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Breville Barista Touch vs Oracle Touch

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Last updated: December 19, 2023

Quick Answer: I’d always recommend the Breville Barista Touch over the Oracle Touch. The Oracle Touch does not come close to justifying its huge price jump compared to the Barista Touch.

If you’re struggling to choose between the Breville Barista Touch vs Oracle Touch you’re probably wondering if the Oracle Touch’s automatic tamping is worth paying an extra $1,000 for.

Here we are going to go through the upgrades that the Oracle Touch has over the Barista Touch. 

We’re then going to look at how these differences actually affect the machines’ drink quality and usability to see if you should pay extra for the Oracle Touch or just stick to the Barista Touch and save yourself a grand.

Let’s get started.

Is the Oracle Touch Worth the Extra Money Over the Barista Touch (Quick Verdict)?

There are no circumstances where the Oracle Touch justifies its cost over the Barista Touch. I’d therefore always recommend the Breville Barista Touch over the Oracle Touch.

Much Better Value Than the Oracle Touch
Breville Barista Touch
$998.45
The Breville Barista Touch’s touchscreen and automatic steam wand mean it has all the best parts of the Oracle Touch without the enormous price tag.
Get it on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
04/03/2024 01:39 am GMT

The main advantage that the Oracle Touch has over the Barista Touch is that the Oracle tamps your ground coffee for you.

While this makes the espresso-making process slightly easier, it doesn’t take that much practice to master tamping, and once you are comfortable tamping then it only adds about an extra fifteen or so seconds to the espresso-making process.

By far the fiddiest part of using a Breville espresso machine is steaming milk, and both these machines automate this process in the exact same way.

Automatic tamping alone is not worth an extra $1,000 so I cannot recommend the Oracle Touch over the Barista Touch.

The Barista Touch is one of the best value-for-money espresso machine’s out there.

The Oracle Touch, while an excellent machine, is simply overpriced.

Overview of Barista Touch & Oracle Touch

The Breville Barista Touch and Oracle Touch are both espresso machines with portafilters (rather than super automatics where all the brewing occurs inside the machine).

They both have:

  • Touch screens where you customize your drink type, size, strength, and milk texture.
  • Automatic steam wands steam your milk to a preselected temperature and texture. These have no learning curve to use and you do not even need to hold your milk jug while steaming.
  • Built-in conical burr grinders.

The table below shows the key features and specifications of the Breville Barista Touch and Oracle Touch:

Breville Barista Touch Breville Oracle Touch
Description
Espresso machine with touchscreen and automatic steam wand.
Espresso machine with assisted tamping, touchscreen and automatic steam wand.
User Interface
Touchscreen
Touchscreen
Steam Wand Type
Automatic pin-hole steam wand with heat sensor
Automatic pin-hole steam wand with heat sensor
Heating System
Thermojet, single boiler
Thermocoil, dual boiler
Tamping System
Manual (tamper provided)
Assisted
Grinder Type
Conical burr grinder
Conical burr grinder
Number of grind settings
30
45
Portafilter Size
54 mm
58 mm
Available user presets
8
8
Dimensions (width x depth x height)
15.5″ W x 12.7″ D x 16″ H
14.5” W x 14.7” D x 17.7” H

What are the Differences Between the Breville Barista Touch and Oracle Touch

These are the differences between the Breville Barista Touch and Oracle Touch are:

  • Tamping system: The Oracle Touch tamps your ground coffee puck for you whereas you need to do this manually with the Barista Touch.
  • Steam Wand: The Oracle Touch’s steam wand can heat milk to the nearest 1 Fahrenheit, and the Barista Touch heats milk to the nearest 10 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Heating system: The Oracle Touch’s dual boiler heating system means that it can steam milk and brew coffee at the same time. The Barista Touch has a single boiler system so can only do one of these at a time.
  • Portafilter size: The Oracle Touch has a 58 mm diameter portafilter whereas the Barista Touch has a 54 mm diameter portafilter. This means that the Oracle Touch can hold a maximum of 22 grams of ground coffee whereas the Barista Touch can hold a maximum of 19 grams of ground coffee.
  • Maneuverability: The Oracle Touch has a retractable wheel under its drip tray which makes it easy to move around on your counter. The Barista Touch does not have this feature.

I’m now going to go into how these differences affect the usability of each machine in more detail.

Oracle Touch’s Assisted Tamping vs Barista Touch’s Manual Tamping

The Oracle Touch’s automatic tamping makes it easier for beginners to pull good shots with the Oracle Touch compared to the Barista Touch. However, this difference in ease of use decreases over time as you get more practice tamping.

The Oracle Touch has an automatic tamper that will tamp your ground coffee puck immediately after it grinds your coffee. You do not need to do anything to tamp your puck.

You can see a video of this assisted tamping in action below (watch from 2:35-2:50):

The Barista Touch requires you to tamp your ground coffee manually. The machine comes with a tamp for you to do this.

