Flair Espresso Review – Best Manual Choice In 2024?

Flair Espresso Review – Best Manual Choice In 2024?

When it comes to affordable manual espresso machines, the Flair stands out. It’s been a fan favorite among espresso enthusiasts, offering a compact and eco-friendly design while delivering café-style quality. Developed from a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2016, the Flair has since evolved into four different models, each catering to different espresso needs.

What sets the Flair apart immediately is its unique approach to manual espresso brewing. While it operates with the same 9 to 16 bars of pressure as more expensive machines, it does so without the bulk and at a more accessible price point. The Flair Signature Brewer, for instance, strikes a balance between the basic Classic model and the top-of-the-line Pro 2, featuring a stylish chrome finish and a copper-plated portafilter base. You can even upgrade it with a pressure gauge kit to get that perfect shot more consistently.

The Classic model is the original Flair, and it’s as simplistic as it is effective. Despite lacking a pressure gauge, it excels in portability and ease of use, making it an excellent choice for those who need their espresso fix on the go. On the other end of the spectrum, the Pro 2 comes fully loaded with a bottomless portafilter, a pressure gauge, and an upgraded brew head that supports larger amounts of coffee and water, perfect for those who like to experiment with their brews.

For beginners, the Neo model offers a unique flow-control portafilter to ensure an even extraction every time. This feature makes it easier for newbies to get a consistent shot without much fuss. All Flair models come with essential accessories like a measuring cup/tamper, funnel, drip tray, and an ergonomic lever for easy brewing and cleaning.

The design of the Flair is minimalist yet functional. It feels robust, made of high-quality materials like cast aluminum and stainless steel, and comes with a five-year warranty. Its four-part brew head is particularly user-friendly, allowing for straightforward assembly, brewing, and cleaning. Just make sure not to put the parts in the dishwasher; a simple rinse with cool water will do.

Using the Flair involves a few manual steps but nothing too complex. Grind your coffee beans finely, tamp them into the portafilter, and attach the dispersion screen. Pre-wet the water cylinder with hot water to maintain temperature, then fill it up and secure it over the portafilter. Finally, pull the lever to achieve the 9 bars of pressure needed for a good espresso shot. You can tweak the grind size, water ratio, and pressure to perfect your brew.

However, the Flair isn’t for everyone. If you need to make multiple cups of coffee quickly, prefer milk-based drinks like lattes, or are looking for something ultra-budget or lightweight, this might not be the machine for you. It’s more suited for those who enjoy the process of brewing high-quality espresso and don’t mind a bit of a learning curve.

In summary, if you’re passionate about brewing espresso and appreciate the art behind it, the Flair is a compelling choice. It strikes a balance between style, functionality, and portability, making it a standout option in the manual espresso maker market. While it might not cater to all coffee preferences, its ability to deliver high-quality espresso in a sleek, eco-friendly package makes it worth considering.