The Sage Barista range has an excellent reputation amongst coffee lovers for providing high-quality espresso machines with plenty of choices as demonstrated by the Sage Oracle Touch and Barista Express. When faced with the option of the Sage Oracle Touch vs Barista Express, how do they compare?
Sage Oracle Touch
Sage Barista Express
Coffee Machine Type
Bean to Cup
Bean to Cup
39.2 (W) x 37.3 (D) x 45.4 (H) cm
32.5 (W) x 31 (D) x 40 cm (H)
280g bean container; 2 litre water tank
250g bean container; 2 litre water tank
Stainless Steel or Black
Stainless Steel or Black
What Users Think
Makes brillint coffee and is easy to use
Great machine with a hands-on barista style experience
In this article we’re going to take a look at just that by going over a number of areas:
- Coffee Maker Type
- Ease of Use
- Milk Frother
- What Users Say
The Sage Oracle Touch takes offers coffee lovers touch screen automation at each stage of the coffee making process.
The Oracle Touch will guide users via it’s sleek looking touch screen menu through each step as you grind, brew, and milk your way to your favourite drink.
The Oracle Touch is at the high end of Sage’s espresso offerings in terms of automation as well as price.
The Barista Express from Sage aims to give coffee lovers the barista-style experience as well as high quality in their own kitchen.
The Barista Express has proved to be highly popular amongst users who seem to rate it very highly once they’ve got the hang of the controls and know how to get the best from it.
If you are after a fully hands-on espresso experience then the Barista Express offers a great counter to its more illustrious cousin the Sage Oracle Touch.
Sage Oracle Touch vs Barista Express: Comparing The Two
We’ll now delve into a detailed look at the Sage Oracle Touch vs Barista Express.
Type of Coffee Maker
The Sage Oracle Touch is described as a fully automated bean to cup coffee machine. There is still an element of involvement from the user as it’s still an espresso machine but it’s kept to the bare minimum.
To get it going you insert the portafilter into the grinder and select your desired grind level. The machine will then automatically grind the beans for you and then tamper them with the required pressure once that is done.
You can then move the portafilter to the group head where the unit will then brew your coffee depending on the drink option you select from the touch screen menu. You can also select how long to brew the coffee to get your desired flavour.
One of the main things that distinguish the Oracle Touch from the Barista Express is that it has a dual boiler rather than a single boiler.
This means that it can brew coffee and heat up your milk at the same time rather than waiting for one then doing the other. This of course means you’ll be doing less waiting around when making milk-based drinks.
The Barista Express offers users are far more manual and traditional style of espresso-making but with a built-in bean grinder giving you the benefits of a bean to cup machine. To get it going you insert the portafilter into place under the grinder and the machine will grind the right amount of coffee for your desired drink.
Quite helpfully you have the choice of 18 different grind levels and can also select the amount of coffee that’s ground. Once that’s done, you can then user the Razor tool that comes with the machine to level off the ground coffee in the group handle before tamping down your coffee as necessary.
After that’s complete you can then place the group handle into the machine and select your choice of a single or double shot of espresso. You can then go on to use the manual milk frother if you are making a milk-based.
Ease of Use
When it comes to ease of use, many coffee lovers will pay whatever is necessary to make their coffee experience as easy as possible. From grinding, to tamping, to extraction and milk frothing making a good coffee can be complicated and at times messy.
Different machines offer you different levels of intervention and automation. That’s why it’s important for you to be clear on how hands-on you want to get before you buy your machine.
The Sage Oracle Touch offers one end of the spectrum where you can get your coffee made with a barista like feel but without too much intervention from your part.
The touch screen operation guides you through the process and the machine does all the heavy lifting involved with grinding, tamping, brewing as well as getting your milk the way you need it for your lattes and cappuccinos.
The Barista Express on the other hand gives you a far more hands-on barista-style experience. It does not come with a touch screen for operation with the controls based on buttons and dials. The interface, however, still appears relatively straightforward.
The Barista Express gives you control of the size of the ground coffee you want as well as the amount.
It comes with 18 options in terms of ground size giving meaning you get a lot of control though many users do note that you’ll need to tinker around with these to get a taste to suit your own preferences.
Personalisation features can be helpful with reducing the time needed to set up your machine to make your favourite drink.
With the number of different options you typically get with a coffee maker, it can be handy to be able to save settings for repeated use especially once you’ve found your perfect combinations.
This usually means that once you’ve discovered your perfect settings on a machine, you can then get the machine to memorise the combinations so next time you come to make the drink you go straight to that option.
The Sage Oracle Touch provides you with excellent options in this area as you can either create new drinks or save the tweaks you’ve made to an existing pre-set drink. You get up to save up to 8 personalised drinks.
