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Buying Used? Good or bad?
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Buying Used?...  
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tglodjo
Senior Member
tglodjo
Joined: 16 Oct 2012
Posts: 209
Location: Jackson, TN
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi II
Grinder: Baratza Vario, Virtuoso
Drip: Wave, V60, Chemex, Clever
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Tue Nov 6, 2012, 4:31pm
Subject: Buying Used? Good or bad?
 

(What are your thoughts on buying used machines via eBay? I've found an Oscar that seems to be a rather good deal (roughly $600) on eBay. The seller says that it's only been used around 10 times. He said he's cleaned it and everything. It's about three years old. Would you be nervous about that purchase? If it's between that and a new La Nuova Era Cuadra I for $950 (Click Here (www.1st-line.com)) what would you choose? First off, would you choose the Cuadra over the Oscar anyway, and secondly, is buying new for a couple hundred dollars more (with a warranty) a better option than eBay?

I realize these are highly subjective questions for discussion. I'd just like to hear your thoughts.
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,023
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Tue Nov 6, 2012, 9:35pm
Subject: Re: Buying Used? Good or bad?
 

Used has some issues, you just need a price that makes up for the issues. And you have to add shipping.  I would not pay 600 for Oscar sight unseen from ebay.  From trusted coffeegeek that modded it and sold it here yes. Ebay no.  I would rather get Oscar locally so you can inspect it and pay 100-200 less for it.  I would tend not to believe it has only been used 10 times in 3 years.  Mine was supposed to be used only 2 days (catering) in 2 years and it still had issues.  I paid less than 500 for it.  I think it was 450 or 475.  I have never used a La Nuova, they are pretty and lots of people love the look of e61 head.  It has a hot water tap and a gauge.  So, some people would value that over Oscar.  I think for the money used Oscar is the most bang for the buck.

 
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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Markarian
Senior Member
Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 656
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 Tue Nov 6, 2012, 9:49pm
Subject: Re: Buying Used? Good or bad?
 

As someone who purchased a used Oscar, here's what I had to deal with:

1) Former owner had used the tamper as a hammer

2) Boiler had never been descaled

3) No MFG date or serial number on the plate, so I have no idea how old it is

4) Backflush tube was internally pinched shut, prevented the machine from backflushing, and literally exploded.

5) 3-Way Valve, probably due to the above issue, ended up leaking on every brew cycle. Had to tighten it, and now it sits off-kilter (though you can't see it).

6) When I first bought it, I thought I was going crazy because I couldn't get the PF on with coffee in it. Turns out it came with the ESE Pod kit. Luckily, I live near Seattle, so I drove over to NS to get the normal kit, which set me back over $40.

7) One of the case screws on the top became so stuck that it literally had to be sawn off

8) Neoprene sock that insulates the boiler had crumbled and is halfway gone

9) I found the old four-hole tip for steaming literally unusable.


That being said...I love my Oscar. It's a fantastic machine, even after all that sorrow and paying $540 for the mess. It still keeps on working, even after all the repairs and being beat up. As an eBay veteran, I would actually RECOMMEND buying a used machine off of eBay. Unlike Craigslist, where there's no recourse, short of small claims court or an in-person confrontation, you can file a claim with Paypal, who heavily sides with the buyer in most cases. You can also file a chargeback with your card company if it turns out Oscar is making lemons. $600 for a lightly used machine is a good deal. Be prepared to descale it (which is a pain), but other than that, it should be a nice find.
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Markarian
Senior Member
Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 656
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 Tue Nov 6, 2012, 9:53pm
Subject: Re: Buying Used? Good or bad?
 

If it's worth anything, I'm seriously considering the Cuadra now myself :) The Oscar has a larger boiler and is rated for commercial use, but doesn't have as many features as the Cuadra. Also--and this is a HUGE plus to me--you don't have to take all your cups off the rack every time you put more water in. But man, an E61 HX for under a grand...Why aren't there more of these out there?? Seems like a pretty cool deal.
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,023
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Tue Nov 6, 2012, 11:51pm
Subject: Re: Buying Used? Good or bad?
 

