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NS Oscar..Microfoam..Group head temperature..
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marksworld
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Nov 2007
Posts: 15
Location: Pittsburgh
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Nov 24, 2007, 10:21pm
Subject: NS Oscar..Microfoam..Group head temperature..
 

Greetings all..I am fairly new to coffee (my wife has been a barista for 2 years.) but we just purchased a Nuova Simonelli Oscar.  We have had it for 2 days, and for the life of me I can't make microfoam.  I tried and tried, and finally had my wife try, and she couldn't do it either.  I met her at work yesterday, and she made microfoam 3 out of 3 times on the commercial Rancilio they have.

My first question is, are people successfully making microfoam with the Oscar?  If so what is the secret?  My wife and I are also having a hard time "spinning" the milk in the pitcher (which could be why we aren't creating microfoam).  I'ts no problem at the store she works at, that thing spins milk like crazy almost throwing it out of the pitcher.  Does our oscar wand not have enough pressure ?  Or is it these tips?  WE ARE BAFFLED

Second, I measured the temperature of the water coming out of the group head and its staying a consistent 160 degrees.  Am I wrong or is it supposed to be in the 200 degree range?  160 does not seem hot enough at all!

Being this is my first post, I thought I would sound like the biggest newb ever.  Be easy on me.

:)

Mark
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mitchellb
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Jul 2007
Posts: 635
Location: Houston, TX
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Isomac Zaffiro
Grinder: Mazzer Major
Drip: Hario Pourover
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Sat Nov 24, 2007, 11:35pm
Subject: Re: NS Oscar..Microfoam..Group head temperature..
 

welcome to coffeegeek mark.

i have a ns ellimatic, very similar to oscar. if the water is, in fact, 160 coming from the group then the espresso would taste terrible..

is your thermometer properly calibrated (does it read ~212 in boiling water?)

if the thermometer is correct then the problem is most likely a pressure-stat issue (pressure stats are the devices that maintain boiler presser (read: temperature). The heat exchanger line runs through the boiler, from the reservoir to the group, and flash heats the water to temperature (ideally).

if your boiler does not have enough pressure to create the heat required to heat water past 160 degrees, then it definitely would not have the pressure to steam a pitcher of milk.. if your thermometer is off and you are making good tasting espresso and there is a considerable amount of steam (my elli steams for 20+ seconds when you turn the machine off and bleed out the steam wand) then i would recommend getting the 2 hole steaming tip.. This seems to be better for home use than a four hole steam tip..

i hope you can sift through all of that and make some sense of it.. let me know if i can answer anymore questions
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caeffe
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Aug 2007
Posts: 271
Location: socal
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: NS Oscar & Pavoni...
Grinder: Mazzer Major / PeDe Moka
Vac Pot: eSantos / Yama tabletop
Drip: Krups Moka Brew / Bodum Kona
Roaster: I-Roast 1
Posted Sun Nov 25, 2007, 12:42am
Subject: Re: NS Oscar..Microfoam..Group head temperature..
 

Hi mark

I am an Oscar owner, very recent and learned a lot through here.

1st of all - regarding microfoam with Oscar:  it is possible, even with the 4 hole tip.  The problem I had was it got hot too fast before you've had a chance to stretch.  Try plugging up one or two holes with a toothpick end - cheaper than getting a two hole tip.  Once you get the hang with plugging up the holes, try without the toothpick.  I find that putting the tip close to the edge not in the center helps to 'swirl' the milk.  If you realize you do best with 2 holes, then by all means get the 2 hole tip.

2nd - brew head temp.  I found that my brew head temp was low also - closer to 180 than 160. Before you adjust the p-stat ask yourself if the the espresso tastes good.  If it does, then your temp is fine.  If you still want to adjust - then you'll have to adjust the p-stat.  remove the top - six screws with two hidden under the flap which covers the water reservoir.  Once the top is off, you'll have to locate the p-stat - hopefully you have a newer model, hence a Sirai P-stat.  It's a pretty big box with a yellow button.  You'll have to take the yellow button off and adjust to "+".  You should make yourself a gauge that'll fit on the steam wand so you can check the boiler pressure - another way to check the boiler temp.  Do a search here for boiler pressure gauge.

A couple of other things - I find that most Oscars come with too much pressure at the brew head.  You'll need a brew pressure gauge with is basically a gauge attached to your portafilter.  My oscar was pegged at 200 psig+, it should be around 130-150 (depending if you measure the pressure with some flow)

But again, if your espresso is fine - you may not need to adjust anything.

