The Breville Bambino Plus presents a wonderful bridge between auto and manual espresso makers in one easy package.
After trying it at a local Indie bookshop, I just had to find out if the revamped Bambino was worth the hype over its predecessor.
Get your medium roast coffee beans ready and dive into my caffeinated adventure with me.
Breville Bambino Plus Review – My Ratings & Top Features
Who Should Buy The Breville Bambino Plus?
The Bambino Plus automatic espresso machine is great for beginners with small galley kitchens. If you want a simple espresso machine that is fairly hands-off and you have a grinder already, this could be the one for you.
Why I Decided To Review The Breville Bambino Plus
A tiny Indie bookshop recently opened nearby that also has a small coffee menu utilizing the Bambino Plus. Once I saw the owner taking it for a spin, I just knew I had to test it for myself.
Cups Brewed Per Day
Level Of Experience Needed
Home brewing enthusiast who started with a simple cafetiere collection and is on a journey to up their game.
Money Saved Per Year
Favorite Drink To Brew
Espresso and latte
What’s It Like To Live With The Breville Bambino Plus
What’s In The Box?
Just like other Breville espresso machines I have reviewed previously, this compact espresso machine came in a simple branded product box rather than the double box method.
It was undamaged, but I wish another box were there for further protection in transit.
The box is surprisingly light the first time you hold it at only 3.1 pounds - you definitely don’t need a friend to help you get it upstairs.
My Bambino Plus was nestled between two molded polystyrene panels and wrapped in plastic, which is the standard.
Nonetheless, I hope recyclable or compostable materials will be used in the future.
This compact and deep machine looks beautifully curvy and simple at first glance. I love how my Sea Salt white model looks in my kitchen.
Once I had cleaned and topped up everything, I was ready to get brewing. I particularly love how large and secure the water tank is, but I prefer to use a jug to fill it.
The following accessories are included:
Pulling My First Espresso Shot
Part of the appeal of the Bambino Plus is its simple five-button interface. These intuitive buttons work with a light indicator system to control:
I recommend having the manual nearby to help with the lights and their meanings until you get the hang of it.
Another big draw for the Bambino Plus is its lightning-fast heat-up time. The ThermoJet system allows it to heat up in only three seconds - a lifesaver in the morning rush.
No built-in grinder may mean an additional purchase for complete newbies. However, the razor dosing tool is a nice touch that helps even out any inconsistencies in my 19-gram dose.
I liked the 54 mm portafilter and tamper and am familiar with them since they are standard Breville issue.
The portafilter felt surprisingly stiff to lock in, and the whole machine moved with me as I did it.
Using a completely different brand one that was the same size fit like a glove, so I am unsure why it was tight.
They provide much better results and iron out tamping and temperature inconsistencies. They are essentials on more expensive machines and are an absolute boon on cheaper ones like this.
There is a fair amount of cup clearance to contend with, about 4.5 inches. This will suit a range of glasses, which I love.
However, it does mean that your espresso gets a lot of airtime, decreasing its quality and causing it to go cold faster - if only you could raise the drip tray.
The resulting inaugural espresso was sweet and medium-bodied with plenty of balanced flavor.
I loved how thick and hazelnutty the crema was and how close to cafe-quality my espresso was. Overall, making espresso was an effortless and rewarding experience.
First Time Frothing Milk
Frothing milk is just as easy as brewing espresso on the Plus espresso maker. You can either go the old-fashioned route and froth milk manually or opt for the automatic milk frothing feature.
The automatic milk steaming process simply requires you to complete your espresso and set your jug under the wand.
Once there, you select from the three levels what temperature you want the milk to be and how frothy the milk textures should be.
I preferred going middle of the road and was very pleased with my results using both alternative and dairy milks.
If you choose to go the old-school manual steam wand route, you will also get froth with light and glossy textures with some practice.
The milk wand itself is not as flexible and tactile as some I have tried, but I love the protective handle.
This is by far the best automatic frother I have tried - the fact that you can get perfect latte foam with or without effort is incredible.
How Much Control Do You Have Over The Machine?
Getting a semi-automatic machine typically means sacrificing control over every aspect of the brewing process for convenience.
With the Bambino, you can control:
This is pretty good compared to other automatic home espresso machines.
How Does It Handle Different Roasts?
Over the last month, I have thrown every kind of bean I have at this machine.
The lack of a burr grinder swings in favor of the adventurous since you can essentially use whatever beans you like, from freshly ground coffee beans to store-bought coffee grounds.
The dual-walled filter baskets can also use pre-ground coffee.
I personally loved using the Starbucks Breakfast Blend and Stumptown Hair Bender Medium Roast blends.
Look, Feel, and Size Of The Machine
Breville has always been great for colorful decorators, and the Bambino Plus is no exception with its nine different color options.
