samuellaw178 Senior Member Joined: 22 Jan 2011 Posts: 377 Location: KL,Malaysia Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Arrarex Caravel Grinder: Rosco Mini Drip: French Press, Aeropress,... Roaster: DIY Copper drum roaster
Posted Sun Feb 12, 2012, 1:22pm Subject: Nuova Simonelli Oscar Owner's experiences/tips
Hi all, I realized there is very little thread about Oscar so here it is. Hopefully this will become a helpful knowledge pool for Oscar users. I will add more myself as time goes by.
I recently acquired a used Oscar. The machine had a small hiccup on the second day thus had a thorough breakdown/cleaning. So everything is good again and the Oscar is up and running. Getting into the innards of Oscar really had me learnt how well built the Oscar is. Everything is pretty rugged inside and totally contradicts its modest appearance from the outside. Coming from a Cremina that was so well built, this really means a lot. The only complain I have is that it's very compact inside and it's difficult to maneuver inside without taking off most parts. Also, most of the problems with Oscar I've seen on the net, normally are coming from the pressurestat and this is easily overcome by a commercial-grade Sirai pressurestat.
One of the well-hidden and exciting secrets of the Oscar, IMO, is the preinfusion. Pretty much, there's no final concensus on this aspect of the Oscar. Some claim that it has a 'mechanical' preinfusion, some say it doesn't. Well, from my experience, if you press the brew button half way gently enough, water will actually come flowing out, without engaging the pump. This is true even for non plumbed-in unit(mine). I have no idea how much pressure does that build up to, but it does wet the puck well enough to form some driplets at the bottom, from my limited experience.
The stock Oscar basket fits about 14-16g coffee but the one I've got was dented for some unfathomable reason. So I got a Espressopart HQ 14g ridgeless basket for about $7 and that works very well with the machine. Basically it's just a higher quality basket that resembles the LM style double basket that many preferred. It fits up to about 17g of coffee without touching the screen, but I suspect it could fit even more. I would recommend getting one if you like punchier shots or bigger latte. There is also other HQ baskets sold by Espressoparts, which is ideal if you're liking experimenting different doses up to 23g++ triple.
That's basically what I've learnt so far with the Oscar. As I said, I will add more when I have time and learn more about it.
My issue now is:
I was expecting a learning curve with the HX since this is my first HX machine. I've read a lot about the flushing etc. But, to my surprise, my machine doesn't have the flash boil even after about 30 min of warm up time(after releasing the vacuum). The pressurestat was set to 0.95-1.1 bar. Does that sound about right? Should I crank it the pressurestat up? As compared to Cremina, the shot quality from Oscar is light years behind. I suspect that's because I haven't learnt enough about the temperature management, as well as the minor quirks of the Oscar. I know there're some really experienced users out here, so I would really appreciate your tips/guide of how to maximize the potential of Oscar. =P
Maybe, to start it off, what pressure are you using and how long of a flush was required?
Posted Fri Mar 23, 2012, 9:40am Subject: Re: Nuova Simonelli Oscar Owner's experiences/tips
i am replying about 6 weeks late because i just now caught this thread. i too have an oscar and i'm still experimenting with it. based on your video, i do believe that by increasing the pressure on the unit you will get better results. i upgraded to a PID'd Silvia and I definitely have had major improvement in shot quality and cappuccinos (mostly because I can steam milk simultaniously).
one note is that when you increase the pressurestat, you will definitely have to bleed a lot more water with your cooling flush. i have a temperature gauge at the brewhead which merely serves as a guide, and after increasing the pressure, i noticed it took the machine to a higher temperature after full warm up and took longer for it to fall into place. you will have to experiment with your timing, but i do believe you can get some quality shots from the machine with higher pressure.
eastbaysanfranman Senior Member Joined: 29 Oct 2007 Posts: 186 Location: east bay area san francisco Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: Nueva Simmoneli Oscar Grinder: Rancilio Rocky doserless Vac Pot: Hario Drip: Technivorm/Chemex/Espro... Roaster: Behmor
Posted Tue Feb 18, 2014, 1:01am Subject: Re: Nuova Simonelli Oscar Owner's experiences/tips
How about a couple years later? Better late than never huh? How do you explain this: Click Here (www.zuccariniltd.com) Please note the second page from the end on programming pre infusion on or off. Perhaps this is only with newer versions? European versions? Also, BTW, the pre infusion "trick" does not work on the used Oscar I just purchased. If I push lightly nothing happens until I keep pushing and the pump is activated.
DanoM Senior Member Joined: 20 Mar 2013 Posts: 213 Location: Los Angeles Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: NS Oscar, '84 La Pavoni Pro,... Grinder: Baratza Vario, La Pavoni PGC
Posted Tue Feb 18, 2014, 7:56am Subject: Re: Nuova Simonelli Oscar Owner's experiences/tips
Please note the second page from the end on programming pre infusion on or off. Perhaps this is only with newer versions? European versions? Also, BTW, the pre infusion "trick" does not work on the used Oscar I just purchased. If I push lightly nothing happens until I keep pushing and the pump is activated.
I don't think this function was available in the older Oscars. I know that my Oscar does not perform any pre-infusion or automatic dosing after trying both per the document linked above.
Oscars do have a slow ramp up of pressure, like all of the vibe-pump machines, so you can hit the brew button for 1 second and then turn it off. Wait a couple of seconds and then hit the brew button again. This isn't really a pre-infuse so much as a pre-wetting of the puck, but it does make a difference in extraction.
oofnik Senior Member Joined: 29 Mar 2006 Posts: 107 Location: Israel Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: NS Oscar, Gaggia Factory
Posted Mon Mar 10, 2014, 3:29pm Subject: Re: Nuova Simonelli Oscar Owner's experiences/tips
Just a note regarding the 'preinfusion' on the Oscar. It seems to be more a quirk of the a machine rather than a deliberate design decision. My machine exhibits the same behavior. This can be explained by the fact that behind the brew button sits a DPDT switch, essentially engaging two separate circuits, one for the 3-way valve and one for the pump (see electrical diagram). Pushing the brew switch only far enough to engage the first circuit means the brew path opens from the heat exchanger, releasing the pressurized water in the HX into the puck, without engaging the pump.
I haven't really played with this but it might lead to improvements in the cup if timed properly. Once I get my machine back in working order I'll run some tests.
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