Rant / story / new espresso machine / Nuova Simonelli Oscar II

Need help with equipment usage or want to share your latest discovery?

#1: Post by MTLOldschool »

Hello, I just purchased a NEW NS Oscar II. I was cross-shopping for the Lelit Mara X which was highly recommended by my local coffee machine store salesman and a Bellezza Valentina which had a great price in Canada.

I had an older (early 2000's) Mokita superInox I bought of FB marketplace that I fixed and repaired, effectively changing the pump, all seals and gaskets etc. I had the 20 year old machine for 5 years, now it's leaking from the boiler, the wand arm at 2 places etc... Still have it but wanted to upgrade.

I also used to work the coffee bar at a local breakfast place where I would make shots on a 3 group Nuova simonelli machine, where I learned how to pull shots and make drinks "the old fashioned Italian way''. Unweighted double shots, timed the dose just so the coffee doesn't fall everywhere outside the portafilter, making as many drinks as fast as possible where time is money and useless movements slow you down. No needles, water spritz, espresso paper filters, equalizing, measured tamping, scales etc. We would stop the shots when it would start "Blonding", time it there and be good for until someone changes it. There was no light roast coffee. Well at other shops maybe where they had baristas, we would just make coffee and smoke cigarettes in the back.

Fast forward university, a few jobs, a few girlfriends and here I am discovering the whole home-barista 3rd,4th,5th wave WTB coffee James Hoffman and subjugates 2 degree difference affects taste and 1g grind retention is too much(1/15g=not many %) rabbit hole and thinking to myself: do I want to be a WTB champion and or extract the sweetness of my single-origin light roast, often sour unless it's perfect shot? - yes I do, 10% of the time - When I get a fancy coffee and feel like playing with the machine. but I also want to have a quick cappuccino in the morning with a croissant or a piece of toast and maybe an espresso with some Perrier in the afternoon when I'm sleepy. - like in Italy and like the Italians in Montreal I grew up around.

Hipster cafes sometimes annoy me by serving cold cappuccinos 20 mins after I ordered them because the new barista spent so much time preparing and making art that I'll inevitably destroy in my mouth. In Italy and a few OG places in little Italy and Mile-End in Montreal, you have a shot at the bar, talk about the weather for 30 seconds with the barman or your neighbor, put 3$ on the counter and leave. You were served by a guy who's been pulling shots for years and who smokes cigarettes in the back when customers aren't looking. A pro by a certain definition.

All that being said, I like the Oscar 2 because it has timed dosing, doesn't need to be flushed, super stable temperature, looks different to all the E61's, steams fast and feels less "fussy" than the MaraX with all the bells and whistles (PID, shot timer that counts too early, adjustable steam temp. E61 manual lever - looks great tho, etc...) I feel are things that will break.

The steam is strong and I also use it to remove water stains from wine glasses - old busboy trick

As with everything in life, every advantage has its disadvantage;

The Oscar II is LOUD compared to the quiet MaraX and took awhile for me to figure out that it works a little different with it's 3 way solenoid valve and HX filling slower than it empties . Excellent read for NS oscar II owners.

And the eureka mignon Chrono, Super quiet and has timed dosing but is really delicate to get setup the first time for espresso. It's supposed to be for drip coffee, but I got it for 300$ less than the espresso Eureka and grinds great.

Compared to the Lelit FRED, the adjustments aren't as precise, but the Fred is MUCH noisier.

Thanks for reading, gonna go make a shot now.

User avatar
BaristaBoy E61

#2: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

Welcome to HB Alex

Fun read.

Everything breaks or needs attention with enough time and especially poor water quality.

Sounds like you're already having fun!
"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"


#3: Post by jerbear00 »

Interesting read. Will have to try the steam wine glass trick

Supporter ♡

#4: Post by Kwis »

Oscar II is a good choice - does all that's needed for good espresso. NS machines don't seem to have much of a following here, not sure why. They may cost a bit more vs other comparable machines but I think quality of components and NSF rating makes their machines more reliable.


#5: Post by duna »

Casually discovered this old thread. Very fun reading it, as I was almost pulling the trigger two or three times for a new Bianca (..or ..maybe.. a Micra..) that I really really wanted to need. Then I realised: why? The Oscar II I already have has no problem whatsoever and I'm getting really great coffee out of it since 7 years. Just a little cleaning and usual maintenance and I had to change the portafilter group seal once a few years ago (sparepart came, free of charge, from vendor with the machine back then). They set it for me to 9 bars from the start and that's it. It would be lots of fun to toy with preinfusion and pressures and flow and temperatures, but then I realized I have little sparetime and I was already looking in the manual how to setup Bianca once and for all - so what? Hard as I tried, I could not overheat the Oscar II it with my use, coffee came out always drinkable, if not great altogether, to the point I was often perplexed where all the temperature problems described with HX machines were - but I just make Italian-style single and few double shots espressos with mostly dark (decent) commercial roasts so little could go really wrong. Steam power is enormous but I rarely drink lattes.
I have a nice flashy round elegant design useless knock-out box, then I too built my own using a large cheap square stainless steel type, crammed inside a wooden Ikea box, works _way_ better than the fancy round design and I already had the box around.
Long story short, this machine still goes great. When descaling will be needed, it will be another story, probably, but until then.. :D


#6: Post by lukeap69 »

If you like fiddling and trying different beans, the Bianca is wonderful. I've purchased an Oscar II for my brother a couple of years ago and it is a wonderful machine. The Musica Lux which served me for many years is even better than the little sibling Oscar.

If the Oscar is serving you well, I suggest you stick with it. Happy brewing!