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Feature: Sage by Heston Blumenthal the Oracle, Part Two

In October, we introduced the superlative Sage by Heston Blumenthal the Oracle coffee machine, and, in November, we spent an afternoon with it. Here’s what we learned from our meeting with the Oracle.

The Oracle in person

studious boy playing with the milk foamer on the sage by heston blumenthal the oracle

Photo source: IWOOT

The Oracle is an automated, all-in-one, commercial standard coffee machine designed for the domestic market. Sage’s aim, they said, was to enable everyone to craft commercial quality coffee in the comfort of their kitchen. In order to do this, they automated the four key stages of the coffee making process: grinding, tamping, extracting and milk frothing. We covered the technical aspects of this last month, and you can find a recap in the video below.

Video source: YouTube

We knew its key features inside and out when we came to meet it, but we were all surprised when we saw it. The Oracle is more compact in person than you might expect. And with its in-built retractable wheel, pleasingly easy to manouvere over worktops.

jm taking a picture of the smiley face symbol on the sage by heston blumenthal coffee maker

Photo source: IWOOT

Once the Oracle was in position, everything else slotted perfectly into place, from the grind and tamp initiated by pushing the basket handle into the grinder to the extraction once the basket was turned into and robustly gripped by the grouphead. And, as you would expect at this price, the Oracle left minimal grind dust on the basket handle.

sage by heston blumenthal the oracle coffee machine in the iwoot kitchen with copper mug

Photo source: IWOOT

Sage Wisdom

The Oracle coffee machine images a smiley face on its LCD screen when you select temperatures within its suggested parameters. Our perfectly-foamed-for-cappucini milk was ready to go just as the Oracle had fully extracted the espresso. In total, guided by the smiley, we spent around three seconds deciding how hot our milk should be. All of the temperatures the Oracle suggests are industry standards, based on decades of crafting quality coffee.

smiley face symbol when you have the settings within Sage's guidelines on the sage by heston blumenthal the oracle coffee machinePhoto source: IWOOT

It should be noted here, uncommonly for a domestic coffee maker, that the Oracle utilises a dual boiler system to enable you to brew coffee and steam milk at the same time. Other than quickly flicking through the settings for grind coarseness and milk frothiness, there really is very little for an arabica acolyte to do.

Everybody loves the taste of good coffee, but maybe they don’t want the complexity of learning to be a barista.

Phil McKnight, Sage Coffee Guru

Phil McKnight’s comment perfectly sums up our meeting with the Oracle coffee machine: all you have to do is push, press and go. The Oracle will still lend a guiding hand should you choose to froth the milk yourself – gauging the temperature you’ve heated your milk to in real time on its rightmost screen – but, ultimately, you bring the Oracle into your home if you want café-quality coffee crafted for you in your kitchen.

And if you’re more sage than the Oracle, then you might look to invest in a more hands-on machine, such as the bestselling Barista Express, or the professional barista’s domestic machine of choice, the Dual Boiler, both of which place greater responsibility of fine crafting your perfect coffee in your hands.

For Heston’s quick guide to getting the most from your coffee beans, take a look at the video below:

Video source: YouTube

Michael Adamson

Michael Adamson


Michael is a life-long fan of all things related to DC Comics, Marvel, and Star Wars. When he's not reading, you can find him playing football or running.