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Breville Bambino vs Bambino Plus: Does One Espresso Machine Reigns Supreme?

breville bambino vs bambino plus

Both the Breville Bambino and the Breville Bambino Plus espresso machine have become renowned as some of the very best home espresso machines. 

But which is the better buy? It comes down to whether you want to be totally hands-off or not. If so, the Breville Bambino Plus comes with automatic features that the regular Bambino doesn’t have. 

But if you want to learn to froth milk or just don’t mind doing it, the Bambino offers a manual wand and performs just as well as the Plus when it comes to brewing espresso for significantly less money.

I’d go with the Bambino machine and use the extra money on a nice grinder to enjoy freshly ground beans every time you make espresso. Or if you already have one, a new coffee scale or set of espresso cups. Check the Bambino’s price on Amazon >

The fact is, both Breville espresso machines are amazing. In this article, we will compare the two machines in terms of their features, ease of use, espresso quality, and more.

By the end, you will have a clearer understanding of which machine is the ultimate winner in the battle of Breville Bambino vs Bambino Plus for you.




Breville Bambino and the Bambino Plus At a Glance

Breville Bambino Plus, Damson Blue
  • Size: 7.7” x 16.3” x 12.2”
  • Water Reservoir: 64 oz.
  • Color Options: 9
  • Descaling?: Yes
  • Interface Style: Buttons
  • Steam Wand Type: 4 pinhole, automated
  • Portafilter: 54mm - Pressurized and non-pressurized included
Breville Bambino Espresso Machine, Stainless Steel
  • Size: 6.3” x 13.7” x 12.2”
  • Water Reservoir: 47 oz.
  • Color Options: Just brushed stainless silver
  • Descaling?: Yes
  • Interface Style: Button
  • Steam Wand Type: Single pinhole, manual
  • Portafilter: 54mm - Pressurized and non-pressurized included

Milk Frothing Differences Between Breville Bambino vs Bambino Plus

When choosing between the Breville Bambino and the Bambino Plus, there are a few key factors to consider. One of the main differences, if not the biggest one, between the two machines is the milk-frothing capabilities.

Bambino Plus: Automatic Milk Steaming

Breville Bambino Plus, Damson Blue
Breville Bambino Plus, Damson Blue
Breville Bambino Plus, Damson Blue
Our Score

The Breville Bambino Plus is a compact espresso machine featuring a ThermoJet heating system for rapid temperature adjustment. It includes automatic milk texturing, a 54mm portafilter, and offers both single and double shot options. The machine's stainless steel construction and pressure gauge contribute to consistent extraction. While user-friendly and convenient, it lacks advanced manual controls and has a smaller water reservoir.

If you are looking for an automatic espresso maker experience for fast, high quality espresso and milk drinks, the Plus is probably your best buy. 

There are a couple of exceptions to this though, the biggest being plant-based and non-dairy milks.

Although the Bambino Plus will automatically steam milk, it doesn’t offer adjustable milk temperature control. This means it may overstretch plant-based milks, like oat, almond, or soy.

If you are vegan or just prefer non-dairy kinds of milk, the Bambino might win over the Plus for you on this alone.

Another call out with the Bambino Plus over the Bambino is that the Plus even offers automatic steam wand cleaning.

Again, it is more convenient on the surface but can be loud when it purges. It can also make a mess, so you should plan to be present and hold a towel over it to minimize splash.

Bambino: Manual Steam Wand 

On the other hand, the Bambino requires manual frothing, which gives you more control over the frothing process but means more effort. And that means it takes longer.

Breville Bambino Espresso Machine, Stainless Steel
Breville Bambino Espresso Machine, Stainless Steel
Breville Bambino Espresso Machine, Stainless Steel
Our Score

The Breville Bambino espresso machine is a compact and user-friendly appliance designed for making espresso and espresso-based drinks. It features a 54mm portafilter, manual a steam wand for milk frothing, and small size for limited kitchen space. The machine is designed to deliver a simple and efficient espresso-making experience, suitable for both beginners and experienced users.

