Semi-automatic espresso machines have become the norm in coffee-loving culture. And the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II tops the lineup in terms of quality and performance.
To begin with, the Simonelli Oscar II has one of the most modern constructions. Nuova carefully chooses the materials for this machine to make it last longer.
The next major thing you’ll note about Oscar II is that you can steam and brew at the same time! A feature yet to be seen in similar coffee makers, the Oscar II cuts down on brewing time.
If you’re the type of person who prefers a commercial-grade taste at home, then go for this espresso machine. It does cost a lot, but you definitely get what you pay for.
You don’t get any accessories with the Oscar II, though. So you won’t be getting a tamper, carafe, or even a grinder. It’s quite the let-down, but nothing that isn’t compensated by the premium design of the Oscar II.
Now let’s take a closer look at what the Oscar II has to offer!
- Great taste and aroma.
- Brass brew group.
- Scratch and fingerprint resistant.
- Simple and minimal UI.
- Commercial-quality brewing.
- Milk froths in just 10 seconds.
- No grinder, tamper, or carafe included.
- Replacement parts are rare and expensive.
Is a Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine What You’re Looking For?
What sets a semi-automatic espresso machine aside from others is the manual extraction pump. This pump is what allows water to pass through to your coffee.
When you have to manually operate the extraction pump, you stay in full control of the water quantity of your coffee. So you can lower it for a more saturated taste, or crank it up for a lighter dose.
The other type of espresso machine is the super-automatic or fully-automatic machine. These automate everything from the grinding to the boiling, pouring, and extracting.
Both types can be used in offices, homes, and cafes. We recommend semi-automatic machines, especially for cafes. Customers can be picky on the strength of their coffee, and you want to have all options available to your buyers.
However, if you just want to turn on the machine and forget about it, then go for the super-automatic kind. They do all the hard work for you while you make breakfast for yourself.
|Features||Nuova Simonelli Oscar II||DeLonghi EC860||Rocket Appartamento|
|Taste||Balanced taste, no burning.||Balanced taste, no burning.||Balanced taste, might be slightly metallic.|
|Brewing capacity||11 cups.||4 cups.||10 cups.|
|User-friendliness||Push Buttons, dispensing lever.||Push buttons, dispensing lever.||Knobs, levers, gauge.|
|Design and materials||Stainless steel, ABS plastic coating, chrome-plated brass.||Stainless steel, chrome-plated brass.||Stainless steel, chrome-plated brass.|
|Cleaning and maintenance||The valve can get clogged during descaling.||Easy to descale.||Easy to descale.|
|Frothing||Angled stainless steel wand.||Straight stainless steel wand.||Angled stainless steel wand|
|Grinding||Not available.||Not available.||Not available.|
|Additional features||Auto shut-off, auto-refill, 3-way valve.||Automatic Cappuccino technology.||Cool-Touch steam wand.|
|Value for money||Meets the value.||Low.||Slightly overpriced.|
The Nuova Simonelli Oscar Espresso Review:
The Nuova Simonelli does its best to extract as much flavor as it can from the provided grounds. It uses special technology that prevents the grounds from burning, leaving your espresso tasting as fresh as possible.
Just to recap, there is no grinder on this espresso maker. So if your coffee tastes funny, it could be your grounds’ fault and not the Simonelli’s. The Oscar II is made to be used in commercial cafes, so the taste is highly professional and aromatic. Everything that goes through the portafilter retains the taste of the original grounds.
DeLonghi’s EC860 provides a similar taste, but you’ll notice it isn’t as keen on preventing burning. It comes with a professional portafilter that has a built-in crema device. All of this is essential for retaining the flavor of the grounds and ESE pods.
The Rocket Appartamento goes all out, though. It uses an E61 brew group that’s designed to ensure the correct brewing temperature. And it makes use of a dual pre-infusion technology, which saturates the coffee as it pours out.
The Nuova Simonelli Oscar II is a highly reputed espresso machine with a water tank capacity of 2.8 liters. This means that you can make up to 11 cups of espresso. However, you can only make 1 or 2 cups of espresso at any given time.
Normally when you make coffee in an office, you make it for yourself or a few other coworkers, which is why this espresso machine is the best, as it allows you to make only 2 cups at a time. But if you want to make more, you will have to run a few cycles, which can be time-consuming.
