Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Flair Espresso Maker
Q: What is the difference between the Flair and other popular products, such as the Aeropress?
A: The espresso process requires a minimum of 6-9 BAR pressure to effect emulsification. This is a key component to production of crema and to extract the necessary amount of dissolved solids to yield the darker colors and mouth feel associated with espresso. Aeropress and other similar small hand brewers are only capable of 1-3 BAR pressure depending on size and strength of operator, far less than what’s required for espresso.
Q: The bottom of my PRO/PRO 2 lever assembly does not sit flush on the oval base. There is a gap between the two pieces, and I can’t screw in the included bolt to affix the lever assembly to the oval base.
A: It is normal to have a gap between the lever assembly and the base. If it is completely flush, the tab may not be supported on the sides and wobbling may occur. The bolt needs to be inserted at an angle, roughly 30 degrees from parallel, as can be seen below, to the orientation of the tab at the bottom of the Lever Assembly. Please note, the Flair works safely without the little bolt and we only recommend its use only if you plan to keep your Flair permanently assembled.
Q: My pressure gauge is turned in a position that is difficult to see while I’m brewing the shot. What should I do?
A: The gauge is user adjustable. Turn it counter clockwise until it provides a good viewing angle. Do not unscrew the gauge more than a full turn.
Q: I pulled a shot and the Cylinder of my Brewing Head is lifting up, like it is trying to separate from the Portafilter. What should I do?
A: It is normal to see the cylinder lifting a small amount towards the end of the shot, especially if you are brewing at higher end of the “Espresso Zone.” The Flair provides manual, pressurized brewing. Once you begin to lower the lever, pressure builds in the chamber, which you can read on your pressure gauge. You should not exceed 10 BAR and never push the needle beyond 12 BAR! The best tasting espresso with the most crema is usually found within the operating range of 6-9 BAR. It is important to never release the lever until the gauge reads zero. This allows all pressure to dissipate naturally.
Q: I pulled a shot and there is coffee spilling all over from between the cylinder and the portafilter. What’s going on?
A: Coffee spilling/leaking in between the cylinder and portafilter is not normal and should not happen. While brewing with your PRO/PRO 2, you need to continue to hold the lever firmly until you see the needle drop back to zero. Then slowly release the lever.
Q: I want to use less coffee in the portafilter but when I go to tamp, I cannot get the tamper far enough in to compress the coffee, what’s wrong?
A: There is nothing wrong with your Tamper or Portafilter, but your coffee dose is too low. The PRO Brew Head is designed to brew only double shots: minimum dose is 16 grams (depending on the bean used); and maximum dose is 24-26 grams. The PRO/PRO 2 will not perform well outside this range.
Q: Why is there coffee spurting from the portafilter when I start to pull my shot?
A: If the squirts are small and last no more than 10 seconds, this is a normal part of naked brewing with the Flair PRO or PRO 2. Remember, the bottomless portafilter is a diagnostic tool to help you understand how even your extraction is. This “jet effect” can indicate one of two things: first a partial occlusion of one of the openings in your filter basket, or second channeling in your puck. While there is little to do to fix a partial occlusion besides modifying your grind size, channeling occurs when there is uneven distribution of your grounds and brew water flows through one area faster than others. This can be solved by good distribution techniques and pre-infusion.
Q: Why isn’t there a bundle set for the PRO or PRO 2? How can I get another brew head?
A: Purchasing a second brewing head for your PRO or PRO 2 is as easy as heading to our Accessories Page and selecting between either the Second Shot Kit - PRO 2 or the Second Shot Plus Kit - PRO 2. Both come with a second portafilter and will easily facilitate brewing a second shot.
Q: Which accessories on the website are compatible with the PRO/PRO 2?
A: The Flair PRO/PRO 2 is quite a different design from the Classic and Signature, and as such is not necessarily cross-compatible mostly due to the larger size of the PRO/PRO 2 brew head components. Currently, any accessory listed on the accessories page of our website that only says “Classic/Signature” is not compatible with the PRO or PRO 2.
Q: What is the real difference between the PRO 2 brew head and the other brew heads for the Classic and Signature models?
