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New (for me) Oscar On The Way!
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > New (for me)...  
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SyracuseCoffee
Senior Member


Joined: 5 Mar 2014
Posts: 28
Location: Syracuse
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: NS Oscar
Grinder: Compak K3
Posted Mon Mar 10, 2014, 10:05am
Subject: New (for me) Oscar On The Way!
 

Hi All,

New to the forum....but not new to espresso.  Here's some of the "back story" to my Oscar purchase. My wife and I are heavy espresso drinkers and it's almost the only coffee I drink any more.  It all started many years ago when I married my wife who's family is from Italy and relatively new to the U.S.

Anyway, I got tired of drinking espresso from my cheapy machine, which (to it's credit) has refused to die even after more than 3 years and well over 3,500 double espressos.  I have refused to descale it....assuming it would hasten it's demise.  But alas, we have soft water.  The grouphead gasket is finally leaking a little.

I am relatively thrifty especially since I have 2 teenage daughters who need cars and will soon be in college so budget was set to around $1.000.  To my wife, this is an insane amount to spend any coffee machine.

I started looking at SBDU machines like the Gaggia Classic and Rancilio Silivia.  I decided that I'd like to move up to the next "level" which was going to be tough on my budget.  I considered the Breville DB for it's mix of features and value.  However,  I decided not to go that direction since this machine does not have a long history.

I finally settled on the NS Oscar. It's relatively compact allowing my wife several locations from which to chose it's location.  I was not enthralled with the rear-located tank with small fill port.  That really made positioning the Oscar under cabinets undesirable...but do-able.  Although I love stainless steel, I became comfortable with the plastic housing to the point that it's not a negative....although not necessarily a positive either.  Combine that with a relative abundance of parts and service information, and it's a winner for the miserly espresso lover.

I bought a used direct-connect Oscar on Ebay for only $499....including shipping.  My water tank issue is now a non-issue.  I have not yet received it but the photos show an espresso machine that appears to be very lightly used.  Notice the relatively clean group head and the lack of staining on the drip tray grill.  Anyone who has looked as used Oscars knows that the tray gets stained with use but this one appears practically unstained.  The case and portafilters are immaculate.  And it's being shipped in it's original box.  My thinking is that even if this machine needs some repair, I can easily but a few hundred into it and still have a pretty good deal so there didn't seem to be much risk.   More on that when it arrives later this week...hopefully.

I have big plans for my new machine once I verify that it brews coffee.   After plumbing the water, I'll plumb the drip tray as well.  I plan on adding a vacuum breaker and I'll see what kind of Pstat it has.   I'll probably add an OPV since I can plumb it directly to the drain or to the drip tray.  Then I'd like to make some plumbing modifications to make descaling and flushing the boiler easier especially since I have room in the back of the machine where the water tank would be for pour-over versions.

Everything as time and money allows but it should be a fun project.  I also purchased a nice Compak K-3 touch grinder for a reasonable price.  My combined total including shipping is $874.  Under my $1,000 budget.  The $125 gap basically covers my plumbing parts so I'm pretty happy so far.

There's lots of info on internal modifications so maybe I'll post some pics of my plumbing since there doesn't seem to be a lot about direct-connect Oscars.  My wife will likely choose a counter location that is far from the sink which should make it interesting.  You can bet I'll be posting questions for veterans on this forum.

SyracuseCoffee: Front Bottom_480.jpg
(Click for larger image)
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SyracuseCoffee
Senior Member


Joined: 5 Mar 2014
Posts: 28
Location: Syracuse
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: NS Oscar
Grinder: Compak K3
Posted Mon Mar 10, 2014, 10:06am
Subject: Re: Grouphead photo
 

I couldn't figure out how to put multiple photos in the same post.  Here's a photo of the grouphead. Not bad for a used machine.

SyracuseCoffee: Grouphead_480.jpg
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SyracuseCoffee
Senior Member


Joined: 5 Mar 2014
Posts: 28
Location: Syracuse
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: NS Oscar
Grinder: Compak K3
Posted Mon Mar 10, 2014, 10:10am
Subject: Re: One more photo
 

Here's a  photo of the top.  It looks practically unused for a used machine.  Anyway, I'll report how (or if) it works when it comes in.

SyracuseCoffee: Front Top_480.jpg
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DanoM
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Mar 2013
Posts: 312
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega, '84 La...
Grinder: Compak K10, Kludge grinder,...
Posted Tue Mar 11, 2014, 4:14pm
Subject: Re: New (for me) Oscar On The Way!
 

Congratulations on the Oscar.  They are really nice machines on the low end of the pro/prosumer models.  Ample steamer too!  My Oscar, an older grey one, has been around the block a bit and still works great.  They aren't pretty, but that gives us a cheap way to get into good espresso machines.

