Apart from being portable, well-made and capable of true espresso, affordability has always been an equally key feature of the Flair line of manual espresso makers. Yet for consumers seeking high quality extractions on a budget, the grinder tends to be a costly barrier.
Flair manufacturer Intact Idea, based in Southern California, has heard the call. The company is preparing to launch its own solution, the Royal Grinder, an affordable manual grinder designed by the company to partner with the Flair or any other brew method at home.
“In our support department we get cries for help every week from new customers that struggle to achieve the results they had seen in online and in socials prior to buying their Flair,” Flair Head of Brand Andrew Pernicano told Daily Coffee News.
The culprits, he said, are almost always grinders that either can’t grind fine enough, have too few grind settings or suffer from significant burr wobble. Alignment of the Royal’s hardened steel Etzinger-made conical burrs is maintained by four stainless steel bearings at the top and bottom of the drive shaft, while a polycarbonate adjustment “crown” features a lift, turn and lock mechanism.
To adjust the grind, users lift the crown and rotate it for micrometric adjustments in increments of .02 millimeters. The setting is locked in place by pushing the crown back down. There are 24 clicks around the dial, and the crown travels three times around for a total of 72 adjustments to cover the range from Turkish fines to French Press, according to the company.
“We selected Etzinger burrs primarily because we believe that the exacting requirements of the automation process they employ ensures the highest level of quality and tolerances,” said Pernicano. “We also believe that the geometry of their burrs delivers the highest level of efficiency for hand grinding.”
The body of a Royal grinder is precision-milled aluminum wrapped fully in silicone for all-around grip. Its catch cup — stainless steel wrapped in a polycarbonate casing — snaps securely onto the body without a gasket that might wear down over time or threading that might gradually back out during use.
“There are some excellent hand grinders already on the market, but for many of our customers they come at too high a price point to be considered,” said Pernicano. “As there is no shortage of great hand grinders already on the market from $230 and up, the impetus for the Royal has always been to empower our customers to grind better so that they could brew better, without compromise, for an affordable price.”
The Royal Grinder is slated to launch for sale late next month at a retail price of $169, or for less when bundled with a Flair espresso maker.