I have the Breville Barista Pro which also requires you to tamp your coffee manually.

It was my first espresso machine and I had never pulled an espresso shot before I got it.

After a couple of weeks of using the machine, I could tamp level and evenly on autopilot.

I really don’t think that assisted tamping makes the Oracle Touch that much easier to use than the Barista Touch. Any difference in ease of use vastly decreases once you get into the rhythm of tamping your coffee bed before pulling your shot.

Automatic tamping is the biggest difference between the Oracle Touch and the Barista Touch and it definitely does not justify paying an extra $1,000+ for the Oracle Touch.

The Oracle Touch’s Steam Wand Heats Milk to the Nearest 1 Degree Fahrenheit; The Barista Touch Heats Milk to the Nearest 10 Degrees Fahrenheit

The Oracle Touch’s finer-tuned steam wand makes it better than the Barista Touch if you want to make really hot milk-based espresso drinks.

I like that the Oracle Touch can heat milk to the nearest one degree Fahrenheit compared to the Barista Touch which only heats milk to the nearest ten degrees Fahrenheit.

In my opinion, this is the biggest advantage that the Oracle Touch offers over the Barista Touch.

A finer-tuned steam wand is particularly useful if you like extra hot lattes and cappuccinos.

Steamed milk starts developing an unpleasant “burnt egg” smell and taste when it reaches 155 Fahrenheit.

Therefore if you want to steam milk close to 155 Fahrenheit (this will create a hot latte) then you want the fine-tuned temperature controls that only the Oracle Touch offers.

Oracle Touch’s Dual Boiler Thermocoil Heating System vs Barista Touch’s Single Boiler Thermojet System

The Oracle Touch can pull an espresso shot and steam your milk at the same time. The Barista Touch can only do one followed by the other. Since the Oracle Touch takes longer to heat up than the Breville Barista Touch, they both take about the same time to make a single coffee (the Oracle Touch can make multiple drinks faster than the Barista Touch).

I don’t think that simultaneous brewing and steaming of milk makes a big difference in the two machines’ ultimate usability.

Although the Barista Touch cannot do these two things at the same time, it can switch from pulling an espresso shot to steaming your milk in a matter of seconds.

The Oracle Touch’s simultaneous coffee brewing and milk steaming will save you a maximum of thirty seconds per coffee made.

Unless you are going to brew coffee after coffee regularly, then I just don’t think there is much benefit to be gained from this simultaneous brewing and steaming.

The Barista Touch can actually heat up faster than the Oracle Touch.

The Barista Touch takes about 3 seconds to go from off to being able to brew, thanks to its thermojet heating system. The Oracle Touch takes about 25 seconds to be able to brew after turning on.

This pretty much negates any time you would save from being able to brew a coffee and steam milk simultaneously with the Oracle Touch. The Oracle Touch is only faster than the Barista Touch if you are going to make multiple drinks in a row.

The Barista Touch’s 54mm Portafilter vs Oracle Touch’s 58 mm Portafilter

The Barista Touch’s portafilter can hold a maximum of 19 grams of ground coffee whereas the Oracle Touch’s can hold a maximum of 22 grams of coffee.

A double espresso is generally made with 14-19 grams of coffee, so the Barista Touch’s portafilter size is more than adequate for any drink you want to make.

While the Oracle Touch’s larger portafilter can allow you to experiment a bit more with brew ratio and make longer espresso drinks, these different portafilers really don’t have much effect on the two machines’ overall quality.

In fact, I think if I hadn’t pointed this out, most of the machines’ users would not even be aware of what their portafilters’ size or maximum capacity was.

The Oracle Touch Has a Retractable Wheel Under its Drip Tray; The Barista Touch Does Not

The Oracle Touch’s retractable wheel makes it easier to clean than the Barista Touch.

You can see a clip of someone using the Oracle Touch’s retractable wheel to move the machine around below (watch from 1:20 to 1:40):

I can see this being useful if you spill coffee or water beside the machine and it collects under the corner of the machine.

Like this

It’s really hard to move the machine away from the spill so you can mop up underneath. 

The Oracle’s improved level of mobility will make situations like this (which happen more often than you think) easier to deal with.

In summary, the Oracle Touch’s added features make it easier to make really hot steamed milk drinks without scorching your milk. All its other added features, including its automatic tamping, really don’t improve the machine all that much. I, therefore, don’t think the Oracle Touch is worth an extra $1,000 over the Barista Touch.

What do the Barista Touch and Oracle Touch Have in Common?

