Author Topic: Flair espresso machine- now travelling road show ;)  (Read 2086 times)

Offline SpecialReserve

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Flair espresso machine- now travelling road show ;)
« on: February 07, 2018, 06:30:25 AM »
I have been looking at the Flair espresso machine. It gets really good reviews, even by some of the cafe snobs, at an unmentioned site. Do you have one? Have you had some espresso pulled on one? Whats your thoughts on it? I love to tinker and build things so I had to get one lol. Should arrive in a few days ...let me know what you think. Maybe a review here is I  order?
« Last Edit: March 07, 2018, 10:26:18 PM by Joe »
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Offline ptrmorton

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Re: Flair espresso machine
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2018, 07:23:50 AM »
Yes!  Good machine if it is the same one that was promoted on Kickstart.  I don't do espresso at home, but this tempted me at the time.  Compact and well built.  I had two very nice shots from it while CAMPING!  I didn't actually use it, I just watched a friend of a friend crank out shots while I helped hand grind the beans. Just you reminding me that it exists tempts me again. Yes please on the review idea.
Debate in my mind: "I don't need more coffee equipment!!! Well, maybe just for camping .... ::) "
AZ Peter

Proverbs 3:5-6

Offline SpecialReserve

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Re: Flair espresso machine
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2018, 09:04:18 AM »
PT I'm not gonna admit how much coffee making gear I have. It would cause others to question my sanity LOL. It's a sickness I have been afflicted with for quite a while  :-\.
I have been. Looking at that thing thinking " I REALLY don't need another piece of coffee hardware". But like every true junkie I justified it LOL. Coffee is really quite simple with only a few variables that need to be met. We shall see. I have even been working on my own lever machine. It helps to have friends who own a machine shop lol. I will report my results here to my fellow coffee "aficionados ". Thanks for weighing in!
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Offline martinwthree

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Re: Flair espresso machine
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2018, 11:00:57 AM »
I just purchased one for myself this past week! So far I love it! My first few shots were with Aaron's blueberry offering from early fall, which was SUPER great. I have never owned an espresso machine of any sort before, so I am quite pleased at the quality of shot that a novice like myself can pull. The shots I have pulled are comparable to what I have obtained from the nicer coffee spots in my hood. It certainly helps to have quality temperature control on the water used to preheat the stainless components, which I have courtesy a Fellow Stagg EKG. This allows me to go from cold water in the Stagg to a shot pulled in in the Flair <5 minutes, which is nice. Boiling water on the stove top would take a bit longer I'm sure. All in all I am a BIG fan. For folks that want espresso at home, but don't want a larger machine and the maintenance that comes with it, the flair is a great option.

Offline ptrmorton

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Re: Flair espresso machine
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2018, 11:19:32 AM »
Multiple reviews??!
AZ Peter

Proverbs 3:5-6

Offline SpecialReserve

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Re: Flair espresso machine
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2018, 12:17:00 PM »
I just purchased one for myself this past week! So far I love it! My first few shots were with Aaron's blueberry offering from early fall, which was SUPER great. I have never owned an espresso machine of any sort before, so I am quite pleased at the quality of shot that a novice like myself can pull. The shots I have pulled are comparable to what I have obtained from the nicer coffee spots in my hood. It certainly helps to have quality temperature control on the water used to preheat the stainless components, which I have courtesy a Fellow Stagg EKG. This allows me to go from cold water in the Stagg to a shot pulled in in the Flair <5 minutes, which is nice. Boiling water on the stove top would take a bit longer I'm sure. All in all I am a BIG fan. For folks that want espresso at home, but don't want a larger machine and the maintenance that comes with it, the flair is a great option.

Martin that's awesome...I'm really looking forward to getting it. I should have it tomorrow according to amazon. Mind if I ask what kind of grind you're using? What grinder are you using? Is there a way to do a preinfusion? Or does the water hit the puck when you pull? How hard are you tamping? I see some reviews that say use a 30 lbs tamp and others say not so much. Sorry for all the questions I'm curious as can be.
Thanks!
Ps I have a piece of a jar left of Aarons blueberry. I will sure put it through there. I'm thinking that natural fugu will be good too.
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Offline SpecialReserve

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Re: Flair espresso machine
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2018, 07:30:49 AM »
Flair arrived in good order. My first impression after tearing inot the box. Well built looks and feels like quality. Heavy precision machined brew heads and nice cast frame. Very nice. So I immediately set about practicing with it. Was able to ,after experimenting, pull shots that blow away the local coffee shops. No exggeration. In fact they are on par with any I have had. Beautiful body and crema that honestly blew my mind. I did pull a couple sours and one bitter. But dialed in the grind and surprisingly used my baratza encore (my drip / pour over grinder). Didn't need a high end grinder to get cafe quality yipeeee!  I went through several coffees that I had jarred up grinding and pulling shots like a kid with a new toy. See the coffees I used:
1. Columbian Finca El Placer.     Really smooth peanut brittle
2. Yemen Mocca.   Earthy, leather, slight spice notes
3. Mexico Pluma Los Naranjos ..dark milk chocolate, nuts
4. Ethiopian Fuji. ... berries, cocoa slight bitter bakers chocolate
5. Panama La Esmeralda .... woody , earthy, slight berry

I still need to develop a smooth work flow but it moves along pretty quickly after I got setup. I both the package that includes the two brew heads and tamper (very nice stainless piece)

I'm very happy with it and look forward to getting better with practice even though the results are very satisfying.

