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29
Sep

Flair NEO Flex Review

0 commentPost by : Jasmin Tétreault
Flair NEO Flex Review

Flair recently launched the Neo Flex. The new manual brewer is positioned as an affordable option, especially when contrasted with their high-end 58+ model. But with a myriad of choices already flooding the market, how does this latest offering stack up? Is it a worthy successor to the much-loved Flair Neo?

Overview Of The Flair Flex

The first time I saw the Flair Neo Flex was at the Portland Coffee Expo. While I didn't get to use it, it really got me excited. When I received the NEO Flex, it came with most essentials for preparing espresso. Including a pressurized basket for pre-ground coffee, another standard basket that can be modified into a bottomless version, a brew head like the Flair Classic, a funnel, and a tamper. But what piqued my interest was the addition of a pressure release valve to bypass flow when the grind goes too fine. However, this feature, while promising, leaves me wondering for its longevity.

In a bold move, Flair has chosen a plastic stand for the NEO Flex, which is less flexible than one might think. This decision is a contrast to Flair's renowned metal design, which was a hallmark of their earlier models. The new direction has led to an impressive decrease in weight. Despite this change, is does not impact stability. With its minimal weight and straightforward disassembly process, the NEO Flex could be a great option for those seeking a travel espresso machine.

Flair Neo Flex Box

Performance & Workflow

The Flair Neo Flex’s espresso quality is similar to the Flair Classic. Their baskets and brew heads are almost identical. However, the Flair Neo Flex and Classic baskets are slightly different from many in the industry. They have a narrower diameter, with holes not reaching extensively to the sides. This leads to a taller espresso puck and needs a coarser grind for good results.

We were 3 people testing the espresso quality and we were all very surprised with what it put out. It can definitely make a great espresso!

I haven't had problems extracting lighter roasts with the Flair Neo Flex. I used lower doses, around 10g and filled the chamber with water. This allowed me to use a finer grind and get a better extraction. I don't think that this is a problem, it just makes for a smaller espresso.

With the wider Flair NEO Flex base, there is ample space for espresso scales, including the Timemore Black Mirror Nano. However, bigger pour-over scales might not fit.

Flair Neo Flex Accessories

How To Make Espresso With The Flair Flex

For an optimal brew with the Flair Neo Flex:

  1. Always start by preheating the cylinder using boiled water.
  2. Depending on your grind quality, use the standard basket (if you have a dedicated grinder) or the pressurized basket (for coarser or pre-packaged grinds).
  3. Press the coffee grounds firmly, ensuring even distribution, and place the dispersion screen atop.
  4. Secure the basket to its stand, attach the brew head, and pour hot water within the designated fill lines.
  5. Carefully introduce the piston into the assembly, initiating the pull until you experience resistance, indicating the start of pre-infusion.
  6. Modulate the pressure to reach your desired volume, keeping a scale handy for accuracy.

     Flair Neo Flex with Timemore Nano

    Drawbacks

    Upon testing the NEO Flex, I noticed that the piston's pressure system might be problematic. The discs become ineffective if the foil breaks, which can occur with very fine grinds of too much pressure. Though it comes with a spare seal, finding replacements can be tough. However, an all-plastic seal is also included in the box.

    Users should be careful using the pressure gauge piston because of frame strength concerns. The plastic frame worked but sometimes creaked. Daily users might benefit from a steel frame.

    Conclusion

    The Flair NEO- Flex, an affordable and user-friendly manual espresso maker, is perfect for newcomers or people who want a travel espresso machine. Flair's takes great care in educating users and fostering an active community further enhancing its value for those who want to learn about espresso brewing.

    The Flair NEO Flex stands out in the espresso market with its budget-friendly features tailored for newcomers and travelers. While the plastic design has its pros and cons, Flair's commitment to user education and community shines through.

     

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