First time machine. Nuova Simonelli Oscar or e61 Grouphead Machine?
Iím currently in the market to buy a first time machine and after some light research I have found myself with a question and unable to find the answer. Hence my post here .
My budget is around the $1000 mark, I would like a heat exchanger or a double boiler machine as both myself and my fiancee like milk in our coffee.
These requirements have guided me towards the Nuova Simonelli Oscar, Iím aware itís not the prettiest machine on the market but itís feature set for its price is pretty appealing.
My only concern is that it is not a e61 grouphead, which seems to be pretty important when looking at more Ďprosumerí machines.
Should I be prioritising an e61 grouphead and just get a single boiler to keep in budget or would the 58mm Ďcommercialí grouphead on the Oscar be fine?
And if anyone has any other suggestions that meet my criteria and budget please donít hesitate to offer!
Thanks for your time!
Having previously owned the NS Oscar, and several HX machines, I see no disadvantage in the Oscar not having an E61 head. The Oscar's performance, function and durability is similar to what you could expect from E61. One distinct advantage of the Oscar over similarly priced E61's is its steaming ability. It punches well above its weight in that regard. Overall, I believe the Oscar would give you as much bang for your buck as anything else you could consider. Naturally this is also dependant on using a good quality grinder and fresh beans. (You may also find it frustrating to have to wait for a single boiler to come up to steam if you decide on that path).
Last edited by trevorez; 13th April 2014 at 07:11 PM.
I looked heavily at the Oscar when looking for my new machine,
but things that turned me off were the controls.
Plus I really wanted a dual boiler machine. Enter the Lelit PL60T,
simple (nothing programmable)
Solid on/off switches
Programmable PID temp control.
Maybe you didnt see the OP's budget.. ???
Originally Posted by Robbks
Exactly what I paid for mine
RRP does not equal Sale Price
Having owned an Oscar, 2 e61 HXs and an e61 DB, I would recommend avoiding the Oscar - if you can.
- The plastic is tacky, less durable and prone to crack and fade. Not as long lasting as stainless.
- The e61 group head is far superior in my experience. It is more temperature stable, easier to clean, more forgiving, easier to service.
- e61 is easier to mod to reduce group temperature. I have bought all (expect the DB) second hand. None had thermosyphon restrictors, so I installed them one each. On the oscar, it involved sourcing the Muscia restrictors, then tapping a thread into the in and out holes on the group. Even having done this, the machine still coughed more steam than when I did it on the e61s. The e61s were far easier to do this mod.
- Also on brew temp, the HX doesn't seem to be designed as well as others. I think this is why it still wasn't as temp stable once the restrictors were put in.
(No I don't have a scace, so no I didn't measure, but i did observe a lot and taste a lot, and the Isomac Millenium i upgraded to after the Oscar was way easier to work with once restrictors were installed. Which was a much easier job too)
- The steam tip is difficult to work with. Yes it has more powerful steam than lots of e61 HXs, but that's cause the tip holes are big. This means the steam runs out quicker than on other HX machines. This means changing the tip or plugging the holes. This gives it the same steaming ability as other HXs, but most of the others come with more appropriately sized holes in the steam tip.
- No OPV on the oscar. This means your brew pressure is running at ~13 bar, with no way to change it, unless you install an OPV which is a big job. I know because I did it.
- Electronic 3 way valve. If it fails, you're up for a new one at over $100. e61s have a mechanical 3way valve, if it fails, replace some rubber seals.
- No steam pressure gauge. Not a biggy, but you have no idea what pressure you're boiler is running at, what top and bottom of the cycle is, and how you're pressurestat is performing. I installed a gauge on mine, but only because I found an old ECM Giotto one, otherwise prepare to pay $100 for one designed to work on a coffee machine, and change plumbing to install it. Another hassle.
Bottom line. If it were my $1000, I would but a second hand Tea, Domobar Junoir, etc for around $1000 (keep your eye out, they do come up) than an Oscar. If you must buy new, then you don't really have much choice, except for the Breville DB. I haven't owned one, but think I would swing that way over the Oscar too.
Or the Lelit PL60T, although I hate the way they name their gear.
PL60T sounds like it should be on the Periodic Table
Forgot. Another reason to avoid the Oscar:
- No Anti-Vac Valve. This means leave the steam tap open when you turn it on, then when you hear steam 5 or so minutes later, run back to the machine and close the steam arm. Or turn it on and leave it, then come open the steam arm and wait another 10 mins for it to come to pressure. Again you can modify and add one, but it's a hassle.
You were a lucky man then !
Originally Posted by Robbks
I assume that was not recently, and probably a "close out" sale as the machine is now listed at $1999 .....JB sale price !
PS.. I would agree with Bames. look for a "pre loved" E61 HX. They are much better value and more solid/satisfying to use.
under 12 months ago from JB
Actually the new PL60T V2.
Although it was pre-loved, but hardly. all the internals were sparkling clean.
Wow !... less than half price for a latest spec machine ( pre loved) from a reputable retailer. ! ..Deal of the year i would say .
That is exactly the sort of opportunity the OP should be looking for.