So overall, if you want convenience and a hassle-free experience, then the Bambino Plus might be the better option for you.

But if you really want to engage with the espresso-making process, the Bambino model will offer a more manual espresso machine experience in the milk department.

Winner: Tied, depending on preference.

Ease of Use

Both the Breville Bambino and the Bambino Plus are designed to be user-friendly and easy to operate.

However, the Bambino Plus wins thanks to how much more automatic it is.

That said, the Bambino Plus is also the more expensive of the two because it is the more automatic espresso machine.

More expensive espresso machines usually mean more integrated and automatic features like what you’ll find with super or semi automatic espresso makers. 

Winner: Bambino Plus

Espresso Quality: Which Machine Brews Great Espresso?

When it comes to great espresso, both the Breville Bambino and the Bambino Plus perform exceptionally well.

These machines are equipped with high-quality portafilters and advanced brewing mechanisms that allow for rich and complex flavors in each espresso shot.

However, the Bambino Plus has a slight edge in terms of brewing capabilities. It offers a faster heat-up time and greater control over the extraction process, resulting in a more precise and consistent espresso.

If you need control over every shot of espresso, then the Bambino Plus is the better choice for you.

The Portafilter

A portafilter, short for “portable filter”, is a key component in espresso machines. It is where you place the ground coffee before it is brewed. The portafilters in the Breville Bambino and Bambino Plus are made with stainless steel, increasing durability and heat retention.

Each of these Breville models comes with a standard two-cup basket – perfect for making two espressos at one time.

The basket uses a micro-mesh screen at the bottom to support uniform extraction of coffee. Additionally, they also feature a 54mm portafilter size, enabling the machines to make full-bodied espressos.

Besides, the portafilters on Breville Bambino and Bambino Plus possess dual-wall filter technology. This allows for precise control of water pressure and temperature, yielding a consistently delicious espresso. Plus, the dual walls lend more stability and balance to the extraction process.

In sum, the portafilters on Breville Bambino and Bambino Plus machines are not only durable but also geared to maximizing flavor.

They ensure optimal conditions for coffee extraction – a testament to Breville’s commitment to making top-notch home brewing appliances. 

Brewing Features

Both machines use a combination of pressure and temperature to extract the flavors from the coffee grounds and produce a delicious espresso shot.

However, the Bambino Plus offers more advanced features, such as pre-infusion and PID control, which mean more precise and consistent espresso extraction.

Breville Bambino Plus, Damson Blue

Breville Bambino Plus, Damson Blue

  • Compact Size: The Bambino Plus is designed to fit in smaller spaces, making it suitable for kitchens with limited counter space.
  • ThermoJet Heating System: This feature allows the machine to reach optimal extraction temperature in just 3 seconds, reducing the waiting time for your espresso shot.
  • Automatic Milk Texturing: The machine has an automatic steam wand that creates creamy microfoam for lattes and cappuccinos, even if you're not a skilled barista.
  • Pre-infusion Function: Ensures even extraction by gradually increasing water pressure to gently expand the coffee grounds before high-pressure extraction.
  • 54mm Portafilter: The larger portafilter size compared to standard machines allows for better saturation and extraction of coffee grounds, resulting in a more flavorful shot.
  • 1 and 2 Cup Volumetric Control: Offers both single and double shot options with programmable shot volumes for consistent results.
  • ThermoJet Heating System: Quickly heats water to the ideal temperature for espresso extraction.
  • Low-Pressure Pre-Infusion: Softly expands the coffee grounds for even extraction.
  • Auto-Purge Steam Wand: Automatically adjusts the temperature after steam for optimal milk texturing.
  • Stainless Steel Construction: Durable and easy to clean.
  • Pressure Gauge: Allows you to monitor the extraction pressure in real-time for better shot consistency.

The Breville Bambino Plus is a compact espresso machine featuring a ThermoJet heating system for rapid temperature adjustment. It includes automatic milk texturing, a 54mm portafilter, and offers both single and double shot options. The machine's stainless steel construction and pressure gauge contribute to consistent extraction. While user-friendly and convenient, it lacks advanced manual controls and has a smaller water reservoir.

