Nuova Simonelli Oscar II Review

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

Our review process | Our team

I've been looking forward to this Nuova Simonelli Oscar II review for quite some time. As it happens, this is an absolutely superb home espresso machine that fills a glaring gap in the market.

I’ve been looking forward to this Nuova Simonelli Oscar II review for quite some time. As it happens, this is an absolutely superb home espresso machine that fills a glaring gap in the market.

By saying that, I mean that the Oscar II will appeal to those who want to upgrade from a budget-friendly single boiler machine to something more powerful. And without having to empty their bank accounts in the process.

Costing $1,495.00, the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II represents incredible value for money, especially given its design, build and performance.

So, if you’re looking for a machine that’ll help you up your espresso and milk foam game in a big way, this Nuova Simonelli espresso machine review might just put a smile on your face!

Affordable prosumer machine

Nuova Simonelli Oscar II

Sleek and streamlined

Gorgeous design

High-quality build

Easy to use

Heat exchanger boiler

Great value

Limited adjustable settings

Nuova Simonelli Oscar II Review Overview

Nuova Simonelli is an Italian manufacturer that’s been in the espresso machine business since the 1930s. Primarily known for its outstanding commercial models, Nuova Simonelli has also produced quite a few home espresso machines over the years.

The most affordable Nuova Simonelli espresso machine for home use is the Oscar II, which launched in 2008 to replace the original Oscar. Let’s just say the manufacturer has hit a real home run with the second iteration, especially given how underwhelming its predecessor turned out to be.

So, what are the benefits of upgrading to the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II? Well, for starters, this is a heat exchanger machine, which means you’ll be able to prepare espresso and steam milk simultaneously. I’ll go into a little more detail on how that works later. What’s more, the Oscar II is equipped with commercial-grade components like a 58mm portafilter and a powerful manual steam wand.

These days, it seems to be fashionable for prosumer espresso machines to sport mid-century industrial design vibes. However, the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II has a completely different aesthetic. I happen to love its space-age aesthetics, although some people might not feel the same.

Another design choice that sets the Oscar II apart from the competition is its group head. Instead of the popular E61 group head that you’ll find on machines like the Rocket Appartamento, Nuova Simonelli has included an enclosed thermosiphon brew group. Again, I’ll talk more about that a little later.

Overall, my first impressions of the Oscar II are of a beautiful and unique espresso machine that’s a big step up from mid-range single boiler models.

Nuova Simonelli Oscar II Features

Let’s continue this Nuova Simonelli espresso machine review by taking a closer look at what makes the Oscar II tick.

Size and Design

I’ve already mentioned the Oscar II’s retro-futuristic design and how it might not appeal to everyone. Still, you have to agree that this is one sleek, streamlined beauty. While there is some plastic involved in the machine’s construction – notably the cup warmer up top – most of the housing is stainless steel.

Personally, I just love the shiny metal housing and the way the rippled chrome-effect group head lends the machine a slight art deco vibe. What’s more, this espresso machine is built like a tank.

Nuova Simonelli Oscar II Overview
Nuova Simonelli Oscar II Side

While the Oscar II isn’t exactly huge, it’s not what I’d call compact. Still, I think it’ll fit nicely on most kitchen counters. That said, you will need access to the rear of the machine, where there’s a 84.5-ounce (2.5-liter) removable water tank.

The only glaring design flaw I’m aware of is the way the drip tray fits onto the machine. You have to tip the tray backward slightly as you’re removing it, so if it’s too full you’ll spill dirty water everywhere. Still, in the grand scheme of things that’s small potatoes.

User Interface

Located on top of the brew group, the machine’s user interface comprises two soft-touch buttons for single and double shots as well as indicator lights for low water and boiler temperature.

What’s interesting about the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II is that it has no manual mode for brewing espresso. Instead, you have to program your desired shot time by holding the button until it flashes, pressing it to start extraction then pressing again once you’re satisfied.

I’ve heard mixed reports about how well this timed shot system works, but there is a workaround. Essentially, you simply have to set the machine to run for 60 seconds and stop the shot manually each time. While that may seem a little convoluted, it’ll give you more control over your extraction.

Portafilter

As you’d expect from a Nuova Simonelli espresso machine costing $1,495.00, the Oscar II comes with a commercial-style 58mm portafilter.

What’s more, you’ll get a pair of single-wall filter baskets.

Nuova Simonelli Oscar II Side Portafilter

This size portafilter is industry standard, and you’d be hard pressed to find a professional barista rocking anything else. Sure, using single-wall baskets means you’ll have to spend extra time dialing in your dose and grind size. However, you’ll get much better results than from the pressurized baskets that come with budget-friendly machines.

Incidentally, you can purchase a separate pod adaptor kit that’ll let you brew with Easy Serve Espresso (ESE) pods. Still, why anyone would want to do that is beyond me.

