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Flair Signature espresso maker (bundle)
Pros: build quality and design, environmentally-friendly
Cons: not the most intuitive to use at first
Star rating: 4.5/5
Buy now from:
Bella Barista (£239)
Is it a contemporary sculpture? Is it an elaborate nutcracker? In fact, the Flair Signature is one of the finest espresso machines we’ve tested.
There’s a key distinction between this product and the others we reviewed: it applies pressure using a hand-pump system, not an electric pump.
Apart from its obvious environmental benefits, this approach seems to produce outstanding coffee. Full of flavour and supremely drinkable, we thought it on a par with the espresso made by our favourite electric espresso machine, the FrancisFrancis! X1.
In terms of product design and build quality, the Flair Signature is simple and brilliantly executed. The device is made with solid, well-finished metal, moulded in two main pieces.
Its accessories are pleasing, well-made objects in their own right – especially the pressure gauge (sold separately) with its fabulous branding, and the tamper, which looks a little like a chess piece.
Bear in mind that this option does not come with a steamer, so you’ll need to buy a standalone milk frother if you want to make a latte or cappuccino.
It’s probably fair to say the Flair Signature is not the most approachable of espresso machines. However, once you get to grips with the device and understand how it works, it’s a breeze to put together. We got it set up and making espresso in under 10 minutes – about half the time it takes to prep your average electric coffee machine.
Once you’ve got the hang of how the Flair Signature works, you’ll find it a cinch to use. You simply prep the coffee in the filter, add boiling water, put the filter in place and push the lever down to achieve a winning combo of pressure and heat.
This mechanism lends itself well to practising and improving your technique. Watch the pressure gauge each time you use it, and see how the espresso produced varies in quality according to the amount of pressure exerted.
The Flair Signature’s simple, elegant design makes for outstandingly easy cleaning. With just two main parts to the machine and no hard-to-reach internal components, it’s hard to imagine dirt building up on any part of the device.
Its footprint is superbly small, and the packaging is minimal, with the Flair Signature and its travel case neatly contained in a cardboard box.
Ease of cleaning: 5/5
Value for money: 4/5
Overall rating: 4.5
Buy now from:
Bella Barista (£239)
Photo: Alice Ostapjuk
Pressure: 6-10 bar
Model number: 797822791864
Item Weight: 3.06 Kg
Package Dimensions: 34.3 x 23.1 x 10.2 cm
Material: stainless steel, chrome
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This review was last updated in October 2019. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.