Perfect crema, perfect micro foam, has worked well for over 2 years - a serious machine to consider
Positive Product Points
The Oscar makes consistiently good espresso and foam. I use Lavazza beans and find that they are simply the best - bar none. The Rancilio grinder takes a while to set-up, but it also grinds well. I've used the Oscar now for over two years. I've had the Pressure Stat issue that everyone talks about and I just adjusted the P'Stat screw and it seemed to solve the problem. The steam pressure is excellent and will boil milk in 15 seconds if you're not careful. I pull about 6 or 7 shots a day. I figure at $3.00 a cup for a latte, this item paid for itself in less than a year. Frankly, this makes much better espresso or lattes than anything but the best espresso shops. The Oscar is not too big - some commerical machines didn't fit under my kitchen cabinets and that was a plus. The Rocky grinder looks appropriate next to the Oscar - they seem to have been made for each other.
Negative Product Points
The case is plastic, the internal water tank is a bit small, p'stat can fail. I have not experienced this "loud" pump issue that other's have mentioned. If you run out of water, yes the pump makes a loud sound, but aside from that it's within the normal range for commercial machines. No pressure dial.
I'm not sure I would have paid $800+ for this machine, but for $600 (new) it was a great deal. As I stated above, it makes great espresso crema. Reminds me of a Guinness when it pours. This is a good compromise between a true commercial single group and a home machine. It's the right size, makes great espresso, and has a great steam wand. I have no urge to purchase another machine. I have 3 other machines in my basement which I retired and they were home machines like Krups / Startbucks ... they don't even come close to the Oscar.
Some advice - make sure the espresso is ground fine enough. Not to the point of being dripping wet (should be dry when dumped). Some espresso beans are simply not good with the Oscar. I tried perhaps a dozen different brands and kept on returning to Lavazza Grand Espresso. I get this from Sovrano Trading and it's great. Incredible crema and goes great with milk. Once the system is set-up, don't bother to mess with it. When foaming milk, I like to spin a few ice cubes in the cup and cool the container. The foam is better coming from a cool frothing cup. The Oscar makes great 'micro-foam'.
I like to pour the espresso directly into my latte cup and then pour in the foamed milk - that way I get to keep all the crema. Some people pour into a shot glass. Oscar is not automatic (would be a nice to have) so you need to eyeball the shot into the latte cup. Easy once the machine is set up because you can just time it and count by hand.