Breville Oracle Touch: This Is the Ultimate Review

Last Updated On : April 2022
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Breville Oracle Touch Review

The Breville Oracle Touch Espresso Machine is arguably the most advanced machine in the Breville Oracle line, and this company’s answer to third wave specialty coffee. Featuring a sleek design and impressive build quality, this espresso machine is sure to amaze coffee drinkers of all levels of expertise.

 

But what truly sets the Oracle Touch apart from other super automatic espresso machines is its revolutionary integration of a commercial grade portafilter while remaining a fully automatic espresso machine - all you have to do is transfer the portafilter from the grind outlet to the group head. No more dealing with coffee ground messes or having to become a barista to have authentic coffee shop quality drinks while at home.

Breville claims the Oracle Touch is the barista.

So we have tested and reviewed this espresso machine to see whether this claim holds.

Let’s get started!

Overview

At a Glance...

  • Attractive design featuring premium stainless steel paneling and very little plastic. This may become your kitchen's center piece.

  • The large color touch screen and intuitive user interface makes using this espresso maker a joy.

  • This machine prepares authentic espresso due to its commercial grade portafilter and its wide array of technologies.

  • This espresso machine has a dual-boiler system that allows you to brew coffee and steam milk at the same time.

  • The automatic milk frothing system does an amazing job in creating micro foam suitable to latte art and other specialty coffee drinks.

  • This machine can also be used as a fully manual espresso machine if you have a separate grinder and the know-how. The milk frothing system also has a manual override.

  • Highly programmable machine with 5 pre-set drinks and the option to add 8 additional drinks based on your preferences.

  • Uses a hardened stainless steel conical burr grinder with 45 grind levels to grind coffee beans. The grind range can be further expanded by manually adjusting the upper burr.

  • Highly customizable, this machine allows you to control water and milk temperatures, the milk texture and more.

  • Easy to clean and maintain 

  • The large size of this machine could be an issue for smaller kitchens

  • The high cost of this machine can make it inaccessible to many people, but if you purchase 2 or more coffees per day, the Oracle Touch makes financial sense within a year.

Some Useful Specs...

  • Model: BES990BSS1BUS1

  • Type: Super automatic espresso machine with portafilter

  • Water tank capacity:  84 oz (2.48 L)

  • Bean hopper capacity:  8 oz (227 g)

  • Dimensions (W x H x D):  15.4" x 14.7" x 17.8" (39.1 x 37.3 x 45.2 cm)

  • Weight:  37 lb. (16.9 kg)

  • Grinder Type:  Hardened Steel Conical Burr with 45 grind levels

  • Dose Amount: Up to 22 grams

  • Number of Pre-programmed Drinks:  13 (5 pre-programmed and 8 set by user)

  • Display type:  Color Touch Screen

  • Brewing System: Heated Group head with 58 mm commercial portafilter

  • Milk Frothing System:  Steam wand with auto and manual modes

  • Ground coffee bypass:  No, but bean hopper can be easily removed

  • Warranty: 2 years

  • Power Requirements: 1800 Watts

What's included...

  • The espresso machine and portafilter

  • Stainless steel milk jug

  • 2 cup and 1 cup filter basket

  • Water filter holder and filter

  • Cleaning disc and cleaning tablets

  • Knock box

  • Grinder cleaning brush

  • Grind outlet brush and tamp magnet for removal

  • Cleaning tool for steam wand tip

  • Allen keys x2

  • Steam wand cleaning powder

  • Water hardness test strip

  • Descaling powder

The Oracle Touch by Breville

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Design and Build Quality

The Breville Oracle Touch is a beautiful coffee maker, with a sleek and modern design that will look great in any kitchen. This coffee machine is made mostly of stainless steel, which gives it a premium feel. Very little plastic is used, only the rear panel of the water tank and the front panel by the brew head are made of plastic, albeit of a high quality one.

The commercial portafilter is made of stainless steel, and the handle of hard premium plastic. Even the drip tray and tool basket (more on that below) are made of high quality plastic. You can tell no expense was spared when designing this machine, which is good given the high price tag.

