Simonelli Oscar II Black Automatic Espresso Machine Tank Starter Kit
Simonelli Oscar II Black Automatic Espresso Machine Tank Starter Kit
Oscar II is the second generation of the "Oscar Professional" launched in the late nineties, which has conquered coffee lovers around the world. Oscar II is the professional espresso coffee machine which fits in all demands: from the domestic use for tasting good coffee or cappuccino till light commercial use. Available in black and red, the plumbed version in black.
What's the main difference to the old Oscar?
1. The vacuum breaker is now included: You can put the Oscar II on a timer
2. Timerbased programming for 1 and 2 cups, you define the length ( = time) of extraction (not accurate compared to volumetric machines since not volume but time is the parameter to be set, and length of extraction can vary based on pump pressure, valves, grind quality, etc.)
3. Steam wand no more 360 degree turnable, but steam wand knob/valve improved (the old turn knob was the weak point of the old Oscar)
What is still missing?
1. Hot water outlet
3. Those features Simonelli reserves for the the Musica (same brewing group and boiler etc.) for "little" more money.
Oscar comes with free shipping and is based on a commercial 2 in 1 boiler system, Oscar was designed to assure unmatched semi-professional performance. Nuova Simonelli downsized the Oscar from commercial espresso coffee machines to a size which matches the private and small office demands by still using commercial technology (e.g. vertical 2 in 1 boiler, commercial pressurestat and 3-way solenoids, etc.). Oscar is easy and quick to handle. The two extremely smooth and heavy porta filters (19 ounces each) assure hot temperature and right pressure for your espresso shot.
Steam/Froth your milk and have the espresso shot ready to go
From our standpoint, semiprofessional espresso machines should have enough hot water as well as extremely hot steam to extract the espresso AND to steam the milk. Most of the semiprofessional espresso machines use too small boilers, in addition the boilers are mounted upright hence the amount of hot steam available as well as the pressure of the steam is extremely insufficient: The weak steam is out of power in a flash. Alternatives in this price range built by Pasquini and Electra use aluminum thermo blocks instead of hot water boiler. Practically, the results are much less beautiful than Oscar's proof in the cup.
Since the engineers of Nuova Simonelli downsized Oscar from professional espresso machines, the boiler with a capacity for more than half gallon water is mounted vertically. From the prospect of the water circulation it is a Two in One Boiler System since the boiler comprises two completely independent water flows: The vertical mounted boiler is half full with water and half full with extremely hot pressurized steam. The processor of Oscar monitors and controls in the boiler temperature, water level, refill from the water tank and pressure. The second boiler in the boiler is a water pipe system with inbound and outbound through the boiler building a completely separated hot water circulation through the boiler to the brewing group and back from the brewing group to the boiler; this hot water circulation is independent from the steam water in the boiler and refilled directly from the fresh water tank.
Oscar's advantage is the huge amount of steam produced in the upper part of the boiler and extremely stabilized water temperature in the circulation circuit for the brewing group. Furthermore, the boiler is big enough for the SoHo usage, but small enough to bring the complete machine into the right temperature zone very fast.
The Professional Brewing Group
During the extraction process when the water gets pressed through the brewing group with the espresso ground, you need to keep the hot water as much as possible to the perfect 193 Fahrenheit. That is why Nuova Simonelli installed in the Oscar Professional one of their commercial brewing groups. Including the heavy portafilter, it is made out of marine grade brass which provides the best heat conduction. Just take the porta filter in your hand and you can experience the 19 ounces weight of the porta filter which is finished in polished chrome to keep the cleaning easy. As the matter of materials, as more as you can store heat in the brewing group as less the water temperature will decrease during the extraction process in the brewing group.
What happens if you do not have such a professional brewing group in your semi-professional espresso machine? During the extraction process, your hot water temperature in the brewing group feeds the brewing group which is colder and as a result the water temperature goes down: The espresso shot tastes imperfect and probably does not look like a professional shot neither.
