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The Breville Oracle Review

You know those crazy “life goals,” where you dream of the day you’ll wake up and magically make the perfect cup of coffee every morning?

Well, this Breville Oracle bes980xl review is about to make you do a coffee-related, life-goal-achieved happy dance. For those who want a great shot of espresso – without the need to manually do everything for every shot – this is the coffee machine...maybe. Read on to find out.

The Breville Oracle (bes980xL) 'In A Nutshell'

The Breville Oracle BES980XL
  • Ease of Use
  • Quality of Brew
  • Capacity
  • Price

Breville Oracle

The Breville Oracle is like having a magical coffee assistant that actually listens to what you want, remembers it, and makes it happen over and over again.

The team at Breville clearly loves us and wants us to be happy. They are dedicated to producing espresso machines that make life simple, convenient and tastyIts no wonder the Oracle keeps being featured on list like this.

This machine is semi-automated with plenty of useful bells and whistles.

It’s not cheap and it’s a sizeable machine, but it is efficient and it makes great espresso – which is what we’re all after, isn’t it?  

This machine offers up the ability to make a range of espresso drinks.  

And, if you live in a house where you don’t all have the same likes and dislikes when it comes to your caffeinated beverages of choice, this is the perfect machine to avoid family squabbles - you can save your favorites without worrying about deleting the data of other users in the home. 

For those committed to making great coffee at home, this purchase is worth it.  

Things to Think About Before That Credit Card Comes Out!

The Breville Oracle is a stylish hybrid (semi-automatic meets super-automatic) that makes great espresso.

The designers at Oracle took a look at the gap between the semi-automatic machines (which need some expertise) and the super-automatics (which take away a lot of control from you).

The result is the Breville Oracle.

This isn’t the most expensive machine in world, but at $2,500 it’s not the cheapest either.  

It does offer you the ability to program in quite a bit, which is a good thing for some and for others who like to test their manual abilities a bit more, that’s not a priority.

This is a great coffee machine for the person who might want to take the easy road some days, but also wants to maintain some control over the brewing process.

It will appeal to the coffee fan who has a fair amount of knowledge, but also likes to hand some of the tasks over, once they have set the machine up to deliver exactly what they want.

While every once in a while you hear about some breville oracle problems, breville is a good company and if there is an issue, they want to resolve it.

While this machine is pretty easy to use - that is a relative term when it comes to making great espresso drinks.

If you have only ever made coffee out of an instant coffee jar with boiling water, this won’t be easy.

If you have experimented a bit with an espresso machine, you should be able to work this reasonably quickly. 

The Breville Oracle Review

Breville Oracle

The Breville Oracle is a big machine that offers a lot of features.

The team at Breville is always stretching the boundaries of what we can expect from an espresso machine. They sure did it with the Oracle.


  • Automation for grinding, tamping & steaming.
  • Integrated grinder – this lets you grind the same amount every time with the press of a button
  • Built-in tamper – this means you get the same pressure every single time (and no risk of tamper’s wrist!).
  • Hybrid steam wand – offers automatic (“set it and forget it”) temperatures and creates cloud-like froth for your latte.
  • Dual boiler – you can brew and steam at the same time.
  • You can automate tasks or do them manually – your choice.


  • It’s pricey.
  • The machine itself is big. A small kitchen space can’t hold it.
  • Automated anything means challenges when it breaks down.
  • Did we mention that it’s pricey?

You Can Program In Your Favorite Beverage - and then it's automated

a cup of latte

For someone like me who sometimes wants to take the easy way out (can you say early mornings?) and other times wants to play around, this is a great machine.

While the automation isn’t quite idiot-proof, it helps the less-than-experts among us make a kick-ass cup of coffee pretty quickly after unpacking the machine.

And, you can override the automation and keep control.

This beast (and it is a big machine – so keep that in mind) automates typically tedious elements - think dosing, grinding, tamping and steaming.

And that makes me happy.

If you are anything like me, that first cup in the morning can be hard to make – and this makes it so much easier. 

There is a programmable hands-free milk texturing with automatic purge and it has a range of presets and customizable settings.

This is a machine that will give you a great shot of espresso or latte once you program it properly.

Easy Access To The Water Tank (this is more important than it sounds)

The team at Breville seems have a deep-seated desire to make life easier for us coffee-loving humans.

And they did this well with the Oracle.

An example of this is access to the water tank.