Pros
  • Fast Heat-up Time: ThermoJet heating system rapidly reaches the desired brewing temperature, minimizing waiting time.
  • User-Friendly: Suitable for beginners due to automatic milk texturing and easy-to-program shot volumes.
  • Compact Design: Fits well in small kitchens or limited counter spaces.
  • Consistent Extraction: Pre-infusion and pressure gauge contribute to consistently high-quality espresso shots.
  • Milk Texturing Made Easy: The automatic steam wand simplifies the process of creating microfoam for various milk-based drinks.
  • Quality Construction: Stainless steel build ensures durability and longevity.
  • Easy Maintenance: Removable drip tray, water tank, and drip grid facilitate cleaning.
  • Attractive with Multiple Colors to Choose From: Sleek design adds a touch of sophistication to your kitchen. 9 colors to choose from, like the Damson Blue shown here.
Cons
  1. Limited Manual Control: May not be suitable for advanced users who want to have more control over every aspect of espresso extraction.
  2. Small Water Reservoir: The compact size results in a smaller water tank, requiring more frequent refills.
  3. Non-Integrated Grinder: Requires a separate grinder to grind fresh coffee beans for each shot.
  4. Single Boiler System: The Bambino Plus has a single boiler for both brewing and steaming, which can lead to slight temperature fluctuations when switching between functions.
  5. Price Point: While not as expensive as some higher-end machines, it's still an investment for those on a tight budget.

Brewing Processes

To start the brewing process, you first need to fill the water tank, insert the coffee grounds into the portafilter, and attach it to the machine. Both models offer single and double-shot options. Once you select your preferred shot size, the machine heats up quickly (in just a few seconds), thanks to its ThermoJet heating element. 

Next, the machine starts the pre-infusion process (if applicable), followed by the pressure extraction. The Bambinos use a 9-bar pressure pump for this extraction, which is considered the optimal pressure for espresso making.

This process is mostly automated in the Bambino Plus, meaning you just need to press a button and the machine does the rest. However, in the Breville Bambino, you’ll need to manually stop the extraction once you’ve reached your desired espresso volume.

The whole process takes only a minute or two, which is perfect for busy mornings. But more importantly, both the Bambino and the Bambino Plus deliver a delicious, cafe-quality espresso shot every time. 

Let’s take a closer look at where the Plus’ added tech comes into play in the brewing process vs the Bambino:

1. Bean Grinding: The first step is to grind the coffee beans. This can be done separately or you can use pre-ground coffee. The grind size is crucial as it affects the extraction time and flavor of the coffee.
2. Dose: After grinding, the coffee ground is weighed. The suitable amount for a single espresso shot is usually around 18-20 grams.
3. Tamp: The ground coffee is then placed in the portafilter and compacted with a tamper. It should be packed evenly and firmly to ensure water flows evenly through the coffee.
4. Pre-infusion (PLUS ONLY): The Bambino Plus starts the brewing process with a pre-infusion. This means it gently saturates the coffee grounds with low-pressure water before the main process starts, allowing the coffee to release its oils and flavors naturally.
5. Extraction: Both machines start the extraction process by forcing hot water at high pressure through the coffee grounds in the portafilter. This needs to be done at the correct pressure and temperature to extract the desired flavors.
6. PID Control (PLUS ONLY): The Bambino Plus will be maintaining a precise temperature throughout the extraction process with PID.
7. Result: The result is a rich, flavorful shot of espresso. You can then add steamed milk to create other drinks like cappuccinos and lattes. 

Winner: Tied, depending on how much control you want over the process. The choice between the two machines will largely depend on whether you prefer a more hands-on experience or you’d rather leave the brewing to the machine for a more convenient, yet equally effective approach. 

Other Bambino and Bambino Plus Features

Now that we have the essentials covered, let’s talk extras. You know, the bells and whistles.

These features enhance the overall coffee-making experience and provide greater convenience and flexibility in preparing your favorite espresso-based beverages.

