Are you on the hunt for the best high-tech semi-automatic espresso coffee maker for your home? Breville espresso machines are known for their quality and versatility, but not all are created equal. In this case, we’re comparing the two touch-screen models in Breville’s espresso machine lineup: the Barista Touch and the Oracle Touch.
Breville started in the radio business back in the 1930s but quickly became a leading manufacturer of kitchen and home appliances. Today, they’re a big name in the world of espresso, and for good reason.
It’s clear that the designers at Breville understand what their customer wants. With various espresso machines in their lineup, each with its advantages and selling points, there’s a machine built for any brewer.
We love Breville machines because they provide a great balance between the control of a portafilter machine and the convenience of an automatic espresso machine, especially in the case of the Oracle Touch, the pricier and more automatic machine in this lineup.
We’d recommend Breville machines (especially the Oracle Touch and Barista Touch models) to the beginner or intermediate brewers looking for a good amount of control over the coffee-making process without resorting to a fully manual model like the Barista Express. In fact, the Oracle Touch offers a completely hands-free, fully-automatic brewing experience, and who wouldn’t want that?
Both machines are suitable for those who want a more laid-back, automatic approach to their coffee equipment and those who want cafe-quality coffee in as few steps as possible.
With these machines, you can make just about any espresso drink you want since both feature a touch interface with preprogrammed drink recipes ranging from lattes and cappuccinos to macchiatos, flat white coffee, and more.
For a look at both machines side-by-side, check out this in-depth comparison by Seattle Coffee Gear:
However, there are a few key differences between these machines. The Barista Touch features a ThermoJet® heating system that heats your water in a matter of a few seconds, saving you precious time during the morning rush out the door. The Oracle Touch doesn’t have this feature.
The most significant difference between the Breville Oracle Touch and the Barista Touch is the added features. While both have a similar design and touch screen interface, the Oracle Touch has additional features, like a dual boiler system that makes brewing and frothing a breeze.
On the other hand, The Oracle Touch has a dual boiler system, allowing you to steam your milk and brew your espresso simultaneously. This feature alone makes it an excellent investment for coffee enthusiasts.
The Oracle Touch is the right choice for anyone looking for a flawless cup of espresso every time, with none of the fuss that comes along with manual or semi-automatic machines.
Remember that ultimately, the espresso machine you choose will be determined by your lifestyle and coffee preferences. If you compare two similar espresso machines, remember to keep in mind which features are non-negotiable and which features you will consider compromising on for the sake of budget.
The Oracle Touch costs nearly two thousand dollars more than the Barista Touch but has many added features to make up for the hefty price tag. But are these features a good value for most home coffee fiends? Read on for each model’s pros and cons and see for yourself!
Breville Oracle Touch
Ever heard the saying “you get what you pay for”? Well, in the world of espresso machines, that phrase is mainly accurate. The Oracle Touch is on par with many professional-grade super-automatic espresso machines on the market today. But when it comes to its features and design, does it stack up? Is the hefty price tag justified?
Essentially, the Oracle Touch is designed for those who want a fully hands-free espresso brewing experience with all the speed, power, and customization a coffee addict could desire.
Things We Like:
- The hands-free brewing process is perfect for espresso beginners who don’t want to learn how to pull an espresso shot manually.
- The intuitive touch panel interface walks the user through the brewing process with settings to easily control your desired coffee strength, milk texture, and milk temperature.
- The Oracle Touch’s dual boiler system means you can brew espresso and steam milk simultaneously, which can be a huge benefit if you’re frequently in a morning rush.
- The 84-ounce water tank capacity is a considerable upgrade over many of Breville’s other models and certainly beats out the Barista Touch’s 67-ounce reservoir.
- The dual boiler brews a cup of coffee and steams milk simultaneously, so you’re never more than a few minutes away from that perfect cup.
- The dose control grinding feature prevents bitterness and maximizes flavor.
- The machine automatically grinds your favorite coffee beans and tamps the coffee grounds for amazing and effortless coffee flavors and optimum coffee extraction.
Things We Don’t:
- The lack of a ThermoJet heating system and a larger water reservoir means that the water takes longer to heat.
