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NS Oscar for a beginner: care for mods?
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > NS Oscar for a...  
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dwRK
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Sep 2013
Posts: 90
Location: Houston
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Jan 20, 2014, 10:32pm
Subject: Re: NS Oscar for a beginner: care for mods?
 

thanks...yes i should have said not critical if not put on timer...
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 2,972
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Mon Jan 20, 2014, 11:17pm
Subject: Re: NS Oscar for a beginner: care for mods?
 

Not saying your staff is not capable, I just think it is a lot to ask of them or any other office staff.  I am also not saying Oscar is perfect, but this thread is about the Oscar and mods something I know a little bit about.  So sorry, in my haste (while posting on a phone with not the best font size for reading the posts as I type them), I reversed your letters. Clearly, laze_z_ faire says it best.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,474
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Tue Jan 21, 2014, 4:42am
Subject: Re: NS Oscar for a beginner: care for mods?
 

ilcaffedio Said:

Wayne, you can't expect everyone to start with commercial equipment.

Posted January 19, 2014 link

I never said anything about commercial, there are other espresso grinders new in the same price range that are better, I think you read something that was not there.

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,474
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Tue Jan 21, 2014, 4:46am
Subject: Re: NS Oscar for a beginner: care for mods?
 

boar_d_laze Said:

Able, perhaps.  But a very cranky, and not particularly user-friendly "dragon."  My experience with an unmodified Oscar in my office was that it made it too difficult for the para and secretary to make espresso for clients.  If you're going to buy an Oscar, do the mods.

BDL

Posted January 19, 2014 link

I had an unmodified Oscar, it was not all that hard to use unmodified, perhaps mine was an exception or possibly yours was, IDK but I got great coffee from it, stock.  In fact the Cimballi is more of a draggon than Oscar ever was.

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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TheCav
Junior Member


Joined: 19 Jan 2014
Posts: 11
Location: Milan, IT
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Jan 21, 2014, 8:52am
Subject: Re: NS Oscar for a beginner: care for mods?
 

calblacksmith Said:

I never said anything about commercial, there are other espresso grinders new in the same price range that are better, I think you read something that was not there.

Posted January 21, 2014 link

Can you advice better grinders in that price range, considering I'll be drinking just espresso?
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,474
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Tue Jan 21, 2014, 10:40am
Subject: Re: NS Oscar for a beginner: care for mods?
 

I have not used these grinders and am going by specs and reputation. As another post indicated, I favor LARGE industrial grinders at multiples of this price range but not everyone wants to go there or can afford to go there. As you are not in the U.S. these may not be available to you at a reasonable price when you add in VAT and shipping and any import duties. You need to look at what you can get where you are but here are some more choices anyway.


Lelit PL53
Click Here (www.1st-line.com)
Doserless, stepless, conical burrs, $269

Pasquini Lux
Click Here (www.seattlecoffeegear.com)
Doserless, stepless, conical burrs $305

Ascaso I-2D
Click Here (www.1st-line.com)
Dosered, stepless, conical burrs, $299

Ascaso I-1D
Click Here (www.1st-line.com)
Dosered, stepless, 54mm flat burrs, $309

At least you should look at them, you may still choose to buy the Grinta but in MY HO, stepless is much better than stepped, you will never run into the situation where you need to be inbetween the steps.

Conical or flat burrs are a personal choice. The conical burrs tend to bring out the floral and spice notes in the coffee slightly more than the grinders with flat burrs which tend to favor the cocoa and chocolate notes.

A doser or not is a personal choice, one is not better than the other, just what may work better for you. I tend to like a doser on a grinder that is not on-demand-dosed. The doser will let you grind while doing something else but some find that they do not like to clean it or that cleaning it is more bother than they like. YMMV!

Good luck :D

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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TheCav
Junior Member


Joined: 19 Jan 2014
Posts: 11
Location: Milan, IT
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Jan 24, 2014, 2:36am
Subject: Re: NS Oscar for a beginner: care for mods?
 

I will check out those grinders availability here in EU...thanks! I would prefer a doserless since I like to minimize any wasted ground coffee and leftovers.

Machine-wise, I think I will order the Oscar with OPV, anti-vacuum and the gigleurs advised by Coffeenoobie....skipping the SIRAI that I've read being beneficial just in 110V countries (probably reason why they don't come from the factory SIRAI-equipped here in the EU)
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boar_d_laze
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 731
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Fri Jan 24, 2014, 7:07am
Subject: Re: NS Oscar for a beginner: care for mods?
 

Coffeenoobie Said:

Not saying your staff is not capable...

Posted January 20, 2014 link

"Was," not "is."  I'm retired and no longer in practice.

I just think it is a lot to ask of them or any other office staff.

Not really.  A) Espresso service by staff is very common in law offices; and B) My staff managed a different machine very well.

I am also not saying Oscar is perfect, but this thread is about the Oscar and mods something I know a little bit about.

