Sage the Oracle Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine BES980BSS

9.9 out of 10
9.9 out of 10

Overall Score 9.9/10

Design 10/10

Sage are famous for their top of the range high design coffee machines and this one certainly fits into that category

This is an incredible looking coffee machine.

Brushed stainless steel covers the entire machine which immediately creates a look and feel of something that is a little bit special and different from your average coffee machine

There are lots of buttons, dials, knobs and levers which all have very specific functionality to enable the recreation of a coffee shop experience.

If you are looking for a minimalist look with only a few buttons to press then this may not be for you as this is very much a professional coffee machine adapted for home use

This machine measures up at 37cm wide, 41cm deep and 45cm tall which is bigger than average but will not dominate the worktop.

Functionality 10/10

Sage are quick to point out that if you truly want to replicate a coffee shop experience at home then there are 4 key elements that you need to perfect:

  • Coffee dose amount
  • Water temperature
  • Pressure during coffee extraction
  • Steam pressure for heating the milk

 

So how does the Sage “the Oracle” espresso machine perform in each of those categories?

Straight out of the box it would be easy to get a little intimidated as it certainly has all the “bells and whistles” with dials and levers and buttons and digital displays.

The advice would be to leave it on default while you become accustomed to the functionality.

Essentially it is divided into 3 parts. Bean grinding, coffee delivery and milk heating.

First grinding. The dial on the left of the machine allows you to select the fineness of the grind. The lower the number, the finer the grind. Higher number provide a coarse grind for if you like to use a cafetiere for example. For espresso stick to 10-20

The grind will begin automatically when you insert it into the grinding area. Simply turn it to the right and the grind will start. A great little extra feature on this machine is that it will tamp the coffee down for you as well. No mess, no hassle. It will also deliver exactly 22g of coffee prior to tamping which is the optimum. Brilliant.

Sage have incorporated digital temperature control into this coffee machine to ensure that water is delivered at 93 degrees. This is the kind of thing incorporated into professional machines you would find on the high street.

You can easily programme the amount of time you would like the water to flow through the coffee and into the cup. Around 30 seconds will be right for a double shot.

Last but not least you have what we will call the milk heating system. One dial allows you to set the temperature of the milk. Set this at around 65-70 degrees. Any hotter and you could burn the milk.

Once you have added the milk and set the temperature then simply insert the steam wand and the Sage oracle will do the rest. It will stop when the set temperature has been reached ready for you to pour the perfect cappuccino or latte. This is a very clever coffee machine.

The water tank is a big one holding up to 2.5 litres of water and is easily accessible to add more water from the front of the machine.

Keep up to 280g of fresh coffee beans in the bean hopper.

Ease of use 10/10

When you first get it out of the box and at first glance this may seem like it’s going to be a challenge each time you want to brew a coffee but the opposite is true.

The beans are freshly ground and the machine tamps the coffee for you ready to be brewed. Then you press one button and the coffee is delivered into the cup at the precise temperature required.

This is a dual boiler machine so you can heat the milk up at the same time the coffee is delivered and the milk gets heated to your exact requirements without any observation from you.

After a few uses you quickly realise that this is a pretty simple coffee machine to use

Quality of coffee 10/10

If you are spending this kind of money on a coffee machine please be sure to use some great coffee beans to go with it. Buy from the local coffee shop and check the roasting date not the use by date.

Stick to beans roasted in the last 30 days.

Value For Money 9.5/10

This is a tough one because this machine costs a lot of money. It is however in our opinion not expensive because what you get really does provide value for money despite the high price tag.

If it was a touch lower priced then it may have received top marks but this is the price you have to pay if you REALLY want a coffee shop experience at home.