no experience at making the perfect brew can come close to perfection.
Even though this espresso machine is really user-friendly, we do need to mention that you will have to assemble it. However, the assembly is quite straightforward. Simply take the base out, add the lever support and then insert the drip tray for the coffee. Be sure to use the screws to ensure the lever remains on the base.
The brew head is impressive on all the different models of the Flair. The brew head has a good capacity and dose range. In other words, this brew head can handle various brew ratios, giving you a more customisable brewing experience.
Please note that the size of the head may vary depending on the model you have. The standard option has the smallest one, while the Pro 2 and the Signature have a bigger version.
Different versions of this espresso maker are available. The Flair Signature is considered the top of the line and should be a serious consideration for coffee experts. If you are not a coffee expert, but simply looking for an amazing brew nonetheless, you can still use the Flair Signature.
We must mention that the Flair Signature had a minor issue with its finish on the earlier models. While the manufacturers have now rectified this problem, it is a good idea to check the version of the Flair signature you buy.
When you choose a Flair device, you can also count on a bunch of functional accessories. While your basic device comes without these additional available accessories, the price of all functional accessories is quite affordable.
The accessories, including additional portafilter, can be found on the website. The name of the accessory also indicates which model it belongs too. For example, if you are looking to acquire a portafilter, be sure you choose a portafilter that has the tag of your Flair model.
For example, the portafilter has the tag classic/signature. Evidently, this means that the portafilter can be used for both the classic model and the signature model. This does not apply to the portafilter alone, but also other accessories.
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To fully enjoy your new Flair espresso machine, you need more than just some hot water and coffee beans. You will also a good grinder to create the perfect cup of coffee from those coffee beans and hot water. So, let’s take a look at some coffee grinder recommendations.
When it comes to coffee grinders, you have both manual and electrical choices. To ensure you have a good range to choose from, we have picked a combination of both for you to evaluate.
Krups Electric Coffee Grinder
The Krups Electric Coffee Grinder will not disappoint. This automatic grinder can provide both rough and fine grinds, so perfect for anything such as standard coffee and the more refined espresso.
As an additional benefit, this particular option is one of the most affordable in our review today. Despite it’s cheaper price, you don’t have to go without those quality features, as this grinder provides a large capacity, powerful blades for a more uniform grind and a bunch of safety features.
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JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder
If you prefer a manual coffee grinder over the electric option, you could have a look at the JavaPresse manual coffee grinder. While it is a little more expensive than the previous suggestion, you do get some additional options in return.
The JavaPresse comes with a removable hand crank mechanism, which means it is far less noisy than the electric options out there. The internal mechanism includes some ceramic burrs, known to provide some excellent grinding. Each of these devices also comes with a unique code that you can exchange for a bag of coffee.
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OXO Conical Burr
This overview would not be complete without recommending a good conical burr to grind your coffee with. We had loads of options laid us before us, but the one that made the cut is the OXO Conical Burr.
The OXO Conical burr is equipped with stainless steel blades, which ensure better flavor extraction and enables the creation of various grinds. This device also comes with fifteen different settings, so you can easily get the perfect grind in minimal time.
Please note that Flair recommends the use of a burr grinder. So, if you want to stick with the recommendations of the manufacturer, be sure to use this option from our three recommendations.
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How Do You Clean A Flair Espresso Maker?
Cleaning a Flair coffee machine is relatively simple and you can find many tips and hints in the instructions that come with your device. Still, if you want to know how much maintenance this device needs, let us elaborate on some of the maintenance involved with the Flair.
Removing used grounds
It is vital to remove used grounds each time you use the device. After all, remaining grounds can influence the coffee you make next. To remove the “puck”, take out the portafilter and knock it against the side of the trashcan. You can also invert your filter to easily remove the puck with a suitable utensil.
Many people like to rinse their filter with some hot water after each brew, but we recommend the use of cold water. Doing so will remove any residue much better, since warmer water would not completely remove it.
You should rinse the filter on a regular basis, but you should do the same with all other parts of your Flair that are used on regular basis. Simply rinse them under a cold tap to get them clean. However, you should never put these parts in the dishwasher, as this could damage the components.
Please note that rinsing your filter after each use can be beneficial and reduce overall maintenance time. By rinsing regularly, you do not have to clean the space between the bottom of the basket and the filter body.
Most people keep their Flair on the kitchen countertop, but you can store it too. Since the Flair can be disassembled completely and comes with its own carry case, you can store it to keep the components protected if you do not intend on using it for a longer period of time.
If you have stored the Flair for a considerable time, it is recommended to check the components for any damage or problems before you start using them. If any of the parts appear damaged, do not use the espresso machine.
The portable nature of this espresso maker can have additional benefits. If you like to take your device on holiday with you, the carry case makes it possible! Just make sure you store everything properly to avoid the equipment being knocked about when it is being transported.
How Do You Make Espresso At Home?