I don't doubt your knowledge, but don't understand your message.  You say:
  1. Your Oscar was an easy machine to master when it was stock; but
  2. Much easier to use -- about as easy as a typical, prosumer HX -- when modded; and
  3. You wouldn't buy a new Oscar because it isn't worth the price without the mods (because any machine at the price should do the things that the mods allow the modded Oscar to do which a stock Oscar could not).  

In other words... It worked great but needed fixing, was simultaneously below and above average, and isn't worth the price even though it's one of if not the least expensive machines of its type.  Can you understand my confusion?

In spite of my experience I'm not anti-Oscar.  It certainly has its share of virtues, even if it also has its share of faults.  I understand doing the "Plindy" mods solve most of its problems and make the Oscar much friendlier, and an overall good value; and have said so more than once in this thread (as well as in others).

My recommendation to the OP was that if he buys a new machine without intention to modify it, he buy something other than an Oscar.  That is your recommendation as well.    

Me not loving Oscar is not in any way an attack on you or your judgment.  To the extent that we disagree at all, it's merely a difference of opinion.

BDL
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boar_d_laze
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 731
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Fri Jan 24, 2014, 8:09am
Subject: Re: NS Oscar for a beginner: care for mods?
 

calblacksmith Said:

I had an unmodified Oscar, it was not all that hard to use unmodified, perhaps mine was an exception or possibly yours was, IDK but I got great coffee from it, stock.

Posted January 21, 2014 link

If it was such a good machine, why did you get rid of it?

You can get good coffee from any adequate machine once you've figure out it's idiosyncrasies, and as long as you're willing to jump through its hoops.  After adequacy, what makes one machine better than another are consistency, ease of use, ergonomics, and aesthetic considerations like "touch," looks, value, etc.

In my office, temping the Oscar and getting one cup of good coffee was never an issue.  The problem came in the typical entertaining/business situation of getting three or four good cups in succession after the machine had been idling for a couple of hours; then refills 15 minutes later.  Without waiting for flash boiling, and re-temping every shot from scratch -- after the first shot, brew temps were too hot or too cold by several degrees.  Oscars are something of an exception to the rule that HXs work best when worked hardest.  

In fact the Cimballi is more of a draggon than Oscar ever was.

When I say "dragon," I'm using the H-B / Dan Kehn distinctions of "dragon," "mixer," and "agnostic."  On that scale, the Oscar is a "dragon," and the Cimbali an "agnostic."  The terms are defined by how quickly a machine recovers from temping to flash-boiling idle; and how long a flush is required to temp the machine after its briefly idled between shots.  

The Oscar is a dragon.  It's a dragon because, after the machine's been more than idle for more than a couple of minutes, temping requires the barista to go back to scratch and use a full-on cooling shot.  But not only that, it's so much of a dragon that it can go from a good temp to way too hot in the middle of a slow flowing shot -- partly because of its particular heat-exchanger and partly because its unmodified group gets and stays so hot.  That's why restricting the flow to the (thermosyphonic) reservoir makes such a difference.  

(And just like Helen, you can't have it both ways.  Doing the mod either addresses a problem, or there was no problem to begin with and no point to the mod.)  

After initial temping (long cooling shot to stabilize the group, wait, shorter cooling shot to establish brew temp) an agnostic should require very little in the way of temping when pulling shots in succession (say more often than one every three or four minutes), because the group's inherent stability should act to buffer small temp deviations coming from the HX.  Cimbalis are particularly forgiving, because they're tuned for an inherent "hump," which --  in addition to making for a very "lively" shot -- makes for a sort of "average temp" which tends to damp the bitters/sours which come from starting a little too hot or too cold.

In the case of my particular M21, after the long group-stabilizing flush and a wait sufficient for the HX to recover, it takes a six second cooling flush to establish a brew temp of 200F.  After that, the group is so stable, the machine can idle longer than 20 minutes without requiring more than a short flush to (get rid of steam from flash of boiling) and return to brew temp.  In the case of our particular Oscar, things went all to hell in about 90 seconds.  

If your Cimbali -- with its groups' huge cross-section, enormous mass, and direct-connection design -- acts like a dragon instead of an agnostic, there's a problem somewhere.  

Finally, my apologies for hijacking the thread.

BDL
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 2,972
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Fri Jan 24, 2014, 11:00am
Subject: Re: NS Oscar for a beginner: care for mods?
 

I did not find mastering Oscar hard that is different from your experience. I am sure a more expensive machine is easier, I believe everyone agrees with that. But if you can't throw more money at the problem,  a used Oscar is hard to beat for bang for the buck. New Oscar is not the best bang for buck.   Not sure what is confusing you about my opinion on Oscar. I have strong opinions about a machine that I have used for going on three years now. I did  an average of one pull every three minutes on Oscar for over an hour on Christmas eve. He is very capable. But not perfect, but for less than 500$ a great starter machine.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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