Couldn't agree more But now you can call it the Lelit Diana. Not sure if that's better ...?
Originally Posted by Bames
Eh - it's a bit better charlie, doesn't quite have the same flair as "Giotto" or "Silvia" though.
Originally Posted by JetBlack_Espresso
At least it's better than "Alex" Such a lame name for such a brilliant machine. Might as well have called it "John".
(Sorry to anyone named Alex )
Just saw they named one of their grinders "Fred"
Might be good for you to attend a trade show and direct your comments in person to Mr Alex Izzo. How do you feel about Ferdinand Porsche??
Originally Posted by Bames
I had an inkling it might be a situation like that.
I still think it's lame that he named it after himself.
When's the next trade show?
Good thing he didn't call it the Bames
I thought so...
Originally Posted by blend52
Maybe Charlie can push one off the bench and sell it at a scratch and dent sale price
It wasn't even listed on the JB pre-loved webpage, I just emailed all the vendors and told them what I was looking for,
I was quoted prices up to 1/3 cheaper then RRP for new machines (including a quote on Oscar --- The Grouch, seriously who names a coffee machine after a Sesame Street Muppet)
JB presented me with a deal that I couldn't pass up. Although it was initially a couple of hundred above my price range.
Thanks for your help everyone! Though I now feel I've taken a step backwards .
I'll be keeping the Oscar as an option, as well as the Breville DB but let's say I decide to go down the road of hunting for a pre-loved stainless, E61, HX machine, what models could I expect to find in the $1000 price range, and what are some good hunting grounds? Besides here of course.
Keeping in mind I'm new to the scene.
Start by emailing all our site sponsors (there is a bulk email link somewhere)
give them your requirements and see what recommendations/solutions they have for you
Finding such a machine is possible, but be aware that just because it's shiny on the outside doesn't mean it's been looked after and it may be a different story on the inside. If you can find one with warranty too you'll be set. To answer some of your original questions and requirements, making a couple of milk coffees at a time doesn't require a HX or DB or E61 group head for that matter.
Originally Posted by MooJuice
Start with the end point in mind: a couple of nice tasting milk coffees.
What does a machine have to do to help you achieve that? They all provide enough brew pressure so let's ignore that requirement. The thing that's harder to deliver is brew water at the right temperature. A well designed E61 machine will do that. But a badly designed machine, whether or not it's got an E61 group head, will be more miss than hit.
For under $1000, assuming you can't find a second hand, well designed E61 machine that's been looked after, you could consider a new, single boiler, PID controlled machine. Making two milk coffees is not that much slower on such a beast and the PID controller gives you temperature stability and control. If you're into DIY you could PID a Silvia, or for off-the-shelf there's the Lelit PL41TEMD.
Wondering what people think of this machine, would it be a suitable (and improved) option over the Oscar or Breville DB?
I moved from a Sunbeam 6910 to the Oscar a couple of months ago and I think I can say I've never had a bad cup from it (though I've spent a lot of time practising with a naked portafilter so my dosing and distribution is pretty consistent these days) . It seems very reliable and consistent so far. Not quite as smooth operation (noisy pump and so on) as the Bezzera BZ40 we use at work but espressos are just as good. It's a huge step up in consistency from my previous machine, I don't have to work so hard. So far the black plastic casing has turned out to be easy to keep clean, just a quick wipe over. What I don't like is the pressure release thing on startup (I will do the mod at some point). Very powerful steam which is great if you've got a few people over as you can do a 600ml jug in about 30 seconds but the downside of that is you don't have time for proper texturing. I'm not too bothered by that as I don't drink a lot of milk based coffee and my guests are happy enough with the results. I'll probably change the steam tip for a bit more control. So although not perfect I'm pretty happy with it to date.
Hey BoxBrownie, if you want to see how I did the vacuum breaker mod, search "Oscar rebuild and modification", lots of pics and explanation.
Moojuice, it's a great machine but ring a single boiler you'll have to swap between brew and steam. Depends if you think this will be an issue for you. If it was my $1000, I'd wait for a HX.
Single boilers with a PID are hardly any slower for doing 2-4 cups as a DB or HX
I regularly do 6+ drinks at a time so went with the DB,
But using friends' SB machines is still pretty effiecint if you don't have the cash for a DB or HX.
much better than any thermoblock machines.
here's a SB with PID in action
Lelit Combi PL042EM - YouTube
If I was you, then I would shop around abit and get a HX machine. If you drink lattes, especially of the 280ml variety then I wouldn't want to use a single boiler. Had a go of the single boiler and in the end upped my budget for a low level e-61. HX. The safety low water cut off feature is something that has been extremely useful and has been activated multiple times. Much rather a higher initial cost then putting the money into repairs and new boilers/ heating elements. Also another thing to consider is the screw on the bottom of the shower screen on the Oscar, which was one of the reasons why I didn't consider the Oscar or the LS mini vivaldi.
My suggestion is to pop over to an espresso machine shop and give them a go.
Don't forget a decent grinder and fresh coffee beans. No point upping the cost of the machine only to use preground coffee beans or supermarket beans.
Am gonna check it out right now
Originally Posted by Bames