Upgrading my Oscar Espresso Machine

The Nuova Simonelli Oscar Espresso Machine is one of the best professional home machine you can find. The price is reasonable for the Malaysian market. It is not too heavy, around 18kg. Huge 2litre boiler. Plenty of powerful steam to make excellent cappuccino and latte. Commercial grade brew head and a Heat-Exchanger machine that allows you to brew espresso and froth milk at the SAME time. Specifications here.

But there are 2 “flaws’ with the Oscar.

1. The 4-holes steam tip
2. Brewing pressure

Steam Tip Problem
The original 4-holes tip has a very wide angel of dispersion. Trying to make microfoam has been really difficult. Many of us has resort to plugging a hole or 2 with toothpick. The toothpick idea does work. I plug one hole and has been able to make good microfoam. It still requires a steady hand and full concentration to achieve perfect velvety smooth frothed milk.

Finally, Irving and I got ourselves a NEW 2-holes Isomac steam tip and microfoaming has become a piece of cake.

Here is how it looks like:

High Brewing Pressure Problem
Another problem for espresso lovers are the brewing pressure. The original settings of the Oscar came with a brewing pressure of around 13 to 14 BAR. The official recommendation of espresso extraction is set at 9 Bar.

The overly high pressure resulted in espresso that is slightly more bitter and less sweetness. After we installed in an OPV (Over-Pressure Valve), the improvement is definitely noticeable. Using my favourite Supremo Highlander Blend, the improvement is obvious, less bitter and much livelier.

Do note that if you are not  a regular espresso lover and drink mostly cappuccino or latte, you will not notice much difference and this issue may not concern you at all.

Here’s what happened when Irving installed the OPV on my Oscar Espresso Machine.

Before the setup.

Installing the T-Joint

The OPV is on the right of the T-Joint.

The final measure of the pressure. It is NOW at 9Bar. (I forgot to take a pic of the original settings at 13Bar)

If you have an Oscar Espresso Machine that is more than 1 year (after warranty), you may want to consider doing the upgrade.

The New 2-holes Steam Tip cost RM55.00

The OPV cost RM200 + RM150 for installation charge.


9 thoughts on “Upgrading my Oscar Espresso Machine

  1. Venky


    Can’t wait for mine to upgrade. I think u r right that the chances of tasting the difference is less when u make a cap and latte. However, one note, since it was brewing at a higher pressure, u could be deceived in believing the beans were fesh when u see the crema on old beans..The other negative of higher brew pressure would be having to grind the beans much finer, there just isn’t too much finer to go on the M5…..

  2. aea

    Hi Chan,

    Couldn’t agree more with Venky.. Sure to get one of those things. just tell me when the shipment arrived. looking for the better taste profile…

  3. Bernard

    Hi KFChan,

    My name is Bernard and I am living in Hong Kong. I am using the Oscar also and like to know if I could order the OPV and 2 hole steam tip from you? If possible, could you teach me how to install the OPV. Thanks.

  4. doug

    Thanks for the trick on the 2 hole steam tip which I’ll try out. My new style 4 hole oscar tip will still froth a 22 oz pither in under 10 seconds which just seems way too fast, and microfoam is lacking. Ive also read a silvia v3 2 hole steam tip will work.

    As for the OPV upgrade, ive just never understood this. If the pump is capable of producing 1 millon bars of pressure and theres no coffee then no pressure will be produced (it’ll just flow through the basket). I was always under the impression that the grind, tamp and dose is what determines the pressure. If you’re over the 9 bar then wont your pulls will be too long anyways….

  5. Ho Kar Sam

    Hi KfChan,

    Can I know where and how to get these steam tip n opv kits? Highly appreciated.


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