The Breville One-Touch Coffee House makes for an interesting proposition: it’s an easy-to-use espresso, latte, and cappuccino maker, with automatic milk frothing, priced at a very reasonable £149. The One-Touch is currently Breville’s cheapest espresso machine, and the global brand’s only offering with dedicated buttons for latte and cappuccino presets.
Breville One-Touch Coffee House specs
Reservoir capacity: 1.4 litres water / 0.6 litres milk
Size: 12.3 x 8.9 x 11.4 inches
Accessories: Tamper, two filter baskets, measuring scoop
Features: Latte, espresso and cappuccino presets; automatic milk frothing; manual espresso controls
Warranty: One year
To achieve its more affordable price, the machine – which is only available in the UK – sacrifices the more high-end build quality and extraction features of the very best coffee makers, but it still manages to produce a surprisingly high-quality shot from a range of roasts. That’s impressive given the simple interface and no-fuss brewing setup.
I tested the One-Touch Coffee House for a month to see how far the budget price tag really stretches, and how well Breville’s most affordable coffee machine stacks up against the best espresso machines in the brand’s line up.
Breville One Touch Coffee House: Price
The Breville One-Touch Coffee House costs around £149, placing it comfortably at the cheaper end of the coffee machine market. This price tag will be a major draw for any at-home baristas on a budget – we’ve seen it drop as low as £130 in the past, too, so there’s plenty of wiggle room for a discount if you’re shopping at the right time.
Even at full price, the Breville One-Touch Coffee House is excellent value for money: it’s rare to find such a range of coffee options all brewed with an automatic milk frother, for such an entry-level cost. For reference, the closest competitor we’ve found to be offering these features is the De’Longhi Magnifica, which is currently retailing for £349.99 at John Lewis.
Breville One-Touch Coffee House: Features
The Breville One-Touch Coffee House is capable of brewing single or double lattes and cappuccinos, as well as straight single or double espresso shots, with a filter basket included for each size setting. Choosing the size you want is as simple as pressing or double pressing each preset’s dedicated button, and the process is made all the easier through the machine’s compatibility with 45mm E.S.E espresso pods. That means you can remove all the grind and portafilter filling time from your morning routine, if you want, and simply pop a pod into the single filter basket for ultimate convenience.
It was nice to see a manual espresso option also available on the One Touch. This gives you the option to experiment with pulling a true 2:1 ratio shot, which the default preset didn’t quite manage to match every time. However, your customization options are limited to the volume of the shot here, with only double walled, pressurized baskets included and no pre-infusion controls. I wouldn’t expect to see a more professional grade single-walled basket at such a low price, but it’s worth noting if you’re looking for a more comprehensive level of control over your extraction.
Once you’ve selected a drink, the machine really does all the work for you, frothing and pouring the milk, and extracting your coffee fairly quickly. You can, however, change the thickness of the milk foam by turning a dial on the right hand side of the machine.
Breville One-Touch Coffee House: Design
With a stocky design and a somewhat separated water and milk reservoir housing on the right hand side of the machine, the Breville One-Touch Coffee House isn’t as streamlined as other, more premium options. Much of the exterior is covered with a fairly flimsy plastic that doesn’t feel too durable and is perhaps how Breville has kept some of its costs low.
I found some parts, like the milk reservoir, to be particularly difficult to remove and replace, with some fiddly lock systems and a sliding mechanism that never felt as smooth as it should have.
The milk reservoir itself is designed to hold 0.6 litres, but you can fill it with the amount that you might need per drink, or simply store it in the fridge. Either option requires pulling the reservoir away from the machine frequently, and while many espresso machines with automatic milk frothing use this reservoir design, the awkward removal process here meant that some of the machine’s focus on convenience was lost.
There are some smaller design considerations that did come in handy, though, such as the interlocking system of the portafilter, which was particularly helpful in swapping and cleaning baskets quickly and easily.
Breville One-Touch Coffee House: Ease of Use
It’s in those early morning coffees that the Breville One-Touch Coffee House really shines. Brewing your beverage is a case of pushing a single button and perhaps altering the thickness of your milk foam. And aforementioned milk reservoir design frustrations aside, the process is pain-free – the machine even lends itself to brewing for a crowd as well, which is a usage case that espresso machines rarely seem to nail.
It took me a little time to find the perfect milk thickness setting using the dial, however. The handle of the dial is a little wobbly, which makes it difficult to find a precise setting, and the rotation was also slightly stiff for the first few weeks.
The cleaning process is a little more involved here than you may find on a more expensive machine, but it’s still a case of following a set of clear instructions every 200 cycles (the One Touch will alert you when it’s time to do so). Breville also recommends a descaling session once every 40 to 80 cycles, depending on the hardness of your water.
Breville One-Touch Coffee House: Performance
Given the low price and simple process for brewing a range of different coffees, the Breville One-Touch surprised me in the general quality of its extraction. It didn’t reach the level of richness or body that a considerably more expensive machine would be able to produce, but I was impressed with its handling of light, floral beans as well as darker, more chocolatey options.
Both roast styles carried their overall flavor profiles well, with a thick crema on top and decent balance throughout, even if some of the more delicate tasting notes were lost in the brewing process. I also enjoyed a good level of consistency from cup to cup, rarely noticing any balance changes between brews.
I found that a tall latte glass suits the milk frother best, as the shorter nozzle on the frother itself doesn’t reach smaller cups designed for flat white, cortado or even a slightly larger cappuccino. Because the frothing wand wasn’t able to seat itself perfectly in the cup, the process was slightly messier, but this mess never came past the drip tray in my testing.
Both during frothing and cleaning, the milk system was notably loud, which wouldn’t lend itself to brewing particularly early in the morning.
It does take a few minutes for the machine to fully warm up when first powering on, which is to be expected of a cheaper device, but once everything is up and running it doesn’t take long to brew a full coffee.
What we didn’t like
I was a little disappointed by the build quality of the Breville One-Touch Coffee House: it felt like it had been sacrificed to keep features like multi-drink brewing and automatic milk frothing within the price tag. Certain parts, like the milk reservoir, are fiddly to remove, which can grow tiresome – the large capacity of the container means you’ll need to do this often.
However, while I was initially concerned about the durability of this machine, everything held up well over the first month of testing, with no damage or breakages throughout that time. Whether or not this reliability is long-term, though, will require a longer period of use.
Should you buy the Breville One-Touch Coffee House?
At £149, the price of the Breville One Touch Coffee House is certainly on your side. It’s difficult to find competing machines that manage to pack a decent espresso extraction process, multiple coffee presets, and an automatic milk frother for a similarly low price, so if you’re looking for an easy-to-use everyday machine it’s definitely worth a look.
More advanced users, however, will likely need a more capable brewing and extraction system to make the most of more premium beans, and may find the One-Touch’s presets and milk frothing controls too limiting. Similarly, those who are looking to experiment with their espresso a little more, either through more professional filters or the ability to customize pre-infusion times, will need to look a little further up the price scale.
The Breville All-In-One Coffee House, for example, offers a fully manual milk wand, as well as drip and pod brewing options for £50 more, at between £190 and £219.99 (via Amazon). However, if you’re looking for even more control over the temperature and texture of the milk while still keeping things automatic, the Sage / Breville Bambino Plus offers far more advanced controls for £399 / $499.