Upgrading to a proper espresso machine, budget around 1000 euros

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.

#1: Post by datrue »

Hello. I live in Europe/Greece. I am interested in upgrading my current Nespresso capsule machine to a something better.

I am torn between the Sage Barista Touch (around 850E) and Sage Oracle Touch(around 2000E). Really don't know if the latter is worth its money.

I have worked previously as a barista (10years ago) so i don't really mind the semi-automated machines since they provide a better quality espresso. However i would like something to spend the least time possible (time vs quality). I like milk oriented drinks too and my wife is almost exclusively drink those. She also doesn't wanna bother a lot making coffees. So i would like to ask you if a semi-automated is suitable for us or should i search for an automated one? I am also interested in waiting times of Sage's machines if anyone has some experience? I usually drink 2-3 times throughout the day and something i wanna avoid is waiting 30' for my espresso machine to get warm.
Would love to hear your thoughts on those two machines or any other suggestion.

Budget is around 1000ish euros unless Oracle Touch really worths the extra grand.
Thanks in advance.

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#2: Post by baristainzmking »

Welcome to HB,

I would recommend the Sage Dual Boiler. It is a much better choice than the Barista Touch and cheaper and better than Oracle. Have you left money in your budget for the grinder?

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#3: Post by Jeff »

Welcome to H-B, where you'll get at least as many opinions as replies!

I would, if you can afford it, get a separate grinder for whatever machine you choose. The all-in-ones tend to be mediocre, at best, when they work. When they fail, they can be challenging to repair.

I would completely avoid any of the bean-to-cup machines ("superautomat") if you are looking for espresso quality over their push-button convenience (and the cleaning they never tell you about in the marketing materials). None that I've tried at friends' and acquaintances' homes have impressed me as being better in the cup than Nespresso.

I don't know European pricing too well, but James Hoffman reviewed and provided opinions on machines under 500£. While I don't completely agree with his choices, it's still a good introduction to the price class. At that price, you should be able to get something like a DF64 grinder with stock burrs and still be within a 1000€ budget.

What you get by moving up a notch in price, to something like the Breville/Sage Dual Boiler ("BDB") or a Lelit Mara X or Elizabeth, to name a few, is better repeatability (your worst cups are usually better and the time to "dial in" shorter) and easier adjustability.


#4: Post by klee11mtl »

Those 2 machines happen to have auto steam wands; not sure if that is coincidence or a specific requirement for you. If it's a requirement that will limit your choices a little.

The Barista Touch is a thermoblock machine so warmup time is minimal. The Oracle Touch is a dual boiler machine so warmup time will be closer to the 30 mins you are referring to. I have a Barista Pro and yes, it literally is seconds to be ready; however I would run a blank shot to get everything warmer.

The grinders on either of these will definitely be the weak link. If you are open to using a separate grinder, your results will be much better.

I think I read your priorities as simple, easy, and quick over higher end quality. If those were mine I would go for a single dose grinder (Niche, Sette, other w/bellows) I like and pair it with the Barista Touch or Bambino Plus with the remaining budget. I personally don't like the form factor of the Bambino Plus but it does have the auto steam wand and thermojet and the lack of grinder means it's much lower in price.


#5: Post by slaughter »

Hi Nikola and welcome to the club. I suggest you should stay away from Sage/Breville machines as here in Greece they do not have a service center and finding parts is a little bit difficult.
I bought the Sage Barista Express from Amazon UK a few years ago when my Krups super auto died. The coffee produced was wayyy better than the krups or any super auto I was using at that time. Steaming power was better (but not excellent). This machine is simillar to barista touch. The problems with this kind of machine are the following:
1)They do not have the appropriate heat stability that is required to produce good espresso (milk drinks are always more forgiving).
2)You still have to wait at least 15-20 minutes for proper heatup.
3)Their built in grinder is ok but not great.
4)difficult to find replacement parts in Greece

As for the Oracle, if you are willing to spend that kind of money you should definitely look for a proper (semi-auto) espresso machine.
As you drink mainly milk based drinks (like I do), my recommendation is look for a machine that can produce good quality steam.

My recommendation is to get a Eureka Mignon grinder that is very popular for 300-420 EUR (skroutz it)
As for machine the best you can get for what you want is the Lelit Elisabeth PL92T for 1315 EUR
If you want to stick to Sage then I would also recommend the Dual Boiler for 1000 EUR that is the best machine you can get from this brand

you will also need a good scale and fresh beans in order to get good results. Thankfully there are a lot of good roasters here (TAF, KUDU, Taresso, etc).

Please note that Lelit has an authorized retailer and service provider here in Greece so finding parts and fixing problems would be ok.

Good Luck.

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#6: Post by SwingT »

IMO the grinder is more important than the machine.

Most super automatics do not have an extended service life.

Don't know about availability in the Eurozone, but perhaps you can find a used grinder along the lines of a Super Jolly mazzer that has good burrs.

Wish you great coffee whatever way you go.
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datrue (original poster)

#7: Post by datrue (original poster) »

baristainzmking wrote:Welcome to HB,

I would recommend the Sage Dual Boiler. It is a much better choice than the Barista Touch and cheaper and better than Oracle. Have you left money in your budget for the grinder?
I think getting a Sage Dual Boiler and a decent grinder is out of my budget unfortunately.
Jeff wrote:where you'll get at least as many opinions as replies!
haha! Thanks a lot for your answer dear Jeff, I'm actually quite interested in the Bambino Plus and getting a decend standalone grinder paired with it. I like the fast warm up time of the Bambino.
klee11mtl wrote:I would go for a single dose grinder (Niche, Sette, other w/bellows) I like and pair it with the Barista Touch or Bambino Plus with the remaining budget.
Thanks a lot for your advice. I actually am quite interested in getting this combo! Will take a deeper look into it!
slaughter wrote:Hi Nikola and welcome to the club.
Hello slaughter, thanks! I would like to ask your opinion about getting a Bambino plus paired with a Sage Smart Grinder Pro, both available in skroutz. That would also keep my budget at a reasonable price also. And i really like the minimal heat up time plus the auto frothing thing the bambino plus offers. However not really aware of how good it is.

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#8: Post by Jeff »

The Smart Grinder Pro is a "barely" grinder. You'll already be working with challenges with the Bambino. Adding more with the grinder will likely mean longer time to learn how to pull a good shot and how to dial in for taste. Better repeatability would mean your worst shots, once reasonably dialed in, are better. You're in the region where something significantly better can be had for a little more and yet another step up from there within your original budget.


#9: Post by slaughter »

Hi Nikola. I have the bambino with smart grinder but in the form of all in one Barista Express. Although the machine says that it is up to temp it actually is not as only the "boiler" is heated and not the group head so in order to get decent temperature you will have to wait 20-30 minutes. Also pump presure is set way above 9 bars (not adjustable) so be prepared for extra effort to get proper extruction. At least pair ot with a decent grinder like Mignon for better results and have it ready for your next upgrade.