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Just upgraded: Nuova Simonelli Oscar Pro - Kind of feel over my head
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Just upgraded:...  
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Markarian
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Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 652
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Wed Sep 5, 2012, 6:37am
Subject: Re: Just upgraded: Nuova Simonelli Oscar Pro - Kind of feel over my head
 

Thanks for the encouragement, though being on a budget it stings that my first "real" grinder is a wash. I wish I could trade it in. To me, espresso is all that matters. I want lattes, macchiatos, and even straight shots sometimes. My roommates do like Turkish and French Press, though, so hopefully it's not a total waste. I do have my trusty little Hario Skerton, which I used before getting the Virtuoso.

With the Oscar, I keep hearing it takes a long time to warm up. With the little toy Saecos, they would be ready to brew in less than five minutes (though what you get out of them was anyone's guess). I'm noticing with the Oscar that the water doesn't seem terribly hot, even during a cooling flush. The watery shots don't really seem hot either, barely able to scald my finger after I put it in the cup for a couple of seconds. Is this a brew temperature issue and would that cause the shots to be weak and under-extracted? Would waiting longer than 10-15 mins to do my shots make the difference?

I know these are obvious questions, so thanks for bearing with me. The manual for the NS Oscar was useless and poorly translated, so I was struggling a bit. I made perfect microfoam by plugging all but one hole with toothpicks on my first try. From what I'm reading, the single hole tip for the Silvia V3 should be compatible with the Oscar (according to Chris Coffee), is this true?

Thanks again for all the support. I have gone from a $6 steam moka "espresso" machine I picked up at the thrift store to the Oscar, so it's been a weird trip and I still feel very much the novice.
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NobbyR
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NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 1,991
Location: Germany
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
Grinder: Eureka Mignon Istantaneo
Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: Melitta Linea Unica de Luxe
Roaster: N/A
Posted Wed Sep 5, 2012, 6:42am
Subject: Re: Just upgraded: Nuova Simonelli Oscar Pro - Kind of feel over my head
 

If you're really in doubt about brewing temperature, try to check it using the styrofoam cup technique. It'll only be a rough approximation, but it'll show if anything is totally wrong.

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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Markarian
Senior Member
Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 652
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Wed Sep 5, 2012, 6:52am
Subject: Re: Just upgraded: Nuova Simonelli Oscar Pro - Kind of feel over my head
 

How is this done? And if brew temperature was the issue, what could I do to fix it?
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GVDub
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Joined: 25 Jan 2008
Posts: 845
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Londinium I, Arrarex...
Grinder: Gaggia MD85, Dienes Mokka,...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Abid Clever
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Wed Sep 5, 2012, 7:52am
Subject: Re: Just upgraded: Nuova Simonelli Oscar Pro - Kind of feel over my head
 

Markarian Said:

How is this done? And if brew temperature was the issue, what could I do to fix it?

Posted September 5, 2012 link

You need: 1) a styrofoam cup, 2) an "instant-read" digital thermometer with probe, 3) some sort of time or stopwatch (this last is optional since it's less for temperature check and more for figuring out how long your cooling flushes should be and is for after you get the initial boiler temp/pressure set, so we'll come back to that if necessary).

The basic idea is to stick the styrofoam cup tight up under the grouphead, approximating how a portafilter would fit, jab the thermometer probe through the side of the cup so it's taking the temperature of the water that comes out of the group head and let the water flow.

Obviously, you want to measure the temperature of the water as it exits the group head, but you don't want to touch the screen or any of the metal parts of the group head with the probe, or it will compromise your reading. You can cut down the styrofoam cup to more closely approximate the size of a portafilter, so there's less volume of water to fill. If you rig some sort of stand or prop underneath the cup that holds it against the group head, you don't have to worry so much about the cup coming loose and (potentially) superheated water splashing on your hand.

As to how to fix it if the water coming out of the group head is too cool, that's fixed by increasing the boiler pressure through a pstat (pressure stat) adjustment, for which see this post on HB
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 2,972
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Wed Sep 5, 2012, 10:13am
Subject: Re: Just upgraded: Nuova Simonelli Oscar Pro - Kind of feel over my head
 

I would not bother with the styrofoam cup, let your warmed up machine sit idle. I can tell you that my Oscar (that I believe is running well) if warmed up and sitting idle for say 30 mins will have steam come out of the group head when I first purge that should be easy to see in a PNW kitchen early in the morning.  (it is probably a lot less than 30 but I would say 30 just to make sure it has time to be warm) If you are not getting that super heated water from a warmed up Oscar sitting idle for that length of time then you are not running hot enough.  And I suspect you are getting blonding due to grind first and channeling second.  I can tell you first hand I could not grind for Oscar with your grinder.  I upgraded.  Baratza worked with me to help me get a new grinder.  They might trade it in for you with purchase of an upgrade.  

If your water is hot but not steaming in the test I suggested then you might try turning up the Pstat. If it never gets hot maybe you will have to replace the element.  I suspect you are pulling so many shots when testing you are keeping it cool.  A busy HX is a cool HX.  An idle HX is an over heated HX.