When you compare that to the DeLonghi EC860, you get to see something similar. The water reservoir can hold up to 1 liter of water and can make one or two cups at a time. But it requires more frequent water refills since the reservoir is smaller.
As for the Rocket Appartamento, it can hold up to 2.5 liters in its reservoir. And can also make one to two cups at a time. The water tank capacity is higher here, which means you don’t have to refill it every so often.
If you’re the type of person that prefers a minimal interface, look no further than the Nuova Simonelli. This model has a highly polished steel front that boasts a coffee dispenser with 4 simple buttons on top of it. There’s a lever that allows you to dispense the espresso into your cups, along with a milk frothing wand.
The water reservoir can be accessed from the top. You also get a “hot plate” on the top that keeps your freshly brewed cups warm until you pick them up. A drip tray is also fixed at the bottom to catch any spills and drips.
The DeLonghi EC860 features a similar design, although it’s more dynamic than flat. The buttons are all cramped in one place, and the dispensing lever is thick and smooth. There’s also a milk frothing wand at the side along with a cup warmer on the top.
However, the Rocket Appartamento is what stands out here, albeit in a more negative way. Its interface is too cluttered with levers and pipes. There are two rotary dials, which will take time to get used to. But you do get a pressure gauge, which isn’t featured in the other two machines.
Design and Materials:
Now on to the materials used, the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II employs stainless steel for a majority of its frame. Stainless steel is one of the best as it has high tensile strength, does not corrode, and does not rust.
The entire exterior is also coated with a layer of ABS plastic. If you don’t already know, this type of plastic is highly immune to heat, scratches, and shock. Plus, it doesn’t increase the overall cost of the product too much. The brew group is made from marine grade brass that is highly conductive and free from corrosion.
If you compare it to the DeLonghi, the EC860 also has a stainless steel construction, though no ABS plastic. Since there isn’t any special outer coating, we can assume that it will leave fingerprints and scratches behind.
The Rocket Appartamento is a bit more diverse, employing steel, copper, and brass. The boiler is made of copper, the brew group from chrome-plated brass, and the rest from stainless steel. In fact, even the steam wand is made from stainless steel.
Cleaning and Maintenance:
Maintaining an espresso machine is a responsibility no one wants to take, which is why manufacturers are making it increasingly easier to clean out their units. The Nuova Simonelli requires a moderate amount of cleaning. However, there’s nothing you can’t do with just a brush and some hot water.
The manufacturer recommends the annual replacement of both the showerhead and its gasket. The Nuova includes an Auto-Refill system that automatically adds more water to the tank if it’s running low. And if it doesn’t find any water for refilling, the unit simply shuts off to prevent burning out.
Compare that to the DeLonghi and the Appartamento, and you don’t see much of a difference. Both can be easily cleaned with a brush, water, and soap. And both have their own safety features that make maintaining the units easier.
Adding to that, the water tank and drip tray can be removed for separate cleaning. And in the DeLonghi, the parts are entirely dishwasher safe (no rusting). All three can be back flushed, and it is recommended to do so at least once every week.
Frothing milk and adding steam to your espresso is made easier through a steam/frothing wand. The frothing wand in the Simonelli is narrow, made of stainless steel, and has a rubber grip. The wand can be rotated 360 degrees, so adding a cup underneath it is easy and not as messy as other machines.
One of the best things about using the Simonelli Oscar II is that you can froth the milk while brewing the espresso at the same time. The steam is warm and dry, with little to no moisture. The only downside is that there is no pressure gauge with which you can estimate the pressure inside the wand.
The DeLonghi EC860 doesn’t seem to stand out so much from the other products. The steam has an adequate moisture content and comes out piping hot. However, the Appartamento goes the extra mile here, with a patented Cool-Touch technology. So the steam wand doesn’t feel hot to the touch.
There’s also a pressure gauge that lets you look at the pressure inside the steamer. So you can know exactly how much pressure and heat you’re getting. A pressure gauge also helps make troubleshooting easier.
Unfortunately, the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II does not feature an in-built grinder. This is why it’s only recommended for people who either use pre-ground coffee or have a separate grinder at home.
However, a separate grinder means you get more control over the texture and fineness of the coffee. And you can always buy a Nuova Simonelli Grinta Coffee Grinder. It’s great for use in homes and cafes. The Oscar II is compatible with ESE pods and Lavazza espresso capsules.