You can press down on the lid on the top and it’ll pop right open, letting you fill the tank from there.

Or, remove the drip tray – there’s a dial that you can turn that connects to a swivel foot on the bottom of the machine, which lets you swivel it around easily to access the water tank.

There are a lot of espresso machines that seem to have design flaws when it comes to accessing the water tank, something that is done regularly as you make the coffee.

This one takes that bit of grief away. It’s a small thing, but an important one.

The Frothing Wand Stays Clean

I have to say that this might be my favorite element of this machine. The steam wand is a little bit of magic that makes me happy every time.

First off, I love a good latte and the Oracle steam wand is smart, smart, smart!

It makes a kick-ass froth – you set the wand to auto, adjust the temp, and let it go.

There is a sensor in the tip of the wand that indicates when the desired temperature is reached.

And – when you’re done steaming, you push the wand back into place and it cleans itself up for you.

Yep – that’s right – a smart machine that cleans up after itself.  It does this by forcing steam out of the tip as it is facing down in the tray.

Coffee In A Flash

It has a dual boiler – one for extracting coffee, one for steaming milk. This means you get the coffee in your hand quickly.

You Get AMAZING Tasting Espresso, every day

Another benefit: it has pre-infusion.

(I like to casually drop this to guests as I make them coffee: “Oh, we just need a moment for the pre-infusion. And by ‘we’ I mean the coffee machine and me. We’re a team.)

You can program this baby to soak the coffee slightly prior to extraction.

This means more even and flavorful extraction - which means better tasting coffee.

TL:DR? That's ok -- just check this video with all the key features:

Not Your Cup of Tea? (I Mean… Coffee?)

I get it. You’re worried that this machine is too automated, too complicated, too big or too expensive.

There are other options out there.

It can be challenging to put other machines up against the Breville Oracle, because it really is in a class of its own.

But it is worth comparing the Oracle to others, even if you think it’s the one for you.

The Barista Express 

Barista Express

Both of the Oracle and the Barista Express are semi-automatic and have similar, yet different capabilities.

This would come down to absolute personal choice rather than which one provides an overall “higher value.”

While it is a good machine, the Barista Express doesn’t come with all of the bells and whistles of the Oracle.

You can check out the Barista Express here.  

The Barista Express has a basic PID. The Oracle has an intuitive digital display, which allows you to fine tune it to the exact temperature you want.

The Express has a thermocoil, which means you have to brew and steam separately. With the Oracle, you can do both at the same time.

The Breville Oracle Touch

Breville Oracle Touch

It feels a little bit like pitting two siblings against each other here. And yet, I must.

I have to say, if you brought either one of these home, you wouldn’t be disappointed.

The Oracle Touch is more expensive (sitting at around $3,500) – but it has a few special features like the remarkable full-color touchscreen interface. 

Which is truly a thing of beauty and convenience. (The Oracle has backlit LCDs and buttons.)

It has settings for five of the most common espresso drinks: espresso, Americano, latte, flat white and cappuccino (those are standard) and it can save up to eight custom drink formulas.

The Touch also has an over pressure valve – until now, only available on commercial machines.

It controls shot pressure, preventing bitterness and creating a low-pressure flow of water to produce an even extraction. This results in a thick, rich crema.

And, like the Oracle, it has the magic steamer wand that cleans itself. You can take a gander at this beauty by clicking here.

If the cost is a concern, you could also think about a new-to-you machine. 

The Last Word - Should you buy the oracle?

As much as I dream of honing my coffee craft and become a barista-level coffee artist in my own home, I also don’t have all the time to really dig into that (you know – work, family, friends… life!).

I like the idea of having an espresso maker that allows me to have incredibly good coffee at home and makes it easier for me, yet I still get to contribute my expertise and knowledge to the process. 

It offers previously unavailable elements that take the headache out of making café quality espresso at home.

I am always up for making things less complicated.

And because this machine makes life easier, you have more time to search around and find some new, great coffee beans to try.

And let me tell you, this machine will impress the crap out of your friends.

Click here to check out this beautiful espresso machine that will bring caffeinated happiness to your home.


Hi, I'm Scott, and I've traveled extensively through North America and Europe, exploring food and drink pairings around the world. My Love of coffee began during my teen years when a friend's family introduced me to the glories of the classic Italian Moka pot. That technology got me through too many early-morning final exams in college and eventually led to a manual espresso machine after graduation.

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