Given time and the proper tools, it's not difficult to learn how to make an exceptional cup of coffee—but to do it consistently, time after time? That's the real trick. In this instance, the Breville Oracle aims to save the day. The recently released machine boasts the precision of an automatic with the consistency and quality of a manual machine. We've been testing out the Oracle at CH HQ for a few weeks now and, aside from its slightly cumbersome size, we've found the experience nothing but positive. Simply put, it offers the ability to make a café quality cappuccino in about 90 seconds.
Essentially an automatic machine for experienced coffee connoisseurs, the Oracle automates the most difficult and key elements of making great coffee—that's the grinding, dosing, tamping and milk texturizing. An air-tight hopper feeds fresh beans into a built-in conical burr grinder (which, as coffee snobs know, is the only type of grinder) and then into the filter basket. By eliminating the highly variable, hands-on process of grinding and tamping, the machine saves time and an inevitable mess as well. Separate dials for grind size and milk temperature and buttons for brew length allow you to dial in and save each step of the process to your exact personal preference.
At its core, the Oracle is driven by dual stainless steel boilers and a three part heating system, which allows for brewing and milk-frothing at the same time. The sophisticated system—when put into use by the dedicated Americano button—makes preparing the straight espresso substitute impressively easy. The hot water (again, set to your preferred temperature) spouts in from a unique position, allowing it to flow directly into your cup without having to adjust after receiving the espresso shot.
While the Breville Oracle isn't cheap (with a sticker price of $2,000) it's not out of the question for the most dedicated of coffee drinkers. If both space and cash are limited however, the Breville Dual Boiler (roughly the same machine, without the automated grinder and tamper of course) is a great option as well. Visit Breville online for purchase information.
Images by Graham Hiemstra