The full-color touch screen is prominently featured in the center of the top front panel of the machine. It eliminates a lot of the buttons and dials from the Breville Oracle (BES980XL), which results in a clean minimalistic design. As a default, the screen cycles through the 'demo' program when idle, showing pictures of coffee drinks (i.e. begging you to use it).

At the time of writing, this coffee machine comes in 4 different colors. These are brushed stainless steel, black truffle, damson blue and black stainless steel.

At 15.4" x 14.7" x 17.8" (W x D x H), the Oracle touch is one of the largest home espresso machines. Although the height includes the bean hopper, which sits on top of the machine, any espresso cups you may place on top to warm up could make your machine a challenge to fit under your kitchen cabinet. See for example the picture below, where the Oracle Touch barely fits under our kitchen cabinets despite them being relatively tall.

Breville Oracle Touch Vertical Clearance
The Breville Oracle Touch barely fits under our cabinet doors.

This machine is also quite heavy at 37 lb (when empty). Thankfully, its design allows it to be fully operated from the front without the need to move it around. And if you need to move it, it comes with rollers (we'll talk about this later). So the weight of the machine is not really an issue.

All in all, the Breville Oracle Touch is an impressive looking machine built of premium materials that most likely will be the centerpiece of your kitchen. It is large, so check whether you have space in your kitchen before buying.

Features and Ease of Use

The Breville Oracle Touch is one of the most advanced home super automatic espresso machines, and it is made for the user who wants all the bells and whistles. Even though it's chock full of features and customization options, it's very intuitive and easy to use.

Let's start by discussing the dual-boiler design of this machine. It has a dedicated espresso boiler for brewing and a dedicated steam boiler for the milk system. In other words, this machine can brew coffee and steam milk simultaneously unlike most other home super automatic espresso machines.

Another main feature that differentiates the Oracle Touch from other automatic espresso machines is the use of a 58-mm commercial grade portafilter. It comes with a 1 cup and 2 cup filter basket for single and double espresso drinks.

Yes, this machine is considered an automatic espresso machine, yet it has a portafilter.

Unlike other semi-automatic espresso machines, such as the Barista Express, this machine grinds, doses and tamps, so all you need to do is move the portafilter from the grind station to the brew head. 

Breville Oracle Cleaning Tools
Breville Oracle Cleaning tools, portafilter and baskets, and tamping fan.

Of course, the use of a portafilter also allows you to use a separate grinder and do your own dosing and tamping if you wish.

However, this is not worth doing unless you enjoy the process, or you are ready to spend lavishly on a high-end grinder (after lavishly spending on this machine). That's because the integrated hardened steel conical burr grinder does a really good job only expensive grinders can match.

The grinder comes with 45 grind settings which can be adjusted using the dial on the left side of the machine. If that's not enough, you can manually extend the grind range by adjusting the upper burr. This may be necessary if you use drastically different coffee beans between brews.

Breville Oracle Touch Grind Settings
The grind settings are adjusted using this dial.

Something worth noting is that the burrs are not made of ceramic, which means they can heat up after repeated use. You may need to adjust the grind setting in-between extractions if you use this machine repeatedly within a short period of time.

The automatic milk frothing feature is another one worth mentioning. Using the touch screen you can set the desired milk temperature and choose between 9 levels of milk texture. To use it, simply fill the milk jug with milk and put it on the drip tray while ensuring the want is fully down. Then touch the milk button and voila!

We were a bit skeptical of this automatic milk frothing system but we can confirm our doubts were unfounded. This machine can create micro foam suitable for latte art by simply pressing a button - no skill required (well, you will need skill to actually do the latte art). It works best with whole milk, but you can use non-dairy milk like oat milk as well.

As a bonus, if you are an advanced user, you can trigger the manual milk texturing mode by lifting the steam wand. This is great if you have the skills to make latte art.

Breville Oracle Touch Milk Manual Mode
Lifting the want triggers the manual milk steaming mode.

In terms of programmability, the Breville Oracle Touch does not disappoint. It comes with 5 pre-programmed types of coffee drinks. These are the espresso, Americano, flat white, latte and cappuccino drinks.

