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it does a lot to try match the value, automating every stage of the coffee making process without compromising on quality.
You can do pretty much everything you’d want with the Breville Oracle Touch, and short of thinking even more expensive with a commercial-grade La Marzocco or Rocket, it’s the best for your home, even if you have no idea what you’re doing.
The super automatic coffee machine takes care of all the grinding (it’s a customisable burr grinder, so expect a fine, even extraction), tamping, and heating for you. And it’s consistent, so you get your ideal dose every time. The only real thing you have to worry about handling yourself is deciding on the coffee strength, and the texture worked up by the milk frother. Even if you’re brain is fried at 6am, good coffee from the Breville One Touch is often just a matter of pressing lightly on a LED screen.
The downside is of course that you’ll need to be discerning about which coffee beans you’re using if you want to milk out the best this machine has to offer. Bad quality will still mean subpar results, even if the machine works wonders. It also requires much more regular cleaning than a pod coffee machine would, and the 280g hopper on the top (where the beans go into) makes it tough to fit the brushed stainless steel body under shelfing units.
Also note that parts of the Breville Oracle Touch are not dishwasher safe, so it’s not as quick to clean.
If those small annoyances don’t matter, and price isn’t an issue, it’s tough to recommend anything that’s strictly for home use other than this dependable super automatic espresso machine. Although as you’ll read below, there are more than a few espresso machines that can compare
What To Look For In A Coffee Machine
What you’re looking for in a coffee machine is entirely dependant on your preferences, but there are a few features to keep in mind if you want value for money, and want to zone in on the machines coffee drinkers love the most.
If you like your milk based espresso coffee, like a latte, flat white, or cappuccino, then one of the primary features you’ll want is a dual boiler. This enables you to brew coffee and steam milk at the same time, so you can better align the textures.
Compare this to a single boiler coffee machine, where you’ll usually need to do one after the other, which either means your espresso sits there waiting for you to steam your milk, or your steamed milk loses its texture while it waits for your espresso shot to be prepared.
Another important thing to look out for is what kind of pump your machines uses, and what kind of pressure it’s capable of. This is important as it will effect how much coffee is extracted into your final espresso or cup of coffee. In order to propel the water as evenly as possible through a dense bed of ground coffee, your machine’s electric pump needs at least 9 bar of pressure – 15 bar if you’re really serious.
This pressure can come from either a vibration pump or a rotary pump. The latter is seen as the more elegant and modern way, with rotary pumps much quieter, complex, longer lasting, and more consistent with their pressure. Consistency is the key to even extraction, so these are often preferred by those who like their espresso coffee as close to perfection as possible.
The problem with rotary pumps is that they require a bigger machine, and hence are typically found in the more expensive prosumer models. Vibration pumps are less expensive, easier to replace (due to their simplicity), but louder and not as long lasting.
Vibration pumps also built up pressure slowly, and while this can be ideal sometimes, this is nothing when you compare to a rotary pump which can reach 9 bar almost immediately and typically extracts so well that you’d get a darker, more consistent crema that’s thicker, richer, and more complex.
Why is extraction important? Simple. Under-extracted coffee from an espresso machine typically means the espresso will be sour and salty with a thin, barely-there finish. Conversely, an over-extracted coffee would be too bitter, too dry, and just all around unpleasant.
A perfectly extracted shot of espresso should be sweet with a lot of complex acidity, and build up a longer, linger finish which is where much of the flavours of your coffee bean and the terroir it represents comes through.
Or you can just stick to capsule machines (AKA pod coffee machines). They’ve become much more reliable in the past few years with Nespresso picking up their game, especially when it comes to the more barista friendly single original pod options.
Next Generation Super Automatic Espresso Machine.
Automated, touch screen operation simplifies how to make your favorite cafe coffee in three easy steps – grind, brew and milk. You can easily adjust the coffee strength, milk texture or temperature to suit your taste. Then save it with your own unique name. Create and save up to 8 personalized coffees.
From bean to espresso in under a minute
Remember the days when your morning coffee ritual consisted of dumping a few spoonfuls of freeze-dried instant into a mug? We assume you’re shuddering at the painful memory. Well, wake up and smell the good news: Thanks to huge innovations in coffee-tech, you can now enjoy barista-standard coffee at home.
