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Need assistance with semi-automatics
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Need assistance...  
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,052
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Wed Oct 31, 2012, 3:11pm
Subject: Re: Need assistance with semi-automatics
 

I thought they were different and there was not a way to convert on from tank to plumbed in.  But maybe 10 years ago... or maybe he modded it himself.  You need to assume it needs a descaling, might need a new pump and new group head gasket.  But I did all of that myself on a 2 year old machine.  There are six screws at the top, 2 under the tank flap, open the top and look for water damage, leaks & rust.  A little patina doesn't mean I might not get it but it does mean that you have room to talk him down a bit. Bring a thermometer and a flashlight.  Look it over well.  Make him steam and pull a shot.  Test the temp of the water from the group head, it should be at least 170 in the cup. Maybe take a camera phone to take photos where you can't see well.

Older ones don't have the new PSTAT and the boiler probably is not insulated.

 
Coffeenoobie

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

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Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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GVDub
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Joined: 25 Jan 2008
Posts: 881
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Londinium I, Arrarex...
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Drip: Behmor Brazen, Abid Clever
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Posted Wed Oct 31, 2012, 3:24pm
Subject: Re: Need assistance with semi-automatics
 

If it's switchable from pour-over to plumbed and in decent shape, it will be a great machine. As stated, see if you can check "under the hood" and make sure that it heats up and the pump works.

You will want a different tamper, though, than the plastic one he shows with the machine. The ~$30 Rattleware 58mm tamper is a fine and affordable place to start.
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,052
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Wed Oct 31, 2012, 3:29pm
Subject: Re: Need assistance with semi-automatics
 

It looks pretty clean outside. Check the insides and if it looks good and it heats and pumps you can fix anything else that comes up.  That is one of the things I really like about mine, I think I can keep it going for years.  Make sure to let it cool a bit before moving and it weighs about 30 lbs you might want a really strong box...  I remove the water tank and put washcloths to soak up the water in the spout the tank sits in and move it when it cools off a bit.  Also, smell and make sure nothing looks or smells burned.

 
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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khiyasu
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Joined: 30 Oct 2012
Posts: 25
Location: Squamish, BC
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Wed Oct 31, 2012, 8:33pm
Subject: Re: Need assistance with semi-automatics
 

Coffeenoobie Said:

I thought they were different and there was not a way to convert on from tank to plumbed in.  But maybe 10 years ago... or maybe he modded it himself.  You need to assume it needs a descaling, might need a new pump and new group head gasket.  But I did all of that myself on a 2 year old machine.  There are six screws at the top, 2 under the tank flap, open the top and look for water damage, leaks & rust.  A little patina doesn't mean I might not get it but it does mean that you have room to talk him down a bit. Bring a thermometer and a flashlight.  Look it over well.  Make him steam and pull a shot.  Test the temp of the water from the group head, it should be at least 170 in the cup. Maybe take a camera phone to take photos where you can't see well.

Older ones don't have the new PSTAT and the boiler probably is not insulated.

Posted October 31, 2012 link

I thought that they were one way or another and you cant have both. I'll just have to see and have him show me how he does it and make him pull a shot from both ways. He said he is flexible with the price so if I can get him down to about $450 thats a pretty good deal I think. What accessories should I look for? Eg. what kind of tamper, thermometer, etc.

Hoping to check it out of Saturday. Maybe I can get him to send me some pictures of the inside before I drive down there and post them here.

So would if everything looks good and tests good, would this 10 year old NS Oscar Pro be better than a new Rancilio Silvia or Gaggia Classic?
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,052
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Wed Oct 31, 2012, 9:07pm
Subject: Re: Need assistance with semi-automatics
 

Well, I think so but I own an Oscar.  I believe it is a more robust type of machine than Gaggia or Silvia.  I believe I would be wanting upgrade in less than a year if I had started there.  The mileage is high year wise but if used at home they might not be hard miles....

