Nuova Simonelli Oscar Espresso Machine
For the true espresso-obsessed home barista, the Nuova Simonelli Oscar delivers high-end coffee shop results in a small, counter friendly package. But don't be mistaken: if you're looking for a machine that will do it all for you, the NS Oscar isn't it.
But, if you're looking for a hands-on espresso machine to hone your barista skills, check out our Nuova Simonelli Oscar review to see what this machine has to offer.
- 1 Indulge in the Craft of Artisanal Espresso
- 2 Make Your Coffee Beautiful: Steam Latte Art-Worthy Milk with the Oscar
- 3 Commercial-Grade Hardware for the Serious Home Barista
- 4 Pros and Cons
- 5 Nuova Simonelli Oscar Review Conclusion
Indulge in the Craft of Artisanal Espresso
If you value the quality of experience over convenience, the NS Oscar may be just the machine for you.
Access Your Inner Barista
There are many factors that go into making great espresso — bean quality, fineness of grind, the tamp, and the timing of the shot.
However, it’s the process of finding the perfect balance of all the variables that takes espresso from the status of a simple beverage to that of a worthy pursuit requiring practice, patience, and the honing of skills.
Any good barista will tell you that making delicious espresso is no easy task, but that the challenge of it is half the fun.
With the Nouva Simonelli Oscar, you'll be well equipped for the challenge, and ready to make world-class coffee drinks in the comfort of your home.
You Have Full Control
The Oscar coffee machine is semi-automatic, which means you start and stop the machine manually. While not quite as convenient as a one-touch-super-automatic machine, the NS Oscar allows you to make minute adjustments on the fly, create drinks to your exact specifications, and explore the subtleties and nuances of what espresso can be.
You'll Need a Good Grinder
If you're considering buying the Oscar, remember that you'll also need to buy a separate grinder to accompany it.
Unlike super-automatic espresso machines that grind, dose, and tamp for you, the Oscar machine relies on the operator to prepare the espresso for brewing. You'll want to invest in an espresso-specific grinder of decent quality to get the most out of your Oscar espresso machine.
Make Your Coffee Beautiful: Steam Latte Art-Worthy Milk with the Oscar
Have you ever tried to pour a design in your latte only to have it look like an amoeba rather than a heart of rosetta? Making latte art is a benchmark many home baristas aspire to but often come up short.
What most don't realize is that how you pour the milk is less important than how you steam the milk in the first place. To make latte art-worthy milk, the air bubbles in the milk need to be very small, and thoroughly incorporated.
And what's the secret to achieving these tiny, incorporated bubbles?
Powerful steam. Most home espresso machines simply don't have enough steam power to create the micro-foamed milk that's required for latte art. But that's where the Oscar professional excels...
One of the most promising features of the NS Oscar is its incredible steam power. The large 2-liter boiler offers more than enough consistent steam to create batch after batch of latte art-worthy milk.
Commercial-Grade Hardware for the Serious Home Barista
Nuova Simonelli is known around the world for producing some of the most advanced commercial espresso machines on the market. The Oscar incorporates many of the same components found in Nuova Simonelli's larger commercial machines, giving home baristas the opportunity to create espresso, cappuccinos, and lattes on par with any you'd find in an upscale coffee house. Let's take a closer look at the NS Oscar's components:
Heat exchanger system
Thanks to a heat exchanger boiler system, you can brew espresso and steam milk at the same time with remarkable efficiency. How does it work?
In a heat exchanger machine, instead of drawing hot water directly from the boiler to brew espresso, a copper tube connects the water tank to the brew head, passing through the boiler along the way.
As water in the tube passes through the boiler, it’s instantly heated to brewing temperature (202 degrees) before reaching the brew head.
This incredibly efficient design reduces recovery time when brewing multiple espresso shots, saves significant space by eliminating the need for a second boiler, and keeps the price point low. And, since no water is drawn directly from the boiler, the machine maintains high levels of steam at all times.
Full size 58mm commercial portafilter
Many other home espresso machines use small portafilters that feel more like a toy in your hand than a barista-worthy tool. But not the Oscar. The 58mm portafilter on the Oscar is almost identical to the portafilters found on Nuova Simonelli's commercial models.
Conventional steam wand with 4 hole tip
The Oscar's steam wand is a small version of what you'd find on a commercial machine. It has a four-hole tip that disperses the blast of steam evenly throughout the milk, which is essential for creating micro-foamed milk and achieving the proper texture for a variety of drinks.
Cup warming tray
Pro baristas in-the-know serve espresso in warmed cups. This classy, subtle touch often goes unnoticed but adds a lot to the drinking experience. The top of the Nuova Simonelli Oscar espresso machine serves as a cup warming tray, so you too can serve your drinks in warm cups, just like the pros.
2.3-liter water tank
The Oscar's tank is large enough that it doesn't need constant refilling, but not so big that it bulks up the machine.
Direct connect version available
If you want to create the ultimate home espresso bar, consider choosing the direct connect version of the Oscar. Instead of using the onboard water tank, you can plumb the machine directly to your home's water line and never worry about refilling the tank again.
Pros and Cons
The Nuova Simonelli Oscar is an all around great home espresso machine, but to help you make the best buying decision, let's go over the pros and cons.
- High-quality espresso. The Oscar is essentially a scaled down commercial espresso machine. It has the power and quality of build needed to consistently produce high-quality espresso, cappuccinos, and lattes day in and day out.
- Quick recovery time. Thanks to the heat exchanger boiler system, the Oscar can brew drinks back to back without delay. The Oscar's quick recovery time makes it great for high-volume home use, and can even handle light cafe use.
- Affordable. The Nuova Simonelli is one of the lowest priced heat exchanger machines on the market, capable of keeping up with machines two or three times the price.
- You need to buy a separate grinder. Most quality-focused home baristas would agree that using a separate espresso grinder is a very good thing, and leads to better espresso. But if you're looking to get everything you need in one purchase, needing to buy a separate grinder could be a real drawback.
- No hot water spigot. One of the ways in which the Oscar maintains its small footprint is by leaving off the hot water spigot.
- Water reservoir design. While the water tank is of decent capacity considering the machine's small size, the design of the reservoir has a few drawbacks:
1) There is no water level indicator. You have to pay close attention to how many shots of espresso you've made since last refilling the water tank. Letting the machine run dry could damage the boiler, so you may find yourself manually checking the water level often.
2) Accessing the tank could be inconvenient if you keep the machine below cabinets. The water reservoir access is at the back of the machine, so you'd have to pull the machine out from under the cabinets if they are very low.
Nuova Simonelli Oscar Review Conclusion
Ready to step up your home espresso game? If you've ever experimented with lower-end home espresso machines only to have them underperform or flat out break, the Oscar professional will be a fresh breath of freshly-brewed-espresso air.
As we covered in this Nuova Simonelli Oscar professional review, professional level espresso is not out of reach, and with the NS Oscar, you'll be well equipped to dial in that perfect shot, and steam that velvety micro-foamed milk. Let us know if our Nuova Simonelli Oscar Review was helpful and if you'd like to see other details covered.
Sources and Official Brand Websites
- Nuova Simonelli, Official Brand Website.
- Importance of Espresso Coffee Machine Parameters, Academia.Edu.
- Nuova Simonelli Oscar II, Coffee Forums
- Espresso: Espresso Machines, Coffee Geek