Heston Blumenthal is well-known for being a top celebrity chef, and as you can imagine for someone of his culinary calibre, he’s not going to lightly attach his name to a product without it being able to live up to his stringent quality standards. Fortunately, the Sage Oracle coffee machine does not disappoint in this regard.
This machine offers a clever balance of manual and automatic functionality, enabling you to get a good feel for making professional barista-level coffee while still automating some of the steps that require a little more specialised knowledge, such as tamping, dosing and frothing milk.
Sage Oracle Coffee Machine review
What I like
- Top-quality workmanship
- Highly customisable settings
- Largely self-cleaning
- Automatic milk heating
What I don’t like
- Not that easy to set up and operate
- More expensive
What are you buying?
The Oracle is billed as “the world’s first automatic manual espresso machine“, which means that much of the heavy lifting involved in making a high-quality cup of coffee has already been done for you. The machine automates some of the most difficult aspects of manually making espressos, including grinding, tamping, dosing, and texturing milk.
One of the most distinctive features of the Oracle is the fact that the grinding and brewing processes are actually separate from each other, which mimics the design of many of the machines found in high street coffee shops.
I would be lying if I said that making coffee with this machine requires nothing but the push of a button; in fact, that’s not really what the Oracle is all about. This machine is definitely designed for coffee enthusiasts who are interested in the finer details of the coffee making process.
While working with this machine can provide the satisfaction of learning something new, it can also be an annoyance for those who just want to be able to press a few buttons and have the machine crank out a latte in short order.
The good news is that even if you’re completely clueless as to how to operate the machine, Sage offers White Glove Service for purchasers of the Oracle, which means that they will actually send a technician out to your home to help you set up the machine, as well as to guide you into getting the most out of your coffee making experience with the Oracle.
Another outstanding feature of the Oracle is its stainless steel dual boiler that offers an ingeniously designed triple heating system (via the dedicated steam boiler, the espresso boiler and the heated group head).
The PID technology in the dedicated espresso boiler enables you to extract your espresso shot within just 1 degree Celsius of your selected temperature. Not only that, but the Oracle can extract the espresso and texture the milk all at once, delivering a delightful shot of espresso with a heavenly aroma.
You can also make delicious cappuccinos and lattes by way of the Oracle’s high-powered milk frothing arm, enabling you to add a creamy kick to your caffeine-laden concoctions.
- Type: Bean to cup
- Pressure: 15 bars
- Ground coffee: No
- Coffee beans: Yes
- Capsules: Does not use capsules
- Size: 41 x 45 x 38 cm
- Weight: 19kg
- Steam or pump driven: Pump
- Espresso number: 2 cups
- Water capacity: 2.5l
How easy is it to use?
As I briefly mentioned earlier, this machine is not going to be the easiest contraption to operate for a beginning home barista. This can be handily overcome, however, by simply availing yourself of the White Glove Service that Oracle offers.
If you’re more of a DIY person and you don’t mind enduring the learning curve, you can have a crack at setting up and operating the machine with the instruction manual and starter guide that are included with your purchase. In addition, the unit is largely self-cleaning, which makes it fairly easy to maintain.
What accessories are included?
The Oracle is a brilliant bit of kit, as it comes with practically everything you would need to start making professional barista-level quality coffee in the comfort of your own home.
Included in your purchase are the machine itself with the grinder, a 58mm stainless steel portafilter, a 480 ml stainless steel frothing jug, a single wall filter basket, a hard water test strip indicator, a cleaning kit, and one water filter.
In addition, don’t forget about the White Glove Service that is automatically included, which is a wonderful plus that puts this machine head and shoulders above others in its class.
Sage Oracle Coffee Machine key features
- Highly customisable settings to help you achieve your preferred taste and texture.
- Top-quality workmanship and attractive look.
- Largely self-cleaning.
- Automatic milk heating and texturing works brilliantly.
- Makes coffee that is orders of magnitude better than other machines in its class!
- This machine is definitely on the pricier side, but it’s well worth it.
- It’s not that easy to set up and operate, but as I’ve said before (I think I sound like a broken record by now), you can take advantage of the White Glove Service to resolve any operational issues.
Anything else you should know?
If you’re a long black coffee fan (or an Americano buff), you’re going to love this machine, as it can provide you with hot water in the blink of an eye.
In addition, the Oracle has a neat feature known as the Over Pressure Valve, which regulates the maximum amount of pressure that is utilised during the extraction process to alleviate those bitter tastes that can sometimes form in the mixture.
In practically all respects, the Sage Oracle coffee machine is a cut above its similarly-priced counterparts. It has an elegant design that looks fantastic on any worktop, and it offers reliable performance with top-quality results. If you’re ready to take your coffee making experience to the next level, you won’t be disappointed if you choose the Sage Oracle for your next coffee machine.
Check our comparison of bean to cup coffee makers before you make your final decision.
Where to buy?
- Amazon UK: Click to check today’s price
Frequently asked questions
1. Why is Sage Oracle more expensive than most coffee machines?
Because it is a mostly automatic bean-to-cup machine that produces barista-quality coffee.
Sage Oracle is an all-in-one machine that combines a grinder, boiler and steamer into one. You can make just about any espresso-based coffee you want with just a few presses of the buttons.
Most of the challenging aspects of making great coffee such as grinding, dossing, tampering and milk frothing are automated. When it comes to maintenance, Sage Oracle is mostly self-cleaning.
There’s also the luxury styling and high build quality.
2. Is the Sage Oracle noisy?
Similar to any other grinder, the integrated grinder in the Sage Oracle is rather loud especially when you are making coffee in the quiet early morning hours. But it lasts only about 10 seconds. After that, the rest of the coffee-making process proceeds quietly.
3. How often should I descale the Sage Oracle coffee machine?
It depends on how much coffee you make daily and how hard your water is. The machine will alert you when it is time to descale.
But considering that this is a pricey investment, we’d recommend erring on the safe side and descaling at least once a month even if the machine doesn’t give you an alert. Scale build-up can quickly damage a coffee machine and reduce its lifespan.
Check the manual for the proper descaling product and procedure.
Sage Oracle Coffee Machine Review
As a bean-to-cup coffee machine with robust features, the Oracle combines smart technology with mechanical sensibilities, which when taken together provide a well-rounded and thoroughly satisfying coffee making experience.