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The Nuova Simonelli Oscar Thread - with questions, tips and tricks
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > The Nuova...  
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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 Wed Sep 19, 2007, 9:48pm
Subject: The Nuova Simonelli Oscar Thread - with questions, tips and tricks
 

I'm a new owner of a NS Oscar - thx to cdienzo who posted over in the US West regional forum Oscar deal
I have lots of reading to do here to try and learn more about the Silver Grouch (Oscar from Sesame Street).  I've read through some previous threads here, especially this one

I'm an old time Estro Vapore user who just recently rediscovered espresso after a trip to Italy and a search on the internet and discovering coffeegeek.  I've got a Starbucks Barista burr grinder which I think is the Solis 166 rebranded.  Using the Solis 166 with a non-pressurized portafilter    I'm able to get good shots anywhere from the 3 click beyond the 'espresso' setting to the lowest setting on the grinder.  Never yet been able to choke the Vapore.

Now with the Oscar, it is semi-choking on the 3rd click (it takes at least more than 30 seconds to get 1 oz), on the lowest setting i gave up timing it.  Also, my pucks sometime are wet and not flat, unlike the Vapore.  

I don't have a 'good' tamper so I'm just using the plastic tamper that came in the box.  It seemed a lot easier to tamp for the Vapore even though I was using a combo tamper/spoon since the tamper portion seemed to fit the basket quite tightly.  The plastic tamper in the box doesn't quite fit the NS basket.  Any recommendations on good, inexpensive tamper?  Also, I've read here that some folks actually get a different basket for their machine, will this help and if so, which basket?

I have a Rancilio Jacky coming (in the mail, i hope) and am looking forward to using this grinder with the Silver Grouch.
Any tips from previous Oscar owners out there?  I have a feeling there'll be a few more folks asking the same question as me.
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e53er
Senior Member
e53er
Joined: 21 Apr 2002
Posts: 162
Location: L.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: NS Oscar, Solis SL90
Grinder: Mazzer Mini, Solis Maestro
Vac Pot: Bodum Santos
Drip: KMB, Hario V60 dripper
Roaster: Poppery II
Posted Wed Sep 19, 2007, 11:01pm
Subject: Re: Nuova Simonelli Oscar - new owner with questions, tips, & tricks
 

I'm also a new Oscar owner. I'll piggyback off of this post to ask some comments/questions that might benefit other new owners.

Based on various online threads, here's a list of possible aftermarket upgrades:
  1. 58mm baskets will work for the portafilter, but many seem to favor the LM style double ridgeless basket such as the one at espressoparts.
  2. I haven't tried the machine yet, but I'm seeing reports of the two-hole tip providing better control for microfoaming.
  3. bottomless portafilter - since NS has supplied two, one can be shipped to an online retailer for modification at smaller expense than purchasing a new one.

Here are my questions:

What's the customary procedure to clean the pf and basket? Soak the pf and basket overnight? It certainly would be a hassle to pry off the basket every night when only 2-3 shots are pulled. I was told the ridgeless basket makes it possible to pry off with bare hands.

Some leave the machine on 24/7 to avoid having to release false pressure. Is it consensus that leaving it on prolongs the longetivity of the machine, even if one pulls an average of 2-3 shots per day? I'm also worried about a high electric bill in this case.

For those who place the unit under kitchen cabinets, are there any clever solutions to delivering water into the reservoir instead of manually pulling the unit out for refill?

TIA.
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cdienzo
Senior Member


Joined: 5 Mar 2004
Posts: 30
Location: Long Beach, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: NS Oscar
Grinder: Innova Flat Burr
Drip: $tarBux Aroma
Roaster: Freshroast + 8
Posted Thu Sep 20, 2007, 1:09pm
Subject: Re: Nuova Simonelli Oscar - new owner with questions, tips, & tricks
 

e53er Said:

I'm also a new Oscar owner. I'll piggyback off of this post to ask some comments/questions that might benefit other new owners.

Based on various online threads, here's a list of possible aftermarket upgrades:...

Posted September 19, 2007 link

I would like to add the "Oscar ground coffee" kit from chriscoffee.  Oddly enough, many believe that Oscars come from the factory set up for pods.  NS denies this, of course, but many (including myself) have reported much better results with Chris' kit.  The differences are:
1) 10 hole brass diffuser (vs. 4 hole, out of the box)
2) matching, larger shower screen
3) 2 new filter baskets, which seem to be higher quality than "stock", e.g. holes are more uniform & better machined/punched.

e53er Said:

Here are my questions:

What's the customary procedure to clean the pf and basket? Soak the pf and basket overnight? It certainly would be a hassle to pry off the basket every night when only 2-3 shots are pulled. I was told the ridgeless basket makes it possible to pry off with bare hands.

Some leave the machine on 24/7 to avoid having to release false pressure. Is it consensus that leaving it on prolongs the longetivity of the machine, even if one pulls an average of 2-3 shots per day? I'm also worried about a high electric bill in this case.

For those who place the unit under kitchen cabinets, are there any clever solutions to delivering water into the reservoir instead of manually pulling the unit out for refill?

