Looking for a manual espresso maker?
One of the most raved options on the market is the Flair 58.
But is it worth the hype?
I was wondering the same thing.
And after many hours of research, I can safely say that – yes, it is!
In this article, I’ll tell you exactly why.
Here’s the Flair 58 review that should give you all the information you need to make a decision.
Flair 58: A Quick Overview
The Flair 58 was popular from the moment it hit the market. From the start, it’s labeled as the mid-range machine that makes cafe-grade coffee.
The genius yet simplistic design uses quality parts to achieve such great results. The first is the classic 58 mm portafilter, which practically every professional-grade machine uses.
The second one is the temperature preheat controller, which warms up the brew head to the required temperature. This makes manual brewing much simpler and ensures your coffee is extracted properly.
Finally, the elongated lever gives you more control over the pull. You can be really precise with the amount of pressure you’re applying, which you can track on the gauge. This lets you fine-tune your brew just the way you like it.
You see, the amount of configuration this espresso maker offers is not what you usually get with manual machines at this price range. In fact, you don’t get that with automatic ones, either!
This manual espresso maker does sound amazing, but there are a few things that really bother me.
First is the long and bulky electric cord. It creates clutter on the counter, and it’s quite unappealing.
Second is the size of the product. When you lift the lever, the espresso machine is quite tall. In fact, it might not fit under your cabinet. Make sure to measure your counter space before choosing this model.
- Features the preheat system, so your coffee gets extracted properly
- You can adjust the pressure and flow, which allows you to alter your drink
- The high-quality design allows you to achieve cafe-quality coffee at home
- Features a 58mm portafilter, so you can use standard commercial tampers and baskets
- The cable is long and bulky, meaning it takes up space on the counter
- Pretty high when the lever is lifted, so it might not fit under every cabinet
A Closer Look at the Flair 58 Features
Alright, that was a brief overview of this cool manual espresso maker.
But to see how good it is, we need to break down each of its features and review them individually.
The quality and appearance of the design
Undoubtedly, the first thing you notice about this espresso machine is its beautiful design.
The slightly curved line, matte black body, and light wooden accents give the Flair 58 a modern, industrial look.
It’s a shame that this gorgeous machine doesn’t come in more colors, like the models before it. But given that matte black and light wood have been a popular combo for kitchen color palettes, it will look good with your appliances.
The quality of the build is also great. The frame is made of die-cast aluminum, while the brewing parts are 100% stainless steel. Then, of course, we also have the wooden details. You can really feel it’s a high-quality product just by holding it.
This espresso maker features a longer lever compared to earlier Flair models. This is not just an aesthetic detail but a practical one as well.
A long lever, together with the T-handle, allows you more control over the brewing pressure when pulling a shot. This means you can really fine-tune how your espresso turns out, and I’ll go into details in the next section.
IN A NUTSHELL
Not only does it look premium, but this Flair machine is also well made. The long lever also gives you more control over coffee extraction.
Let’s get brewing
The quality of your brew depends on several factors, and one of them is temperature.
With manual espresso makers, achieving the right temperature was quite a hassle. You’d have to heat up the brew head by pouring hot water over it.
That’s easily solved with the Flair 58, as this coffee machine features an electric preheat system inside the brew head.
There are three temperature options to choose from:
The idea behind these options is that you choose between them depending on the type of roast you’re using.
These temperature tiers are supposed to correspond to three roast levels: light, medium, and dark. But of course, you can do it however you want.
To make this perfectly clear – the preheat temperature controller is not the same as a boiler.
It won’t heat up the water for espresso. You’ll still have to use the kettle to boil water before pouring it into the Flair 58.
In about 5 minutes, this espresso maker will preheat the brew head to the required temperature. Therefore, you have plenty of time to also boil water in a kettle.
Keep in mind that most automatic espresso machines also take this long (or longer) to preheat. So when you take that into consideration, the Flair 58 is rather fast.
I love the preheat system – it really makes brewing much simpler.
IN A NUTSHELL
The preheat system makes brewing both easy and more consistent because it heats up the brew head to the desired temperature. With other manual machines, you have to do that manually.
What’s the espresso like?
The Flair 58 makes some pretty darn good espresso.
And the main reason is that it allows you to control the pressure and flow, thanks to the elongated lever.
Now, that’s something automatic espresso machines don’t allow you to do, especially not to that degree.
Plus, the Flair espresso maker allows you to pre-infuse coffee grounds. This is yet another feature many automatic espresso machines in this price range don’t have.
