Lever Espresso Machines

Flair Signature Espresso Maker Review and Comparisons

What Is Flair Signature Espresso Maker?

Flair Espresso Maker is a manual, portable espresso maker that requires no electric power to operate.

It’s a lever-press style espresso maker, which you’ve probably seen before. But being portable and non-electric, Flair Signature allows you to make a shot of high quality espresso at home or anywhere you want.

Although it looks easy, making espresso on the Flair Signature (or other models) requires some practice. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll enjoy a nice shot of espresso wherever you decide to set this machine: at home, office, camp, or even a hotel room if you’re a constant traveler.

Features of Flair Signature

Flair Signature Espresso Maker - An all manual espresso press to handcraft espresso at home (Pressure Kit, Black)
The Flair Signature Espresso Maker provides an elegant way to handcraft your own espresso from home
  • Fully manual, non-electric and portable espresso press.
  • Uses ground coffee only, no pods.
  • Detachable parts for easy cleaning and allows you to easily store it in a carrying case for travel.
  • Includes a standard Bottomless portafilter.
  • Also includes a pressure gauge.

Specifications:

  • Reservoir capacity: 60ml
  • Dose: 12 to 18 grams
  • Shot volume: 45ml
  • Brew Head: Standard – detachable for cleaning.

What You’ll Get in the Box (Signature Model):

Matte Black, White or Chrome Base and Post & Lever with Copper-Plated Portafilter Base
Custom pressure gauge, stem, stainless steel plunger and pressure gauge guard
Bottomless 2-in-1 Portafilter
Stainless Steel Dispersion Screen
Brewing Cylinder
Dosing Cup
Funnel
Drip Tray
Stainless Steel Tamper
Carrying Case
Screw for Affixing Post to Base Permanently
Brewing Guide

How Does Flair Espresso Machine Work?

When you unbox your Flair Signature, you’ll see a lot of parts and pieces that you’ll have to put together that it might intimidate you a bit. However, putting the machine together it very easy and clearly explained in the included guide. It is intentionally designed this way to make it as portable as possible. Being able to fit a lever espresso maker in a carrying case is totally awesome. And time after time, putting your machine together will be a snap.

Now, let’s get to how you’ll actually make your espresso shot. There are some tools that you’ll need, and if you’re not new to the espresso/coffee game, you already have these:
a kettle to boil water

  • a scale, and
  • a burr grinder

The included brew guide will tell you the exact measurements you will need for a shot of espresso. Measure your beans, grind them and add the coffee ground to the portafilter.

Do you have to measure and grind? No, it’s totally up to you if you want to use pre ground coffee. For the best results though, you’ll want fresh coffee and consistency (using exact measurements helps).

What you need now is your hot water. Once the hot water is ready, you will fill the brew head all the way to the top. All that’s left for you to do now is press the lever down. You’ll want to press down slowly. The ideal extraction time would be between 30 and 45 seconds for a 45ml shot.

So even though the steps are not that hard to do or follow, you’ll still need some practice to get your shot to perfection. Sometimes you’ll extract too slow or too fast, which means you’ll have to adjust your grind.

Comparisons

Flair Signature vs Pro 2 – What’s The Difference?

The Pro 2 is Flair’s top of the line model. It has a larger capacity cylinder and portafilter:

  • Dose is 16 to 24 grams
  • Reservoir is 70 ml
  • and shot volume is up to 56ml

It also has some part upgrades to give you an even better experience:

  • improved bottomless portafilter
  • Removable stainless steel spout
  • Silicone handle grip
  • Silicone wrap to protect the pressure gauge

Flair Signature vs Neo

The NEO, by Flair Espresso - An all manual lever espresso maker for the home, no pods and no plugs (Gray)
  • ALL MANUAL HOME ESPRESSO MAKER - The NEO is an all manual espresso machine, featuring a hand lever press. No electricity or coffee pods are needed to brew delicious espresso at home with this manual espresso maker. Just add your fresh coffee grounds, lower the lever on your espresso press, and watch as beautiful espresso brews into your cup. Add 60ml of boiled water and a dose of up to 18 grams to yield a 40 ml shot with beautiful crema.
  • FLOW-CONTROL PORTAFILTER - The NEO features Flair Espresso's Flow-Control Portafilter, which makes home brewing manual espresso simple and easy. The Flow-Control Portafilter restricts the flow of your brew water through your grounds to ensure consistently good extractions and crema in every cup of espresso. Use any grinder and don't stress about dialing in your shot. The Flow-Control Portafilter will do the work for you.
  • ESPRESSO BREWING MADE SIMPLE - Brewing manual espresso with your NEO manual espresso maker is a simple four step process. Add your freshly ground beans to the portafilter, preheat your brewing cylinder, prep your brew head by adding boiling water and then lower the lever. No need to dial in your grinder or buy expensive equipment. The NEO is a manual espresso machine that makes espresso brewing easy and fun.
  • EASY TO CLEAN - The NEO, by Flair Espresso, is the only manual espresso maker with a completely detachable brewing head. This patented design allows for users to completely remove the brewing head, separate the parts, and rinse under cool water to clean.
  • BUILT TO LAST - Now with an upgraded, stronger base, post and lever! Made from durable materials like cast aluminum and stainless steel, you can be sure your manual espresso maker, by Flair, is built to last. Both the aluminum press stand and the stainless steel brewing head are backed by a 5-year warranty.