Here are the following features that the two machines have in common:

  • Touchscreen: Both machines’ touchscreens are designed and laid out in the same way. They are both really responsive, intuitive, and easy to use.
  • Brew quality: Both machines can control brew pressure and temperature in the same way meaning that they should produce the same quality of espresso and steamed milk.
  • Drink customizations: Both machines allow you to customize your grind size, ground coffee dose, water dose, and milk texture and temperature for each drink.
  • Build quality: Both machines are really well built and will rarely succumb to technical faults (all Breville espresso machines are like this). They both have a two-year warranty with Breville, and Breville’s customer support is really good.
  • Cleaning and maintenance: Both machines require rinsing and descaling every few months. Their touchscreens will walk you through the rinsing and descaling process, making them foolproof.
  • Ease of steaming milk: Both machines’ automatic steam wands allow you to steam milk without any prior experience with a steam wand. If you want to make microfoam for latte art you’ll have to use the steam wand in manual mode, which takes a bit of practice (this is true for both machines, however).

I’m now going to assess the machines across the following six criteria:

  • Quality of espresso
  • Quality of steamed milk
  • Functionalities
  • Ease of use and cleaning
  • Design and build quality
  • Value for money

Bear in mind that because the Oracle Touch costs so much more than the Barista Touch, if the machines tie on criteria, or there is only a tiny amount between the two machines, then this should count in the Barista Touch’s favor.

Quality of Espresso

Both machines make exactly the same quality espresso.

Both machines have the same heating and pumping system, meaning that they make the same espresso.

Although you could argue that the Oracle Touch’s extra grind settings and automatic tamping means that you are less likely to pull a bad shot with it compared to the Barista Touch, once you get your grind size and tamping sorted both machines will make the same standard of espresso.

I’m therefore going to call it a tie between the two machines.

Quality of Espresso Winner: Draw

Quality of Steamed Milk

You can make better-steamed milk with the Oracle Touch than the Barista Touch because you have more control over your milk’s temperature.

Like I said earlier, this added control is really important if you like hotter milk-based drinks (a temperature approaching 155 Fahrenheit.

If you are happy with slightly cooler steamed milk (140 Fahrenheit is generally what baristas steam milk to unless you specifically ask for hotter than this) then the two machines steam milk to the same standard.

However, if you want hotter steamed milk then the Oracle Touch will do this better than the Barista Touch.

Quality of Steamed Milk Winner: Oracle Touch (but only just)

Functionalities

Both machines have the same functionalities

Both machines can make single and double espresso, Americano, and a wide range of milk-based espresso drinks of various sizes and textures.

They both have five default menu options on their touchscreen and the option of making up to eight custom presets.

Any drink you can make with one machine, you can make with the other machine.

Functionalities Winner: Draw

Ease of Use and Cleaning

The Oracle Touch’s automatic tamping and front-loading water tank make it easier to use than the Barista Touch.

The Oracle Touch is easier to use than the Barista Touch because it removes tamping from the espresso-making process.

The Oracle Touch’s water tank is also removed from the front, whereas the Barista Touch’s water tank is removed from the back. 

This makes it easier to load the Oracle Touch up with water compared to the Barista Touch.

Both the machines are really easy to clean thanks to their touchscreen walking you through rinse and descaling cycles.

The Oracle Touch’s retractable wheel makes it easier to clean messes around the side of the machine compared to the Barista Touch.

Ease of Use and Cleaning Winner: Oracle Touch

Design and Build Quality

Both machines have an equally high build quality, however, the Oracle Touch is slightly more ergonomically designed than the Barista Touch.

Both machines are really well built and should last you a long time without any technical faults. This longevity is backed up by Breville offering a two-year warranty on both machines.

I called Breville following a fault with my Barista Pro (the “fault” turned out to be a misunderstanding on my part rather than an issue with the machine) and they patiently troubleshoot the non-issue with me for forty minutes. This demonstrates how good their customer support is.

The Oracle Touch is slightly more ergonomic than the Barista Touch due to its retractable wheel which allows you to move the machine easily on your counter and its front-loading water tank.

Design and Build Quality Winner: Breville Oracle Touch (but only just)

Value For Money

The Barista Touch is much, MUCH better value than the Oracle Touch.

The Oracle Touch is typically over $1,000 more expensive than the Barista Touch.

Would you pay an extra $1,000 for:

  • Automatic tamping, when it takes like five practice espressos to master tamping and then about 15 seconds for every tamp after that?
  • Finer temperature control with your steamed milk, bearing in mind that the Barista Touch can already automatically steam your milk to the generally accepted ideal steamed milk temperature of 140 Fahrenheit.

I certainly wouldn’t.

Value for Money Winner: Breville Barista Touch (by a mile)

Final Thoughts

The Breville Oracle Touch is a marginally better machine than the Barista Touch, however, it is nowhere near $1,000 better.

Get the Barista Touch, spend 20 minutes learning how to tamp, and enjoy your extra $1,000 on something else.

Much Better Value Than the Oracle Touch
Breville Barista Touch
$998.45
The Breville Barista Touch’s touchscreen and automatic steam wand mean it has all the best parts of the Oracle Touch without the enormous price tag.
Get it on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
04/03/2024 01:39 am GMT

If you are interested in finding out more about Breville’s espresso machines please see my comparison of the Breville Barista Pro vs Touch and Breville Barista Express vs Touch.

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