You can also easily add 8 additional custom coffee drinks by scrolling to the right and tapping the "add new" button, for a total of 13 programmed drinks. You can even name the drinks and select an icon from a few pre-loaded coffee drink icons.

You can customize the pre-set drinks and the ones you create by changing the extraction time, drink size (for the americano), water temperature (via the main menu) and the milk temperature and texture via the milk station. 

Dosage is controlled by the filter basket you use, with the 2 cup one being able to handle about 22 grams of coffee (although this would vary depending on the type of espresso coffee beans you use).

Adjusting the tamping fan height also impacts the dosage, but we didn’t have to do this to get great coffee.

This espresso machine comes with a large, removable bean hopper that can hold up to 8 oz of coffee beans, and a large water tank at 84 oz. In other words, you won't have to fill the water tank and hopper very often. But if you do, water can be conveniently filled from the top front of the machine. Just make sure you don’t spill any on the screen.

In terms of ease of use, this espresso machine has it nailed down. Espresso making with the Oracle Touch is a joy.

When you turn it on for the first time, an easy-to-understand tutorial guides you through the machine setup. This is followed by a "Guide" button, which is essentially step-by-step instructions on preparing your first drink.

The user interface is very well thought-off. Once the machine is on, simply tap the drink of your choice and you will see three main icons appear, which make up the drink screen. 

Oracle Touch Drink Menu
Drink menu selection with 'add new' button for user defined drinks

These are the grind settings on the left side of the screen, the brew icon and brew settings on the center of the screen, and the milk button and settings on the right side of the screen. The positioning of the above buttons coincides with the position of the grind outlet, group head and milk system, which makes this an intuitive system. You are working from left to right.

Breville Oracle Touch Drink Interface
After selecting your drink you can customize the grind setting, brew time and milk temperature and texture.

Here's my workflow to prepare my morning flat white using the Oracle Touch. You will see how easy and convenient it is to use.

  1. The night before, program the machine to turn on 15 minutes before you wake up (it takes a relatively long time for this machine to warm up, when I timed it it took about 6 minutes).

  2. Also place the milk in the milk jug and leave in the fridge overnight.

  3. Once I manage to drag myself out of bed towards the kitchen, the first thing I do is pour hot water into my drinking cup. This is easily done by tapping the "hot water" button on the screen.

  4. Once my cup is full of hot water, I then warm the portafilter with hot water as well, dry it, and place it into the grind outlet.

  5. I then take the milk jug out of the fridge, place it on the drip tray, lower the milk wand, and then press the milk button to start the steaming process.

  6. While this is ongoing, I turn the portafilter handle to the right to start the grinding, dosing and tamping process. This can also be started by tapping the "grind" button.

  7. Once done, I remove the portafilter from the grind outlet and place it on the group head. I discard the hot water from the cup, place the cup on the drip tray, and I then tap the brew icon.

  8. At this point, the machine is brewing and steaming the milk simultaneously! Through experience, I have managed to time it such that the espresso extraction and milk steaming are done at the same time.

  9. I then pour the milk into the espresso for an amazing flat white!

  10. Once done, I clean the milk from the wand with a wet cloth and lower it to start the auto-purge cycle. I then remove the coffee puck from the portafilter using the knock box that comes from this machine and then run some water through the brew head.

Yes, this seems like a lot of steps, some is this is due to my fastidiousness when it comes to making coffee.

But using this machine requires some sort of routine. This might be a con for some users who just simply want to press a button to get their coffee.


Other features we have not discussed yet include the auto-off mode (you can set the shut off time between 0.5 to hours of idling time), a manual espresso extraction mode with a counter in seconds, the use of a 1 cup and 2 cup filter baskets, a handy water level indicator (you see the actual water level in the front panel of the machine, illuminated with fancy LEDs), rollers to effortlessly move your espresso machine around, (which can be deployed with a handle under the drip tray), a removable bean hopper, and other settings such a screen brightness, chime volume and LED lights brightness.

