Flair Classic vs Pro 2: Which Flair Has The Right Flair For You?
Whether an espresso novice or master, you’ll love Flair for its quality products and strong community of home espresso brewers. To make the best espresso at home with Flair, which Flair will get you there?
Let’s look closer at two of the most highly-rated manual espresso machines from Flair: The Flair Pro 2 vs the Classic. Read on as we dive deeper into which Flair is best for your espresso-making needs.
Flair Espresso makers are lever espresso machines. They are easily distinguishable in the espresso-making community for their distinctive and simple design. There are five models of Flair espresso makers. This article will pit two of the most popular head-to-head to help you decide which, if either, is best for you. Ready to take a closer look at the Flair Pro 2 and the Classic? Read on.
The Flair Classic Espresso Machine
The Flair Classic espresso machine was the brand’s original model, designed by a mechanical engineer from Brazil named Sergio Landau (1). Using lever physics, the Classic can attain the high pressure needed for optimal espresso extraction without putting too much strain on your arm.
The Classic has a 2-in-1 portafilter that can be used to brew bottomless or accessorized with a plastic spout to divide the brew into two shots. It takes some practice to use, but there are clear instructions to easily guide you through the assembly, takedown, and cleaning processes. Even the 265 g small brew head is detachable.
The Classic is one of the most affordable espresso makers at just over $160. Its price reflects its straightforward design, not a lack of quality. Indeed, it can achieve a delicious espresso shot comparable to high-end electric espresso makers valued at tens of thousands of dollars.
The Flair Classic’s dose size is 12 to 18 g, with a maximum yield of 45 ml of espresso. This may be inadequate for true espresso enthusiasts, as the small brew head can’t quite deliver a true double shot. It lacks a pressure gauge, though one can be added on for a price.
- Easy to use.
- Less strength is needed to pull a shot.
- High-quality espresso.
- Small 40 mm diameter portafilter.
- Small dose size and espresso yield.
- A pressure gauge is not included.
The Flair Pro 2 Espresso Machine
The Flair Pro 2 was released near the end of 2019. It is third in the Flair Espresso Maker series, which originated with the Classic and was followed by the Flair Signature, the Flair Pro 2, the Flair Neo, and the Flair 58.
The Flair Pro 2 is a more advanced model than the Classic. It was made for coffee lovers looking to be their own baristas – minus the milk-based drinks, as there is no steamer included to froth milk for lattes or cappuccinos. It comes with the main lever arm, the brew head, a small silicone cap, a silicone handle grip, a little plunger, a dosing funnel, a shower screen, a funnel specifically for cleaning, and the base.
The 46 mm portafilter is bottomless and bigger than other Flair models and is made of stainless steel. Like the Classic, it can be adapted with a spout, but the Pro 2 has a stainless steel spout rather than plastic. Other featured accessories include a stainless steel drip tray and a stainless steel tamper.
The brew head is 520 g. The greater thermal mass of this brew head allows for more temperature stability, although it also requires more energy for heating. The Flair Pro 2 has a larger capacity than the rest of the main Flair line-up. The dose size is 18 to 24 g, yielding up to 56 ml of espresso. A pressure gauge is included to ensure precision and consistency.
With these perks, the Flair Pro 2 is still in the affordable range, totaling just over $325.
The downsides? The components you need to keep track of, and the workflow necessary to establish streamlined espresso-making, may be overwhelming. Your shot may suffer if you forget even one thing.
- Bigger portafilter and brew head.
- Bigger dose size and espresso yield.
- Pressure gauge included.
- More durable stainless steel accents.
- More expensive.
- More parts to keep track of.
- More strength is needed to pull a shot.
The Showdown With Flair: Comparing Head To Head
Flair espresso-making products are best for black coffee drinkers looking for budget-friendly options to curate high-quality home espressos. Now that we’ve taken a closer look at the Classic and the Pro 2, let’s compare them head-to-head on their design, brewing capacity, build quality, cleaning and maintenance, and value for your money.
Both models share a similar aesthetic, with the brand’s characteristic smooth, sculptural feel and practical lever design.
The Classic comes in just one color, a classic glossy black and red. The more sleek and minimalistic Flair Pro 2 comes in black, white, or brushed chrome. The Pro 2 also features a copper portafilter holder and a stainless steel drip tray, which adds an eye-popping kick to its look.
Winner: Design is a matter of personal preference, so your winner will depend on how compatible each machine is with your kitchen’s style. However, if we had to pick one, the Flair Pro 2 is arguably more stylish and refined in its color palette options.