A: The Classic and Signature espresso makers use what is called our standard brew head. The Flair PRO 2 uses, you guessed it, the PRO 2 Brew Head. In addition, the PRO 2 has an integrated pressure gauge, all stainless-steel brewing cylinder and portafilter, and a larger capacity in terms of dose, brew water and output. Please see the image for a better understanding of these differences.
Q: What are the differences between all Flair models? Which should I choose?
A: All Flair models are built with the same solid aluminum components as the original Flair. Both the Classic and Signature models utilize our smaller, standard brewing head and come standard with a bottomless 2-in-1 portafilter. Another difference between the Classic and Signature lines is that the Signature models go through a process of hand polishing due to the Chrome, Cool Black Matte, and Copper finish. The PRO series comes in the same colors as the Signature line, but features our larger PRO 2 brewing head, a pressure gauge and other upgrades! See below for more information:
Q: I’m pulling hard on the lever, the gauge is reading 10 BAR or more and still no coffee is coming out or it’s flowing too slowly. Please help.
A: Your grind is too fine. You need to stop the pull and start again BUT you cannot just let go of the lever! This is pressurized brewing, and you’ve built up pressure in the system that was not able to bleed as it normally should—making espresso. IMPORTANT: you need to grip the cylinder and press it down as you release pressure on the lever or else it will rise and spill water and coffee. After you lift the lever, while still holding the cylinder with the other hand, pull up on the stem of the piston to release the pressure. Once you have you can now remove the brew head from the portafilter, tilt it upside down over the sink to drain remaining water, and proceed to prepare for another shot.
Q: I want to stop my pull early, when I have the desired amount of coffee in my cup. But what do I do with the rest of the water in the chamber?
A: When brewing you can terminate the extraction at any point you wish BUT you must ensure that the needle on the gauge reads ZERO before releasing force from the lever. Since there will still be residual pressure in the system until you expel all the water from the brew head, you need to hold the lever still once you reach the desired yield and replace the cup with another to complete the pull and release remaining pressure.
Q: The needle on my pressure gauge is stuck or appears to not be responding correctly to the force applied to lever.
A: The port is blocked and you will need to back-out/unscrew the gauge ¼ to 1 full turn but no more, until you find a good viewing angle. For best, most accurate results, make sure that no more than one thread is visible before brewing.
Q: How coarse, or fine, should my grounds be when using the Flair?
A: The coarseness of your grounds will depend on the specific bean and dose you are using. However, beans used in the Flair - and other espresso machines - must be ground more finely than for use in a drip coffee machine. If you do not see any crema when brewing, try to grind your beans increasingly more fine and/or dose higher until you get the taste and flavors you desire. Remember, if you can’t lower the lever without a struggle, you’ve ground too fine.
Q: Why is there almost no pressure or resistance when I lower the lever and/or the brewing takes only a few seconds?
A: If there is no pressure or resistance, it is most likely that your grounds are too coarse and/or your dose is too low. Re-grind your beans to be finer and/or dose higher, and ensure you have good distribution of the grounds and an even surface. If you have purchased pre-ground beans, please remember these will not work in the Flair.
Q: How do I know that the pressure or the force I put on the lever is right?
A: You usually know you have the right force when you pull the shot between 35-45 seconds while feeling a moderate amount of resistance in the lever. You can also place the Flair on a bathroom scale and pull a shot as you normally would. A good average is about 30-40 lb of force on the lever sustained for the entire brew period.
Q: How much should I preheat the brewing components? Which ones need pre-heating?
A: Pre-heating the cylinder is essential to temperature stability. Fill the cylinder with boiled water and pre-heat for at least 30-45 seconds before brewing. If you’ve purchased the stainless steel piston, this should also be pre-heated. Finally, pre-heating your cup with hot water can keep your beverage warmer longer!
Q: Why can’t I use pre-ground coffee when it is much more convenient?
A: Pre-ground beans will not be calibrated for use in espresso machines, and the Flair is no exception (your shots will run too fast, or possibly too slow). Beans lose stored CO2 immediately after being ground and dry out at an accelerated rate. Pre-ground coffee is especially bad for pressurized brewing.
Q: What’s the best grinder to use with the Flair to get good crema?
