Breville continues their kitchen appliance domination with the Oracle Touch, which brings intuitive touch controls to their best espresso machine.
The Oracle Touch is in many ways a hybrid of the original Oracle and Breville’s take on Nespresso. Their much more affordable Barista Express has been a great daily espresso driver for me for a while now, so for many different reasons, our expectations for the Oracle Touch were sky high. We were not disappointed.
The original Oracle already made great espresso, so most of the updates to the Touch are about usability. The touchscreen interface, similar to the one found on the Creatista, is core to that. You can choose from a selection of drinks, tweek those drinks, and even create and save your own. Want your milk one degree hotter, or less water in your americano? You got it.
Espresso is all about variables- maintaining most while manipulating one or two, and making more of the process automatic naturally makes that easier to achieve. In addition to what you’d espresso from any great machine, like maintaining water temperature throughout the process, the Touch literally takes the tamping process out of your hands, and handles the dosing, grinding, and tamping in one step.
If you’re using the Touch as intended, the only variable you’ve touched is grind size (and of course which beans you’re using and their freshness). The touchscreen offers easy instructions for how quickly your shot should come out, and how to adjust grind to land in that proper extraction time window. If you’re brand new to the process, the Touch even has a start-to-finish tutorial it’ll walk you through.
The Touch is a dual boiler machine, meaning you can steam milk and make your espresso at the same time. There are a ton of other quality of life features as well, like a front-fillable and visible water tank, work light, self-cleaning steam wand, deployable wheel for easy moving of the machine, and more.
But while the Touch offers so much convenience and fool proofing, there’s nothing to stop you from taking the wheel at every turn. Want to use a separate grinder and do your own tamping? Go for it.
A logical question to arrive upon then is, “If someone cares enough about espresso to buy a $2500 machine, wouldn’t they want something fully manual?” Up to this point, fully automatic machines have hit glass ceilings when it came to quality, but the Oracle Touch breaks through those while also giving hobbyists and pros the option to take control when they choose. It’s the best espresso machine for almost everyone, if you can afford it.
If you can’t, or aren’t an aspiring barista, take another look at Nespresso. It’s way better than you think, and the Creatista is a fantastic machine that’s already gotten as cheap as $350 in some colorways.