On the opposite side of the spectrum is the Neo model, which is made specifically for beginners. It is designed to be more cost effective and easier to use than other models.

Neo has a flow-control portafilter. This makes brewing simpler by controlling the water flow through the coffee grounds, even if you haven’t used the best ground coffee (inconsistent or not correctly dialed).

When it comes to capacity, it is the same as the Signature model:

  • Reservoir: 60 ml
  • Dose: 12 to 18 grams
  • Shot volume: 45ml

The Neo model does not include a pressure gauge, but it can be purchased separately.

Flair Espresso Machines Compared to Other Brands

Flair Espresso vs. La Pavoni

La Pavoni EPBB-8 Europiccola 8-Cup Lever Style Espresso Machine, Black Base
  • Delivers espresso, cappuccino, caffe latte, and other coffee drinks
  • Lever permits crafting espresso to personal taste
  • Makes 8 cups continuously without heating more water
  • Includes automatic milk foamer, measuring spoon, 1- and 2-cup filters
  • Measures 11 by 7 by 12 inches; 1-year warranty

La Pavoni makes lever manual espresso machines that look and somewhat operate like Flair’s espresso machines, but not exactly.

To start, La Pavoni’s espresso machines are electric. So they’re not made for portability. They also have a water reservoir and a steam wand for milk frother.

When using a La Pavoni machine, you do not have to heat up the water separately. Since it’s an electric machine, it has a heater and a pump that will deliver hot water automatically. However, you’ll still manually extract your espresso shot by pulling the lever.

When it comes to cost, Flair comes at a fraction of La Pavoni’s price. It’s a great entry-level machine in you’re looking to get into lever espresso machines but still don’t have any experience. Flair is also the best option if you’re looking for something portable.

There are technical differences, too. But I can’t get into those in detail because there are many different La Pavoni models with different specification. But that sums up the major differences.

Flair Espresso vs Rok

Rok is another non-electric manual espresso maker, so it is quite comparable to Flair’s Espresso machines. Both espresso makers follow the same process for brewing a shot of espresso. However, there are differences in measurements:

  • Rok’s portafilter holds 7 to 8 grams of ground coffee to pull a single espresso shot and that would be enough to extract 25ml of espresso.
  • Flair’s dose is 12 to 18g of ground coffee with a max output of 40ml (for the Signature model).

When it comes to accessories:

  • Rok includes a carrying metal tin, manual milk frother, scoop, tamper (plastic) and double shot spout.
  • Flair includes carrying bag, stainless steel tamper, dosing cup, bottomless portafilter and a pressure gauge (depending on model).

Overall, I find Flair Espresso machines to have better design, better accessories and offers a nicer experience. Flair also has more product range, giving you more options to choose from.

Comparison Between ROK Presso vs. Handpresso. Which Of These Manual Espresso Makers is Best?

If there’s one thing the ROK Presso and Handpresso espresso makers have in common, it’s the fact that they’re as manual as espresso makers could get. In fact, they’re so manual, they require no electricity to operate!

Now, if you’ve got your mind set on a non-electric manual espresso machine you probably:

  • Want to espresso on the go.
  • Want to save on electricity usage.

The ROK Presso and Handpresso both make excellent choices for a non-electric espresso maker, but which one of them would make the best choice for your personal choice? Let’s have a look at their features and differences to find out.

The Best No-Electric Espresso Makers:

Features of the ROK Presso:

ROK Presso Manual Espresso Maker

  • Manual Lever espresso maker that requires NO electricity.
  • Constructed from polished metal frame.
  • Brews at 8 to 10 bar pressure.
  • Slip-resistant base prevents the espresso maker from moving or slipping when pressing.
  • Included in the set: portafilter with additional filter to make 2 single shots, coffee scoop, tamper, manual milk frother.
  • The machine is packaged in a reusable storage tin.
  • Can use ground coffee or e.s.e pods.

