Your Coffee Beans
Contrary to popular belief, espresso is not a specific type of coffee bean. When you see a package of coffee beans listed as espresso, it only means that the coffee roaster recommends this blend of beans for use in an espresso machine. In general, though, any roasted coffee bean can be used in any type of extraction method, including espresso. For the highest level of espresso in the Flair, the following requirements must be met:
Always start with whole coffee beans that were roasted within a few weeks of purchase. Pre-ground beans will never yield good crema as there is no standard grind size for espresso and pre-ground beans have lost nearly all stored CO2.
Try to start with beans that roasters designated as espresso blends or single origins. These have been selected to work well with the enhanced flavor profiles that espresso provides and, in most cases, to enhance crema formation.
It is imperative that your whole beans are not ground until minutes before brewing. This will ensure the highest quality, best flavor and most crema.
Grinding Your Coffee Beans
Coffee ground for the Flair is more fine than it would be if used in a drip coffee machine. However, each coffee blend may require a slightly different grind setting to get the best level of crema. To get the correct grind, you must use a burr grinder as opposed to a blade grinder. This is because burr grinders create more consistently ground coffee, in terms of size, and they also allow the user to change the size of their grinds. Without a burr grinder, it will be difficult to get consistent crema from your Flair.
Crushes Beans to a Consistent Size
Allows the User to Change Grind Size
Cuts Beans Inconsistently
Cannot Select Different Size Grinds
In the Flair, coffee ground too coarsely, or too large, will not yield any crema, as no pressure can build when forcing water through the large pieces. Alternatively, coffee ground too finely will not allow the coffee to pass through, and could result in breaking the Flair. If you struggle to lower the lever when trying to brew, STOP, and regrind your beans more coarsely.
Tamping Your Coffee Grounds
Tamping your fresh grounds refers to packing them into the portafilter. If the grounds are not evenly distributed, channels can form allowing water to pass by only parts of the bed of coffee rather than the whole. It is important to ensure all grounds are evenly distributed and the surface of coffee bed is level. If you are trying to brew and feel significant resistance when lowering the lever, your beans are ground too fine.
Water Temperature for Brewing
Water temperature is extremely important in brewing an espresso with good crema. As a general rule, 200 degrees F, or 93 degrees C, is a good starting point for brewing. The darker the roast, the cooler the water usually can be, down to roughly 195 degrees F. Important to note here is that preheating the Flair brewing head (and the piston, if you have the stainless steel version) is critical to maintaining temperature stability throughout the extraction.
212°F/100°C - Temperature of Boiling Water
205°F/96°C - Upper Limit for Light Roast Beans
200°F/93°C - Ideal Temperature for Flair Espresso
195°F/90°C - Lower Limit for Dark Roast Beans
We at Flair recommend using a goose neck kettle to heat the water and to use it immediately after it’s been boiled.
Ready to Brew?
Click below to continue on to our Brewing section.