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Thread: Breville Oracle Touch BES990 - Disappointing flavour profile

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    Breville Oracle Touch BES990 - Disappointing flavour profile

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi all,

    We just recently got our Breville Oracle Touch BES990. I'm upgrading from the Breville Infuser which makes decent coffee but never (close but not quite) "Cafe Quality" no matter how much you dial in and tamp - I thought maybe because it had a smaller group head size. I was expecting the Oracle Touch to do this like a champ considering the price - and the fact that it uses a commercial size group head/basket.

    No dice. I've spent a few hours dialing it in, tweaking the only available settings (temp & grind). I'm pulling a good looking shot with plenty of crema, pours from 11 seconds and by 30 seconds I've got just under 60mls for a double shot.

    My partner and I have been sampling the coffee it's producing and its definitely strong but has absolutely no character or flavour profiles. It tastes strong but flat. I'm using beans from Stella Rossa (we like this coffee, when they make it anyway). The beans were roasted on the 21/11. Definitely the same beans as she opened a fresh 1kg bag, poured half into a takeaway bag for us and the other half into their grinder.

    It honestly makes coffee just like the old Infuser, actually maybe a bit worse, but just looks nicer while doing it. The milk texturing is excellent and I can make good latte art. But that's about it. Incredibly disappointed and I'm considering looking into returning it as it was just a waste of money. Is there anything else I could try before I do?

    • Grind size is 27
    • Temp is 93c
    • No setting to adjust the tamp pressure like the old oracle.


    It just doesn't make anything close to a latte that we grab from Stella Rossa... if their coffee is an 8 I would give this a 2. The taste is strong, sharp, not sweet and caramelised. Not pleasant at all. It's almost like it's under extracted but not sour? I'm no barista but none of it seems to be making sense. Really quite a terrible cup of coffee. Even the Maccas drive through tastes a bit better than what the Oracle is delivering.
    Last edited by griffinwillcs; 3rd December 2018 at 08:55 PM.

  2. #2
    Junior Member Hughie's Avatar
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    Your favourite shop would be using properly filtered/ro water. I’m assuming your using water straight from the tap

    Their machine probably costs in excess of 20000

    How are you beans stored? Just any old bag isn’t going to cut it.

    Not having control of the dose can be a real pain considering oracles dose well over 20 grams

    i think breville ride the “cafe quality” horse a little too hard. If I knew what I know now I wouldn’t have bought my oracle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hughie View Post
    Your favourite shop would be using properly filtered/ro water. I’m assuming your using water straight from the tap

    Their machine probably costs in excess of 20000

    How are you beans stored? Just any old bag isn’t going to cut it.

    Not having control of the dose can be a real pain considering oracles dose well over 20 grams

    i think breville ride the “cafe quality” horse a little too hard. If I knew what I know now I wouldn’t have bought my oracle.
    Beans were fresh within 2 hours form the store.

    Im thinking it might be because of the dose. Over 20 seems a bit much doesn’t it? Why would they do this? Maddening you can’t adjust the dose and tamp strength considering the price of this machine. I think the target market for it is someone who doesn’t want to tweak at all.

    Apparently I can’t return it so it looks like I’m stuck with it. 3k down the drain. For the price it should be excellent. Not sure how people rave about this machine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by griffinwillcs View Post
    Beans were fresh within 2 hours form the store.

    Im thinking it might be because of the dose. Over 20 seems a bit much doesnít it? Why would they do this? Maddening you canít adjust the dose and tamp strength considering the price of this machine. I think the target market for it is someone who doesnít want to tweak at all.

    Apparently I canít return it so it looks like Iím stuck with it. 3k down the drain. For the price it should be excellent. Not sure how people rave about this machine.

    Hi Griffin, I've had my machine for about a week now and have gone through several bags of coffee trying to fine tune it. So far, ive been able to dial my shots in perfectly after doing a ton of research and tweaking. Have you tried different brands of coffee? Have you tried raising the temp to 201 degrees Fahrenheit? SOme lighter blends usually require a higher temp for maximum extraction. These settings work for me...I set the removable burr blade grinder to 8 as a permanent default (requires a one time removal of the bean hoper and top burr grinder). For Dark Roast, I set my grind at 18, temp at 199F, extract for 30's. For Medium roast, grinder setting at 22-23, temp at 201F, extract for 32-33 seconds. So far these settings have been consistent across different brands as long as i do dark and medium only. Also, make sure you are running a blank shot (empty portafilter) for a few seconds to get the machine nice and hot. Also, make sure your portafilter is dry before loading it with after the blank shot.

    Dont give up...this machine is incredible! Just takes some patience and definitely a few bags of beans until you get the hang of it
    GreenHorn likes this.

  5. #5
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    I just got an Oracle Touch BES990 2 months ago. I've been using a BDB BES920 for 5 years. Here are my observations and tips:

    - Without knowing more it sounds like you are getting under extraction. Maybe try grind finer, 94C, 44g output, in around 40s shot time.

    - The Oracle Touch is designed to replace user adjustability with simplicity. The weak link is the grinder/doser/tamper. The dose is inconsistent and there's not enough fine control between grind settings. Distribution and tamping is meh at best. The result is wild variations between consecutive shots. One shot is a gusher, followed by a choker. However, there are some things that can be done to improve espresso to be good.

    - Recipe. One of the best roadmaps to trouble shooting bad coffee I've found is by Matt Perger on Barista Hustle. Search for "Espresso Recipes: Putting it All Together".

    - The coffee beans need to be right. Fresh beans between 1-3 weeks from roasting date. Ask about the extraction parameters. Dose, temperature, brew ratio, shot time. Don't use coffee with a "best by" date or no date.

    - Water. Filtered tap or spring water. Tap water and distilled/RO water is not so good tasting. Don't use old water sitting in the tank for week.

    - Oracle Touch has 7s preinfusion that is not adjustable. I count preinfusion time at 50% so thats 3.5s. So if the recipe call for 30s shot time, aim for 34s. I generally aim for 30-40s shot time. To pull ristretto or lungo you have to make a small time adjustment for flow (see Al's Rule).

    - The Oracle machines leave the factory dosing 22g in a 18g basket. That's just too much. The puck is jammed against the shower screen. Oracle Touch only has 1 dose adjustment: tamping fan height. I adjust the screw until it doses around +1g for the basket size. Note, it can take over 3-5 grind/tamps for changes to take. Also, the machine is not that consistent. Expect up to +/- 1g variance. The grinder/doser/tamper is affected by heat. So things change if the machine has been on for 30 mins.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIzLPqGOjPc

    - IDK if the grind setting is discrete between the grind numbers. I've experimented with turning the knob a little bit without the number changing. Results are inconclusive.

    - Get a scale that measures up to 0.1g accuracy. Measure dose. Measure shot output weight. Learn brew ratios. I found around 1:2 ratio works for most normale espresso shots.

    - For fine tuning shots on the Oracle Touch grind setting is not granular enough. I use dose weight. If I need 20g dose, I overdose to say 21g and gently scrape off and dump the excess off the top of the puck using a credit card.

    - Temperature. I find 94C/200F works as a starting point most of the time. Some coffees need higher temps to bring out the chocolate caramel roasty flavors. Other like lower temps to taste the fruity acidity.

    - The grinder burrs might need to be adjusted. Mine came set on 8 and I had to reset them to 4.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lGFJoI77T4&t=305s



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