Neither the DeLonghi EC860 nor the Rocket Appartamento feature in-built grinders. But both have separately purchasable grinders for the best experience. The DeLonghi can be used with ground coffee and ESE pods as well. But there is no mention of espresso capsules.
As for the Rocket Appartamento, unfortunately, it only works with ground coffee. This is a bit of a downside, as a lot of people use ESE pods and espresso capsules.
The Nuova Simonelli Oscar II hosts a collection of innovative technologies. The most prominent one is the passively heat circulating system. The brew group has been designed in such a way that the heat from the heat exchanger line gets circulated passively. So no heat goes to waste.
Another prominent technology is the use of the coveted 3-way solenoid valve. The purpose of this valve is to prevent excessive pressure from building up inside the machine. It also releases all pressure that has been built up as soon as you’re done brewing. So the espresso puck can remain dry and doesn’t drip.
The DeLonghi EC860 makes use of its patented Automatic Cappuccino System. Through this, you get a commercial-grade cappuccino at the push of a button. The menu is 100% programmable, and the steam wand can be repurposed for tea and soups.
Talking about the Rocket Appartamento, you get the Cool-Touch technology we talked about earlier. There’s also a dual pre-infusion system that creates aromatic extractions rich in cream and flavor.
Value for Money:
Now for the real deal. Is the Oscar II really worth the money? Well, the first thing we need to look at on the materials. Stainless steel cuts down on manufacturing costs, and there’s an ample amount of space for adding a longer steam wand.
However, this machine doesn’t include a grinder, though it costs more than those that do include one. The key selling point here is the rich aromatic taste and the passive heat circulation. Additionally, there are safety features that prevent burnouts.
The DeLonghi EC860 is way cheaper while providing a similar set of features. And the Automatic Cappuccino technology makes it stand out as a great contender for its value. Plus, the fact that the brewing process is 100% programmable.
As for the Rocket Appartamento, it’s priced similar to the Oscar II. The only downside is that the interface is too cluttered.
Who Should Buy the Oscar Nuova Simonelli?
The Nuova Simonelli Oscar II is recommended for homes, offices, and cafes. It’s made to be commercial-grade so that you can get professional quality espresso right at your home.
If you’re the type of person that prefers to use ESE pods, then the Nuova Simonelli is for you. You can even use Nespresso and Lavazza capsules, making it the most accessible espresso machine.
It’s a much-needed upgrade from previous models that weren’t as qualitative. The linear user-interface and the unbreakable steel body are what make Oscar a barista’s favorite. That is why it’s also recommended for professional café owners to boost their sales.
But the Oscar II will cost a substantial portion of your budget. If you’re willing to pay so much for an espresso machine, then definitely go for it. You won’t regret it, but there are some lower-end coffee machines that give similar results.
Who Shouldn’t Buy the Oscar Nuova Simonelli?
If you don’t have ground coffee and instead prefer an in-built grinder, then the Nuova Simonelli isn’t for you. You’ll need to buy a separate burr grinder, which will cost a lot on top of your already-expensive Oscar II.
Perhaps one of the biggest downsides of owning an Oscar 2 is that you don’t get anything included with it. Even the carafe you have to purchase separately. There is no tamper or grinder.
FAQs for the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II:
Is it easy to descale Nuova Simonelli Oscar?
It can be, but a lot of people struggle with it. When you run a regular descaling cycle on this machine, the valve has chances of getting blocked.
The best way to counter this is to add a slit in the portafilter stopper to allow some pressure to escape.
What two grinders would you recommend as a companion to the Oscar II?
You can try Nuova Simonelli Grinta Grinder, which is made just for the Oscar II. You can also go for the Baratza Grinder, which is very commonly paired with the Oscar II.
Do you recommend making an Americano with the Oscar II?
The Oscar II does not have a hot water spigot. So you need a separate hot water source to make Americano. It’s still possible to make, but it just takes a lot of extra steps.
Finally, it’s time to give our verdict on the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II. Looking at the body and design of the machine (and how well the espresso tastes), we’d say it’s a splendid recommendation!
The biggest selling feature of this machine is that you can brew and steam at the same time. This is an espresso machine for the professional barista, but home users can operate it with ease.
If we had to note a drawback, it would be the absence of a built-in carafe or a grinder. But it stays true to the quality of the brand.
And that was our verdict on the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II! If you like it, make sure to buy it along with our recommended grinders. Now go out there and put your coffee making skills to the test!