This palette allows it to blend into your home no matter your decor preferences. Right out of the box, I love how classy, curvy, and understated the Plus is.
It is also highly compact, reaching a height of 12.2 inches, making it suitable for even my landlord-issue cupboards, and it is only 7.7 inches wide.
Just make sure to leave room to remove or refill the water tank.
The Bambino is by far the lightest espresso machine that I have reviewed to date. At a mere 3.1 pounds, it is one of the lightest Breville machines you can get.
I did have to brace my hand against its side as I locked in my portafilter to prevent it from moving - perhaps I don’t know my strength.
What Drinks Can It Make?
The coffee world is your oyster with the Bambino Plus.
You do not have to choose from a preset menu of specialty drinks. Instead, you are given free rein over two of the most basic parts of any fancy coffee.
You can get creative and make something entirely new with the perfect espresso drinks and frothed milk.
How Easy Is It To Use?
The Bambino is as easy to use as any super-automatic espresso machine.
The manual has clear instructions to help you, and the interface is incredibly simple to learn.
The hardest part is knowing what each light means, but the manual has a list of their meanings for you.
It’s like Breville set out to make a foolproof espresso maker that is more accessible than some more traditional espresso makers.
How Long Does It Take? (From Heat Up To First Sip)
If you want a fantastic machine that gets you your morning brew in minutes, the Bambino Plus is a great option.
With a heat-up time of just three seconds, you can easily pull a single shot in 21 seconds, a double in 25 seconds, and steam milk in 40 seconds.
In other words, you can grind beans and finish the coffee brewing process in less than five minutes.
Compare this with other models that take between 15 and 25 minutes just to heat up, and you can see why the Bambino Plus coffee maker is often chosen over other popular brands.
Does It Have A Water Filtration System?
There is no built-in water filter system with the Bambino Plus espresso machine.
Because of this, I recommend only using filtered water with your Bambino to prevent buildup and minimize descale cycles.
How Hard Is It To Clean and Descale?
While not quite as easy and hands-free as super-automatic machines, the Bambino has fairly standard easy cleaning and maintenance.
I tend to follow this routine with my model:
- Remove and clean the portafilter in warm soapy water to remove all coffee grounds
- Run a shot of hot water through the head
- Wipe down the steam wand with a damp cloth after each use
- Empty the drip tray as indicated
- Wipe the chassis with a damp microfiber cloth
Every few days
- Wash the water reservoir, drip tray, filter baskets, and shower screen in warm soapy water
Every month or two
- Descale the machine with solution according to the user manual
- Backflush according to the manual, as indicated by winking light indicators
My Favorite Parts About The Breville Bambino Plus
My Least Favorite Parts About The Breville Bambino Plus
Breville Bambino Plus Vs Other Espresso Machines
Breville Bambino Plus vs Breville Bambino
As you can imagine, the Bambino Plus and the original Bambino have plenty in common.
You may be tempted by the original’s cheaper price tag. However, you would be missing out on the automatic steam wand feature.
Not only that, but it comes with a smaller water tank and a worse-quality tamper and milk jug.
Beyond those key differences, the other ones are mostly minor cosmetic changes.
Breville Bambino Plus vs Breville Barista Express
A common competitor to the Bambino Plus is another Breville espresso machine - the Barista Express.
The Express shares much in common with the Bambino Plus but has some key differences.
The two biggest draws for this model are its built-in grinder and hopper as well as its water filtration system.
It also features a larger water tank, a smaller cup height, and non-adjustable milk foam temperature.
Those key draws are offset by its larger and heavier build as well as the shorter warranty.
Breville Bambino vs Breville Infuser
Another Breville product often pitted against the Bambino Plus is the Infuser.
The Infuser is a more expensive model featuring excellent elements like a pressure gauge and filtering system.
However, it is also larger and features a smaller water tank and non-adjustable coffee and milk temperatures.
The warranty also only lasts for a year, which is the low end of average for espresso machines.
Breville Bambino vs Gaggia Classic Pro
The Gaggia Classic Pro is another common competitor against the Bambino Plus.
I would argue that the Pro coffee maker is better for those who want a more tactile and laid-back approach to brewing.
It features a still quick overall heat time, a larger water tank, a rocker switch, and a steam knob interface, and is compatible with coffee pods.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
Yes, you do need a grinder with the Bambino. Alternatively, you can use pre-ground coffee.
It is capable of 9-bar extraction from a 15-bar pump.
Yes, you can make regular coffee and Americanos with the Plus.
Yes, you do need to periodically backflush the Bambino Plus.
Conclusion - Is The Breville Bambino Plus Worth Your Money?
To conclude this Breville Bambino Plus review, this machine is a great option for beginners just starting.
If you already have a grinder and tamper on hand, you will get on great with this lightning-fast espresso maker.
It easily bridges the gap between automated and manual machines into one affordable package.
Breville Bambino Plus