The Barista Express, however, does not of course offer any of this type of personalisation as it’s a manual machine.
However, you do get the option of re-programming the standard volume of the one or two-shot pours.
You also get full control over the amount of coffee that goes into your cup by holding down the one or two cup buttons and then letting go when it’s reached your desired volume.
For many, the milk frothing functions can make or break their experience with their coffee maker.
The Sage Oracle Touch offers an automatic milk frother where you simply need to place the milk in the correct position and press a button. The automatic steam wand will then prepare your milk as you desire.
This is one area that stands out in user reviews with many stating how well the Oracle Touch does with heating and frothing milk. The Oracle Touch will allow you to select the temperature of the milk as well.
The Barista Express on the other hand also comes with a steam wand but with manual operation giving you a more traditional barista-like experience.
The steam wand will allow you to warm up as well as froth the milk as it creates micro-foam to get a velvety texture for your desired milk-based drinks. The high quality of the milk frother is something that is regularly noted by users for producing a velvety texture.
In terms of capacity the Oracle Touch comes with a 280 gram bean container and a 2 litre water tank.
The Sage Barista Express is equipped with a 250g bean container as well as a 2 litre water tank.
Both the Oracle Touch and Barista Express provide you with the option of making one or two drinks at the same time, helpful for when you have a guest.
The footprint and height of your coffee machine is an important factor particularly if you are tight on space or have a specific place in mind you need to fit it into.
The Oracle Touch has the following dimensions:
39.2 (W) x 37.3 (D) x 45.4 (H) cm
The Barista Express on the other hand has the following dimensions:
32.5 (W) x 31 (D) x 40 cm (H)
The Barista Express has a smaller footprint and a lower height so may well be better suited to counters with less space.
Design and Construction
When it comes to design and construction Sage appliances usually stand out from the crowd and the Oracle Touch and Barista Express are no different.
Both machines are constructed from brushed stainless steel giving them a real high quality look that’s consistently noted by users.
With regard to available colours, both the Oracle Touch and Barista Express are available in a brushed stainless steel look (think silver) and black.
Regardless of which model you opt for, it’s always comforting knowing you’re backed by a manufacturer guarantee.
Both the Oracle Touch and Barista Express come available with a 2 year manufacturer’s warranty including repair, replacement or refund based on Sage’s assessment of the unit.
The pricing between the Oracle Touch and Barista Express varies significantly.
The Oracle Touch is at the high end of Sage’s offering and can be typically found for around £2,000. Whichever way you look at it, this is an expensive machine.
The Barista Express on the other hand can typically be found for around £550 – £600 clearly offering a far less expensive alternative.
What Do Users Say
Though many note the taste will depend largely on the quality and freshness of your roasted bean, they do note that when the beans are good the coffee the Oracle Touch produces is very good.
Many users appear to enjoy what they feel is an easy to use machine that takes care of the most difficult aspects of making a good coffee. They also like the personalisation options.
Some users, however, do mention that the machine is on the pricey side. There is also mention of the grinder being somewhat noisy although it should be noted this is a fairly common issue across machines with grinders.
When it comes to user reviews the Barista Express receives generally high praise from users with many mentioning how good the quality of the coffee is that it produces.
The high-quality build of the Barista Express is also something else that gets consistently mentioned. In addition, the high quality of the textured milk that is produced using the steamer is also something else that stands out. to the
Many users do, however, mention that if you are looking for a hands-off coffee making experience then the Barista Express is a machine you may not want. They do, however, feel that if you are willing to learn how to make the best use of it, they feel you can make some great tasting coffee.
In terms of drawbacks, some users mention that they feel the drip tray could be larger as it can fill up relatively quickly. They also mention that you’ll need to keep the machine regularly cleaned to maintain it in the long-run, though worth noting that this would apply to most coffee machines.
Conclusion: Sage Oracle Touch vs Barista Express
In summary, when it comes to the Sage Oracle Touch vs Barista Express you have the choice of two high-quality bean to cup coffee machines from a well-renowned manufacturer that offer two distinctive coffee making experiences.
If you like the idea of making coffee like a barista in your own home but find the process too complicated then the Sage Oracle Touch may be a good option as it does the most complicated aspects for you making the process more accessible.
The Sage Oracle Touch is most definitely the pricier of the two though it has several key features that differentiate it including a dual boiler and all-important touchscreen.
The Barista Express provides a great alternative if you want to get more hands-on with your coffee making and aren’t too concerned about the kind of automation you get with the Oracle Touch. It comes with generally great reviews from users and offers a far lower price than the Sage Oracle Touch.
Sage Oracle Touch vs Barista Express: Tell us what you think.