TIA.

Posted September 19, 2007 link

1) I soak my pf & basket in Urnex about twice a week.  This has kept things pretty clean.  I also have 2 shower screens- one is always clean & I switch these out every week or so.  Don't know about the ridgeless, sorry- but now I think I'll order a couple just to see.

2) I've left my Oscar on pretty much 24/7 for almost 3 years with no ill effects, save for 2 Pstat changes (Mater, then CEME).  This Ocsar (got it used) was already 3+ years old at this point, so the original Pstat was on its last legs anyway.  I've not noticed a significant jump in my electric bill, but then again, I'm the type of person who leaves a computer running all day, all the time.  Vibe pumps' power consumption are pretty low & they only get triggered intermittently.  Presumably the most power hungry part is the heating element, which is never constantly on either.

3) My Oscar is not directly under my cabinet but this weekend I'll be doing this.  I got the parts from Ace Hardware (float valve, regulator) and Home Depot (everything else).  If you don't feel like doing that, I suppose you could alway "beer bong" the water into the tank.

Hope this helps.

Regards,
-cd
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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 Thu Sep 20, 2007, 3:42pm
Subject: Re: Nuova Simonelli Oscar - new owner with questions, tips, & tricks
 

I'm interested in some of the things you mentioned in another thread-

cdienzo Said:

I've spent the last few hours "calibrating" Oscar2 & let me just say that Sirai PStat is freakin' HUUUGE!  Also noteworthy is the fact that it take about 5 turns of the adjustment screw before a temp. change is seen- definitely NOT like the Mater & CEME pstats that I've become so familiar with.

Out of the box, brew temps were around 180*-185* F.  I currently have it set at a relatively stable 194*-202* F  (measured via multimeter w/ K-type TC in the filter basket).

"Stock" brew pressure pegged my PF gauge to 15 bar.  Adjusted the OPV & brew pressure is now a more reasonable 9 bar.

Regards,
-cd

Posted September 18, 2007 link

Specifically, adjusting the brew temps and the pressure.
The only tool I have for measuring the temp is the foam cup method.  I have yet to measure my temps but how does one go about adjusting.  I have a digital meat thermometer that I think I can use for measuring the temp but if there is another method would appreciate the tip.

As far as pressure, I have no pressure gauge handy for checking, any tips on where one can get an inexpensive one that will screw onto the PF?

As I mentioned in my post above, i'm having a hard time dialing in a good shot consistently - maybe its my grinder.  Somehow, my 1st couple of shots were better, right now its all over the map, timewise and visually.  I'm waiting for my Rancilio Jacky, which I'm told has the Innova burrset.

Also, frothing milk in this one vs an Estro Vapore is a challenge.  I'm used to taking my time and 'fishing' for the right position of the tip.  I think I may have to plug up one or two holes on the tip just to get used to it.  Right now i'm getting hot milk with very little microfoam.  Guess i need more practice
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cdienzo
Senior Member


Joined: 5 Mar 2004
Posts: 30
Location: Long Beach, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: NS Oscar
Grinder: Innova Flat Burr
Drip: $tarBux Aroma
Roaster: Freshroast + 8
Posted Thu Sep 20, 2007, 9:55pm
Subject: Re: Nuova Simonelli Oscar - new owner with questions, tips, & tricks
 

Regarding the measurement of brew pressure, here a quick DIY that I saved from when I did mine.

The following is quoted from BillK from alt.coffee:

I was recently doing a group search for Oscar information and came
across discussion of incorrect factory settings of pump pressure.  I
checked my machine and, sure enough, the pressure relief adjustment
screw was turned in all the way and there was no water flow through it
with a blind filter in the handle.

I did not see in any previous Oscar discussion how to properly set the
relief valve, so I came up with a simple, inexpensive method that
anybody can duplicate w/o special tools or know-how.  My total cost for
parts was $16.38 plus tax.  Time is less than an hour after you get the
parts.   Here is a description:


Below is a list of the parts I purchased.  I got them from Ace Hardware
and have included the part numbers in case you have an Ace near you.


1 - 3/8" female x 3/8" female brass pipe coupler (Lasco 17-9225)
1 -  3/8" male x 1/4" female brass bushing (Lasco 17-9245)
1 - 0-200 psi pressure gauge (Lasco 13-1917)


If you can find a reducing coupler that goes from 3/8" female to 1/4"
female, you can replace the first two parts, above, with a single part.


In order to find the adjusting screw on the Oscar, look up the previous
discussions between Jack Denver and others.


I attached the pressure gauge to my (unused) single spout portafilter
using the brass coupler, brass bushing, and Teflon tape.  To do this I
unscrewed the spout from the portafilter and screwed on the assembly
consisting of the gauge, the bushing and the coupler.  Note that I
assembled the three parts, and then screwed the assembly to the
portafilter.  Note, also,  that there is a thread mismatch at the
portafilter due to different thread styles.  If you use a brass (not
steel) coupler and generous amount of Teflon tape, and don't screw the
gauge assembly on too tightly - just tight enough to hold the
pressure - you will do no damage whatsoever to the porafilter
threads.