Good luck - do a search using NS Oscar or Simonelli Oscar and you'll find lots of reading to do....
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marksworld
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Nov 2007
Posts: 15
Location: Pittsburgh
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Nov 25, 2007, 4:22pm
Subject: Re: NS Oscar..Microfoam..Group head temperature..
 

Thanks for your answers guys.   I messed around a lot today with the oscar, and found that it was actually running closer to 140 consistantly.   160 was if I let it sit for a while and came back to it.    So anyways,  I went ahead and messed with the sirai pstat.  I kept tweaking it, slowly but surely, up to 150, then 160, then 170..and eventually had the thing pegged till it wouldn't go any further towards the "+".  I got it to 180, but that doesn't seem normal to have the pstat completely twisted tight?

Anyways there is MUCH more pressure in the steam wand.  I am having trouble keeping a consistant 180 though, sometimes drops as low as 160.  Still having a bit of trouble with the microfoam, although its MUCH better than it was the past couple of days.

Should I be worried about this Oscar that I got from NS?  Its brand new, and 180 is the MAX temperature of the water coming out of the group head and portafilter.  I would go get the gauge stuff, but is there really a point when I can't even get this any hotter?

Let me know, I have a feeling I will be giving NS a call tomorrow.

Mark
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fifthgen
Senior Member


Joined: 23 Dec 2006
Posts: 577
Location: Eastern MA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Isomac Zaffiro, Astoria CKX
Grinder: Maz. Major, Casadio, Isomac...
Drip: Capresso st600 chemex,
Roaster: Karma Coffee, Black Cat...
Posted Sun Nov 25, 2007, 5:11pm
Subject: Re: NS Oscar..Microfoam..Group head temperature..
 

How much current and amperage are available.  Perhaps you are running at 95 volts or so.

Otherwise........

 
Good coffee to you and your guests
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JonR10
Senior Member
JonR10
Joined: 26 Apr 2004
Posts: 10,376
Location: Houston, Texas
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: E61 Legend, Livietta,...
Grinder: Robur, B-Vario-W
Vac Pot: Hario Tabletop, Yama...
Drip: Technivorm
Roaster: 1-lb US Roaster, Behmor 1600
Posted Sun Nov 25, 2007, 5:26pm
Subject: Re: NS Oscar..Microfoam..Group head temperature..
 

marksworld Said:

Its brand new, and 180 is the MAX temperature of the water coming out of the group head and portafilter.  I would go get the gauge stuff, but is there really a point when I can't even get this any hotter?

Posted November 25, 2007 link

Hi Mark,

It must seem frustrating to you and I can understand that. With the Sirai maxed out your boiler pressure is probably around 1.4 or 1.5 bar and that's probably too high. Investing a few bucks in a guage and piece of hose with a couple of hose clamps is definately a good idea (the whole kit will probably be under $20).

Now about your water temp measurement....have you tried the same method on your wife's work Rancilio to verify your measurement? The brewing water on a HX machine is heated on the fly as it travels from the reservoir to the group, so it will measure cooler as unrestricted flow than when you're pulling a shot.

Bottom line is how the espresso tastes. Is it good?

One more thing: what beans and grinder are you using? I ask because beans + grinder has A LOT to do with how the espresso tastes...

 
Jon Rosenthal
Houston, TX
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marksworld
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Nov 2007
Posts: 15
Location: Pittsburgh
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Nov 25, 2007, 7:46pm
Subject: Re: NS Oscar..Microfoam..Group head temperature..
 

Fifthgen, how do I know how many current and amp I have available?  Its a standard kitchen outlet?

Jon,  yes it is very frustrating.  Both my wife and my mom are barista's.  I immediately called both of them to have them test it out on their machines.  I actually have no idea what machine my mom is on, but she measured the temp coming out of the portafilter, into a cup, with a regular thermometer, just like myself and my wife.  My mom measure her's at 195, my wife at 202, and myself, well you know..180 now.

This is with the sirai maxed out.  I understand getting the gauge and such things would be a good investment, but am I missing something?  Shouldn't I be able to get water that is at least 190 if I wanted it that way? I would love to get the gauges to "fine tune" my machine, but this isn't fine tuning.