In summary, the Breville Oracle Touch has plenty of features to automate your coffee and make your life easier. The Breville Oracle Touch can also be used as a manual espresso machine if you have an external grinder and tamper, and if you got the skills!

Coffee Drink Quality

Breville has made sure to include a lot of technology into this machine to ensure the best tasting coffee you could have at home. Let's go over some of these technologies to see why the Breville Oracle Touch makes amazing coffee drinks.

Breville Oracle Touch Drink Quality
The Oracle Touch makes coffee shop worthy espresso.

It features a PID temperature control (stands for Proportional, Integral and Derivative, the three elements of this algorithm) to avoid water temperature fluctuations that could impact your coffee drinks.

You can even program the water temperature if you are an advanced user trying to maximize the flavor extraction of those exotic beans you just bought...

It uses Low Pressure Pre-Infusion during the first 5 to 8 seconds after you press the brew button. This allows an even coffee grounds expansion to ensure an even shot extraction.

Optimal water pressure is achieved using the Over Pressure Valve (OPV), which is a commercial feature that minimizes any pressure peaks that could result in over-extracted bitter coffee.

The group head is actively heated with an embedded heating element to ensure the water does not cool down from the boiler to the portafilter.

Dual Pumps ensure you can brew and steam milk simultaneously. This means your perfect espresso shot won't have to wait and cool down, while you steam the milk separately (which is typical of most super automatic espresso machines).

Finally, this machine uses a 58-mm commercial grade portafilter! This ensures an authentic espresso experience while at home, and expands your choice of coffee beans. This is because most automatic espresso machines have internal brew units that can have issues with dark roast oily beans. With a portafilter, you won't have to worry about oily coffee beans creating a mess inside the machine's inner components.

Oracle Touch Espresso
The Oracle Touch makes authentic espresso with lots of crema.

In addition, the portafilter allows you to potentially improve the coffee quality of this machine if you spend money to get a high end grinder. You could also get a manual coffee grinder to save money! The integrated conical burr grinder is good, but there are even better grinders out there.

For milky drinks, the steaming wand does an amazing job in creating that perfect coveted latte art micro foam, automatically. If you think you can do better, you can of course trigger the manual milk texturing mode by lifting the steaming wand.

In short, the Breville Oracle Touch prepares coffee drinks worthy of coffee shops, thanks to its amazing array of technology, dual-boiler and portafilter. It does so better than other automatic espresso machine's we have come across.

The Oracle Touch by Breville

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Ease of Cleaning and Maintenance

How easy it is to clean and maintain your espresso machine is a very important consideration. If it's difficult to clean and maintain, most likely you won't do it as often as you should, which could impact the coffee quality of the machine as well as its lifespan!

Thankfully cleaning and maintaining your Breville Oracle Touch is a breeze!

This espresso machine comes with a very complete cleaning kit, which includes:

  • A water filter plus its holder
  • A cleaning disk (for the portafilter)
  • Espresso cleaning tablets
  • Descaling powder
  • Steam wand cleaning powder
  • Knock box
  • A grinder brush
  • A grind outlet brush and tamp fan removal magnet
  • A cleaning tool (needle) to unclog the steam wand
  • Two allen keys (for descaling)
  • Water hardness test strip

Cleaning and maintaining this espresso machine is made easier thanks to the portafilter (yes, we sound like a broken record, but a portafilter has so many advantages...)

Breville Oracle Touch Pieces
The Oracle Touch can easily come apart for a thorough cleaning

Having a portafilter means you won't have to worry about nasty guck accumulating over time in inaccessible areas inside your machine! Yes, you will need to clean the portafilter after every use (it takes 10-15 seconds), but this is a very good trade-off.

The steam wand system of this espresso machine means you won't have to deal with milk going through the machine, which is also good from a hygienic and reliability standpoint. However you can easily remove the tip of the wand for deeper cleaning.

Breville Oracle Touch - Cleaning Milk Wand
Cleaning the steam wand

The upper conical burr can be removed, which allows you to easily and thoroughly clean it using the provided tools.

