Do you have a knack for handcrafting your espresso shots? You can now have barista-level espresso shots from the comfort of your home!
Amid these modern machines, manual espresso makers have also been getting popular. Not only are they much more attractive and aesthetic, but they also cost a lot less compared to electric espresso machines. On the grounds of that, Flair came out with their first Classic Manual Espresso maker in 2016. Soon after, the Signature and Pro variants followed, with the most recent Neo Espresso Maker coming out in 2020.
Starting from the first Flair Espresso Maker, they have kept a minimalistic design for their products. All variants of the Flair Espresso Maker so far have been elegant and take up little space. Their manual espresso makers have been getting lots of attention lately, especially with the recent minimalism trend going around. Therefore, we decided to review the Flair Espresso Makers to let our readers know each version’s apparent differences and similarities.
Before we get started, though, I’d like to make it clear that there aren’t many significant differences in the Classic, Signature, and Neo versions of the Flair Espresso Makers. Not to say that they’re exactly the same with different labels, but it would be nice to see Flair streamline their variants in the future.
How Do Flair Manual Espresso Makers Work?
All versions of the Flair Espresso Makers work on the same principle. Initially, the process can seem intimidating. With time, however, you will get used to it and may even find it therapeutic.
Here’s a quick rundown of how the Flair Manual Espresso Makers work:
- After setting up the espresso press, prepare the brew head. If it’s packed away, then pull the piston out and separate the portafilter.
- Use a dosing cup to bring the plunger at the top, then slide it on and push down to start the brew.
- Next, prepare ground beans and load the portafilter. You can use 14-24 grams of ground. We recommend using beans roasted within the last 7-14 days to get the best crema.
- Then place the funnel on top of the portafilter and pour coffee grounds.
- Now heat the brew cylinder, either by boiling it or filling it with brew water. Darker roasts usually fare best when brew water is closer to 198F and lighter roasts closer to 205F.
- After 35-40 seconds, invert the cylinder and dump out the water. You are now ready to brew!
- Mount the piston on the espresso maker and start lowering the lever. You can use both hands to press down the lever for leverage. Press the lever to 6-9 bars according to the pressure gauge.
- Keep in mind that it takes some time to get used to the feel of manual brewing and that the process isn’t entirely frictionless.
Flair Espresso Maker Reviews – the Best Manual Espresso Makers to Get in 2021
Now that you’re more familiar with how the Flair Espresso Makers work, we can get into the details about each variant of their Espresso Makers.
1. Flair Classic Espresso Maker
All you need is some boiled water and a dose of 14-18 grams to get a delicious espresso shot with crema. This is a 100% human-powered espresso press that provides consistent quality without electricity. With its elegant design, it is the perfect addition to your coffee station!
The brewing head is entirely detachable, which makes the Flair Classic Espresso Maker super easy to clean.
You can break down the espresso press into three components. These are the base, post, and brewing head. You simply remove the brewing head, separate it into parts and rinse them under cool water. The machine is made of cast aluminum and stainless steel that make it durable and long-lasting.
The Flair Classic Espresso Maker relies solely on a perfectly prepped coffee bed to build the necessary back-pressure to craft espresso. The shot extraction time of the machine is between 30 to 45 seconds with a volume of roughly 45ml.
The Flair Classic Espresso Maker is 100% portable, despite weighing 2.27 kg (5 lbs). It comes with a padded travel case that is custom-fitted and cut to precision. This allows you to safely transport the espresso maker and take it anywhere you want.
When assembled, the Flair Classic Espresso Maker has the dimensions 30 x 15 x 25cm. You can get the product in white, chrome, black, and red colors. The Flair Classic Espresso Maker performs well around 6 to 9 bars of pressure and is enough to brew a professional-level espresso shot.
However, the manual extraction and making of an espresso shot takes a lot of time and effort and only yields a drink for one person. That certainly isn’t ideal if you’re looking for something to fill the family pot.
Elegant and sturdy build
Detachable brewing head
Nice aesthetics and portability
Limited serving size
Needs lots of arm strength
Removing the piston can be difficult as it binds due to the expansion
You will have to buy a pressure gauge as an add-on
2. Flair Signature Espresso Maker
The Flair Signature Espresso Maker, too, is a wholly manual and human-powered machine. Its pressure gauge provides you with immediate visual feedback on dose prep and temp. This allows you to keep an eye on the target espresso range and get the best results.