You’ll probably be aware that specialty coffee has developed a committed following of impassioned experts, much like wine sommeliers.
There’s now a whole world of excellent coffee makers out there. From drip to cold-brew and everything in between, we’ve got your caffeine fix, fixed.
The black coffee types (maybe with milk or cream on an indulgent day), and the white-chocolate-flat-white-mochaccino-almond-milk-vanilla-syrup types.
Whichever category you fall into (and there are no judgments here), we have the perfect coffee maker for you. You’re now free to indulge in elaborate multi-hyphenated hot beverages or a refreshingly simple black coffee con leche.
Consider yourself clued up on coffee, fluent in flat white, an expert on espresso (okay, you get the idea) or you simply enjoy the buzz?
The Barista Express Espresso machine by Breville will have you expertly extracting rich black espresso with the perfect crema in no time. Featuring dose control grinding, hands-free operation and a great steamer for micro-foam milk texturing, it pretty much has it all.
If you didn’t know, micro-foam milk allows you to create latte art, ensuring that only the most aesthetically pleasing coffees are served at your home. You can also adjust the setting to double espresso shots for those mornings.
However, the best is yet to be served. This machine grinds your beans right before you extract your espresso, which is the bonafide best way to get the freshest coffee. Freshly ground coffee is super important for optimal taste, so this is an excellent feature.
We’ve rated this the best overall at-home coffee maker because of its user-friendly yet versatile settings. Plus, it’ll look great on your kitchen counter.
If you can’t function without your morning coffee but would rather face a spoon of instant than a zombies Starbucks queue, it’s time to invest in a proper coffee machine.
There is nothing quite like brewing a cup of cafe-quality coffee in the comfort of your own home and – thanks to ever-improving kitchen tech – it’s also easier to pull off than ever before.
No idea where to start? Not to worry. Our-round up of the best coffee machines on the market will point you in the right direction.
What type of machine is right for you?
There are a growing number of great coffee machines available to home buyers, but the ‘best’ type will largely depend on the kind of coffee connoisseur you are – or hope to be. Primarily, it’s a choice between pod coffee machines, filter coffee machines and bean-to-cup machines.
Pod or capsule machines
Should you want to make coffees with the pods or capsules you’ve seen on supermarket shelves, or promoted by a brooding George Clooney, you’ll need a coffee pod machine.
The pods and capsules themselves tend to be more expensive and less environmentally friendly than ground or instant coffee but, despite this, recent research has found that as many as 17pc of Brits own a coffee pod machine.
Pod or capsule machines are worth the investment if you are regularly in a rush, however, as they heat up quickly and typically brew a range of coffee drinks (and teas!) without hassle or mess.
Most are only compatible with the capsules and pods sold by the machine’s manufacturer, however; if you want to get creative with your coffee, a capsule machine might not be for you.
This is the machine of choice for coffee purists and fans of barista-worthy lattes. Though bean-to-cup machines come at a higher price, they are as fresh as it gets; you simply pour coffee beans into the machine and sit back as they’re whipped into your perfect cup.
The machines use a built in grinder, many of which come with a variety of settings so you can decide just how fine you would like your beans ground, and pour your chosen drink automatically once finished.
Most bean-to-cup machines now a include a steam arm so you can froth milk when needed, as well.
Filter coffee machines
For people who aren’t too fussed about coffee creations and prefer a tried and true pick-me-up (or multiple serves of the good stuff), a filter coffee machine is a fantastic option.
Filter coffee machines work by dripping water through ground beans into a warm jug. They’re a bit more time consuming than other coffee machines, but they do let you brew great-tasting coffee for the whole family in minutes with complete control over the grounds.
An increasing number also let you set a timer on them, meaning you can prepare your grounds the night before and wake up to freshly-brewed coffee.
There’s something for everyone among our pick of the best coffee machines, from the espresso enthusiast to the cappuccino connoisseur…
If you’re looking for the next best thing in coffee tech, look no further than Sage’s Oracle Touch. Then, perhaps, brace yourself for the price tag.
This touch-screen coffee machine truly brings the coffee shop experience home with no compromise between convenience and quality. Once programmed, you simply swipe to select your espresso, long black, latte, flat white or cappuccino and let the innovative tech do the rest. It even cleans itself.