I timed my milk steaming, I have my pstat a bit low because of low volume of drinks I make.  It takes me about 30 seconds with a frozen pitcher.  I start turning the knob to cut it off about 120 because it gets to 130 before you know it.  I am sure it takes less time with a room temp pitcher.  I am going to guess it gives me 10-15 seconds longer with a frozen pitcher than a room temp one and 4oz of milk.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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germantownrob
Senior Member
germantownrob
Joined: 2 Dec 2007
Posts: 2,132
Location: Philadelphia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Duetto 3, A Dead Oscar
Grinder: Vario-W, Preciso w/Esatto,...
Drip: Brazen
Roaster: Diedrich IR-1, HT B
Posted Wed Sep 5, 2012, 11:05am
Subject: Re: Just upgraded: Nuova Simonelli Oscar Pro - Kind of feel over my head
 

I would consider a used machine a dirty machine unless I knew the person and their cleaning routine. I would descale as soon as you can and make sure to get enough solution in case you have to do it multiple times. What you describe about water temp sounds like the machine needs a descale, you could turn the pstat up a half turn at a time if you have a Sirai pstat to get the boiler hot enough for a flash boil but as advised above you really need to wait 30 min between adjustments to see the results.

I descale my machine every 6 months, I can go a year but then it really needs it if I wait that long. Somewhere around 3-4 months after a descale I have to adjust the pstat hotter to keep the same idle brew head temps, if I wait long enough to require another adjustment I know I need to descale ASAP.

Time for getting the Oscar boiler to heat is around 10min but the HX system and brew head will not be up to temp. To find thermal stability I used a Kill a Watt meter and timed the time between the heating element cycle, for my machine and pstat setting this took 50min from a cold start up. I leave my Oscar on 24/7 unless I know I will be away for an extended time.

Edit: I forgot to add that the smaller holed 4 hole tip is much easier then the stock tip. I used the stock tip for at least 2 years and got pretty good with it, soon as I replaced it I couldn't believe how easy it was to get microfoam. A good trick to practice steaming without wasting milk is to use water and a drop or two of dish soap per 4oz of water, big bubbles bad, small bubbles good.
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Markarian
Senior Member
Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 652
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Wed Sep 5, 2012, 5:57pm
Subject: Re: Just upgraded: Nuova Simonelli Oscar Pro - Kind of feel over my head
 

I tried backflushing it with some Joe Glo. All the machine did was labor the pump and build up pressure in the PF, though some crud did come out in the PF blind insert. I saw nothing come out in the drip tray at all. After doing what I could I took apart the group head, cleaned out the shower screen and put it back together. I got some fresh beans from Velton's in Seattle to rule out bean age and quality as a factor. I pulled a lovely, blonde half-shot that was cool enough for me to stick my finger in and keep it there. I bought the single-hole tip for the Silvia which I read worked with the Oscar. It screws on, but not all the way, so water leaks around the top and now I have to try and jerry-rig something with plumber's tape and an O-ring.

I'm starting to really get discouraged and am thinking this machine might have been a poor choice. I'm not quite sure what to do from here. You guys have given some great suggestions and I'm trying to follow them with the tools I have available, but I keep thinking that the machine has to be able to work better than my little Saecos. But I'm still not even pulling anything remotely drinkable.
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Markarian
Senior Member
Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 652
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Wed Sep 5, 2012, 6:00pm
Subject: Re: Just upgraded: Nuova Simonelli Oscar Pro - Kind of feel over my head
 

Another thing I should mention is that the pump changes tone when brewing the shot. You can hear it buzzing loudly as it builds up pressure, then quieting down as the shot begins to pour, then the pump seems to kick into high gear another ten seconds in and the shot blondes some more, and then the pump gets quiet again.
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GVDub
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2008
Posts: 845
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Londinium I, Arrarex...
Grinder: Gaggia MD85, Dienes Mokka,...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Abid Clever
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Wed Sep 5, 2012, 6:09pm
Subject: Re: Just upgraded: Nuova Simonelli Oscar Pro - Kind of feel over my head
 

Markarian Said:

I tried backflushing it with some Joe Glo. All the machine did was labor the pump and build up pressure in the PF, though some crud did come out in the PF blind insert. I saw nothing come out in the drip tray at all.

Posted September 5, 2012 link

Sounds like nobody ever cleaned out the machine before and the three-way valve is clogged. Could be scale, could be coffee crud. Either way, you need to do a full descale and some serious cleaning, it appears.

Oscar can pull great shots, but it sounds like the one you bought got no love from the previous owner(s).
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Markarian
Senior Member
Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 652
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Wed Sep 5, 2012, 6:15pm
Subject: Re: Just upgraded: Nuova Simonelli Oscar Pro - Kind of feel over my head
 

I'm starting to get that impression. I have descaler, both liquid  and Dezcal tabs. Can I do this without taking the machine apart? Again, I'm new and I can't find many good guides for the Oscar itself it seems.
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