Choosing your first espresso machine can be a daunting experience for any coffee fiend, but it doesn’t have to be. Breville espresso machines have always been a trusted name in the industry, and they offer espresso machines that are suitable for brewers at every experience level.
But when it comes to simple machines that are friendly to beginners and their wallets, you can’t go wrong with the Breville Bambino and its slightly larger sibling, the Breville Bambino Plus.
Background on breville
Breville has been around since the 1930s, having started as a radio manufacturer. But they quickly diversified, and today they’re a trusted name in the home and kitchen space. And when it comes to their entry-level lower price point espresso machines, they’re a brand that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Through their impressive lineup of machines, they’ve shown that they know what their customers want to see sitting on their kitchen table. Whether they’re looking for a high-end super-automatic coffee maker or an all-in-one manual machine, there’s something for every lifestyle, budget, and goal.
Breville knows that not everyone needs an expensive, complicated, or feature-laden espresso machine. Even the most dedicated coffee enthusiasts may prefer simplicity over everything else when it comes to their daily brew, which is where the Bambino and the Bambino plus come in.
These machines could be perfect for anyone who values efficiency and space over many extra features. While you won’t find the Bambino or the Bambino Plus in a cafe or coffee shop anytime soon, you may find it in a college dorm room, a small apartment, a shared office space, or any number of places where a small, bare-bones espresso machine would be welcome.
These machines are small and compact with a limited footprint, perfect for small kitchens and areas where space is limited. They also feature a streamlined look and minimal control buttons and controls.
And, while there is a difference in price points between the two, they both sit solidly in the “budget” price range for espresso machines, at well under $1000. These machines also offer fantastic value for the money; from a quality build and a thoughtful, user-friendly design to the provided accessories, they’re well worth the price tag.
That’s not to say that either of these machines sacrifices taste or consistency because of their budget-friendly status; Both of these espresso makers will deliver a quality cup of espresso with a rich, crema-infused texture and an aromatic, bold taste.
The biggest difference between these two machines is the number of features and customization options. Do you want a machine that offers you the ability to change the water temperature or control the texture of your milk froth? Or do you value the most straightforward and fastest espresso brew you can get?
For those who don’t want to fuss with buttons, knobs, or programming screens, the Breville Bambino is a friendly and unintimidating option. But if the Bambino is a little too simple for you, and you’d like a few more customizable settings and a bit more control over your cup, you may want to go with the Bambino Plus.
Even though the Bambino Plus doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of high-end Breville models, it was named the Best Espresso Machine for Beginners in 2021 by the New York Times. There’s clearly a market for a small and simple espresso machine that puts its product before any additional features.
The faster way to professional results at home. Like professional machines, the Bambino can deliver third wave specialty coffee.
If you’re looking for the most budget-friendly and compact espresso machine on the market, you’d be hard pressed to find a better brewing option than the Breville Bambino coffee maker. While it’s not the cheapest machine out there price-wise, it sits squarely in the budget price point, but with premium features that you wouldn’t expect.
Due to its size and simplicity, it’s a great model if you’re looking to start small and work your way up to a more complex machine. If you simply want to learn the basics of pulling an espresso shot without all the bells and whistles, you’ll love this machine. But you may find yourself outgrowing it quickly.
Things We Like:
- This machine is compact with a small footprint, perfect for small kitchens with limited counter space.
- This model is the more budget-friendly version of the Bambino Plus and an excellent option if you want delicious espresso on a beginner’s budget.
- You can use the auto-purge steam wand as a hot water dispenser, helping free up space in the design and keeping it small.
- The build quality is durable, stylish, and strong, with a stainless steel body.
- Quick, easy, and user-friendly programming features with a simple one-touch button.
- It’s an excellent value for anyone who’s just getting started with espresso makers or wants a small and compact model without too many extra features.
Things We Don’t:
- You have to steam the milk manually, which isn’t ideal if you want to save time.
- The milk pitcher is not included and must be purchased separately.
- There’s no built-in grinder, which is not a huge deal but is a bit of an inconvenience.
