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Review: Breville’s Oracle Touch: Pro-Quality Espresso At Home, For The Price Of A Used Car

Wired—July 28, 2017


FOR A FEW months in the late 2000s, I lived in Palermo where I was transfixed by a barista’s skills on a near-daily basis. This was a white shirt, black vest lifer, an artisan who could run his machine blindfolded. Every gesture and all of their effects were thought out and internalized long ago. Customers waited their turns patiently because he was the best.

At home, we’d all love to be Mr. Palermo, but typically, our rinky-dink countertop machines lack the power and we lack the skill to make the perfect cup; it’s not just for convenience that we give the person behind the counter at our favorite café four bucks for a latte.

If home machines which require nothing from you but pushing a button to select a drink are your thing, brands like Jura (perhaps recognizable for those goofy ads with Roger Federer) and Saeco do a respectable job of getting you going in the morning. You’ll pay handsomely for it, though, from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

While this fully-automated coffee is consistent, it’s not everybody’s bag. Many of us want to be more hands on, but lack the skill to do all the little things you need to do every time to consistently make an excellent cup.

Breville’s Oracle Touch is astounding in its all-in-one-ness, offering several espresso-based drinks and custom creations on its home screen. (Yep. It’s a coffee maker with a touch screen.) It stores beans, grinds them, dispenses the grounds into a portafilter—the handle with a cup that holds the puck of grounds—tamps and pre-infuses them, then pulls a shot. With dedicated steam and espresso boilers, it can foam milk to your choice among a range of consistencies while the shot is pouring.

The Oracle cleverly straddles a line, offering an impressive amount of customization and hands-on time, while automating enough that you’d have to try hard to make a bad drink. I’ve paid nearly as much for cars, but for those who are able to plunk down $2,500 on an espresso maker, Breville has created an outstanding machine.

Read the full review here in WIRED.

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