Water Tank

The Bambino Plus and the Bambino are two espresso machines from Breville with distinct differences in their water tanks. The Bambino Plus has a larger water tank with a capacity of 2 liters, providing the convenience of making more cups of coffee without frequent refilling.

On the other hand, the Bambino has a smaller water tank, holding only 1.4 liters. This may require more frequent refilling but is perfectly adequate for household users who do not need to make coffee in large quantities. 

Hot Water Dispenser

The Bambino Plus includes a separate mechanism to dispense hot water, but the Bambino does not. Still, you can use the Bambino’s steam wand to get boiling water fast. It’s just not as convenient. 

Cleaning

The Bambino Plus and the Bambino from Breville are both espresso machines that require regular cleaning to function optimally. However, the Bambino Plus boasts an automatic cleaning cycle and purge function, which are absent in the simpler Bambino model.

The auto clean feature makes the Bambino Plus easier to maintain since it expels excess water from the heating system after every use. Although the Bambino requires manual cleaning, both devices provide a neat, hassle-free coffee-making experience with appropriate care and maintenance. 

Size

The Bambino is the more compact espresso machine, with the Plus requiring more counter space. Still, both Breville machines are relatively small. 

Weight

In comparison to the Bambino Plus, the Bambino is significantly lighter, making it easier to move around. The Bambino Plus, on the other hand, is sturdier and more substantial.

Frothing Capability

The Bambino Plus has an advantage over the Bambino in this area, as the Bambino Plus allows you to adjust the temperature and texture of the froth. The Breville Bambino espresso machine, on the other hand, has a standard manual frothing function.

Price

The Bambino is the more affordable espresso machine by far. 

Winner: Bambino Plus. This machine has the bells and whistles you’d expect at the price point. 

Breville Bambino Plus vs Bambino: The Verdict

Overall, both the Bambino and Bambino Plus are great espresso machines, but they shine in different areas. The Bambino Plus offers more automatic functionality, versatility, and customization options.

If you are a serious espresso enthusiast who doesn’t mind the bigger price tag that comes with the Bambino Plus and wants things to be more hands-off, then the Plus is for you.

Though the Bambino Plus is fantastic, the fact remains that it is expensive.

Meanwhile, the Bambino is a great entry-level option that delivers high-quality espresso without the added complexity at a fraction of the cost.

If you don’t mind spending the extra money but want it to go further, consider getting the Bambino but spending the difference between the two machines on a new burr grinder. If you drink espresso, especially on its own, you will taste the difference with a new grinder. Let’s recap on the Bambino again real quick:

Breville Bambino Espresso Machine, Stainless Steel

Breville Bambino Espresso Machine, Stainless Steel

  1. 54mm Portafilter: Accommodates standard-sized coffee grounds for consistent extraction.
  2. Cup Warmer: The top of the machine can be used to warm cups before brewing.
  3. Steam Wand with Swivel Action: Allows for easy milk frothing and latte art.
  4. Auto-Purge Function: Automatically adjusts water temperature after steaming for optimal espresso extraction.
  5. Compact Design: Takes up minimal counter space, suitable for smaller kitchens.
  6. Single or Double Shot Baskets: Offers flexibility in choosing the amount of coffee to brew.
  7. Hot Water Dispenser: Enables dispensing hot water for Americanos or tea.
  8. Stainless Steel Housing: Provides durability and a modern aesthetic.
  9. Pressure Gauge: Allows users to monitor the extraction pressure for consistent results.
  10. Removable Water Reservoir: Facilitates easy filling and cleaning.
  11. Drip Tray Indicator: Alerts users when the drip tray is full and needs to be emptied.

The Breville Bambino espresso machine is a compact and user-friendly appliance designed for making espresso and espresso-based drinks. It features a 54mm portafilter, manual a steam wand for milk frothing, and small size for limited kitchen space. The machine is designed to deliver a simple and efficient espresso-making experience, suitable for both beginners and experienced users.