I use the water sprayer hose to fill the tank and never move my cups or machine.

 
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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Markarian
Senior Member
Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 656
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 Tue Nov 6, 2012, 11:54pm
Subject: Re: Buying Used? Good or bad?
 

Mine's too far from the hose, I just take the tank out and carry it to my utility sink where I have the Brita installed.
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,023
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Wed Nov 7, 2012, 12:02am
Subject: Re: Buying Used? Good or bad?
 

I like the look of that machine but not enough to think it is an upgrade to the Oscar I have.  I have to get close to 3k before I see anything I would want to  buy as an upgrade.  E61 looks cool and the hot water tap and the gauge are nice but not enough to make me want to upgrade.  I like the no burn surface of Oscar.

However, if I had both machines in front of me and 1k in my hand I would probably pick the shiny one over the non shiny one.  The hot water tap was a feature I thought I wanted. After using Oscar, I think steaming the water for tea is just as easy and I can stop it at the temp I want.  But I am not sorry I got what I got.  I think it is was a good deal even with replacing the pump, a 6 dollar valve and cleaning up my 3 way.  Bang for buck I got.  And I still think seeing it in person is really important before I buy something like an espresso machine, unless it was crazy rare and I wanted it no matter what shape it was in.

If I won the lotto I would probably buy the londinium. (even over a speedster or Gs/3)

 
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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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,023
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Wed Nov 7, 2012, 12:03am
Subject: Re: Buying Used? Good or bad?
 

Maybe you should make a hose that fits.  I had one I made for cleaning and filling my fish tank.

 
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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Markarian
Senior Member
Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 656
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 Nov 7, 2012, 12:45am
Subject: Re: Buying Used? Good or bad?
 

Well, you've made me feel a little less envy now :D I am quite happy with the Oscar, especially now that it has that nifty light in it. I still haven't worked up the courage to install a vacuum breaker, but I leave it on all the time with no issues, so it's not a problem anyhow. I think the main thing I like about E61 is the ability to monitor brew temp with an optional thermometer. There's no practical way to do this with the Oscar, from what I understand.

I've been seriously considering picking up a Mac 2000V Single Group, but it has to be plumbed in, which really looks like a pain in the a$$.
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,023
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Wed Nov 7, 2012, 11:57am
Subject: Re: Buying Used? Good or bad?
 

If you are happy with what is in the cup that is what matters. I think what I am getting is fine, easily repeatable with no real thought, espresso.  Lately I felt steaming was taking too long so I went back to the stock steam tip and this thing is a steam tank.  Honestly, I am getting great coffee in the cup for very little overhead that is built like a FREAKING tank.  That is what I wanted as a starter machine and I don't see an real upgrades till you spend a ton more money.  And with the light and the label you have added, make Oscar look very nice.  You can add a temp probe but that means drilling the group head and mounting a read out.  I will probably add a vacuum breaker and restricters to make it more like the musica.  Both fairly cheap mods and will make a huge difference like the 2 mods you have done make a difference in how it looks.

Even if I got a "dream machine" I would probably keep Oscar around for parties.  He is just so handy to pack around compared to his stainless, better looking brothers.

On the hose I had some sort of quick release done on the tap and had a hose cut to reach the tank.  It was years ago but I am sure you can fix something up if you wanted it.  I was thinking of getting a pot filler installed if I don't get a plumbed machine when I upgrade my kitchen.  I am also planning a knock box into the counter and a chute to the trash below.  One of the things I hate about the layout now is no where for the trash can.  So, by mounting them under the counter with openings above them I think it will be really handy prep work space and coffee bar.

I saw a cool shot of someone's espresso machine mounted on one of those shallow pull out drawer things with a pot filler mounted in the back of the cabinet.  At night he could slide the machine back in and shut the door.  I think it was on H-B.com

 
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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