This Manual Espresso Maker comes with a pressure kit. This contains a stainless steel tamper as well as a bottomless 2-in-1 portafilter. You also can use the portafilter for spouted brewing. Similar to its Classic sibling, the Flair Signature Espresso Maker has removable components that make it super easy to clean.
This Flair Espresso Maker weighs around 3 kg (6.5 lbs) and has a cylinder water capacity of 60ml. When assembled, the espresso press has dimensions 30 x 15 x 25 cm. The shot extraction time and volume of the Flair Signature Espresso Maker are the same as the Classic one.
It also comes with a tailor-made travel case that ensures safe travel. All parts (aluminum and stainless steel) of this espresso maker come with a 5-year warranty.
The construction quality of the Flair Signature Espresso Maker is better than the Classic. For starters, it has an upgraded and stronger base, post, and lever. The base is exceptionally well-made since it manages to sit flat on the worktop. The espresso press does not wobble as you lower the level and takes the support of its rubber feet. The basket in the Flair Signature Espresso Maker is deeper and narrower than its earlier variant. That makes it easier to create pressure in the press since you can use slightly coarse coffee grounds.
The Signature Espresso Maker also requires you to use less arm strength to press down the lever. Overall, the Signature Espresso Maker has a pretty good and efficient workflow.
This Flair Espresso Maker also comes with some nice little add-ons. These include a funnel that you can use for getting the grounds into the holder, as well as a tamper. With its minimalistic design and setup, you can enjoy flavorful espresso shots from anywhere you like.
It doesn’t take up too much space
Well-constructed product with a 5-year warranty
Requires less arm strength to pull down the lever
It takes about 3 minutes or over to brew a single espresso shot
Not suitable for more than one person unless you buy extra portafilters
Requires some dial-in time
There isn’t enough room in the travel case for extras like brew heads, tamper, etc.
3. Flair NEO Espresso Maker
The workflow for the Flair Espresso Makers is intimidating and overwhelming, and it looks like Flair agrees with us. That is why with the Neo Espresso Maker, they have simplified the process to make it beginner-friendly.
Everything about the NEO Flair Espresso Maker is beautifully crafted. It has a sturdy build, can be assembled in seconds, and allows you to handcraft your espresso shot. The product has dimensions 14.5 x 10 x 4 inches and is available in Gray and White colors.
What distinguishes the NEO from Flair’s other two espresso makers is its Flow-Control Portafilter. That allows for quick and easy use by restricting the flow of brew water through pre-ground coffee. That means your brew water will have enough contact time regardless of the grind size used, ensuring consistent extractions and crema in every shot.
With the Flair NEO Espresso Maker, you don’t have to worry about changing the grinder’s settings or dialing in your shot. You simply fill the portafilter with ground beans and prepare the brew head after preheating. The Neo Espresso Maker takes care of the rest for you and makes manual espresso brewing simpler than ever.
We highly recommend trying your hand at the Flair Neo Espresso Maker if you’re a beginner at making espresso or don’t have access to a high-end grinder.
Prepares delicious espresso topped with thick crema
It doesn’t take up too much space
The simplified workflow makes it beginner-friendly
Pulling the lever down takes a lot of effort
It takes a lot of time and has a little yield
Its multiple small parts need adjusting and cleaning with each brew
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Is It Easy to Maintain the Flair Espresso Maker?
Flair Espresso Makers are much easier to maintain than electrical espresso machines. It doesn’t require any back flushes or descales. Their Manual Espresso Makers give you direct access to all brewing components, making it simple to clean and ensuring delicious espresso shots with each press.
2. Can I Use the Standard Portafilter With the Flair NEO Espresso Maker?
Yes, you can use the standard portafilter and brew head with the NEO frame. You just need a plastic conversion ring to put it in the portafilter base, and you’re good to go!
3. Can I Use the Flair Espresso Makers to Make Cappuccino or Latte?
No, you cannot use the Flair Espresso Makers to make latte or cappuccinos since they don’t come with a steamer.
4. Do the Flair Espresso Makers Come With a Preheating Cap?
The Flair Classic and Signature Espresso Makers do not come with a cap. However, you can insert the piston in the brewing cylinder to create a seal before turning the two upsides down. You can then add boiling water to the cylinder and leave it to preheat while you dose and prep.
The Flair Espresso Makers are some of the best manual espresso makers in the market. With their sturdy build, pleasing aesthetics, and portability, it’s understandable why they’re creating a buzz in the brewing world. Hopefully, this Flair Espresso Maker review made it easy for you to choose a manual espresso maker that works best for you.