The biggest difference between these two models is the size and shape of the brew heads. The Classic has a smaller capacity brew head with a 40-mm diameter portafilter. It can accommodate a dose of between 12 and 18 g and yield 45 mL of espresso. The Flair Pro 2 has a 46-mm portafilter which allows a larger dose of between 18 and 24 g, and it can yield up to 56 mL of espresso. For all intents and purposes, the Classic is a single-shot model, whereas the Pro 2 can achieve a double shot.
The Flair Classic’s filter basket is deeper and narrower, which allows pressure to be created more easily and allows for a slightly coarser grind. A greater coarseness in the grind requires less force to operate the lever, though you won’t achieve the same intensity of flavor.
The Flair Pro 2’s larger filter basket is closer in design to commercial filter baskets, which measure 58 mm in diameter. It requires a finer grind size and, thus, more manual force, but it delivers a more flavorful shot. It may not be ideal for someone who struggles with conditions like arthritis.
The pressure gauge is another big difference between the two. The Flair Pro 2 comes with a pressure gauge, which espresso aficionados will appreciate for precise preparation and reproducible shot quality. The Classic does not have a gauge, but it is sold separately if you want to add one.
Winner: The Flair Pro 2 easily wins this round for its larger brew capacity, higher dose, and included pressure gauge.
The Flair Pro 2 and Classic manual espresso makers both have a die-cast aluminum body, steel lever arm, and stainless steel brew head. However, the Flair Pro 2 has significantly higher-quality accessories. The drip tray, tamper, and removable spout attachment are all stainless steel, whereas each of these parts is plastic on the Classic.
Winner: The Flair Pro 2 is more durable with its greater use of stainless steel in its build.
Cleaning And Maintenance
The Classic and the Pro 2 are easy to clean and maintain. Just follow the instructions to disassemble all the components after each use, and rinse them with hot water for cleaning. Do not put them in the dishwasher. Dry by hand or let air dry. To clean the portafilter, push the coffee puck out and rinse it.
Winner: The Classic has cleaning instructions that are more user-friendly for novices.
Value For Money
The Flair Pro 2 costs twice as much as the Flair Classic, but both offer great value for money in the realm of high-quality espresso. You could spend thousands of dollars trying to get a similar espresso from an automatic machine.
Coffee connoisseurs will appreciate the Pro 2 and its greater allowance for experimentation. The larger capacity, pressure gauge, redesigned portafilter, stainless steel drip tray, and metal tamper add value. If you know how to take advantage of these upgrades, the Pro 2 is well worth the cost.
Novices will applaud the Flair Classic’s ease of use for entry-level learning. It does away with the bells and whistles to offer a barebones and affordable brewer that can still produce spectacular espresso. A nice bonus is that the pressure gauge and drip tray are sold separately, so you can always upgrade your Classic at a later date.
Winner: The Classic takes this round as it functions virtually identically to the Flair Pro 2 for just half its cost. However, more experienced espresso masters will find value in the Flair Pro 2.
All-in-all, using any machine in the Flair lineup is more of an art form for high-quality espresso rather than just a means for a simple caffeine fix. It requires curiosity, eagerness to learn, and commitment to the process. If you value good espresso and have the patience to learn the craft, then do it with some Flair.
Use the Classic if:
- You’re worried about the price.
- You’re new to espresso-making.
- You want to use less manual force.
Use the Pro 2 if:
- You have a bit more to spend.
- You want to experiment more precisely with your grind.
- You’re looking to make more espresso in one sitting.
Yes, the Flair makes real espresso because the lever design allows you to achieve the 8+ bars of pressure necessary. Each espresso shot has a visually stunning and delicious crema layer. There is no difference in great espresso quality between the Flair Classic and the Flair Pro 2.
The best grinder to use with the Flair Classic or Flair Pro is a quality burr grinder. The Flair company specifically recommends its product, the manual Royal Grinder. Blade grinders chop rather than grind coffee, so their grounds are too inconsistent for high-quality espresso. If you don’t have a decent grinder, pre-ground coffee can be used if it is specifically labeled as “espresso grind.” But it won’t be as fresh or flavorful as grinding yourself.
The Flair Classic Espresso Maker weighs just 5 lbs, making it a very portable option. The Flair Pro 2 Espresso Maker is not much heavier, coming in at 7 lbs. Both have identical dimensions of 14 inches x 10 inches x 4 inches.
Flair Classic makes better espresso than the Neo, which is a model Flair designed for beginners. While the process of pulling espresso is similar for both models, the Flair Neo leaves more room for error. Learn more about the differences between Flair Classic vs Neo here.
- Flair Espresso. (2017, October 19). Back to Basics with Espresso Made Right. Retrieved December 1, 2022, from https://flairespresso.com/press/