A: We do not have a specific brand recommendation, but it is essential that you use a burr grinder. Stay away from blade grinders; they do not let you control the grind size, which is essential for making espresso. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to produce a good shot of espresso from coffee beans that have been ground in a blade grinder.
Q: What coffee beans do you recommend for the Flair?
A: Whole beans freshly roasted and ground minutes before brewing. Both blends and single origin work well, medium to dark roast generally are preferred by most. When searching for beans, it is always easiest to first select those designated specifically for espresso by the roaster.
Q: Can I fill half the portafilter with coffee grounds to get a lighter espresso?
A: We recommend you extract a standard double and then dilute the shot by adding boiling water to the cup. If you would like to use a lower dose, you will need to grind finer to achieve the same resistance as before to extract within the target 35-45 seconds with at least 30-40 lb of force on the lever.
Q: If the Flair makes a double shot espresso, why is the shot so small?
A: The typical double shot is traditionally considered to be a 45-60 ml yield, and 60 ml is the capacity of the cylinder when filled to the line. When brewing, there is some water lost due to absorption by the coffee grounds, and some water gets trapped between the portafilter and the piston. When we say “double shot espresso,” we are basing that on the new standards that use brew ratios to describe yields e.g. 32-34 ml of espresso from 16-17 grams of coffee on average.
Q: My espresso tasted bitter/sour. How can I fix this?
A: A bitter or sour flavor is most likely linked to the size of your grounds and the temperature of your water. If your grounds are too coarse (too large), you will not have enough resistance in the puck to slow the flow of water (contact time is too short), you can under-extract your espresso and get a sour taste. But if the grounds are too fine, you will have too much resistance in the puck, slowing the flow of water (contact time is too long), and you can over-extract. This can yield a bitter taste. Similarly, if your water is too far below 200 degrees F, your espresso could become sour, and too far above 200 degrees can turn a shot bitter.
Q: How do I remove the used grounds from the Flair after I’ve brewed?
A: You can remove used grounds, known as the puck, in a few different ways. We recommend knocking the portafilter against the side of a trashcan or knock-box to remove the grinds. You can also invert the portafilter and blow through the opposite end or dig the grinds out with a utensil or your finger.
Q: How do I clean the space between the bottom of the basket and the portafilter body?
A: You don’t need to. When you rinse your portafilter in cool water every time after you pull a shot, the residues of coffee below the basket will be washed away.
Q: Does the Flair comes with a warranty?
A: Yes, the Flair comes with a 5 year limited warranty provided by Intact Idea.
Limited Warranty with Intact Idea
The Flair Espresso Maker’s Press Stand and Brewing Cylinder are warranted against functional defects for 5 (five) years from the purchase date, when used in accordance with all operating instructions. Parts that are more subject to normal wear and tear, such as O-rings, Silicone Sleeve, Piston, and Portafilter are warranted against defects in material, design or workmanship for 6 (six) months from the purchase date, although these items are expected to last beyond the warranty.
Proof of purchase is required to validate the warranty period.
The warranty applies only when the product and parts are used in accordance with all operating instructions. The warranty becomes void if the product or parts are modified, abused or improperly used, damaged by accident or neglect, or if any parts are improperly installed.
If you have bought the Flair ser from DrinksPeople Asia, contact DrinksPeople Asia or Flair Espresso Customer Service with any questions about a possible defect. All defective product claims will be handled on an individual basis by our Customer Service that will ask you to describe the problem and provide the purchase date and location. Upon confirmation of the defect, we will give you a Return Material Authorization (RMA) for you to use and return the product or defective part. The RMA number must be clearly written on the side of the shipping box in which you return the product. Unless otherwise instructed by us, the product or parts must be sent freight prepaid to our company address and not to the store it was purchase from.
Intact Idea makes no other warranties, express or implied, and specifically excludes warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. Intact Idea’s liability under this warranty shall be limited to repair or replacement of the defective part(s), whichever may apply. Intact Idea shall not be responsible for any damages or personal injuries, whether incidental or consequential, or claims for such damages based on any legal theory, which may occur while using this product. This warranty gives you specific legal rights, and you may also have other rights which may vary from state to state and country to country.
DrinksPeople Asia will only provide support to all our customers who have bought the Flair Espresso Maker directly from our store.
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