Click here to learn more about the ROK Presso, read the customer reviews and buy it.

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How Does The ROK Presso Work?

  • Load the portafilter with coffee ground and put it in place.
  • Fill the water reservoir with hot water.
  • Press the lever down.

Watch the video for details:

Features of the Handpresso:

Handpresso Wild Hybrid

  • Make Espresso easily on the go without the need of electricity.
  • Includes an adapter for using e.s.e pods.
  • Brews at 16 bar pressure.
  • Brews a single shot of espresso at a time.
  • Made of aluminum. Available in Black or Grey.

Click here to learn more about the Handpresso, read the customer reviews and buy it.

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How Does The Handpresso Work?

  • Pump the handle until you reach the desired pressure on the gauge.
  • Load the pod with ground coffee or an e.s.e pod and put it in place.
  • Pour in the hot water in the reservoir.
  • Press to start brewing.

Watch the video for details:

ROK Presso vs. Handpresso, What’s The Difference?

Operation:

Obviously there’s quite a difference between the two espresso makers and how they operate:

  • ROK Presso is a lever machine – the amount of pressure you get will rely on your press. It’s not hard to operate and does not require a strong press to get great results, however, it does use less pressure (8 to 10 bar) for extraction.
  • Handpresso uses a pump operation. You’ll pump the handle to get 16 bars of pressure then it’s a press of a button to brew when you’re ready.

Portability:

  • The Handpresso is way smaller and more portable. Very easy to carry around.
  • The ROK is also easy to take, however, it’s not as easy as the Handpresso.

Included Accessories:

  • One of the great things about the ROK Presso is that it includes everything you need for creating espresso as well as other drinks like cappuccino and latte. The manual frother, although not the best out there, is a cool tool to use on the go or at home for quick milk-based coffee preparation.  That’s in addition to the spout splitter, scoop/tamper.
  • As for the Handpresso, it only prepares espresso out of the box. You can prepare other coffee drinks but you’ll have to get a frother separately.

Which One Is Best To Buy?

Both espresso makers are of great quality, but which to buy will depend on what and where you want to use it:

  • The small size of the Handpresso makes it perfect to use anywhere: the office, outdoors, or even at home if you’re looking for a low-cost tool.
  • The ROK Presso isn’t as portable as the Handpresso, but it’s still light enough to take places. It’s better to use at home or an office, and it’s perfect for anyone who wants to make more than just espresso (cappuccinos or lattes).

 

La Pavoni Lever 8-Cup Espresso Makers: Europiccola vs Stradivari

Lovers of true authentic Italian espresso will appreciate the beauty of an espresso maker such as the La Pavoni. A true traditional masterpiece, this machine is as manual as they get, and it’s only right for someone who has the patience in learning the process of how to use it. If you’re here, you’ve probably made the decision of buying a La Pavoni but not sure which one to get. In this post, we’ll be comparing two of La Pavoni’s Lever espresso makers, the Europiccola and Stradivari.

 

What Is The Difference Between La Pavoni Europiccola and Stradivari:

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Similar Features:

  • 20 ounce water tank.
  • Nickle-plated solid brass boiler.
  • Can make one or two shots of espresso at the same time.
  • Milk frothing steam wand.
  • Solid Chrome design

What Is The Difference Between Them?

There is no clear difference between the two machines other than the design and how they look. Features and functionality of the machines are the same.

La Pavoni EPC-8 Europiccola 8-Cup Lever Style Espresso Machine

Click here to see full features of the La Pavoni Europiccola, read the customer reviews and buy it.

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La Pavoni ESC-8 Stradivari

Click here to see full features of the La Pavoni Stradivari, read the customer reviews and buy it.

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La Pavoni Europiccola EPC8 vs. EPBB-8: Is There a Difference?

La Pavoni EPBB-8 Europiccola 8-Cup Lever Style Espresso Machine

You might have noticed two model names of the La Pavoni Europiccola. There are no difference between the EPC8 vs. EPBB-8 except for the color: the EPBB-8 has a black base while the EPC8 is chrome.

What Is a Lever Espresso Machine and Which is Best to Buy?

What Is a Lever Espresso Machine?

A lever espresso machine is as manual as an espresso machine gets. They give you control over everything, from pre-fusion time between the beans with water, to pulling the water and extracting the shot. While a lever espresso machine can help you extract quite an excellent shot of espresso, it’s not for beginners. But if you’re a beginner who is feeling adventurous, get ready for some training time before you can pull a perfect shot.

How Does a Lever Espresso Machine Work?