How does one do that, you might ask?
You simply pull down the lever gently with a pressure of 1 to 2 bars and hold it like that for 10-30 seconds.
Of course, it’s easy to know exactly how much pressure you’re putting out, thanks to the Flair 58 pressure gauge that’s integrated into the machine.
IN A NUTSHELL
The Flair 58 makes really great espresso. You can fine-tune your brew by controlling the extraction time and shot pressure during the process.
Special features that Flair 58 offers
This specific model comes with a few features that might not be necessary but definitely make a difference.
58 mm Portafilter
Previous Flair models had unique portafilters with very specific dimensions.
The Flair 58, however, features a standard, commercial 58 mm portafilter. That’s the one the majority of espresso machines use today, especially at a higher price range.
Why is that great?
Well, that means you can use espresso accessories made for standard portafilters interchangeably.
By accessories, I mean:
- Precision baskets
- Blind filters
- Dosing funnels
The puck screen is a mesh spacer that you place right on top of the coffee puck. It distributes the water flowing from the shower screen evenly over the puck.
Why is this important?
Well, because if you don’t tamp the grounds just right, the water flow can disturb the coffee puck and create craters. That causes dry spots, which means your coffee won’t be equally extracted (which can lead to watery coffee).
Now, a puck screen can be made of different materials, including paper and metal. In the case of Flair 58, the material of choice is stainless steel. Steel is great because it lets coffee oils through, giving espresso more body.
Finally, I must mention the nice 58mm tamper you get with this manual espresso maker.
It’s small but heavy and well-made. You’ll notice that the handle is much shorter than on classic models.
This tamper is designated to be pressed down with fingers instead of holding it like a doorknob. This way, you can definitely pack the grounds evenly for a quality shot.
The drawbacks of this manual espresso maker
I’ve spoken highly of this Flair espresso machine so far.
Does that mean it’s perfect?
I still stand by my words – the design is beautiful.
However, it’s quite bulky.
The average difference between countertops and kitchen cabinets is between 18 and 22 inches.
The Flair 58 is 20×14×6 inches in dimensions, which can already be too tall to fit in your kitchen.
And don’t forget the long lever this espresso maker has.
You have to lift it to start brewing, in which case it reaches up to 25 inches in height. Therefore, you might have to reconsider where you’ll have to set up your brewing station.
A feature I absolutely hate is definitely the power cord. It’s so freaking long and bulky that it takes up a good portion of your counter space. And, of course, it’s not a pleasure to the eyes, either.
IN A NUTSHELL
The Flair 58 has a pretty modern and sleek design. But the fact that it has a long and bulky cord makes it slightly less appealing on the counter. Additionally, the whole brewer is quite big, so you might have trouble finding a suitable spot for it.
Is Flair 58 worth your money?
This model is quite expensive compared to other Flair models. That’s mainly due to professional-grade features such as a 58mm portafilter and a puck screen.
However, it’s definitely not one of the most expensive manual espresso makers on the market. In fact, it’s considered to be more of a mid-range option.
And when you compare it to automatic espresso machines in the same price range, you really get your money’s worth with the Flair 58.
You can fine-tune your brew and get espresso like in a coffee shop, which is not something you can do with a mid-range automatic machine.
IN A NUTSHELL
The Flair 58 really gives you bang for the buck. It offers way more customizability compared to automatic espresso machines at the same price range.
Have any Flair 58 operation-related questions? Here’s a quick FAQ with the answers you need.
How do I use Flair 58?
This model works like any other lever espresso maker. You need to pull down the lever with a slow but steady pressure to pull a shot. You can change the amount of pressure and the length of the pull to tweak your drink.
How do I clean a Flair 58?
Remove the plunger and use a damp cloth to wipe it, along with the inside and bottom of the brew head. For more thorough maintenance, simply flush down the machine with clean water.
How do I unplug my Flair 58?
Before you unplug the Flair 58 from the electric outlet, you need to turn it off. To do that, push and hold the main button until the lights turn off. Now it’s ready to be removed from the wall outlet.
To Sum Things Up
The Flair 58 is definitely one of the top lever espresso makers you can find on the market today.
This model is a great option for you if:
- You want to fine-tune your espresso
- You want a machine that’s built to last
- You have plenty of counter space
On the other hand, this is not the model for you if:
- You want a manual espresso machine that doesn’t require electricity
- Your kitchen cabinets are placed low
- You don’t want to be too involved in pulling the shot
So what’s going to be? The decision is all yours.
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