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Flair 58


newdent
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The Bianca seems to be more constant. Once put the workflow right, nearly always hit the identical sweet spot for me. With the flair it 'feels' always in a range of +/- 15% upwards/downwards of that. Due to the lever, your own interference with pressure etc. But that's exactly what I like about it. Because where is the ideal sweet spot of a coffee? Would you drink 10 cups next to a Bianca you'd notice a difference maybe. Positive or negative to be left open. But that's not what I do. I come at work and pull a fantastic shot from the flair to start the day. And as I am not James H. it's perfect enough for me. 

There are lots of great reviews out there, but for the ones speaking German the "Kaffeemacher" made a great review about it. Strengthening my decision to buy another one.

For me it simply beats any other Espresso setup that I can think of that for 525£ makes a great cup. Little cleaning, little use of electricity and super simple. Great for 2nd locations or 'something different'. If this is your go-to machine at home, ultimately you might want something more universal. But luckily I have the possibility to enjoy both.

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7 hours ago, Chriss29 said:

Latest model now available at Doppio for £525. Not as expensive as I thought it would be. Anyone tempted?

Picked up the email from Doppio today too and was also surprised by the price. The potential for brewing light roast vs the robot is appealing but then again, with the robot you can decide you want a coffee and have one made in less than 5 mins and that's great and I definitely do that some days. Dunno.

Probably the biggest drawback for me is that it looks like someone's taken apart an old weight lifting bench and used the parts to build the 58 - it really looks cheap to my eye. The pro 2 is quite pleasing to the eye but the proportions look off on the 58, it's chunky and oversized. 

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5 hours ago, newdent said:

Picked up the email from Doppio today too and was also surprised by the price. The potential for brewing light roast vs the robot is appealing but then again, with the robot you can decide you want a coffee and have one made in less than 5 mins and that's great and I definitely do that some days. Dunno.

Probably the biggest drawback for me is that it looks like someone's taken apart an old weight lifting bench and used the parts to build the 58 - it really looks cheap to my eye. The pro 2 is quite pleasing to the eye but the proportions look off on the 58, it's chunky and oversized. 

I think it looks quite refined however I think it will evolve and get better which is why I’ve decided to opt out of this version for now. Also, a small thing, but that pressure gauge is just awful 🤣

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On 25/09/2021 at 20:23, Chriss29 said:

I think it looks quite refined however I think it will evolve and get better which is why I’ve decided to opt out of this version for now. Also, a small thing, but that pressure gauge is just awful 🤣

Yeah and you know with Flair that a new version will be out in no time.

 

For me workflow still seems like a pain compared to the Robot, which sets a high standard. There's also almost certainly less room for things to go wrong when you have a solid build, no electronics inside, and only need to wait for the kettle to heat. 

 

I know manuals get a bad reputation for light roasts but I've not had any problems getting good shots out of the lighter beans I've tried with the Robot either. 

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1 hour ago, Fadingfrontier said:

Yeah and you know with Flair that a new version will be out in no time.

 

For me workflow still seems like a pain compared to the Robot, which sets a high standard. There's also almost certainly less room for things to go wrong when you have a solid build, no electronics inside, and only need to wait for the kettle to heat. 

 

I know manuals get a bad reputation for light roasts but I've not had any problems getting good shots out of the lighter beans I've tried with the Robot either. 

I have used both a traditional lever style machine and the Robot and whilst the Robot is exceptionally well made and can make really good coffee, I would chose a traditional lever any day of the week. Having to use both hands to pull a shot on the Robot whilst looking at a very small pressure gauge is not easy, especially if you are only 5" nothing with small hands and have to stand on a stool which is quite ridiculous 🤣. With the Flair you have one hand free to pull the cup away and get a much more accurate end to the shot. You can use other 58mm accessories, something you can't do with the Robot and the heated capability helps to "relax" the workflow. I find with the Robot I'm rushing to get everything together to avoid heat being lost and it can become quite irritating when not everything goes in a streamline manner and heat is lost.  If the electrics on the Flair did fail you can still use it as a fully manually heated machine just with the use of the cap that is provided. The Flair can also easily have the Smart pressure profiler added if your looking to improve consistency/repeatability and track your shots (this can also be achieved on the Robot but to me looks far more in keeping with the Flair 58).

 

The frame of the Flair may not be comparable to something like the "Strietman" but then it costs about 75% less  (at a guess 🤔)  Flair must stress test it's design and materials during development  and most of the original basic Flairs are still fully functioning years after first being released. Flair is an excellent company with incredible customer service in my opinion and they seem to bend over backwards to help the customer.

I'm sure they will upgrade at some point but, I suspect, they will introduce different colour options first. The problem with always trying to ensure you get the latest, best, most recently improved model is that your not enjoying the "today" because your waiting for a better "tomorrow" 😊

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On 01/10/2021 at 21:18, Irisco said:

I have used both a traditional lever style machine and the Robot and whilst the Robot is exceptionally well made and can make really good coffee, I would chose a traditional lever any day of the week. Having to use both hands to pull a shot on the Robot whilst looking at a very small pressure gauge is not easy, especially if you are only 5" nothing with small hands and have to stand on a stool which is quite ridiculous 🤣. With the Flair you have one hand free to pull the cup away and get a much more accurate end to the shot. You can use other 58mm accessories, something you can't do with the Robot and the heated capability helps to "relax" the workflow. I find with the Robot I'm rushing to get everything together to avoid heat being lost and it can become quite irritating when not everything goes in a streamline manner and heat is lost.  If the electrics on the Flair did fail you can still use it as a fully manually heated machine just with the use of the cap that is provided. The Flair can also easily have the Smart pressure profiler added if your looking to improve consistency/repeatability and track your shots (this can also be achieved on the Robot but to me looks far more in keeping with the Flair 58).