Besides of the heavy brass construction and to assure a constant temperature in the brewing group, Simonelli's engineers designed a passive water circulation system between the boiler and the brewing group. Furthermore, the brewing group comprises a 3-way solenoid valve which releases the pressure in the brewing group after the extraction is completed and helps to open the porta filter easily as well as to dry the espresso ground puck for easy disposal.
Part of the brewing group is the porta filter which should be mounted during heat up times to assure that the porta filter gets the same temperature as the brewing group. Again, if the porta filter is not really hot, your espresso will be imperfect. Oscar Professional comes with 2 porta filters, one porta filter for the 1 shoot espresso, and one portafilter for 2 shots espresso. Very important is the provided basket for back flushing the brewing group. Through the back flushing the brewing group gets cleaned from espresso ground. In addition, on a weekly basis you should back flush with our Simonelli cleaning tablets to avoid scaling. If you are not in the barista like extraction of espresso for a while, we recommend that you start with the porta filter for 2 shots since the right amount of espresso ground is easier to evaluate then in the 1 shot porta filter.
Programming length of extraction
Like the Musica, the Oscar II you can program the length of extraction, based on a timer function. You can set up the length for two different shots, with two buttons, one for 1-shot and one for 2 shots. This timer based programming is not comparable and accurate than the volumetric programming (see Bezzera BZ07 automatic), but to say it blunt, better than nothing: With a volumetric function, the machine measure the amount of water passing by until the machine stops. The timer based Oscar II uses the parameter "time", which can result in different extractions, caused in pump pressure, valve functions, fineness of the grind, humidity in the coffee grind, density of tampering, etc.. But again, it's ok and better than not having it.
Durability , Construction and Warranty
Nuova Simonelli is well known for long lasting espresso machines. Even for discontinued espresso machines, Nuova Simonelli keeps spare parts available for many years. Nuova Simonelli's trust in their own machines are expressed by a 2-year part warranty and 1-year labor warranty. Not covered under the warranty is lack of maintenance (Don't forget to descale please!), misuse, abuse, neglect, catastrophe, failure to install proper and replaceable parts by the user like brewing group gaskets. Please call us for installation requirements, technical questions and any kind of barista support you might need.
In fact, the Oscar II does not require a lot of space. If you look for a fancy machine propped with professional technique, watch out for Nuova Simonelli's Musica.
How to extract the espresso?
In general, there are two ways to extract the espresso shot:
Fast Track Extraction
If the barista work, as described below, might not be in your mind, under the condition of a little bit less espresso quality, you can just mount the available E.S.E. pod kit. The E.S.E. pods match perfect your Oscar Professional, just put the E.S.E. pod in your porta filter and close the porta filter; there is almost nothing to clean beside of the steam wand, of course. From our understanding, Espresso extractions with the E.S.E. pods are the second best job and provide much better results than all the roaster specific capsule systems on the market. Furthermore, the E.S.E. pods are standardized and a lot of Italian espresso bean roasters produce E.S.E. pods as well, hence you are not bound to one roasting group as with capsule systems. Finally, E.S.E. pods in general come single wrapped, perfect if you only make a few espresso extractions per day. If you wish to return to the traditional extraction method, just with a screw driver you exchange the E.S.E. pod kit against the regular kit.
The extraction process should take about 20 seconds to complete the espresso. The water temperature should be between 190 and 205 Fahrenheit. The pressure in the brewing group should be around 9 BAR. There should be 1 to 1.5 ounces espresso in your cup for a regular espresso. The porta filter as part of the brewing group is designed to take 7 European grams of espresso ground with a certain density.
And here comes the challenge:
The espresso ground, tampered into the porta filter like a puck, has a certain density which defines how fast or slow the hot water gets pressured through and thus who good the extraction will be. We can define the density by the grade of grinding, the humidity in the whole beans and as a follow up in the espresso ground, the density produced through tampering, and the freshness of the espresso beans since the ongoing oxidation process within the beans changes texture of the whole beans. Sounds tricky, but with a little bit patience and a semi-professional grinder like the matching Grinta from Nuova Simonelli you become your own barista for the Oscar Professional machine, no doubt.