On the grind I found around the #6-8 setting on the encore (depending on the coffee) works really good. 15+/- G  Tamp till you feel it pack and seat. 35-45 second pull gives really nice crema and balance to the shot. Makes a really nice Americano...also added a splash of hot water and 2 Oz steamed half and half for a really nice milky double shot.
Setup: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1HQsbKFno4i8xTQSZDcoUMxSOe-aRlTPV/view?usp=drivesdk
Shot:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1C3XeOqRph2vZE2OhZ-Dzq5Xw32SBiOuH/view?usp=drivesdk
« Last Edit: February 10, 2018, 07:57:36 AM by SpecialReserve »
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Offline brianmch

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Re: Flair espresso machine
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2018, 08:22:33 PM »
Was wondering about a Flair as a gateway lever machine.  Reports are encouraging.

Offline SpecialReserve

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Re: Flair espresso machine
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2018, 01:42:12 PM »
Brian it sounds almost silly to say you can pull a shot as good as one from a high end espresso machine. But its true. I was blown away with the first one I pulled (after dialing in the grind and weight). I highly recommend them. The owner responds promptly to emails as well. We will be setting up a pair of them on our coffee cart and I inquired about extra parts etc. They were very interested and the service appears to be top notch. I like the tamper that is an extra too. Id recommend it if you get one. I have had the best shots using 15.5 grams of coffee but I have seen some guys pulling shots with 18 I have not tried that yet.
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Offline NickD

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Re: Flair espresso machine
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2018, 09:02:23 PM »
I have a La Pavoni (pre-millennium) and a friend with a La Pavoni (millennium) who recently bought a Flair.  Both of us have added thermometry to the La Pavonis to increase shot consistency, and I think we pull pretty respectable shots with these machines.

After playing around with the Flair, I don't notice any drop off in shot quality between the La Pavonis and the Flair.   It has drawbacks (need a hot water kettle, plus a consistent preheating routine), but if you're wanting to dip your toe into the espresso world (or the lever world), I think the Flair paired with a good grinder is the perfect introduction.

My friend actually prefers to use his Flair over his La Pavoni when he's only making coffee for one and doesn't need to steam milk.  I'm considering picking one up to pair with my Aergrind for a travel setup, although I'm also considering Paul Pratt's "robot" lever machine, which is not yet available for sale, and is likely more expensive and less portable than a flair.  On the plus side, it looks like a robot from a 1950s sci-fi movie.

Nick

Offline brianmch

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Re: Flair espresso machine
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2018, 05:20:41 AM »
Thanks for putting that out Nick.

A Pavoni seems to be a standard setting entry-priced lever. If the Flair is close to better regarding shot quality it becomes really tempting

Offline SpecialReserve

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Re: Flair espresso machine
« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2018, 05:53:31 AM »
I cheat on the milk if I'm making a latte or cap. Induction burner and whisk lol. I'm pretty much a purist. I do add about an ounce of hot water to the shot before enjoying it.
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Offline Joe

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Re: Flair espresso machine
« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2018, 01:16:47 PM »
These look like an improved ROK espresso machine. for the price you could probably save up for something more. Personally I would probably go for the Rok or Nomad even then I would save up for a home machine. These travel espresso machines I feel would be good for car camping but its limitations would would become more evident as you go forward. I'll reach out to ROK and Flair to see if I can test and review them. I just received some brewers from NotNeutral I have to review soon.

Offline SpecialReserve

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Re: Flair espresso machine
« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2018, 04:46:50 PM »
Limitations? I have found that the only limitations are having to pour some hot water in a small container to warm the brew heads which takes all of 30 seconds or so? I went ahead and got the set with two brew heads so I could pull a big double or two shots for two people. I can grind, prepare and pull two shots in around 4 minutes +/- that is considering the fact that I have made several so I have some what of a work flow at this point. I generally pull a couple shots a day for the wife and I. Did I mention I use the baratza encore I think they run around what? 140.00 bucks? No need to spend the $$ on a big name espresso grinder if you haven't already. I see a number of people using hand grinders and that's great if you are travelling or as you say, Joe,  car camping. I am at the house using mine. I have not tried the ROK but did have a shot from a friends and it paled in comparison to the flair but in all fairness Id have to dial it in and practice with it myself before I gave it a thumbs down. Bottom line IMO (as someone who uses it daily now) if you aren't a big espresso drinker pulling shots all day but just want an occasional espresso shot and don't want to break the bank on a machine and grinder.... the flair will give you the same quality shot as the big machines. Not to mention I like being involved with my food and drink whether its cooking or preparing coffee. So if you are a push button .. I want it now and don't want to have to do anything to get it kind of person its not for you and there are plenty of those people out there in today's "I want it and I want it now" world. The shots I pull with the little flair smoke the two local coffee shops and they are using big high dollar autos albeit attended and prepared by people with less than what one would hope for in a barista.

DISCLAIMER:
I have ZERO interest in the flair other than I have become a fan... no monetary or other involvement whatsoever


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Offline brianmch

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Re: Flair espresso machine
« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2018, 05:37:16 AM »
There are several videos on Youtube comparing the Rok and Flair.

A search for the Flair provides them.