Like a commercial machine, its integrated conical burr grinder automatically grinds, doses and tamps your beans while temperature-controlled (PID) technology brews it to perfection (temperature is near impossible to control in other machines). Without delving too into the technical deep, what you really need to know is that the Oracle lets you customize the smoothest and creamiest cuppas imaginable. There is little to dislike, bar its astronomical price.
Serious coffee lovers can look no further than Breville The Oracle Touch – a bean to cup machine that takes on the grinding and tamping of the coffee, leaving the strength and milk texture down to you.
Known as Sage The Oracle Touch in the UK, this coffee maker produces smooth, intense coffee every time. Using separate boilers for milk and coffee, the Oracle Touch produces enough steam pressure to create that ever-elusive microfoam, too. While digital thermometers cut off the steam to stop the milk from scalding, so all you have to do is pour it.
The Breville Oracle Touch is a bulky coffee machine and it comes with an eye-watering price tag, making it the most expensive coffee maker we’ve tested, but if you’ve always fancied yourself as a would-be barista, it’s worth the investment.
What to consider when buying a coffee maker
There are so many different coffee makers on the market that it can be hard to know which is the best option for you.
If you enjoy a simple americano and don’t like milk-based drinks, then a drip filter coffee maker will be a great option. Plus, these machines can make as many as 12 cups of coffee in one go. If you just want small quantities of coffee, we’d recommend a single-serve coffee maker from Keurig or N espresso.
If you do like milk-based coffee, then there are quite a few options available. Some coffee machines are fully automated and have a built-in frother that will be able to create a variety of milk textures. Alternatively, some espresso machines have steam arms which you place into a jug of milk and froth the milk yourself. There’s a third option too – and this includes buying a separate milk frother which is a stand-alone machine. You’ll be able to use these to make everything from lattes to hot chocolates, and they make a great accompaniment to a pod coffee maker.
Coffee drinkers that like plenty of customization options will be best suited to a coffee maker that lets you adjust the strength of your brew and brew different sizes of hot drink. Many premium espresso makers will let you do both of these things, but you can also adjust the strength and the aroma of your coffee with a good drip filter model.
The final thing to consider is how involved you’d like to be in the coffee-making process. Some machines are smart-enabled so you can simply switch them on from your phone, however, others will require you to compact ground coffee and pull your own shot of espresso before frothing the milk yourself. Others have self-cleaning systems which purge the steam wand to prevent milk residue drying in the pipes, and some have systems to flush out any build-up in the machine.
If you’re still not sure, you can find a more detailed breakdown in our article covering which type of coffee maker to buy.
Can Espresso machines make regular coffee?
Espresso machines can be used to make an americano if they have the functionality to add hot water to a shot of espresso (which many machines do). If you want to make milk-based drinks, you’ll need to ensure that there’s a steam arm on the machine, or alternatively, you can purchase a separate milk frother.
How coffee makers work
With so many different types of coffee makers on offer, it’s no surprise that each type of machine works slightly differently. Here we focus on espresso machines and pod coffee makers but for a more detailed explanation, head to our feature on how coffee makers work.
Espresso machines work by using a pump to push pressurized water through coffee grounds so that it infuses with the water to make a smooth shot of espresso. If an espresso machine has a milk frother, it will use a boiler to push steam out of the machine which is then used to give the milk a velvety texture. Pod coffee machines work by using a compacted capsule of coffee and piercing a hole in the capsule. Hot water is then powered up through the machine and pushed through the capsule to create a coffee. Some more advanced pod machines, such as the N espresso Vertuo Next, spin the coffee pod around at high speeds so that the contents evenly infuse with water for an even smoother cup of coffee.
How to clean a coffee maker
Keeping your coffee maker clean will not only ensure it looks great, but it’s crucial for maintaining working order and keeping it hygienic. We’ve written a full feature on how to clean a coffee maker and all its parts but the good news is that you’ll be able to clean thoroughly using products you’ve most likely got at home already. To clean your machine’s water tank, you can make a solution with one part water and one part white vinegar and simply leave it to soak inside your water reservoir for a couple of hours. To give the pipes a good flush through, let the vinegar solution run through the machine by switching it on as you would do normally for water.