One thing missing on the Oscar is the hot water tap.  Some people run tea hot water out of the group, but I find that has coffee scent in it unless it's freshly cleaned.  I opt for putting water into a milk pitcher, steaming with the wand until I actually reach a boil and then it's ready for black teas, or heat it to specific temps for green teas (160-175f).  Last weekend was a green tea weekend, and the Oscar was on all day just to provide perfect temps for staged green tea brews.

(I just pulled my La Pavoni Pro off of the shelf after a few months and made a cappuccino.  Man the steam on that is SLOW and underpowered in comparison to my Oscar!  Still does the job beautifully, but it takes a while...)
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SyracuseCoffee
Senior Member


Joined: 5 Mar 2014
Posts: 28
Location: Syracuse
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: NS Oscar
Grinder: Compak K3
Posted Thu Mar 13, 2014, 8:11pm
Subject: Re: New (for me) Oscar On The Way!
 

Thanks and I'm looking forward to putting my Oscar into use.  The Oscar seemed to fit my value-orientated niche and still keep my marriage in tact.  I'm OK with it's  looks as long as it has a nice "personality."
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SyracuseCoffee
Senior Member


Joined: 5 Mar 2014
Posts: 28
Location: Syracuse
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: NS Oscar
Grinder: Compak K3
Posted Thu Mar 13, 2014, 8:29pm
Subject: Re: New (for me) Oscar On The Way!
 

I haven't been on much this week due to work and another damn snowstorm.  Who needs 18" of snow and single digit temperatures in the middle of March.  It's absolutely ridiculous....not to mention that it delayed delivery of my Oscar by two days.

Anyway....it's finally here!

It's in mint condition on the outside, just like the earlier photos show.  I removed the top and noticed a mint condition interior (see photos) along with a Sirai pressurestat.  Since I don't have a water reservoir, there's a lot of room in the back.  I can probably use that for something useful.  Maybe remove the boiler drain plug and plumb it so that I can actually use the drain for easier descaling/maintenance without having to disassemble the machine.

Now all I have to due is get it hooked to the water line for a leak check and see if it can make steam and coffee.  That's the one downside of a plumbed unit. I have to figure out if the JG fitting is 6 mm or 1/4 inch. I'm guessing 6 mm.

SyracuseCoffee: Boiler_640.jpg
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SyracuseCoffee
Senior Member


Joined: 5 Mar 2014
Posts: 28
Location: Syracuse
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: NS Oscar
Grinder: Compak K3
Posted Thu Mar 13, 2014, 8:35pm
Subject: Re: New (for me) Oscar On The Way!
 

Another photo of the group head and wiring.  More of the same.  The previous owner could not have used this machine more than a few times.  I'm amazed that someone would spend money for a machine like this and not use it.  I know the Oscar isn't as pricey as most of the prosumer machines...but still.....

SyracuseCoffee: Grouphead_640.jpg
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SyracuseCoffee
Senior Member


Joined: 5 Mar 2014
Posts: 28
Location: Syracuse
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: NS Oscar
Grinder: Compak K3
Posted Thu Mar 13, 2014, 8:43pm
Subject: Re: New (for me) Oscar On The Way!
 

Does anyone know what the silver thing is in the photo below?  I found it in the bottom of the box in the packing material.  It's threaded on one end but not the other.  In addition to the hole through the side (which you can see) there is a small orifice inside the tube between the ends which is maybe a millimeter or so in diameter.

I assume it goes with the Oscar but it may not. I found directions for a blender folded into the box that contained my portafilters so it might have fallen into the box by accident.

SyracuseCoffee: SilverThingy.jpg
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hotwasabipeas
Senior Member
hotwasabipeas
Joined: 19 Aug 2011
Posts: 180
Location: Ohio
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: NS Oscar
Grinder: KitchenAid ProLine
Drip: Keurig Vue, B70,Tassimo T65,...
Roaster: Wear Ever Popcorn Pumper...
Posted Thu Mar 13, 2014, 10:50pm
Subject: Re: New (for me) Oscar On The Way!
 

That looks like a steam tip for a Cimbali Junior espresso machine.  Maybe it fits the Oscar steam wand too?  Here's a pic of the steam wand tip from coffeesnobs.au showing the same tip as the one in your pic.  The person who posted it said that the steam tip, on the left, is the one that came with his Junior.

hotwasabipeas: cimbali_steam_tips.jpg
(Click for larger image)

 
Please visit my website!

www.planetwasabi.com
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bossman
Senior Member


Joined: 10 Dec 2013
Posts: 100
Location: Iowa
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Mini Vivladi II
Grinder: Baratza Vario-W
Drip: Cuisinart
Roaster: Soon I hope
Posted Fri Mar 14, 2014, 6:03am
Subject: Re: New (for me) Oscar On The Way!
 

Nice find, looks in good shape.
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