Oscar is a strong performer for the home user who does not want a plumbed unit.
Positive Product Points
Very consistent pulls. Powerful steamer. Easy to clean up. Large drip tray. Easy to refill reservoir.
Negative Product Points
Lacks water tap. Wife complains about the noise of the water pump filling the reservoir. Cup tray not much of a warmer.
I bought Oscar after years of good experience with Riviera lever pull machine. The Oscar is very easy to use. Warms up very quickly (about ten minutes). Bleeding off from steamer does not delay morning operation. I use the Oscar to make 4-6 drinks in the morning and 1-2 in the evening. Accomplishes these with ease. Far superior to my experience with the lever machine. Espresso quality consistently excellent. It took me some time to get used to the more powerful steamer. After some practice, I am very pleased with frothing. A number of earlier posts criticized the Oscar for its plastic shell. I'm a fan. I haven't burnt myself yet and it is so much easier to clean up. The large drip pan is a big plus. In daily use, I have had no problems of any sort. Two spray nozzles were provided: I switched from the four hole to the two hole nozzle and had much better results. The only downside, which others have commented on, is the lack of a water tap. I'm not much for Americanos, but I end up using the group head to warm cups and shot glasses. Other posts were critical of the smallish reservoir. For my usage, the reservoir is just fine. I did not want a plumbed unit. The reservoir easily gets through typical morning usage and is very easy to refill. Just lift the lid, and it is refilled. Drip tray removes easily and takes no time to empty and clean.
Like many others, selection of new machine was daunting. I was happy to find this site, read plenty and then contacted Chris Coffee. Mary was very helpful, no pressure. Ordered the Oscar and one week later ordered the Rocky doserless. Delivered as promised. I had one question which Chris answered immediately via e-mail. Very pleased with entire process. Have ordered a number of incidentals from Chris Coffee since.
Three Month Followup
I have used Oscar and the Rocky DL daily since purchasing in August. As noticed by others, it took some time to get frothing down. Ultimately, I decided the supplied 4 hole tip and the supplied 1 hole tip were simply too powerful for my meager skill set. I replaced these with a 2 hole tip from espressopartsnw and I have been pleased with the results since then. Oscar continues to pull consistently excellent shots. I did not want a plumbed unit and the daily ritual of filling the reservoir and emptying the drip tray do not bother me in the least. I continue to appreciate the black plastic casing becuase it does not require any cleaning to speak of. There have been no mechanical or electrical problems. I have the unit on 24/7. The only criticism (minor) I noted in my original post. Oscar does not have a water tap. I use the group head and steam tip to warm cups. All in all, Oscar is a fine daily prosumer machine.
One Year Followup
I bought Oscar and Rocky DL in August 04. Prior to this, I owned a Riviera lever machine and a cheap grinder. The lever machine had a huge chrome eagle on the top of it. I thought because it looked so neat it made good coffee. I owned the lever machine for more than ten years. For all of this time, I used the cheesy plastic tamper that came with the machine. I did not know much about good coffee until I began to lurk around this site and eventually decided to buy the Oscar/Rocky combination. After a couple weeks, I realized I had been making really bad espresso for many, many years. I had developed a taste for bitter coffee and was pretty good at it. I used the steamer to double or triple the volume of milk and didn't realize I scalded it every time.
Oscar has has been on 24/7 for almost all of this time. I have had zero mechanical and zero electrical problems. Bought a naked pf three months ago and have not gone back. I make 3-6 drinks each day, brush and backflush after each session, clean pfs, screens and grouphead screen once each month. After more than a year, I offer the following:
Positive points -No maintenance issues -Very consistent shots -Very powerful steamer, so much so that I don't use either of the supplied 4 or 1 hole tips. I use a 2 hole tip. Much slower, but produces consistent microfoam. -Very large drip tray. While I empty it every day, I would not have to. -Very easy to clean up. Many do not appreciate the black pvc outer covering, but I do. It never looks like it needs to be cleaned and it wipes down very easily. -Easy to fill reservoir, just lift the lid and pour. (I bought the pour over, but this was my mistake. Given the amount of flushing to go with the HX, I should have bought the direct connect. At the time, I did not appreciate how quickly the flushing exhasted the reservoir)
Negative points: None. I was aware that Oscar did not come with a water wand. (My next machine will have one) I was aware of the flase pressure issue (I leave it on 24/7) I chose the pour over (see above). I was aware there were no gauges to view (I would do it differently today)
All in all, I think Oscar is an exemplary home machine, and an excellent value.