Its not just about the shots, I mean the coffee was good we had crema.. they tasted fine. We own the NS grinta grinder. When we first got the machine I could put my finger in a shot.  I can't do that on a commercial machine without it being unbearable.   I measured temps sometimes at 130 degrees just with how it came to me, something is off there?  Not to mention, the steam wand couldn't even spin milk.  My wife could not get the milk to spin in any direction any way possible.  I turn it up to 180 and the steam is much stronger, much better.

What will the gauges show me that I don't already know?  I am just a normal home user, I mean I want to know more about my machine, and  I would love to be able to figure this out, but what about 50% of all the other people who buy this machine for home use (with no technical knowledge) but can't get a shot over 130 degrees?  Is this machine supposed to come this way?

ugh..I feel hopeless..so confused!
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JonR10
Senior Member
JonR10
Joined: 26 Apr 2004
Posts: 10,376
Location: Houston, Texas
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: E61 Legend, Livietta,...
Grinder: Robur, B-Vario-W
Vac Pot: Hario Tabletop, Yama...
Drip: Technivorm
Roaster: 1-lb US Roaster, Behmor 1600
Posted Sun Nov 25, 2007, 8:05pm
Subject: Re: NS Oscar..Microfoam..Group head temperature..
 

marksworld Said:

What will the gauges show me that I don't already know?

Posted November 25, 2007 link

Boiler pressure.

What I'm suggesting is setting up a gauge to read the boiler pressure. I think you can set one up at a Sears Hardware or WalMart for ~$15.
Just get a gauge (to read at least 2 bar, or maybe up to 10 bar) and a hose to fit the steam wand and 2 hose clamps.
Attach the gauge with the hose and clsmps to the steam arm and open the valve to read the boiler pressure

If your boiler is at 1.5 bar and the water comes out at 180 then there's a problem with the brew path.
If your oiler is at 0.9 bar (or maybe less!) with the p-stat maxed out then there's a problem with the p-stat and it might need to be replaced.

marksworld Said:

...but what about 50% of all the other people who buy this machine for home use (with no technical knowledge) but can't get a shot over 130 degrees?  Is this machine supposed to come this way?

Posted November 25, 2007 link


The 2 Oscar machines I have seen in person did not have that problem, they had TONS of steampower (too much even) and brewed at good temps.

 
Jon Rosenthal
Houston, TX
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marksworld
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Nov 2007
Posts: 15
Location: Pittsburgh
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Nov 26, 2007, 7:18am
Subject: Re: NS Oscar..Microfoam..Group head temperature..
 

Thanks Jon for the information.  I will be giving NS a call today to discuss this.  I would rather them tell me what is going on, since we will be buying (maybe) one of the aurelia's from them I am sure they won't have a problem supporting this.

Anyways,  after my phone call I will go ahead and make the trip to a hardware store and get a gauge and some tubing.  Can anyone recommend a good post with the best information about building one of these gauges for the steam wand?  Thanks!

Mark
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faaparasite
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Jun 2003
Posts: 290
Location: Dallas Metroplex
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bezzera BZ99
Grinder: Mazzer Super Jolly
Drip: Technivorm
Posted Mon Nov 26, 2007, 11:14am
Subject: Re: NS Oscar..Microfoam..Group head temperature..
 

I'd be interested to know what your method of measuring temp is and what equipment you're doing it with.

Correctly measuring the water temp can't really be done by simply placing a thermometer in a cup and running water out of the brewhead.  There's a lot of reasons for this.  First, most thermometers aren't instant read, even if they say they are instant read.  The best way is to use a bead probe on an actual digital thermometer like the Fluke, or a true instant read thermometer like the Thermapen.  But even if you're using one of those, you can't really get a good read unless you're making the reading inside the PF with a bead probe on top of a fully dosed basket, or with a Scace device.  Using a regular thermometer, it might take 3 oz of water or so before the probe warms up enough to read the correct temperature.  By that time, your HX machine will not be capable of putting out 200 degree water and 180 or even 160 degree water would not be surprising.

If your wife and mom are used to using large professional machines, it may take a bit of practice to get microfoam with the Oscar.  Big dual boiler machines have a LOT of steam pressure, even compared to a fairly large home machine like the Oscar.  If they are using a 32 oz pitcher and 8 oz of milk, they are NOT going to get the same results.  If you haven't already, try using a 20 oz pitcher and 4-5 oz of milk.
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