Boiler

The Nuova Simonelli Oscar II is equipped with a 67.6-ounce (2-liter) copper heat exchanger boiler. In case you don’t already know, a heat exchanger boiler allows you to pull espresso and steam milk at the same time.

Here’s how it works: the boiler features a small section that’s dedicated to siphoning off water from the boiler and circulating it through the group head. This maintains the ideal temperature for brewing. As for the rest of the water in the boiler, it’s available whenever you’re ready to froth milk or dispense hot water from the steam wand.

For those of you who’ve never used a heat exchanger or dual boiler machine, being able to pull shots and steam milk simultaneously will be a revelation!

Soft Infusion

In case you were wondering, yes, the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II has a pre-infusion function. It’s just that the Italians decided to refer to it as “soft infusion.” Whatever! It’s the same thing – the machine dampens the coffee puck under low pressure before extraction to allow the coffee’s aromas to start developing.

The only downside is that you aren’t able to adjust the soft infusion parameters. Come to think of it, you aren’t able to adjust any brewing parameters with the Oscar II apart from extraction time.

Steam Wand

The Oscar II’s manual steam wand is, without a doubt, one of the best I’ve seen on any home espresso machine. I guess there’s a reason why the Italian manufacturer is the official supplier for the Barista Championship!

Anyway, the steam wand is mounted on a ball joint, so it’ll rotate 360-degrees. Plus, it’s much longer than most espresso machine steam wands. Activated via a cool paddle on top of the machine, the Nuova Simonelli wand really packs a punch, thanks to the four-holed tip.

What’s more, the machine produces very dry steam, so it’s ideal for creating silky microfoam for your flat white or espresso macchiato.

Accessories

I don’t like to complain, but it’s kinda my job to point out the negatives as well as the positives during my reviews. So, excuse me while I rip into Nuova Simonelli.

Guys, what were you thinking when you decided it’s be OK to throw in a flimsy plastic espresso tamper and a plastic coffee scoop with such a fantastic espresso machine? Oh, and for the money folks are shelling out, you could have included a milk steaming pitcher!

There. I feel a lot better now.

Anyway, if you end up purchasing the Oscar II, throw away the plastic accessories immediately. Next, do yourself a favor and buy a decent espresso tamper as well as a stainless steel milk pitcher. You won’t have to spend much on either.

Finally, let’s hope the manufacturer reads this review and mends its ways!

How to Use the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II

You probably don’t need me to tell you that you’ll need a burr coffee grinder sitting next to your Oscar II. And not just any old burr grinder. You’ll need something capable of making the necessary micro-adjustments for dialing in your shots to perfection.

Feel free to browse the many awesome options in my best coffee grinder guide or single dose grinder guide if your current model isn’t up to the task.

Nuova Simonelli Oscar II Side 02

Oh, and if money’s an issue, consider a manual coffee grinder instead. Trust me, something like the 1Zpresso J Max will be more than adequate and will cost a fraction of what you’d pay for an equally competent electric grinder.

I’d also recommend picking up a decent coffee scale. That’ll prove invaluable when it comes to maintaining a consistent dose. Heck, you can even go full nerd and use it to weigh your shots as they’re extracting.

First things first you’ll need to fill the reservoir with filtered water and press the power button. The machine will start to fill the boiler, and after a few minutes the resistance warning light will come on. From what I can gather, you’ll have to wait for a round half an hour until the Oscar II is ready to pull shots. In the meantime, put your espresso cups on the cup warmer. After all, who wants to drink fresh espresso from a cold cup?

Espresso Preparation

Once the machine is ready to go, weigh out your coffee beans, grind ’em and dose the portafilter. I’d recommend starting with a dose of 19 grams for the double filter basket. After tamping, insert the portafilter into the group head and lock into place.

Unless you’re going to go with the factory-set shot time, press and hold the double shot button until it starts blinking.

Now it’s a case of timers at the ready! Next, place your cup under the portafilter dispensing spouts and hit the button again. You’re aiming for an extraction time of between 25 and 30 seconds, with a yield of around 2 ounces (60 milliliters).

Once you’re happy with the volume of espresso in the cup, press the button once more. Next time, the machine will automatically stop the extraction according to the time you just programmed.

As I mentioned earlier, you can also just let the espresso run for 60 seconds, which is the maximum extraction time available. That way, you’re creating a fake manual mode wherein you’ll have to stop the extraction each time you pull a shot.

Oh, and feel free to steam milk whenever you want. Remember – this is a heat exchanger machine, so you can do both things at once!

Nuova Simonelli Espresso Machine Cleaning

One of the benefits of owning a semi-automatic espresso machine like this is the relatively low maintenance involved. That’s not to say you can ignore regular cleaning altogether, it’s just that keeping the Oscar II in good working order is less involved than with a super automatic espresso machine.

