Is Breville’s Oracle Touch Worth The $2,800 Price Tag?

If you like milky espresso drinks, this is a perfect machine.
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Courtesy of Breville

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I fall into a highly specific category of coffee enthusiasts. I’m a bit of a snob about the quality of my drinks (my friends tend to be terrified to take me to a new coffee shop), but I also do not have the patience or mathematical abilities to pore over coffee-to-water ratios, repeatedly tare scales, and futz with fidgety little tools to get my at-home coffee just right. So an espresso machine that takes 20 minutes to heat up only to require me to use my brain to weigh coffee beans before I’ve actually consumed caffeine isn’t for me.

I want to be able to drink a perfect latte made with fresh beans on my patio within 10 minutes of rolling out of bed. Breville’s Oracle Touch espresso machine delivers exactly that: a latte that’s noticeably better than what I’d pay $7 for at the café around the corner from my Brooklyn apartment. Unnamed café, you’re on notice: Your furniture is cute; your espresso is always burned.

The Oracle Touch isn’t quite a super automatic espresso machine, but it’s as close as Breville comes. That means it does pretty much everything for you. Grinding, dosing, and tamping your espresso? Taken care of. Your milk will automatically froth to the exact temperature and foam level you prefer—and if that still sounds like too much decision-making for you, just choose flat white, latte, cappuccino, espresso, or long black from the machine’s touchscreen. Pretty much all you have to do is make sure there are freshly roasted beans loaded into the hopper, turn the thing on, and decide what kind of espresso beverage you want.

It even fits comfortably on a fairly small countertop.

Carina Finn

On a true super automatic machine like a Jura, all you have to do is put a cup under the spout, push a button and both the coffee and milk will come pouring in. This takes a few more steps, but it’s still quite simple. To pull a shot, you just insert the portafilter under the grinder chute and press “grind,” then wait for it to dispense the correct dose of ground coffee and tamp it down. The grind button will turn green when it’s dosed and tamped correctly, so you can move on to the “brew” function. Move the portafilter over, lock it in, and press another button. In the unlikely event that the machine senses the wrong amount of coffee in the basket, with new beans say, the screen will read “stopped” and you’ll have to try again. The machine will automatically adjust the grind time for you.

While your espresso brews, you can fill the milk pitcher, place it under the steam wand, and press that button. You can manually texture your milk if that’s your thing, but I’ve found that setting the automatic steam function to my temperature and foam preferences produces better milk than I’ve ever been able to achieve using my brain and my hands.

Some people will hate the very idea of all this. Where’s the sense of adventure? The ability to control your extraction? Don’t you want to learn how to do it the right way? Personally, I do not. I’m not a professional barista, and I’m okay with that.

If you absolutely must tinker away, the Oracle Touch offers some options. You can adjust the grind size for your espresso as well as the depth of the tamp, and then watch a readout of the extraction time on the screen as you pull your shot. So if you want to calibrate the machine when you get new beans, by all means, go for it. In fact, I usually do. You can also create custom drink presets if you like your flat whites a little hotter, or your lattes a little foamier.

It’s worth noting that this machine is expensive. At $2,800, no one is going to buy this on a whim. But if you live in a city where the base cost of any espresso-with-milk drink hovers around $7—or live in a place where you can’t easily pop into a coffee shop to buy a latte at all—it will eventually end up paying for itself. My two-coffee-drinkers household in New York City used to buy a latte most days, and after six months the Oracle Touch is feeling like a value.

Will this machine produce a competition-winning espresso shot that tastes flawless without milk? Probably not. And if that’s what you want, there are other machines for you. But I don’t really drink espresso without milk anyway, so what I lose in espresso nuance I more than make up for with convenience and speed. Now that I’ve figured out that I like my milk steamed to exactly 152 degrees Fahrenheit with level four milk foam, I usually only trek to my local coffee shop to see the cute girl who works there.

Breville Oracle Touch Espresso Machine

Breville Oracle Specs