Remove the portafilter basket from the portafilter and lock the
portafilter gauge into place just as you would if you were going to
make espresso.  If you don't remove the basket, water will flow out
around it and you will not build up pressure.  You will get an
excellent seal w/o the basket in place.


Loosen up the adjustment screw.  To do this, remove the plastic drain
tube from the nipple at the end of the valve.  Then, use a couple of
3/4" end wrenches to crack the adjustment screw loose.  Then, loosen
the adjuster about 1-1/2 turns BEFORE you take any measurement -
count nine or so flats on the adjuster.  The reason for doing this is
that, if your machine is like mine, the pressure on the gauge is going
to be more than 200 psi if you leave the adjuster at the factory
setting, and this will peg the needle - not good practice.


Turn the machine on and observe the meter.  Adjust to about 135 psi.
The needle will be a blur due to pressure fluctuations, but you will
see it well enough to get it close.  Put the plastic hose and keeper
back on the nipple.  Done.

Now regarding the measurement of boiler pressure this should help you out.

To adjust boiler temp (& therefore boiler pressure, too), take the cover off (6 screws- 2 are hiding under the H20 reservoir lid) and find the Pstat.  It's the big black box labeled "Sirai" on the right side.  Pry off the yellow "button" and use a wide, flat head screwdriver to turn the now unhidden screw.  The screw is labeled with a "+" for higher temp and a "-" for lower temp.

As for measuring brew temp, it's better to use an intant read, digital thermometer- they look just like a steam pitcher thermometer, just digital.  Stick it (sideways) all the way through a styrofoam cup and place the therm under the brew stream.

Before messing with the Pstat though, I would try to dial in the grinder.  I'm assuming you modded your SBUX grinder to grinder "finer" than normal, right?  IIRC, a modded solis can produce a pretty fine powder....  Back it off a few notches and try for that ~30 sec. shot.  Do the best you can with the plastic tamper, try to tamp consistently to 30#, but def get real one as soon as you can.

Once that's done, I'd move on to adjusting the brew pressure (OPV is directly to the left of the brew head.  It has a tube at one end that leads to the drip tray.) and then the Pstat last.

Hope this helps.

Regards,
-cd
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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 Fri Sep 21, 2007, 4:04pm
Subject: Re: Nuova Simonelli Oscar - new owner with questions, tips, & tricks
 

thx - that is plenty of info to digest
My Rancilio Jacky arrived - unfortunately it appears that it needs some work before I attempt to use it.  In the meantime, I'll use the Barista burr grinder.  I belive it's already been modified but I need to open it up and checked.  The timer knob on it doesn't work - I essentially have to plug it in to turn it on, and unplug to turn it off.

I'll be doing plenty of shots this weekend.  Unfortunately, I ran out of the Black Cat & Kid-o's already.  Any recommendations on cheap beans to use for rough dialing in?  I have some 6 month old *$ Italian roast I can use but i'm afraid it so old/stale that I won't get any crema action on it.
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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 Tue Sep 25, 2007, 9:35pm
Subject: Re: Nuova Simonelli Oscar - new owner with questions, tips, & tricks
 

BTW - here's a pic of Oscar the Silver Grouch in my kitchen.  I think it looks pretty good and kinda matches with the SS fridge.  As you can see, it just fits under my cabinets and I can open the cabinet with the cups on top.

I still haven't done the temp & press measurements.  maybe this weekend.

caeffe: Oscar - slv grouch.jpg
(Click for larger image)
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e53er
Senior Member
e53er
Joined: 21 Apr 2002
Posts: 162
Location: L.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: NS Oscar, Solis SL90
Grinder: Mazzer Mini, Solis Maestro
Vac Pot: Bodum Santos
Drip: KMB, Hario V60 dripper
Roaster: Poppery II
Posted Tue Sep 25, 2007, 11:06pm
Subject: Re: Nuova Simonelli Oscar - new owner with questions, tips, & tricks
 

caeffe, are you using the "beer bong" to fill your water tank?
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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 Wed Sep 26, 2007, 8:36am
Subject: Re: Nuova Simonelli Oscar - new owner with questions, tips, & tricks
 

e53er Said:

caeffe, are you using the "beer bong" to fill your water tank?

Posted September 25, 2007 link

not a beer bong  :-)

you're probably seeing the power cord from Oscar and the bean hopper from the grinder.

I'm thinking of teeing off from the fridge water line so I can fill easily.  the sink is actually ~ten feet back.
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cdienzo
Senior Member


Joined: 5 Mar 2004
Posts: 30
Location: Long Beach, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: NS Oscar
Grinder: Innova Flat Burr
Drip: $tarBux Aroma
Roaster: Freshroast + 8
Posted Wed Sep 26, 2007, 10:22am
Subject: Re: Nuova Simonelli Oscar - new owner with questions, tips, & tricks
 

I just thought I'd add a picture of my DIY gauges to go along with my previously posted information.

cdienzo: DIYGauges.jpg
(Click for larger image)
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