Flair Signature Espresso Maker Review and Comparisons
Table of Contents
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
- 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.
- 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
Stainless Steel Tamper
Screw for Affixing Post to Base Permanently
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.
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
- 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 3-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
- 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.