Making an espresso of good quality requires some knowledge. Fortunately, we have a complete guide for you on how to get espresso of the finest quality from your Flair machine. We even made this guide suitable for beginners. So, if you haven’t got a clue what the difference is between a coffee and an espresso, let alone know how to brew them, be sure to check out this detailed guide.
What is the difference between espresso and coffee?
An espresso is nothing more than brewing coffee in one particular way. For coffee, gravity does most of the work, as the water mixes with the grind and then slowly drips through the filter. An espresso however, is made by forcibly pushing through water and a fine coffee grind through a filter.
Another phenomenon you need to be familiar with is the term “crema”. Crema points to a good quality espresso, as this is the thick layer of foam on the top that shows you have done a good job. To get a crema, carbon dioxide is off-gassed while the water is forcibly pushed over the coffee grounds. This leads to the fine bubbles that creates the creme on top of your home brew.
If you want the best result and superior quality, we urge you to consider the brewing preparation steps that have been recommended by the manufacturer of the Flair coffee maker.
Even for a home brew, you need a nice selection of coffee beans. It is important to know that there is no such thing as espresso beans. After all, you only get espresso by using a specific brewing technique. So, do not be fooled by one of the coffee bags in stores labelled as espresso.
For this review, we will give you an example of outstanding coffee beans. You want to be looking for an option that has been roasted relatively close to the date of purchase. One to two weeks before your purchase date is usually the sweet spot. You can even find suppliers that roast them upon ordering, giving you always the freshest option for a full cup or a shot.
Before you can start making an espresso, you will need to have the right grind; this has been mentioned earlier in this review. Find grounds are recommended, because espresso machines do require a finer blend for a better brewing experience.
Blade grinders are a great option for many coffee brews, but we do need to mention that the burr grinder is always best for espresso. In fact, Flair recommends the burr grinder specifically on their website. The benefit of using a burr grinder is that it provides more consistent grounds and it allows you to change the size of the grounds.
Once you have your grounds, it is time for the “tamping” process. Tamping is basically moving your coffee grounds to the portafilter. It is important to do this is an even fashion, even for home brews. When you do not distribute evenly for your home brews, water will not come into contact with all the coffee. It can also put more resistance on your lever, something you can do without when you have a manual machine.
Finally, you need the right water temperature for your espresso. The ideal temperature for dark roasts has been determined at 195 degrees Fahrenheit. The best temperature for light roast beans is 205 degrees Fahrenheit. For the Flair machine, the manufacturer recommends 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Brewing with the Flair
When you start brewing with a Flair, you can encounter some different instructions depending on the device you have acquired. To ensure you are brewing at home like a pro, make sure you follow the right instructions. For the purpose of this review, we focus on the classic Flair espresso maker.
Preparation: Before you start brewing, you have to prepare the espresso maker. Add the post in the base and then add the drip tray on top of the base. Next, pull apart the brew head.
Bean prep: Once you have prepped the Flair, it is time to prep your beans. Put a minimum of 17 grams of your preferred beans in a burr grinder and keep grinding until you have some fine grounds.
Brew head prep: Once the beans are done, you can start putting the head together. Invert the cylinder of the Flair and then fill it with the boiling water. Leave it to stand for approximately 30 seconds. Then, remove the water and connect the cylinder to the filter. Then, add the brewing water (ideally 200 degree Fahrenheit) to the cylinder and fill it up to the line.
Time to brew: Now that the prep is fully over, you can take the next step to to brewing. First, add the piston to the top of the cylinder. Then, simply lower the lever. At 9 BAR pressure, brewing should take approximately thirty to forty-five seconds.
The right pressure for espresso has been determined between 9 and 15 BAR. Like with other aspects of the brewing process, you might find that a specific pressure provides you the flavor you like most. Once again, it can be a process of trial and error. Fortunately, thanks to the affordability of the Flair, you can get plenty of coffee beans to test it out. Once you have determined the best pressure, you are guaranteed to enjoy your favorite brew every day.
Always remember that brewing to perfection requires a perfect combination of pressure, grounds, and time. Once you have mastered these three properties of the brewing process, you will have one cup of espresso you will never forget.
The Final Points Of Our Review
Our review has proven that you do not need to purchase the most expensive espresso machine to get excellent results. The Flair manual espresso maker in this review has shown to have countless beneficial properties and does a job that could rival even the most expensive coffee makers and espresso machines.
Of course, there are some valuable tips in this review that you need to remember. No matter how great your equipment is, it will not matter much if you do not have the technique to back it up. Fortunately, this review has proven that making a quality espresso is not that difficult. All it requires is the perfect combination of pressure, grounds, and the right temperature.
In conclusion, a combination of the Flair and fine-tuning your brewing techniques can give you an excellent cup or shot of espresso. As a final tip, don’t be afraid to experiment with the flavor of your standard espresso shot. Add a little hint of cinnamon, honey, or even some milk to fine-tune your shot or cup of espresso. It takes some time to get the exact flavor you want for your cup of espresso or your shot, but the time it takes is more than worth it!
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