Our Review Of The Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Machine
In this review, we’ll take a close look at the Breville Bambino Plus Espresso maker. Off the bat, I’ll tell you we like this machine. It’s by no means the cheapest machine on the market, and it’s far from the most expensive. But when it comes down to value for the money, the Breville Bambino Plus espresso maker is hard to beat.
The cost of a high end espresso machine can reach into the thousands. But you don’t have to spend a fortune to make great espresso at home.The price point of this model comes in at just under $400, making it an excellent option for those looking to take their espresso making game up a notch without breaking the bank. In addition, its various features and user-friendly operation make it suitable for beginner baristas as well.
Unboxing the Breville Bambino Espresso Machine
The Bambino Plus Espresso Machine comes well-packed, and includes the machine, a cup warming tray, a set of cleaning tools and an instruction manual. As soon as you remove the Bambino Plus from the box, you’ll feel the quality. It’s a sturdy build and feels good in your hands. It looks good on the counter, too with a sleek stainless steel exterior that gives it a luxurious look. The small size of the machine makes it ideal for those with limited counter space.
In the box along with the Bambino you’ll also find one portafilter, one single shot filter basket and one double shot filter basket. Both the filters you receive are pressurized. This is a potential problem as you’ll probably need both pressurized and unpressurized filter baskets to make all types of espresso drinks. With most models, Breville will include a pressurized filter and a non pressurized filter, it seems an odd choice to only include pressurized filters with the Bambino Plus.
Here’s why it matters. A pressurized basket has two walls, the inner wall has many holes, while the external wall has one tiny hole. It builds pressure inside the basket, so there’s a consistent extraction. It is beginner friendly and is best used with coarser grounds.
A non-pressurized basket has one wall, with multiple holes. It requires more precise puck preparation and a good bit of practice to pull a good espresso shot, but you do have additional extraction control, a key advantage to make great espresso.
To their credit, the design of the machine allows you to use any of their 54 millimeter filter baskets with the Bambino Plus Espresso Machine. Non-pressurized filter baskets are optional accessories on the Bambino product page. So if you have a good quality burr grinder and want to make the best coffee possible, you will need both pressurized and non-pressurized filter baskets to get the most out of your machine.
Key Features of the Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Machine:
- Pre-infusion feature for an even extraction of all grinds and balanced espresso flavor
- Automatically textured milk for silky, creamy cappuccinos and lattes
- Over Pressure Valve (OPV) to limit extraction pressure
- Faster Heat Up Time with ThermoJet heating system
- Precise Extraction with Digital Temperature Control (PID)
- Stainless steel construction for durability
- Compact Footprint of 7.7 inches
- Built-in mug warmer
The espresso brewed by the Brevill Bambino Plus is right in line with the rest of the Breville machines in terms of quality, and it also competes well against other machines available on the market at similar price points.The simple, easy to use design makes it appropriate for beginners as well as middle level Baristas as well.Used properly, and with some practice, you can make great espresso at home in no time.
How to use the Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Machine
1. Place the coffee grinds into the portafilter and properly tamp
2. Place the portafilter into the machine and activate pre-infusion
5. Push down on the lever to start espresso extraction
6. Once extraction is complete, remove portafilter for cleaning
7. To steam milk, turn on steam wand and move it in a circular motion until you reach desired consistency
Let’s talk about the steaming performance, as this was a real standout feature of this machine. The bambino uses a four-hole steam wand that can be preprogrammed to reach 3 independently adjustable levels of temperature and texture. We measured the temperature settings to be 50, 70 and 90 degrees Celsius, for the low, medium and high settings. The speed was also quite good, taking just under 40 seconds to reach 60 degrees Celsius.
We were skeptical about how good the automatic milk texturing would be, but despite not having the same level of control of other more expensive models, the quality was on par. Switching between brewing and steaming is also dramatically quicker than the other lower end models, thanks to the new heating design. However, it cannot steam and brew at the same time, which is somewhat of an efficiency disadvantage.
Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Machine
Customer ratings by feature
- Quality of material 4.8
- Flavor 4.4
- Easy to clean 4.4
- Blending power 4.3
- The build quality of the Breville Bambino Plus is very good, incorporating real metal construction and tight tolerances. In the few places where plastic parts are used, they are thick and sturdy feeling.There is a large removable water reservoir on the back, a cup warming rack on top, a small drip tray, and a very simple 5 button interface. It really is a very nice design for such a small footprint.
- With its digital temperature control and over-pressure valve, you can be sure of consistent results each time you make an espresso. The pre-infusion feature ensures an even extraction of all grinds for a balanced flavor and its automatic steam wand makes it easy to make cappuccinos and lattes.Even though it’s not really needed with a pressurized filter basket, a pressure gauge would have been nice.
- The lack of a dedicated hot water outlet is really a bit of a problem if you’re an Americano drinker, for example. You need to boil the water separately in a kettle or steam the water to the desired temperature. Also, the inability to brew and stream at the same time is a drawback. Neither of these issues however are a deal breaker. All in all, the Bambino Plus is a great machine for the money.
- The decision to leave out a hot water spout, but include automatic steaming, and only include pressurized baskets indicates that the Breville Bambino Plus is targeting this machine mostly at latte and cappuccino drinkers. If that’s you, this is a great unit to consider. But also consider additional attachments Like non pressured filter baskets.
Overall, this is a powerful compact appliance and if you’re looking for an entry/mid level machine to make lattes and cappuccinos at home this could be a good choice. Just be aware of the few small quirks and additional purchases you might need to make in order to get the absolute best out of it.