I’d recommend cleaning all removable parts thoroughly before using the machine for the first time. That includes the removable water tank, portafilter and filter baskets. Just rinse with warm water and mild detergent and you’ll be good to go.

As far as daily maintenance goes, rinse the portafilter after every espresso and flush the group head. Also, make sure to keep the steam wand gunk-free by wiping it with a damp cloth after each use. You can also remove the tip and soak it in water once a week or so.

You should always use filtered water in the Nuova Simonelii’s reservoir to avoid limescale buildup. Still, you might have to do a little descaling once a month. Check out the espresso machine section of my cleaning and descaling guide for detailed instructions. 

Nuova Simonelli Oscar II Specifications

Nuova Simonelli Oscar II
Manufacturer

Nuova

Model number

Oscar II

Product category

Manual espresso machine

Housing material

Stainless steel with plastic parts

Color options

Black, Red

Milk frother

Steam wand

User interface

Buttons and dials

App

User profiles

2

Portafilter size

58 mm

Tamping

Manual

Removable water reservoir

Water reservoir capacity

84.5 fl oz / 2.5 l

Number of boilers

1

Pump pressure

9 bar

Maximum cup height

4.0 in / 10.2 cm

Grinder

Grind adjustment levels

N/A

Bean hopper capacity

N/A

Specialty drinks

0

Pre-infusion

Adjustable coffee temperature

Adjustable milk foam temperature

2-cup function

Yes (non-milk drinks only)

Hot water function

Hot milk function

Milk foam only option

Water filter

Power consumption

1200 W

Weight

30.8 lb / 14.0 kg

Dimensions

15.8 x 11.8 x 16.8 in
40.1 x 30.0 x 42.7 cm

Warranty

2 years

Notes

Included Accessories: Plastic tamper, plastic coffee scoop, 2 x filter baskets, user manual

Current price on Amazon

$1,495.00

All specifications

Nuova Simonelli Oscar II vs Other Espresso Machines

Oscar II vs Breville Dual Boiler

Breville Dual Boiler Overview Kitchen

You guys know how much I love Breville espresso machines, and the Breville Dual Boiler is one of my favorites. Unlike its appliance-grade siblings, the Dual Boiler is a prosumer machine with commercial-grade components.

Sure, you’ll pay a whopping $1,599.95 for this machine, but this thing takes espresso and milk foam preparation to the next level.

As the name suggests, there are two boilers on board, so you can make espresso and steam milk simultaneously. Plus, there are two pumps. I also love the fact that there’s a pressure gauge to help you dial in your shots as well as tons of adjustable settings.

Incidentally, you’ll often find the Dual Boiler bundled with the Breville Smart Grinder Pro for less than you’d pay for the machine alone.

See Also: Breville Dual Boiler Review 2024

Oscar II vs Rancilio Silvia

Rancilio Silvia Overview

Costing $900.00, the Rancilio Silvia is one of the most popular home espresso machines of all time, and for good reason; this Italian classic boasts a 58mm portafilter, commercial steam wand and a rugged, high-quality build.

However, unlike the Nuova Simonelli, the Silvia is a single boiler machine.

Listen, you can make exquisite espresso with the Rancilio Silvia, even if it is a little finicky at times. However, switching between brewing and steaming can take a long time and get rather frustrating.

Enter the Rancilio Silvia Pro X, which comes with a pressure gauge, dual boilers and a PID controller. This model is simply incredible and outperforms the original in every way. However, you’ll have to pay an eye-watering $1,990.00 for the privilege.

See Also: Rancilio Silvia Review 2024

Nuova Simonelli Oscar II vs Others Comparison Chart

Nuova Simonelli Oscar IIBreville Dual BoilerRancilio Silvia
Manufacturer

Nuova

Breville

Rancilio

Model number

Oscar II

BES920BSXL/BES920XL

HSD-SILVIA

Product category

Manual espresso machine

Manual espresso machine

Manual espresso machine

Housing material

Stainless steel with plastic parts

Stainless steel

Stainless steel

Color options

Black, Red

Black Sesame, Brushed Stainless Steel

Matte Black, Matte White, Stainless Steel

Milk frother

Steam wand

Steam wand

Steam wand

User interface

Buttons and dials

Monochromatic LCD with buttons

Buttons and dials

App

User profiles

2

Memo function only

Memo function only

Portafilter size

58 mm

58 mm

58 mm

Tamping

Manual

Manual

Manual

Removable water reservoir

Water reservoir capacity

84.5 fl oz / 2.5 l

84.5 fl oz / 2.5 l

67.6 fl oz / 2.0 l

Number of boilers

1

2

1

Pump pressure

9 bar

15 bar

15 bar

Maximum cup height

4.0 in / 10.2 cm

4.0 in / 10.2 cm

3.0 in / 7.6 cm

Grinder

N/A

N/A

Grind adjustment levels

N/A

N/A

N/A

Bean hopper capacity

N/A

N/A

N/A

Specialty drinks

0

0

1

Pre-infusion

Adjustable coffee temperature

Adjustable milk foam temperature

2-cup function

Yes (non-milk drinks only)