 

The frame of the Flair may not be comparable to something like the "Strietman" but then it costs about 75% less  (at a guess 🤔)  Flair must stress test it's design and materials during development  and most of the original basic Flairs are still fully functioning years after first being released. Flair is an excellent company with incredible customer service in my opinion and they seem to bend over backwards to help the customer.

I'm sure they will upgrade at some point but, I suspect, they will introduce different colour options first. The problem with always trying to ensure you get the latest, best, most recently improved model is that your not enjoying the "today" because your waiting for a better "tomorrow" 😊

I think adding a bracket so that the gauge is in this positions makes a huge difference; https://www.naked-portafilter.com/product/smart-espresso-profiler-for-machines-with-an-e61-group-head-new-stock-expected-end-of-november-copy/ just use a small piece of metal with a nylon washer. The flair will be easier but that lever is absolutely massive. I think I'd also prefer a single lever but not the size of the 58.

Interesting your issues with heatloss, does it effect your coffee? I fill the basket and have it locked in within a few seconds. It did feel slightly frantic initially but I started slowing down and a few seconds doesn't make any difference to the taste of the coffee to me, so I just chill out now, don't rush at all.

You pull the cup away to end the shot? I just lift the robot levers and the shot stops instantly.

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12 hours ago, newdent said:

I think adding a bracket so that the gauge is in this positions makes a huge difference; https://www.naked-portafilter.com/product/smart-espresso-profiler-for-machines-with-an-e61-group-head-new-stock-expected-end-of-november-copy/ just use a small piece of metal with a nylon washer. The flair will be easier but that lever is absolutely massive. I think I'd also prefer a single lever but not the size of the 58.

Interesting your issues with heatloss, does it effect your coffee? I fill the basket and have it locked in within a few seconds. It did feel slightly frantic initially but I started slowing down and a few seconds doesn't make any difference to the taste of the coffee to me, so I just chill out now, don't rush at all.

You pull the cup away to end the shot? I just lift the robot levers and the shot stops instantly.

Thanks, that does look interesting but it doesn't get rid of my height problem to actually view it, unless I put it on a kiddies table 🤣. Do you use the pressurised basket to preheat the piston ?  I've been putting the portafilter and basket into a jug of boiling water and lowering the piston into a sepatate small cup of boiling water to preheat it. Trouble is, it's such a massive chunk of metal I find it loses heat really quickly and I do prefer lighter roasts. I think Paul says preheating isn't necessary but he uses darker roasts.

With ending the shot I do lift the levers but I just find it all a bit hit and miss, it can easily go over what you want and doesn't seem very exact. Maybe it's just me, they are lovely machines and the build quality is terrific.

 

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30 minutes ago, Irisco said:

Thanks, that does look interesting but it doesn't get rid of my height problem to actually view it, unless I put it on a kiddies table 🤣. Do you use the pressurised basket to preheat the piston ?  I've been putting the portafilter and basket into a jug of boiling water and lowering the piston into a sepatate small cup of boiling water to preheat it. Trouble is, it's such a massive chunk of metal I find it loses heat really quickly and I do prefer lighter roasts. I think Paul says preheating isn't necessary but he uses darker roasts.

With ending the shot I do lift the levers but I just find it all a bit hit and miss, it can easily go over what you want and doesn't seem very exact. Maybe it's just me, they are lovely machines and the build quality is terrific.

 

Ah, well if you're a light roast drinker then I'd agree that it's a fair amount of faff to keep everything at temperature and the 58 resolves that issue rather well. That alone would make me jump ship I'd imagine. 

As it stands a prefer a medium roast espresso and a light roast filter so the robot is fine with me for now but if a version of the 58 comes out that I like the look of, I'd certainly consider swapping. I don't find the robot particularly comfortable to brew with, even with the addition of the mittens but it was £200 cheaper than the 58 and that's made the decision for me for now. I wish I could see a 58 in person as maybe it's not as bad as it looks in photos. 

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 26/08/2021 at 05:45, newdent said:

Just saw the email regarding the update. Seems like a better solution than breaking the PF seal to let the air pocket out.

Not as bad a price increase as I anticipated, especially as the puck screen is included. Funny that flair didn't mention there was going to be an update when they encouraged people to snap up the existing flair 58 before the price increase in emails!

I wish the flair had a more traditional water dispersion setup so that is was more comparable to existing pumped machines. With the screen there, there isn't any scope for 'blooming' whilst the headspace is filled. This may not be an important factor but it's certainly something that happens.

I currently use a robot and do think the capability to control temp would be a great feature for light roast drinkers, I certainly wouldn't say no to having the option. It would be too much of a PITA to pre-heat my robot. I'm keeping my eye on the Odyssey Argos, which isn't massively more expensive than the Flair 58 ($850) but it certainly has its issues. Don't think I've seen a good shot poured on it yet on social media and it looked very flimsy when locking the PF in on video.

Either way, I'm in no rush and don't think I'll rush into buying either, especially as both are likely to get updated!

@newdentim considering either the flair 58 or robot, and am in analysis paralysis.  Can you elaborate why pre-heating would be a pain? Thanks!

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