Top positive review
18 people found this helpful
Consistent coffee, easier to use. Great design, I now believe it is well worth the price
on 17 December 2016
I had read only good things about the Breville Oracle (it's called Sage in the UK) and as I was getting good results with my Stand-alone Sage Grinder and De Longhi Espresso machine,I really expected this to be incredible. It cost x 4 times the cost of that grinder and espresso machine, so is the coffee x4 better? No, it isn't, so don't expect too much and you will be fine.
I've used this for 3 months now and there is much I like about it:
1. It looks really nice, is well constructed and I don't find the plate flimsy like many others here have mentioned ( see photos of the machine and plate, after ten months of use, below) There are some scuff marks, but , that is only to be expected
2. The Auto tamp is great, however,I was getting really consistent tamps with a calibrated tamper from Espro, so its no big deal.
3. The Auto grind and dosing is very convenient, but uses too much coffee
4. The Water level indicator and the LCD information display that tells you when the tank is empty is just fantastic
5. The hidden wheels and supply box : design is A+
6. Dual Boiler with PID for consistent temperature and simultaneous espresso and steam for lattes
7. Integrated grinder saves space, and the coffee storage is enough for one 250g pack. This will last 4-5 days at the most, with two uses per day,as this just eats beans, so you don't have to worry about heat and losing bean freshness Update; May 2017: The single basket provided by Sage (free) , solved the bean consumption problem and that's why I award the Oracle 5 stars now)
But, tell me, how is the &&**%^ coffee?!
Well, that depends on the beans, with fresh roast beans, the espresso is excellent. Much better than Starbucks and Costas, and good espresso translates to great cappuccinos and lattes. It's a lot like a computer: Garbage in Garbage out
The crema is only 1-2mm, I tried really fresh beans too, but the crema thickness isn't as good as you get in nespresso machines, however the taste of the coffee is really good, if you use fresh beans
Even if you use old packaged beans, I find the espresso substandard, but the cappuccinos and lattes still taste great- better than the large coffee chains, as the milk and sugar mask the inferior coffee
You only have to make adjustments on the grind size, as the tamp and the temperature are all adjusted just right. I find myself using 28-32 grind size these days with really good milk based coffees
The dual boilers are great to have, but I never minded waiting a bit with single boilers
Now, to the downsides:
1. The coffee dosing is too much: 22 g of coffee each time means you finish a 250g bag in 11-12 extractions, thats 3-4 days for us! Maybe 5-6 days ,without guests.
2. You always have to use 22g, even if you select a single cup, it still grinds 22 g, so if you don't use it as two shots, you are wasting even more coffee, (Update: with the single basket from Sage (sent free) this is largely ameliorated and I have no complaints)
3. The auto steam wand and auto purge are really convenient, but you can't make decent latte art with it. I tried. Manual doesn't work also
My cheap 120 quid Delonghi, with its under powered thermoblock (not even a single boiler here) gave me better "art", so if you want to make latte art, steer clear. I guess its because of the high tech design, thick stubby want with an in built thermometer and all, but it is great for plain cappuccinos, not for art.
granted, I know the knob can switch from latte to cappuccino, but it doesn't create the right velvet microfoam I need for art
4. It costs a lot, but then it does a lot:
Now in the coffee world,cost is a very relative term. You can spend a 1000$ on a grinder very easily. So when you look at what you are getting, great design, dual boilers, PID, Auto tamp, Auto purge, built in grinder, it isn't all that overpriced.
What I mean is , you can get similar results for a lot less, if you are willing to learn a little.Here you are paying for the integration, the technology , the convenience and the quality of the finish.
If you want to make latte art and save money on the machine and also on beans: go for a Barista express or another grinder -machine combo instead.
If you want convenience and great coffee, if money is no object, and you don't mind using 22 g of beans per session (one button press), then by all means, this is great!
Update: 6 months of use; I love the machine, the coffee is really good and the convenience is fantastic. The plate is holding up with mild scuff marks( see photos below) and Sage sent me a single basket , gratis, that has reduced the excessive dosing per cup. I have upgraded my rating to five stars.