Espresso machine recs

Hi, let me know if the topic should be placed elsewhere.

I’m getting ready to purchase a home espresso machine and would appreciate your thoughts/experience/recommendations. Looking at the Breville Oracle Touch ($2.5k) vs. Barista Touch ($1k). I am willing to learn how to pull a shot but am interested in some of the automatic features in the machines mentioned above because there will be other members of the household using the machine and I want us all to be able to make decent coffee even if I’m not home.

Let me know if you’ve had any experience with espresso machines and what are some issues to look out for.

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I have the Oracle. From what I understand this model is pretty much the same as the Oracle Touch minus the touch screen.

I am a little turned off by the idea of putting a touch screen in every single electronic. I think it introduces another layer of failure. Like what is going to happen to your machine in 10 years?.. :man_shrugging:

I love the Oracle! It is automated, but you also have the all the neat options for if you want to experiment. Most of the time, I just buy local (recently roasted) beans, and I leave the grind size on 30. Always works good enough.

My sister-in-law bought the Barista Express model. It seems pretty similar, you just have to tamp your own shot. If our current model were to crap out, I would likely get another machine, but I think I would save the money and just get a Barista Express. One of the many features that my machine has is two boilers, with this you can steam milk and do a shot at the same time. However in practice, I don’t really do this that often, and honestly I don’t think I care enough.

The only real negative thing I can say about the Breville line, is that they seem to use more beans than you need. Or at least that I have heard. I looked into it one time, and there were recommend ways by other users on how to tweak it, but I have not done it or looked back into it since.

Hope this helps!

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Also, I have watched a few videos of this guy on Youtube -

I think he has some beginner or first machine recommendations. It might be worth a check out. He seems to really know his stuff.

I agree the touch screen portion is a bit concerning w/r/t longevity. Most people I see with five, seven year old machines have basic boilers and steam wands, and at most 3-5 buttons. No digital interfaces. If I’m spending $3k I want this thing to live at least 10 years, but I probably won’t get that.

Could you describe your most common drink and how often you clean/service the machine? Also on a given work day, how long does it take to go from zero to a ready cup (with or without steamed milk)?

As far as longevity goes, I have had two models of this same machine. Our first was an older model that had an different filtration system. We had this one for about two years before it ran into issues. It turns out that you have to descale the machine, but this model never mentioned this in the instruction manual.

Breville serviced it, however when we got it back it had other issues. Talking with the service rep., it sounds like the techs. flashed it with a new firmware when it was in the shop. Apparently the older models were not compatible with this firmware, and the machine was basically fried in some aspects by the techs. Luckily Breville replaced our machine, and we got the same model however this one came with an updated filtration system. It uses a filter similar to that of a Brita water pitcher where the previous one just used little characoal bags. We have been using this model for about a year and a half I think. I need to probably look into descaling this one soon as part of routine maintenance. However I am a little skeptical to be honest because when I was looking into issues with my previous machine, some people stated that they ran into issues post descaling. I guess I won’t know until I try.

My common drinks are Americanos, usually made with Americano selection (machine will add hot water on its own) or I will make two shots and then use hot water from an external kettle. I like the machine option a little better since I think it calculates the ratio. Coffee comes out more like brew vs. when I do it which is more like hot water with espresso if you know what I mean. Other than that, it is lattes for the wife, and hot chocolate for the kiddo. Never had any issues with different types of milk.

Not sure about how long it takes to heat up, never really timed it. I usually turn it on and start doing other things. Maybe 10-12 minutes :man_shrugging: , and that is for both boilers (steamer and coffee). My machine will remind me to clean it, I think it is about every 200 pulls of coffee. They include some cleaning supplies. Tablets for the group head and steam wand. You can buy replacements. You are supposed to change the filter every 3 months, but realistically I average about 6.

Like I said, I like mine and would likely buy another. My only cons are that I think it burns through more beans than you really need (you can tweak this from what I have read, but it requires some fiddling that I have just not messed with), and the price.