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  1. I have never greased the rings of my moka pots, and have used them daily for many, many years. (The newer manufactured pots may behave differently I suppose, now that they are no longer made in Italy?) If you do have trouble with your seal, I’d look at the gasket & make sure it is not dry or cracked or compromised with stray coffee grains. Even a single grain of coffee grind can compromise the seal. Also, let all parts dry out separately (disassembled) between use. Does the pot screw together easily without the gasket in place? If the aluminum or steel threads are not smooth when turning, due to manufacturing flaw, they might be helped with some type of lubrication, but that is not the norm. However, the threads do require a bit of care with the initial alignment though, as you engage the lower & upper chamber threads.... they behave just like a zipper on your coat, and need to be lined up “bang on” right at the start, or they’ll misalign & snag. As an aside, the quality & consistency of the brew from moka pots can be improved when the grinds are distributed well & with care in the basket... stirring well with a thin wire or needle & then forming a gentle pyramid (by drawing the sides of the coffee bed with the side of that wire or needle); the top chamber will provide the levelling and “tamping” of the grinds when it is carefully (level) placed on the lower chamber, and then screwed on. This takes more time than the quicker default moka/brikka pot approach, but along with weighing beans after grinding, you will find your brews are very consistent with this extra attention.?
  2. I’d also want the little Alfonso (Bialetti) toy figure shown in the youtube link!
  3. For one straight shot a day? Why not look at the Flair or the Robot? No warm-up time. The original Flair model produces slightly smaller shots than the newer Flair Pro model and the Robot model, so might be all you’d need for a small shot (under 40 ml), and for the least amount of money. These manual devices are a joy to use and produce excellent espresso, but no steaming capability.
  4. You will LOVE this machine! We have used ours every day for over 25 years, nary a problem. It also does ART, yes ART: here’s how: next time you are baking, dump in the butter, cream it, add the sugar, beat on medium-high until no sugar crystals can be felt between your fingers, and it’s a lovely creamy fluffy, lofty concoction, then add the eggs, beat again on medium-high until it turns into a huge, mile-high cloud of lemony yellow, soft, fluffy & voluminous. You will stop in your tracks, stare at it in wonder, and marvel. Then remind yourself you need to continue with your recipe.? It also does bread?
  5. Can the temperature be modified to finish at 140F/60C?
  6. @Teetertank, you would most definitely see big improvements with one of the manual grinders that are a few notches up (Knock, Kinu, Apollo). To date, Aergrind is the least expensive of the bunch that can produce outstanding espresso on the Flair. Flair has their own manual grinder hitting the market soon, with “budget + quality” shoppers in mind.
  7. The best results in espresso extraction on any device are achieved with a great grinder (stepless), freshly roasted beans and attentive portafilter preparation. With those in place, the brew from the Flair can match & even exceed very expensive espresso machines. Preheating is most easily accomplished (with no mess) by placing brew chamber atop a moka pot base for a steam preheat while you grind your beans. Desirably high brew temperatures can be obtained, particularly for light roasts, with this type of preheating. If the grind goes from choking to gushing, with little room in between, I would take a long look at the grinder in use and the roast freshness. The Flair does not show its best with a Hario level grinder or old beans (storebought sealed bags). I would add the Flair is the perfect complement for an espresso craftsperson.
  8. The Flair and manual frother are a good pair. There is another alternative to the Bellman for steaming, & faster to heat & steam milk than the Bellman: it’s the “R.E.D. steamer”, made & sold direct by a small business man in Indonesia. (I won’t be surprised if Flair comes out with its own standalone milk steamer in a year or two.) As @ashcroc said, there is also the a Bellman coffee maker that is dual-purpose; it brews rich moka-pot style coffee, as well as steams the milk. It’s not cheap though, and having used both this & various moka pots, I can say the result is no better than a moka pot (which is a lot less money). The Brikka is very good, too, but might take a bit of practice if you are new to it. The Aergrind, the Kinu, the Lido-e, the BPlus Apollo, the Helor, etc. are all great hand grinders if you aren’t going electric. If you want to keep it simple & inexpensive, there’s always the Aeropress. Likely the easiest to use, no big learning curve, high-end grinder not essential. Pair that with a manual frother, and you’ve got a budget package.
  9. @M_H_S Are you averse to a simple hand-pumping frother (french press sort of thing)?
  10. A “whirl” of handgrinders is the perfect collective term!?
  11. Hope there is an Aergrind in the mix?
  12. sure ‘nuff, as long as it truly is the grinder that’s to blame for the bad pour!??
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