Like any other espresso machine, a lever espresso machine has a water reservoir, a boiler/heater, a portafilter and a pressure gauge that allows you to monitor the pressure (some models don’t have this gauge feature).

How the pressure is released and water is forced through the coffee ground is where a lever espresso machine gets its name. These machines have a lever that you apply pressure to manually to start forcing the water through the coffee ground and extracting a shot. You get total control over the time of the shot and the pressure used to release it. So how you control the lever and apply pressure controls the taste of your shot, for sure.

But are they really that hard to use? Truth is, no, it’s not that hard. After all, you’re only pressing on a lever here. What’s hard though, or not exactly hard, but takes some time to test and figure out, is two things:

  • How to get the perfect grind size that will get you the perfect shot.
  • How to tamp the coffee ground perfectly so it doesn’t create a mess.

It’s no secret that a good grind is the start of every great cup of coffee. So make sure you invest in a good burr grinder. The grind fineness is crucial to the perfect shot of espresso. If the ground is too fine, it will be hard to force the water through it. And if it’s too coarse, or just not fine enough, the water will go through so quickly and it will result in a bad (most likely sour) shot.

Once you get the hang of these details, you’ll be able to pull the perfect shot of espresso.

Pros and Cons of Buying a Lever Espresso Machine:

Pros:

  • They’re beautifully designed. Lever espresso machines simply look stunning. The quality is superior and many of them are still made in the same traditional way.
  • With a lever espresso machine, you’re in control of your shot.
  • The learning curve and experience that comes with a lever espresso machine is very enjoyable for anyone who likes tinkering and experimenting.

Cons:

  • It can take sometime to get it right. If you don’t have the patience, a lever espresso machine is probably not for you.
  • They’re expensive. But you really get what you pay for, the quality of a lever espresso makers is very high.

Which Lever Espresso Machines Are Best To Buy?

From our research, we found that La Pavoni provides some of the best build and performing lever espresso machines. These machines cost quite a bit, but they are built to last. La Pavoni machines are all Italian made, so you know they’ve created these machines for some serious coffee making, and their quality is simply of the highest out there.

La Pavoni Lever Espresso Machines:

La Pavoni EPC-8 Europiccola 8-Cup Lever Style Espresso Machine:

La Pavoni EPC-8 Europiccola 8-Cup Lever Style Espresso Machine

  • Fully steel constructed. Makes it strong, more durable and easy to wipe clean. Some plastic parts.
  • 8 Cup capacity.
  • Built-in steam wand to milk frothing, allows you to easily create all sorts of gourmet coffee drinks.
  • Includes: tamper, screen, screen holder, measuring ladle, and cappuccino attachment

You’ll find many mixed reviews about this machine, or possibly any lever espresso machine, and how frustrating it can be. That is true, as we previously mentioned. The machine will require you to do some training before you can pull the perfect shot. But quality wise, it is top of the line, indeed!

Click here to read the customer reviews on the La Pavoni EPC-8 Europiccola.

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Also available from 1stInCoffee.com

Watch this video to see the process in which this machine works:

La Pavoni Stradavari Espresso Machine:

La Pavoni Stradavari Espresso Machines

  • 8 Cup capacity, also available as a 16-cup.
  • Nickel plated brass boiler, 20 ounce capacity.
  • Full steel construction, with some plastic parts.
  • Dual frothing system, which means no wait time between espresso extracting and milk frothing.
  • Internal thermostat.
  • Built-in steam wand.

Click here to read the customer reviews of the La Pavoni Stradavari.

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Also available from 1stInCoffee.com

La Pavoni PC-16 Professional Espresso Machine:

La Pavoni PC-16 Professional Espresso Machine

  • 16 cup capacity.
  • Full steel construction with some plastic parts.
  • External steam/pressure gauge.
  • Built-in steam wand.
  • Nickel plated non-corrosive brass boiler.
  • 38oz boiler capacity.
  • Dual frothing system.
  • Internal thermostat.

Click here to read the customer reviews of the La Pavoni PC-16

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Another Lever Espresso Machine Brand To Consider:

Elektra S1CO Microcasa Lever Espresso Machine:

Elektra is another great manufacturer of lever espresso machines. The machine is made in Italy and has an beautiful design that combines brass and chrome.

Features:

  • Beautiful retro design with chrome and brass finish.
  • 1.8 liter brass boiler.
  • Spring piston lever operation.
  • Steam pressure gauge.
  • Water level indicator.
  • Sturdy 10″ wide base.
  • Made in Italy.

Click here to learn more about this Elektra lever espresso machine and buy it.

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