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NS Oscar - Weird Steam Problems
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > NS Oscar - Weird...  
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Markarian
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Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
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Location: Seattle Area
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Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Tue Oct 9, 2012, 1:21pm
Subject: NS Oscar - Weird Steam Problems
 

So for weeks I've been using the Oscar and have honed a very good technique for steaming milk. I get microfoam almost every time, and one of the biggest reasons I bought the Oscar was for the HX and the strong steam for making milk-based drinks. However, the last few days I've been failing miserably every time. The problem comes when I'm done riding the milk and ready to roll it. I stick the steam wand deeper, as usual, and instead of getting that nice spinning motion I get this horrible screeching and the milk just kind of sits in a goopy mess at the top, not moving much at all. While I would be quick to judge my technique at fault here, I've been getting consistent results for weeks with a fairly sizeable variation of milk quality (it's actually a roughly 50/50 mixture of water and Half-and-Half since I'm on a low-carb diet). I've had no problems and now, all of a sudden, I feel like I'm back with my Starbucks Barista.

Now one thing I should mention is that I've been noticing some interesting behavior during brewing, mainly that I hear a lot of clicking and variation in the pump noise and power. Could these all be symptoms of my PStat going south? Or am I just going crazy again and have forgotten how to steam foam?
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Joel_B
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Joel_B
Joined: 9 Oct 2007
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Location: Pacific NW
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Espresso: Astra Mega II
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Posted Tue Oct 9, 2012, 2:38pm
Subject: Re: NS Oscar - Weird Steam Problems
 

First question is have you changed the milk (half and half) recently?  Are you using organic?  Milk brands can vary quite a bit.  I've also experienced with organic milk is it can vary from season to season.  Also, how does it appear to steam up to the point where you try to incorporate (sink the wand)?  

Depends on what you mean; could you explain a little more about the noises/behavior during the brewing process?  Could be pstat.... or a myriad of other things.
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Markarian
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Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 656
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Tue Oct 9, 2012, 3:06pm
Subject: Re: NS Oscar - Weird Steam Problems
 

I think it was losing power. I wasn't getting the initial rush when I started steaming. I spoke to a nice tech at NS and he suggested upping the Pstat by two full turns. I did that and the steam pressure seems much more intense. I will report back when I buy more half and half tonight. To answer your earlier question, I'm using my same brand, from WinCo in the half gallon cartons, so I'm using the same milk, same pitcher, etc.
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
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Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Tue Oct 9, 2012, 8:13pm
Subject: Re: NS Oscar - Weird Steam Problems
 

Makes me wonder if something is leaking somewhere.  Seems odd it is acting different all of a sudden.

 
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Markarian
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Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 656
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Tue Oct 9, 2012, 8:23pm
Subject: Re: NS Oscar - Weird Steam Problems
 

It's certainly possible, as I wrenched around the steam pipe pretty fiercely. But it was fine all week since then and I don't see any leaks when I have the cover off. However, the weather's been getting a bit cold lately. Either way, it seems like the steam is much more forceful after tweaking the Pstat. I'm looking forward to testing it tonight. I pulled a pretty decent shot after making the adjustment so it seems to brew okay still.
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frcn
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frcn
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Posted Tue Oct 9, 2012, 9:55pm
Subject: Re: NS Oscar - Weird Steam Problems
 

Turning up the P'stat to get more steam also raises the brew temperature.
Trading better steam for worse espresso.
Robbing Peter to Pay Paul.
Almond Joy's got nuts.. Mounds don't.
Return all film parts around the proper reel.
Keep your hands and feet inside at all times while the car is in motion.

 
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Markarian
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Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 656
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Tue Oct 9, 2012, 11:16pm
Subject: Re: NS Oscar - Weird Steam Problems
 

I thought this could be compensated for by a longer cooling flush? As it stands, the way the Pstat was set before was giving me reducing steam power. Besides, the NS tech said that the diaphragm in the Pstat stiffens with age and that giving it two full turns was his recommendation. What should I do?
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Markarian
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Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 656
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Wed Oct 10, 2012, 3:24am
Subject: Re: NS Oscar - Weird Steam Problems
 

Well, either way, this seems to have fixed the issue. Not only is the steam nice and powerful, but my espresso is coming out a bit more consistently. When I first got this machine, I was worried that it was brewing way too cool. I just pulled a delicious 60ml shot in 32 seconds with a nice mottled crema and decent tiger striping throughout. I can't really ask for much more than that. Here's hoping it stays fixed this time.
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germantownrob
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germantownrob
Joined: 2 Dec 2007
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Location: Philadelphia
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Espresso: Duetto 3, A Dead Oscar
Grinder: Vario-W, Preciso w/Esatto,...
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Roaster: Diedrich IR-1, HT B
Posted Wed Oct 10, 2012, 3:52am
Subject: Re: NS Oscar - Weird Steam Problems
 

Markarian Said:

I thought this could be compensated for by a longer cooling flush? As it stands, the way the Pstat was set before was giving me reducing steam power. Besides, the NS tech said that the diaphragm in the Pstat stiffens with age and that giving it two full turns was his recommendation. What should I do?

Posted October 9, 2012 link

In between descaling I will have to adjust the Pstat up a couple of different times to compensate for some build up and my water is not that hard.

How long since a descale? Have you checked your steam tip for any obstructions? The newer small hole steam needs some poking every week to keep it steaming at full power, the stock tip never seamed to get much milk build up in the holes..
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Markarian
Senior Member
Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 656
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Wed Oct 10, 2012, 4:52am
Subject: Re: NS Oscar - Weird Steam Problems
 

I just descaled a few weeks ago. The inside of the boiler and heating element look cherry after two packets of Dezcal. The steam tip is less than two month old, but I will check it for obstructions. I have noticed so far that the first pull during a session with the Pstat set higher is more bitter and has more blonding in the shot. Do I just need an even longer cooling flush?
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