Breville Oracle Touch Burr Grinder
Cleaning the Oracle Touch burr grinder

You can even remove the tamping fan with a magnet to clean it.

The drip tray is quite large, so you won't have to empty it very often. Once full, an 'empty me' sign will pop out (it floats) through the grill. To empty the tray, simply pull it to remove it and thoroughly rinse it.

Removing the tray will reveal a hidden compartment where you can neatly store all your tools in the tool tray provided. It will also reveal a dial which locks and unlocks this machine's rollers that allow it to easily move it and rotate it on your kitchen counter.

That's right, even your great grandmother could easily move this giant machine!

The Breville Oracle Touch espresso machine also comes loaded with various cleaning and maintenance programs, including prompts on when to change the water filter and when to initiate the cleaning descaling cycles.

The descaling cycle is interesting to say the least, it requires you to use the allen keys to open the boilers' valves to release pressure (and release pressure they will, so do follow all the instructions to avoid burns). This cycle can take up to 60 minutes to complete, after which you have to wait an additional 60 minutes to allow the machine to cool off.

Oracle Touch Descaling
Descaling requires releasing steam pressure. Make sure you place a towel to avoid burns.

In short, day-to-day cleaning and maintenance of the Breville Oracle Touch requires some additional steps compared to other espresso machines (clean the portafilter and steam wand after every cycle). However, in the long run, this system will save you time and potential headaches - you are given the tools to very thoroughly clean your machine, and you won't have to worry about stale coffee grounds and milk accumulating inside of your machine, potentially causing havoc.

Value for Money

The Breville Oracle Touch is amongst the most expensive home automatic espresso machines, easily costing more than other high end super automatic espresso machines such as the Jura E8 and Miele CM6350.

However, the Oracle Touch is in its own category because of the use of a portafilter and dual-boiler system. This is the only home super automatic espresso machine in the market (besides the Breville Oracle) that can prepare authentic espresso while allowing you to simultaneously create latte art, all from the comfort of your home and without having to become a barista.

Despite its high price tag, at around $2,700, the Oracle Touch could save you money if you are into specialty coffee. And most likely you are if you are reading this review and considering the Oracle Touch!

For example, if you are a household of two people who love coffee and have a flat white every day (like me), that would cost you around $4 per drink or $8 per day. Over 365 days, that is $2,920 spent on coffee drinks alone, which already surpasses the base cost of the Oracle Touch!

And by the way, this calculation is conservative because as per the National Coffee Association (NCA), the average American coffee drinker has just over 3 cups of joe per day!

Obviously you would get even better value with a lower end super automatic like a De'Longhi Magnifica, but again, your coffee won't be as good.

So we still consider the Breville Oracle Touch a good value machine because a household of two (or one if you purchase 2 or more coffee cups per day) can recover the cost of this machine within a year while having amazing coffee. Almost like your own private barista at home.

Breville Oracle Touch Latte Macchiato
If you like to buy specialty drinks every day like this latte macchiato, the Oracle Touch can save you money within 1 year.

In addition, the high quality materials used and attention to detail, and the use of a portafilter system (less moving parts, less gunk inside the machine) should translate into a very reliable machine with the potential to last over a decade.

In case something goes wrong, this espresso machine comes with a 2-year limited warranty that covers parts and labor. In addition, Breville pays for the shipping of this machine, thankfully, as shipping it would be quite expensive given its size and weight.

Overall, the Breville Oracle Touch is a good value machine despite its high price tag, thanks to its high quality materials and amazing capabilities not matched by other super automatic espresso machines.

Verdict

Here is our final verdict on the Breville Oracle Touch.

Breville Oracle Touch Score

Product Name: Breville Oracle Touch

Product Description: Super automatic espresso machine that uses a commercial grade portafilter.

Brand: Breville

  • Design & Build Quality - 90
  • Features & Ease of Use - 90
  • Coffee Drink Quality - 100
  • Cleaning & Maintenance - 90
  • Value for Money - 80

Summary

Overall, the Breville Oracle Touch is a superb machine that makes coffee shop quality coffee drinks. You can even make art latte if you got know-how. It has successfully incorporated a commercial grade portafilter while keeping the coffee making process fully automatic. For the more advanced users, it can also be used as a manual espresso machine.  Its high quality materials, and ease of cleaning and maintenance means this machine will likely last for many years to come.

