The Sage by Heston Blumenthal the Oracle Touch is a top-of-the-range home coffee machine. It automates crucial elements of making a great espresso. Dose amount, water temperature, water pressure and steam pressure are all handled by the machine.
Sage is obsessed with making you a perfect cup of coffee at home with minimal effort on your part. At 6.30am, perfection is not a concept any of us need to be familiar with.
The Sage by Heston Blumenthal the Oracle Touch does the hard work. Minimal input, or skill, is required. It costs £1999 in the UK and $2500 in the US, where it's called the Breville Oracle Touch.
The Sage by Heston Blumenthal the Oracle Touch is bulky. It’s ostentatious, and it’s the first thing people will notice when they walk in the room. You'll likely have to re-arrange your kitchen to fit the Sage in, though.
With the hopper on top, it’s hard to squeeze into kitchen-top surfaces if there's shelving above. Remember that if you’re considering purchasing.
After a month with the Oracle, though, we were sad to say goodbye to it. Yes, it has a touch screen so the legit Milano barista vibe you might get from having a Gaggia espresso maker on display is tainted a little. But, housed in stainless steel and aluminium, it still looks impressive. Like the kind of machine Heston Blumenthal might own.
What can you expect from Sage’s updated model? The Sage by Heston Blumenthal the Oracle Touch is slicker than its original espresso machines. It’s easy to take so much automation for granted, but that's the idea. A novice will find pouring an almost-perfect espresso ridiculously easy.
The Oracle Touch is similar to the original The Oracle, with automated grinding, dosing and tamping, as well as automated milk texturing. This Touch model adds touchscreen control for even simpler use.
If you want more control over those elements, or to feel you are doing more of the work yourself, you might consider a cheaper model like the Barista Express.
The Sage by Heston Blumenthal the Oracle Touch can seem intimidating. It's big and expensive. However, within 15 minutes you'll be set up and ready to go. It’s deceptively easy, and you only need to be half aware of what’s going on behind the scenes.
Did it pass the possible-to-use-at-6.30am test? With flying colours.
The Sage by Heston Blumenthal the Oracle Touch is semi-automatic, grinding and tamping away by itself, while you decide the coffee strength or milk texture, with the comfort of hands-free milk foaming. All you have to do is slot the wand into the grounds dispenser, then move it to the port in the middle.
There is a bit of mess from coffee grounds, but this is unavoidable. If you’d prefer to see and smell your coffee rather than use processed pods, you’re on to a winner.
The best part? The soothing sound the Sage by Heston Blumenthal the Oracle Touch makes when you turn it on. It'll make your mornings better.
Get used to great coffee. And get used to getting through it. The Oracle Touch uses 22 grams of fresh ground coffee each time, creating a double shot as standard.
You’ll need those beans on repeat order. But the end result, once you’ve tweaked the variables, is silky smooth crema, gorgeously strong coffee and microfoam for days, all at the touch of a screen.
After a few attempts, it looks and feels like you’re an expert barista making competent cappuccinos, flat whites and lattes. And you don’t even have to know the difference between them.
Using separate boilers for milk and coffee, the Oracle Touch produces enough steam pressure to create that ever-elusive micro-foam. We also tested the steam wand with soy milk, and not once did it curdle or split, as is often the case in coffee shops. Digital thermometers cut off the steam to stop the milk from scalding. All you have to do is pour it.
True to its name, the Oracle Touch does the majority of the leg-work. You’re left to fine tune aspects, and slot in the wand, stopping it from being a control-free bean-to-cup system. With the high dose of coffee and the minor faff of making each one, don’t be surprised if you find yourself savouring one great cup from this machine. It seems much less clinical than using a pod machine.
You can, whisper it, even get away with using supermarket coffee beans.
There’s minimal wastage to the Sage by Heston Blumenthal the Oracle Touch. You can rinse the leftover coffee grounds and use them as fertiliser in your garden. That’s about all the recycling you’ll have to deal with.
The Sage by Heston Blumenthal the Oracle Touch is a perfect machine for domestic use. There’s no getting away from the high price, but if you love good coffee and know you’ll get a lot of use out of it, it’s hard to find a downside. Other than its size.
It's 454mm tall and the hopper needs a few more inches on top. Consider getting the tape measure out before buying.
If you currently spend a few pounds or dollars a day on a cup of coffee from a cafe, the Sage by Heston Blumenthal the Oracle Touch could end up paying for itself after a couple of years.