Wondering how the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II is different from its predecessor, the Oscar? In this guide, we're comparing these espresso machines in detail. We'll cover all the key information you need for your assessment.
Here is everything you're going to learn in this guide...
- Which features the Oscar II shares with the original Oscar.
- The new and improved features on the Oscar II and what they mean for you.
- The best machine to buy based on your professional or individual needs.
Nuova Simonelli Oscar
The Oscar was a great model for home espresso aficionados. Compact and capable of delivering cafe-style espresso drinks and ample steam power, it was a good option for the home or office.
Nuova Simonelli Oscar II
With an updated body and more commercial features for greater efficiency and ease of use, the Oscar II is better suited to small shops than the original Oscar. Get the Oscar II if you want a low-cost, high-quality espresso machine for home, an office environment, or a small cafe.
Like the Oscar, the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II is designed with a single group, making it perfect for small businesses.
How many groups you need corresponds to beverage volume and pace, but that doesn't mean a single group is slow.
Both the Oscar and the Oscar II were designed for continuous use, so they're plenty fast to keep up with drink orders.
If you don't have any use for multiple groups, whether for your business, home or office, a high-quality single-group espresso machine is ideal.
Heat Exchange Boiler
With a two-liter heat-exchange boiler, the Oscar II can brew espresso and steam milk simultaneously, just like the original Oscar (some designs don't allow for this, which would definitely slow things down).
The heat exchange system features a boiler with an internal compartment that separates the water for brewing and steaming as these require different water temperatures.
A copper tube through the boiler draws water to the group head, heating the water to the correct temperature.
This ensures thermal stability as well as efficient and rapid heating, important elements of espresso production.
Read next: Find the top commercial espresso machines on this exclusive Majesty Coffee School buyer's guide.
The Oscar was known for serious steam power. Fortunately, Nuova Simonelli made sure that the Oscar II maintained all that steam power.
This is a very good thing for businesses and anyone who doesn't want steaming milk to take too long.
The more power delivered to the steam wand, the faster the milk can be frothed and the better the texture will be.
No Hot Water Outlet
The first Oscar was a great budget model, offering superior brewing and steaming, but no hot water outlet.
Keeping the Oscar II just as economical, Nuova Simonelli has continued to leave the hot water outlet off of the design.
If you won't have a separate hot water tank for Americanos and teas, these models may not be the best way to go.
But if you will have access to hot water in a separate piece of equipment, the Oscar II, like the first Oscar, is a high-quality espresso machine to opt for at an incredibly affordable price.
Right away, you can tell that the Oscar II is substantially different from the original Oscar just by looking at it.
The first Oscar was all plastic, from the panels to the drip tray. For this reason, it wasn't nearly as flashy as the Oscar II with its stainless steel front and side panels.
Besides the visual appeal, the Oscar II gains a reverse mirror from its new stainless steel panels.
The reverse mirror lets you see all angles of the espresso during the brew process so that you can judge the quality and make adjustments as needed.
Programmable Dosing in the Oscar II
The Nuova Simonelli Oscar featured manual dosing, meaning that the brew process was operated by the user pushing a button to start it and to stop it.
Instead of the manual dosing, the Oscar II offers programmable buttons for timed shots. Once you program the buttons, you can hit them once and the machine will take care of the rest.
The Oscar II's programmable features also include pre-infusion, which pre-wets the coffee puck to guarantee even extraction, best flavor and perfect crema.
This change in the Oscar II design provides a lot more consistency and frees the user up to concentrate on other pressing tasks while brewing. In many cafes, multitasking is the name of the game to keep up with the customer line.
Push Pull Steam
Whereas the first Oscar had a knob that the user would twist in order to start the milk steaming, the Oscar II has a user-friendly flip switch.
The push-pull steam trigger on the Oscar II is an ergonomic upgrade that makes hours on the espresso machine a lot easier for baristas.
A heavy handle that requires lots of twisting can be tiring. Thankfully, Nuova Simonelli made sure that the Oscar II would be gentler on the wrists.
Pour-Over Model Water Tank
Whereas the older pour-over Oscar model came with a water tank that held about two liters of water, the pour-over version of the Oscar II water tank holds close to 2.5 liters of water.
It also features a large enough opening to clean more easily and refill when the water level starts to drop.
(You can also get the Oscar II in a direct-connect version if you want to hook it up to a water line for an automatic feed.)
The new Oscar II gets an upgrade to the copper boiler with the addition of insulation for better thermal protection.
The more insulated the boiler is, the better its energy efficiency will be as the machine won't have to work as hard to keep the temperature optimal.
Steam Arm Length and Range
The Oscar had a fairly short steam wand with a restricted range. The Oscar II makes a great improvement on this with a longer, articulating steam arm.
This means that you'll get better microfoam as you can move the steam arm in any direction to position the milk pitcher as needed.
The length of the steam arm allows you to reach all the way down into the pitcher while you're texturing the milk, which encourages uniform heat distribution.
All in all, the new steam arm improves the quality of the steamed milk.
Like its predecessor, the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II is a low-cost espresso machine for the power and functionality you get.
The Oscar II in the pour-over version, which requires manual reservoir refilling, comes in Red or Black for $1,295.
The direct-connect Oscar II, which is plumbed into a water line for automatic water delivery, is priced at $1,620—still quite a cost-effective option.
So Which Should You Buy?
Unless you're buying a used machine, the model you'll find is the newer one—the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II. For this reason, we'll stick to discussing the direct-connect versus the pour-over machine.
Across the board, direct-connect machines tend to be the winners, especially for commercial use. The direct-connect Oscar II is the perfect espresso machine for small businesses.
As you can imagine, needing to stop the drink line and refill the water reservoir can put a damper on business, not to mention annoy your customers with the holdup.
With a direct-connect machine, you can also install a water softener or filter, which will improve the water quality and reduce scale buildup that can damage the machine.
On the other hand, a pour-over machine doesn't need to be near a water line to operate. If you need this type of feature for your home or office, the pour-over Oscar II is a great option.
For small coffee shops, restaurants, commercial settings and all users who want the convenience and easy maintenance of a plumbed-in espresso machine, the direct-connect Oscar II is well worth it.
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