- The automatic steam wand, while convenient, tends to splatter, which is disappointing in a machine at this price point.
- Measuring 4.7 inches x 14.5 inches x 17.6 inches and weighing 37.3 lbs, this is a heavy machine with a large footprint unsuitable for kitchens with limited countertop space.
The Bottom Line
If you want complete control of every step of the espresso brewing process and to craft the drink with your very own hands, then the Oracle Touch is not the machine for you. But if you want to press a few buttons and let the machine do the rest, you could do a lot worse than this.
But the real selling points that make the Oracle Touch worth its higher price are the dual boiler system and the larger water tank capacity. While the cost may make it prohibitively expensive for some coffee fanatics, it’s hard to make a case that the price isn’t worth it when you consider how much time and effort you’re sure to save in the long run.
Breville Barista Touch
The Barista Touch has all the convenience and control of a semi-automatic espresso machine and a sleek, stylish interface that’s perfect for beginners. The preprogrammed drink recipes and the ability to set up distinct drink profiles make it an excellent office machine.
If you’re willing to sacrifice a few more high-end features found in the Oracle Touch, then this can be the perfect machine for many homes and offices, especially those looking for a simple, versatile, easy-to-use machine.
The built-in touch screen takes you step-by-step through the brewing process, giving beginners more control over the result. With customizable drink profiles and preprogrammed espresso drink recipes, it has all the convenience of a more high-end machine for a reasonable price.
Things We Like:
- The Barista Touch’s most prominent feature is the intuitive touch screen which allows for hands-free brewing; perfect for those who want the control of a manual machine and the convenience of a semi-automatic model.
- You get excellent control over your grind size with the included stainless steel burr grinder that accommodates 30 distinct grinder settings.
- The machine is stylish and sleek with a brushed stainless steel finish.
- The Barista Touch includes an automatic steam wand with a built-in thermometer that lets you control the temperature and texture of your milk froth with greater precision.
- There’s no need to wait on your water to heat; this machine features a ThermoJet heating system that will fully heat your water in about three seconds.
- With eight customizable drink profiles and five preprogrammed drink recipes, this is the perfect machine for a shared environment like a family home or an office.
- The bean hopper and water reservoir capacity can easily satisfy a family or small office.
Things We Don’t:
- The Barista Touch is not a fully automatic machine, which means it requires manual tamping (this isn’t a huge deal, but it’s not the most convenient).
- Weighing in at 23 pounds, it’s a relatively hefty machine that may not be the most practical for some homes or users.
- It is impossible to access the water tank from the front of the machine, and some users may find this inconvenient given its weight.
- It has a single boiler, so it can’t brew and steam milk simultaneously (but the Thermojet heating system makes up for this issue).
The Bottom Line
The Barista Touch is an excellent middle ground between manual models like the Breville Barista Express and more advanced machines like the Oracle Touch. It has many of the convenient features you’ll find in the much pricier Barista Oracle Touch, with a more budget-friendly price tag and a more streamlined brewing experience.
However, the Barista Touch is still a more beginner-friendly machine, and if you’re at the start of your espresso journey, you may find yourself outgrowing it quickly. The Oracle Touch might be the model for you if you don’t mind a steeper learning curve and higher price in exchange for a machine that will cater to your experience level for a longer time.
So, which machine should you choose, the Barista Touch or the Oracle Touch? Although both offer a cup of the highest quality coffee from the get-go, the Oracle Touch wins by a long shot if you account for the additional features it gives you.
If you’re looking for a completely hands-free, fully automatic brew, your best bet will be to go with the Oracle Touch. However, if you don’t mind manual tamping and a little bit more calibration beforehand for the sake of your budget, then we say, save your money and go with the Barista Touch.
Whichever model you decide to go with, make sure you take the time to learn the ins and outs of your machine so you can have the best brewing experience right from the beginning.
Are you looking for a more manual option? Consider the Breville Barista Express, another excellent starter machine. It’s less expensive than the Barista Touch and has a fully hands-on brewing process, which will quickly teach you the ins and outs of brewing if you’re a beginner.