If you grind your espresso ground too coarse, the hot water does not get any resistance from the espresso ground in the porta filter, there is no really extraction and the water rather moves through the porta filter: Your result will be rather an Americano without crema. If you grind the espresso beans too fine, the hot water cannot really pass through the espresso ground in the porta filter, the system is rather clogged and there will be almost no espresso in your cup. Your result will be rather a super super super ristretto. To adjust your espresso ground, start to grind rather too coarse and improve it shot by shot with finer grind settings until you get the crema you like to see.
The grade of pressure to tamper the espresso ground into the porta filter contributes to the density of the espresso puck as well. Some baristas take more espresso ground then 7 European grams and tamper very hard to improve the crema - if the pump of your espresso machine can stand it.
One recommendation to grinders: Professional grinders come with a doser which includes about 30 portions of espresso ground to automatically and accurately get the 7 grams of espresso ground per shot. They also sometimes come with an integrated tamper. Both are great features and make extremely sense if you produce 20+ espressi per day. If you produce less espresso shots per day, beside of the costs of those professional grinders, there is a huge disadvantage: The doser only releases the correct amount of espresso ground for your extraction, if the doser bin is filled up nicely with espresso ground.
With other words, if you fill up the doser bin for about 30 shots to work smooth and you take out only 5 shots per day, the doser will be refilled with fresh ground only once in a while and you always use old ground. How to solve this dilemma?
For the private and small office usage, we recommend to use Nuova Simonelli's Grinta. It comes without any doser but a dispensing chute and a tip switch. It has commercial grade 50 mm hardened steel grinding burrs which are turned on a decent speed to avoid overheating of the beans during the grinding process. It has up to 92 different grind settings from cross to powder. To start the grinding process, you just put the porta filter underneath of the dispense chut and touch with the porta filter the tip switch behind. Grinta grinds you fresh into your porta filter. The only disadvantage for home or office usage is that you need to find a way to get the right amount of espresso ground for your shot. From the practical stand point spoken, after 10-12 shots you are fine with the coffee measure which is part of the Oscar Professional. After 50-60 shots you get it perfectly done without any measurement helpers as well.
Why to buy from Italian Bean Delight
We, at Italian Bean Delight, offer our Nuova Simonelli espresso machines to you in a 3 step program: Pre-Sales: Please call us to discuss advantages and disadvantages of different semiprofessional espresso machines for your specific needs. Sale:We sell you our Nuova Simonelli machines as kits including espresso coffee and on a case basis with additional accessories. Please call for best pricing. Our Nuova Simonelli espresso machines come with a 2 year warranty for parts and a 1 year warranty for labor. After-Sales: Call our support line during business hours for your technical questions, your barista questions or questions about espresso coffees in general.
Water hardness cannot exceed 3gpg or 50 ppm. If water hardness exceeds 3gpg equals 50 PPM, a water softener must be installed or softened water needs to be only used. Caution: If you don't take care of your water quality, you will ruin your espresso machine in a flash. Please use the water total hardness test stripes which come with your new machine to assure that your water quality is ok.
Width 11 13/16"
Height 15 3/4"
Depth 16 1/1"
Weight 29 lobs
Power 110 - 230 Volt
Power consumption 1,200 Watt
Warranty 2 years parts and labor Nuova Simonelli dealer warranty restricted to manufacturer's defects.
What comes in the box?
1 x Oscar II
2 x Portafilters with baskets for 1-shot, 2-shot, and blind
1.1 lbs Il Caffee Manresi Espresso Beans (please select from Bold, Smooth, Decaf and beans or ground)
2 x espresso cup and saucer
1 x Digital meter to evaluate the water quality you use for the Oscar II
1 x Spare gasket for brewing group (needs to be replaced each 6th month, go to youtube there our channel "italian bean delight" thereunder espresso 4 dummies)
1 x Handbook with additional documentation