The “Oracle” name given to the Breville BES980XL espresso machine seems like an inspired idea when you grasp the full weight of its functionality. There are so many controls and options that you can fiddle with, giving you maximum control over how your espresso is brewed. It is up there with some of the best espresso makers on the market based on feature-richness alone, and it is one of the first espresso machines with dual functionality – it can be used as a semi-auto or as an automatic. For espresso geeks, it is the ultimate espresso maker.
The BES980XL is not a super automatic espresso machine, and it is not fully automated either, so what exactly makes it so great?
First of all, the fact that the machine is not fully automated means that while you get automated functions, you can still make those few adjustments that personalize the experience of making your espresso just the way you like it. Additionally, the mechanism inside super-automatic design espresso makers generally leaves them a little less durable due to the possibility of an accumulation of spilled coffee in areas that you cannot reach easily. The Breville BES980XL, on the other hand, seems like a well-designed model that will stand the test of time. It’s not all about durability though, so let’s take a look at some key features.
The machine functions with two different boilers. The dual boilers help to maintain steam pressure and stabilize the temperature. Additionally, the adoption of this feature means that you can comfortably steam and brew your coffee simultaneously.
Heated Cup Warmer
This feature also contributes to the regulation of temperature while the brewing process is in motion. A heating element is fitted with the cup warmer to achieve this. It’s a welcome change from the alternative with a lot of other espresso makers that use passive heat provided by the boiler to stabilize the temperature.
Adjustable Automatic Frothing
There is a steam wand on this Breville BES980XL Oracle model, and it functions brilliantly. It is fitted with a temperature probe and a 4-hole tip. It gives you the option of setting up your machine to define the texture of your milk more naturally, achieving a sort of gradient between a cappuccino and a latte. All of this automated behavior can be done with a simple flick of a switch.
You can even hone your skills in your own comfort zone at home with the option provided for a completely manual frothing experience.
Removable Bean Hopper and Built-In Grinder
The Oracle’s bean hopper can hold up to eight ounces of whole bean coffee at a time. It is removable and has a stopper that helps to keep the beans inside even after you remove the hopper.
The built-in grinder feature forms one of the major advantages that we have seen with the Breville Oracle in comparison to other espresso machines. It is adjustable, allowing for a wide range of finesse options numbering up to forty.
There is a locking mechanism that makes it easy to grind directly into a portafilter, and you can manually adjust the coffee ground dosage for more customization of your shots – all at your own discretion. The grinder also has an adjustable tamping system that helps you to keep extraction by leveling off your coffee.
PID and Shot Clock
There is an LCD display on the front of the Breville BES980XL. Information such as the boiler’s temperature is tracked by the PID controller and displayed on said screen. The information provided is accurate to two degrees, give or take.
The temperature of the boiler can be programmed anywhere within 190°-205°F using the PID, and when you start to brew your coffee, the PID becomes a shot timer. The shot timer begins to count right up from the moment that you engage the brew button.
84-ounce Water Reservoir
The water reservoir on the Oracle can be refilled in two ways. The reservoir is completely removable from the back, or you may choose to go the route of the access panel on top. Underneath the group head, there is a sight glass on the front panel where you keep track of the water level.
Breville BES980XL: Final Words
If you’re looking for an espresso machine with genuine quality, the Breville BES980XL Oracle Espresso Machine is a great option to look at. It’s automated but still lets you tweak a few things, and the overall design is pretty solid. Summarily, we believe that it will be a great addition to your kitchen.