Manual espresso equipment maker Flair Espresso is launching the Flair 58, including a standard 58-millimeter grouphead and a host of other features that build upon the brand’s existing line.
The Flair 58 has a redesigned frame and lever to accommodate the larger group. It’s also the Southern California company’s first model to include an electric component, a mechanism for preheating and maintaining a steady temperature at the group.
Flair Espresso Head of Brand Andrew Pernicano told Daily Coffee News that a thin heat band embedded around the brew cylinder connects to a sensor coupled to a small power control board to allow for three different settings of heat. The single-button, wired in-line controller can be set to high, medium or low, which can be considered as corresponding for use in extracting light, medium or darker roasted coffees, respectively.
“As with the current product line, the kettle will remain the primary control of the brewing temperature,” said Pernicano, “but our preheat system will now ensure that whether your pre-infusion lasts 5, 20 or ‘Rao’s Blooming Espresso’ 50 seconds, you can be confident you will still be within a few degrees of your target during the extraction phase.”
While exact temperatures are hard to predict given external variables such as ambient temperature and the temperature of the grounds entering the basket, the approximate temperatures expected to be maintained by the device are 95°C/203°F high, 90°/194° on medium, and 85°/185° on low.
The plugin option, the larger frame and longer lever designs of the Flair 85 shift emphasis away from the travel-friendliness of previous Flair models, focusing on users who plan on mostly staying put.
“We observed that the majority [of Flair owners] are not actually using it in the way that we first intended, which is to be that second machine, the one you travel with,” said Pernicano. “Without that constraint, we were able to redesign a new Flair that didn’t have to fit in such a small space and pack so quickly and easily away. It allows for a more robust, larger platform.”
The strengthened frame, longer lever and new T-shaped grip are designed to provide more leverage and control at higher pressures. The Flair 58 group design is also the first in the product line whose lever can be re-raised after extraction without creating upward suction, allowing for faster back-to-back shots. Despite the new electronics, the Flair 58 brew head is removable like those on previous models to allow for easier cleaning and maintenance.
Said Pernicano, “While the Flair 58 will be immediately recognizable as a Flair product, we think that consumers will easily notice these subtle and not so subtle differences that will enhance their brewing experience.”
Though Flair has not yet shared the exact price of the new model, Pernicano said the Flair 58 will sell for “more than 1.5-times but less than twice” the price of a Flair Pro. The Flair Pro2 currently sells for $309-329 on the Flair website.
Flair plans to begin accepting orders for the Flair 58 in early April, with machines slated to begin shipping in early May.
Howard Bryman is the associate editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. He is based in Portland, Oregon.