Pros
  1.  
  2. User-Friendly: The machine's intuitive controls and simple interface make it suitable for beginners.
  3. Fast Heat-up: The Bambino quickly reaches the optimal brewing temperature, reducing wait times.
  4. Manual Steam Wand: The steam wand allows for easy milk frothing, making cappuccinos and lattes achievable.
  5. Durable Construction: Sturdy build quality contributes to the machine's longevity.
  6. Removable Drip Tray: Makes cleaning and maintenance hassle-free.
  7. Far Cheaper Than Bambino Plus: Spend that extra money on a new grinder.
Cons
  1. Limited Customization: Advanced users may find the lack of adjustable settings limiting.
  2. Small Water Reservoir: The compact design results in a smaller water tank, requiring frequent refilling.
  3. Single Boiler: The Bambino has a single boiler for brewing and steaming, which can lead to temperature fluctuations.
  4. Basic Grinder Required: A separate coffee grinder is needed for optimal freshness and flavor.
  5. Plastic Components: Some parts of the machine are made of plastic, potentially affecting long-term durability.
  6. Manual Tamping: Users need to manually tamp the coffee grounds in the portafilter for consistent results.
  7. Limited Accessories: The machine may lack certain accessories that come with higher-end models.

So my final verdict on which is best: The Bambino!




Breville Bambino and Bambino Plus FAQs

What espresso drinks can I make with the Breville Bambino and Bambino Plus?

Both the Breville Bambino and the Bambino Plus are versatile machines that allow you to make a variety of espresso drinks. You can make single and double espresso shots, cappuccinos, lattes, and much more. These machines provide barista-grade results with their unique third wave specialty coffee features. The Bambino also has a manual wand, so you can hone your frothing and microfoam skills.

Is there any similarity between Breville Bambino and Bambino Plus?

Yes, in comparing the Breville Bambino vs Bambino Plus, there are several similarities. Both espresso machines have compact designs, are made of brushed stainless steel, and are quick to heat up in 3 seconds. They both offer the capability to deliver barista quality espresso drinks right at home.

What is the main difference between the Breville Bambino and the Bambino Plus?

The primary difference between the Breville Bambino and the Bambino Plus is their feature set. While the Bambino only comes with the basic essentials necessary for making an espresso, the Bambino Plus comes with additional features such as a milk frother and the ability to adjust the coffee strength, milk texture, and temperature. This makes the Bambino Plus superior for those looking for a more personalized but still automated coffee experience.

How long does it take to heat up the Breville Bambino and Bambino Plus?

Both the Breville Bambino and the Bambino Plus have super-fast heat up times. They can reach the optimal coffee extraction temperature in just 3 seconds, allowing you to make your favorite espresso drinks quickly and efficiently.

Does the Breville Bambino come in different colors?

The Breville Bambino only comes in a classic brushed stainless-steel finish, which is both durable and stylish. However, the Bambino Plus comes in nine different color options, giving you more flexibility to choose one that matches your kitchen decor.

Does the Bambino Plus look like the Bambino?

While the Bambino Plus and Bambino share many similarities, there are some key differences. Although like the Bambino, the Bambino Plus has a compact design and brushed stainless-steel finish, it also has some additional features, such as an automatic milk frother and more color options.

Are both the Breville Bambino and Bambino Plus good for beginners?

Absolutely. Both units are known for their easy-to-use features and straightforward operation. However, the Bambino Plus might be slightly more suitable for beginners due to its additional features like automatic milk frothing and coffee strength adjustment. Plus, the Bambino Plus has two espresso buttons – for single and double espresso, which makes it even more user-friendly.

What are the color options for the Breville Bambino Plus?

The Breville Bambino Plus offers a lot more variety when it comes to color options. The Bambino Plus comes in nine different colors including a brushed stainless-steel model, whereas Breville Bambino comes only in a brushed stainless-steel color.

Can I make single and double espresso shots with the Breville Bambino and Bambino Plus?

Absolutely, both the Bambino and Bambino Plus allow you to pull either single or double shots.

How do the Bambino and Bambino Plus fit into the third wave specialty coffee movement?

Home espresso machines like the Bambino Plus have made the specialty coffee movement even bigger by equipping coffee lovers with everything they need – automated or not – to enjoy cafe-quality drinks in their own kitchens.

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