Overall
90

Pros

  • This machine has a beautiful design and is made of premium materials.
  • Intuitive touch-screen user interface.
  • Highly customizable drinks that will fit all preferences
  • The 58-mm commercial grade portafilter creates coffee shop quality espresso
  • The milk wand automatically creates great micro foam ideal for latte art.
  • The dual boilers of this machine allow you to brew espresso and steam milk at the same time.
  • Easy to clean and maintain

Cons

  • Its large size can be an issue in smaller kitchens.
  • The use of the portafilter adds a bit of workload compared to other super automatic espresso machines.
  • High cost

Who Is The Breville Oracle Touch For?

The Breville Oracle Touch is a great machine for coffee aficionados who want to enjoy amazing specialty coffee drinks at home without having to become a barista. It is also suitable for the more advanced user thanks to its manual features. This machine is also great for households of two or more people, as it can pay for itself within a year.

The Oracle Touch by Breville

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Who Should Avoid The Breville Oracle Touch?

The Breville Oracle Touch is a high end machine with a high price tag. If you are looking for a more budget-friendly option, there are other machines that can make great coffee drinks without all the bells and whistles. Check our best espresso machines under $1,000 for some guidance!

In addition, if your kitchen is on the smaller side, this machine may be too large for your countertop.

This machine should also be avoided for those who are hands off and just want a specialty coffee drink by pressing a single button. In that case, another super automatic espresso machine perhaps a capsule machine like a Nespresso machine might be more suitable for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Breville Oracle and the Oracle Touch?

The main difference between the Breville Oracle and the Oracle Touch is that the latter has a touch screen interface. This allows for greater customization thanks to its "create and save" feature. Other than that, these two machines are very similar in terms of design and capabilities.

What is the difference between Breville Barista Touch and Oracle Touch?

The Breville Oracle Touch is a higher end machine that has more features than the Barista Touch. Specifically, the Breville Touch has a dual-boiler system that allows you to simultaneously brew coffee and steam milk. The Oracle Touch automatically tampers the coffee grounds whereas the Barista Touch does not, meaning it’s a semi-automatic espresso machine. Another key difference is that the Oracle touch comes with a 58 mm commercial grade portafilter, whereas the Barista Touch comes with a 54 mm portafilter.

Does Breville Oracle Touch make regular coffee?

No, it does not, if by regular coffee you mean drip coffee  (like a 4-cup coffee maker). However, it does make amazing Americanos and other espresso based drinks. If you want a convenient way to make drip coffee check our recommended Ninja coffee makers.

Is the Oracle Touch worth it?

If you are looking for an amazing home espresso machine that is very easy to use, then yes, the Oracle Touch is definitely worth it. Compared to the Oracle, the Oracle Touch has a screen with a very intuitive user interface that will make your life easier.

How long will a Breville Oracle Touch last?

With proper care and cleaning, the Breville Oracle Touch should last for potentially more than a decade.

Is the Oracle Touch a dual boiler?

Yes, it is. This is one of its greatest features as the dual boiler system allows for simultaneous brewing and steaming.

How long is the Breville Oracle Touch warranty?

The Breville Oracle Touch comes with a two year limited warranty. However, you can extend the warranty to three or four years by purchasing BrevilleCare for an additional $124.99 or $169.99, respectively.

Is the Oracle Touch easy to clean?

Yes, it is very easy to clean thanks to its portafilter and steam wand system. There is no coffee or milk gunk that will go unseen.

What size is Breville Oracle Touch Portafilter?

It is a 58 mm commercial grade portafilter.

Why is the Breville Oracle Touch so expensive?

The Breville Oracle Touch is expensive because it is a high end machine that comes with many features and capabilities. In addition, its commercial grade portafilter, dual-boilers, color touch screen, and stainless steel paneling, adds to the cost.

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