If you want a home machine that can produce professional results easily and don't mind the plastic cover, this is the machine to get.
Positive Product Points
Heat exchange machine. reasonable size for home kitchen. ball hinge on steam wand. heaps of steam.
Negative Product Points
Steam tip is too powerful for small quantites of milk. pump is noisy, warm up process is a little inconvenient. steam knob has to turn a long way to do anything.
I first stumbled across this machine when I was looking for Silvias on Ebay. Not knowing much about them, I checked out the reviews here and was convinced this was the machine for me. It is a pretty solid and well built machine that defies it's plastic appearance. The plastic case, although looking a bit down market compared to the stainless steel equivalents, dosen't really bother me, and due to the Oscar being bigger than most domestic machines, it looks pretty impressive in my kitchen. I ended up buying a brand new machine, and was very exited to get it home and try my hand at finally being able to make a decent espresso. On my first use I found that the steam was so violent that there was no way I could even steam a jug of milk as well as I did on my old Krups Novo, and the performance of that machine was my reason for getting the Oscar. The Oscar would boil the milk in seconds. After reading some more forums and reviews, I pluged two of the holes in the steam tip with tooth picks and micro foam was consistantly easy after that. I have since purchased an aftermarket two hole tip. The time taken to steam milk is much longer now, but very controllable. When I finally got some fresh beans and got my grind right, I had crema coming out my ears. I am very happy so far with the Oscar and feel I have made a good choice for now and the future.
I got the Oscar from a local catering equipment place. They were very helpfull, and since I have had no problems so far, I can't comment on the after sales service.
Three Month Followup
After 3 months of using the Oscar every day, I am totally happy with my choice. I can now make espresso and milk steaming with pretty good consistancy. I would definately recomend the Oscar.
One Year Followup
I had to take the Oscar in due a minor leak somewhere due to running over pressure a day before the warranty expired. Nuova Australia were very helpful and repaired the Oscar, although they did charge me for a service fee since they did service the unit from wear and tear as well. After 12 months I am still very happy with my purchase and would recommend the Oscar to anyone who wants a real serious manual espresso machine.