 
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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khiyasu
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Joined: 30 Oct 2012
Posts: 25
Location: Squamish, BC
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Wed Oct 31, 2012, 9:15pm
Subject: Re: Need assistance with semi-automatics
 

Is the Oscar your first machine you owned? Oscar would be best paired with Baratza Vario? Would the Preciso be okay too or just go for the Vario?

If others who have experience with both could give some advise would be great too. However, seems like the Oscar could be a really good deal. And if it has lasted him 10 years, at least I know its durable. :) I know the Oscar is a good machine but just reading reviews I know lots love the Silvia too. I would be paying about $200 more for the Silvia, but it will be new whereas the Oscar is cheaper but with higher mileage.
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khiyasu
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Joined: 30 Oct 2012
Posts: 25
Location: Squamish, BC
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Wed Oct 31, 2012, 10:08pm
Subject: Re: Need assistance with semi-automatics
 

The insides look pretty good to me. Here are the two pictures I received...

picture 1
picture 2
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,052
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Thu Nov 1, 2012, 12:21am
Subject: Re: Need assistance with semi-automatics
 

Yes, the insides look clean, cleaner than mine right now.... how much did he use it over 10 years?  I don't see a way for the tank to fit in the back.  I would love to see how it is plumbed. The only espresso machine I have owed is Oscar.  I have learned a lot with him do not feel the need to upgrade.  When I do a party it is me that is the limiting factor at how fast the drinks are coming out. I can steam and pull at the same time, something you can't do with the other 2.  You will find lot of threads if you search, that say "I just got this starter single boiler machine a few months ago and now I want a better one to be able to steam and pull or just not have to temp surf" etc.  And having the power to pull and steam at the same time is a huge deal for me. Not that I can seem to do it well at the same time yet...

I really like the Weight part of the Vario W and would not go back to a grind by time.  But it is up to you, I don't see any point in cheaping out on the grinder as that is the most important part of any set up.  The top of the line grinder that company makes is just a couple of hundred more than the mid level one you are considering. Also, I was weighing the beans out for every shot to be more consistent and this saves me a step. Consistency is very important to learning how to make good espresso. I would rather spend a touch more than turn around a few months later and wish I had gotten the better one to begin with.  That is part of the reason I did not want to start with a single boiler, I did not want to wish I had not spent the money and gone with a better machine in less than a year.  But that is me.  I think the Vario W and Oscar are making me great drinks right now very easily and I have the set up pretty full proof. I could tell my husband how to pull a shot from the other room because everything is set up I would not have to see what he is doing to walk him through it... not that he ever will.  I feel I have a lot of power and temp stability at my fingertips and I feel like the machine is not hampering me.  I am hampering it more than likely...

 
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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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,950
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Thu Nov 1, 2012, 4:58am
Subject: Re: Need assistance with semi-automatics
 

From the pics alone, it looks very good. I would not hesitate to pick it up. I am pretty handy though so any issue that it may have that is hidden, I would not have a hard time dealing with, but it looks like there are no issues with it.

It looks to me that the connection that the water tank normally fits into has an adapter installed in place of the water tank, I suspect that you would be able to remove the adapter and drop in a water tank but I have never seen that setup so this comment should be taken strictly as speculation.

As far as the grinder goes, there is no "correct pairing", rather it should be the best grinder you can get for the money, any GOOD espresso grinder will make you proud.

EDIT,
Going with Sylvia would be a large step backwards as far as ability in the machine, ease of use, multiple shots and milk drinks are concerned.

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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khiyasu
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Joined: 30 Oct 2012
Posts: 25
Location: Squamish, BC
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Thu Nov 1, 2012, 5:34am
Subject: Re: Need assistance with semi-automatics
 

Thanks calblacksmith and Coffeenoobie,

I will check it out Saturday and most likely get it and if I have any questions i'll definitely ask you calblacksmith. Thanks.

There's this for sale as for grinders locally. Would that work fine or much better to just go with the Vario?
preciso with scale
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