Yes

Yes

Hot water function

Hot milk function

Milk foam only option

Water filter

Power consumption

1200 W

1700 W

1100 W

Weight

30.8 lb / 14.0 kg

30.0 lb / 13.6 kg

30.8 lb / 14.0 kg

Dimensions

15.8 x 11.8 x 16.8 in
40.1 x 30.0 x 42.7 cm

20.1 x 17.4 x 17.4 in
51.1 x 44.2 x 44.2 cm

13.3 x 11.4 x 9.2 in
33.8 x 29.0 x 23.4 cm

Warranty

2 years

2 years

1 year

Notes

Included Accessories: Plastic tamper, plastic coffee scoop, 2 x filter baskets, user manual

Included Accessories: Dosing tool, Filter baskets (1 and 2 cups), 16 ounce stainless steel milk jug, Cleaning Kit, Water filter holder, Instruction manual.

Included Accessories: Coffee scoop, tamper, 2 x filter baskets, user manual. Pod adapter available, sold separately.

Current price on Amazon

$1,495.00

$1,599.95

$900.00

Nuova Simonelli Oscar IIBreville Dual BoilerRancilio Silvia
Manufacturer

Nuova

Breville

Rancilio

Model number

Oscar II

BES920BSXL/BES920XL

HSD-SILVIA

Product category

Manual espresso machine

Manual espresso machine

Manual espresso machine

Housing material

Stainless steel with plastic parts

Stainless steel

Stainless steel

Color options

Black, Red

Black Sesame, Brushed Stainless Steel

Matte Black, Matte White, Stainless Steel

Milk frother

Steam wand

Steam wand

Steam wand

User interface

Buttons and dials

Monochromatic LCD with buttons

Buttons and dials

App

User profiles

2

Memo function only

Memo function only

Portafilter size

58 mm

58 mm

58 mm

Tamping

Manual

Manual

Manual

Removable water reservoir

Water reservoir capacity

84.5 fl oz / 2.5 l

84.5 fl oz / 2.5 l

67.6 fl oz / 2.0 l

Number of boilers

1

2

1

Pump pressure

9 bar

15 bar

15 bar

Maximum cup height

4.0 in / 10.2 cm

4.0 in / 10.2 cm

3.0 in / 7.6 cm

Grinder

N/A

N/A

Grind adjustment levels

N/A

N/A

N/A

Bean hopper capacity

N/A

N/A

N/A

Specialty drinks

0

0

1

Pre-infusion

Adjustable coffee temperature

Adjustable milk foam temperature

2-cup function

Yes (non-milk drinks only)

Yes

Yes

Hot water function

Hot milk function

Milk foam only option

Water filter

Power consumption

1200 W

1700 W

1100 W

Weight

30.8 lb / 14.0 kg

30.0 lb / 13.6 kg

30.8 lb / 14.0 kg

Dimensions

15.8 x 11.8 x 16.8 in
40.1 x 30.0 x 42.7 cm

20.1 x 17.4 x 17.4 in
51.1 x 44.2 x 44.2 cm

13.3 x 11.4 x 9.2 in
33.8 x 29.0 x 23.4 cm

Warranty

2 years

2 years

1 year

Notes

Included Accessories: Plastic tamper, plastic coffee scoop, 2 x filter baskets, user manual

Included Accessories: Dosing tool, Filter baskets (1 and 2 cups), 16 ounce stainless steel milk jug, Cleaning Kit, Water filter holder, Instruction manual.

Included Accessories: Coffee scoop, tamper, 2 x filter baskets, user manual. Pod adapter available, sold separately.

Current price on Amazon

$1,495.00

$1,599.95

$900.00

Verdict: Nuova Simonelli Oscar II Review

Affordable prosumer machine

Nuova Simonelli Oscar II

Sleek and streamlined

Gorgeous design

High-quality build

Easy to use

Heat exchanger boiler

Great value

Limited adjustable settings

Whether you’re looking for your first home espresso machine or want to upgrade from what’s already in your kitchen, I can wholeheartedly recommend the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II.

And when you take into account the machine’s outstanding build quality and stellar performance, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything better at this price-point.

Personally, I can’t wait to get my hands on this Nuova Simonelli espresso machine. I’m desperate to put it through its paces and see how it measures up to the other machines in the Coffeeness test kitchen!

What do you guys think? Should I buy the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II to test out? I look forward to your comments!

Your coffee expert
Team Image
Arne Preuss

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

More about Arne Preuss

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

More about Arne Preuss

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Table of Contents