The Bottom Line
The main allure of the Breville Bambino is the small and simple design that doesn’t intimidate beginners. We can see this machine in college dorms, office spaces, and small kitchens, where efficiency and simplicity are a must. And this is all without compromising on the taste or quality of the espresso; you still get delicious, crema-infused cups of coffee.
However, the simplest option may not be for everyone. The Bambino Plus does have some features that make it more alluring. If you’re willing to spend extra, you’ll enjoy a more premium coffee experience without sacrificing space or brewing time.
Breville Bambino Plus
If you’re looking for the compact size and streamlined package of the Breville Bambino but with a bit more customization and control, then consider investing a little more into its counterpart, the Bambino Plus coffee maker. With features like automatic temperature and froth texture control, you’ll get the most bang for your buck.
Things We Like:
- The auto-purge milk frother cleans up automatically, saving you the time and headache of extra dishes!
- You have the option to select your desired milk temperature and texture, a feature you don’t get with the Bambino.
- The Bambino plus features a larger water tank and can hold 1.9 liters, compared to the Bambino’s 1.4-liter tank capacity.
- This machine comes with more accessories and higher quality, adding value to your purchase.
- The included two-year warranty speaks to the quality of the machine’s build and the confidence in the brand that it will stand up to your use!
Things We Don’t:
- It doesn’t have a hot water outlet.
- The price tag is considerably higher, which may not make this machine an option for those looking for a simple, entry-level machine.
The Bottom Line
To those just looking at the Bambino next to the Bambino Plus, these machines may seem almost identical, so why go with the pricier Bambino Plus when you can get a slightly smaller and less expensive machine?
What you do get with the Bambino Plus is additional accessories, an extended warranty, a larger water reservoir, and temperature and texture control for your frother.
If those additional features are worth it to you, we can’t recommend this machine enough. It doesn’t compromise on control just because of a smaller footprint or a more streamlined, hands-on coffee brewing process, and you shouldn’t either!
Does Size Matter? Apparently, Less Than You’d Think.
There isn’t much difference in size between the machines. However, the Breville Bambino machine measures 7.7′′ by 12.6′′ by 12.2′′ while the Breville Bambino Plus stands at 9.6′′ by 16.3′′ by 12.2′′. The Bambino Plus is just a bit larger, but both of these machines will easily fit on a kitchen countertop without dominating the space.
The real difference comes in how the two machines use their provided space. Despite being just a hair larger, the Bambino Plus features a larger water reservoir capacity, making it the better option for heavy brewers or households with lots of coffee drinkers.
The Bambino features four buttons on its front face designed for ease of use and simplicity. Just choose between the single or double shot button and whether you want steam or a stream of water.
The Bambino Plus offers more control over the result when making milk-based espresso drinks like those you would find in a cafe.
With an integrated temperature sensor, the Bambino Plus gives you more control over the temperature and texture of your milk, plus the three-hole steam wand gives a more consistent texture over the Bambino’s 1-hole steam wand.
With both of these machines, you’ll need to learn how to manually pull a shot of espresso since the devices won’t grind or tamp the coffee beans for you. Despite their streamlined appearance, these are not the kinds of machines that you can set up, press a button, and walk away.
That said, some prefer a more hands-on setup and don’t mind learning the ins and outs of the brewing process. This is a great chance for newbie coffee lovers to learn by experimentation.
If you’re looking for a machine that will give you a simpler experience, go with the Bambino. But, if you want more control and less guesswork, go with the Bambino plus. Either way, these machines are quality built and will last years as you perfect your brewing technique.
The model that you go with will depend a lot on what you value in a machine. With both devices, you get a streamlined coffee brewing experience, a quality machine build, and a small footprint, so it doesn’t take up your kitchen.
If you’re okay with a bare-bones design that gets the job done every single time and supplies you with delicious coffee without the hassle of too many custom settings and features, then you’re going to love the Breville Bambino. It will save you time and effort once you’re over the learning curve of pulling your first few espresso shots.
While there are a few key differences between the two, both coffee machines will offer you excellent value at their price points. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because the devices are affordable, that they’re low quality, or that they won’t last you very long! If you’re a beginner, embrace the simplicity and enjoy experimenting!
And remember, whichever machine you go for, make sure you practice with it and take the time to learn the ins and outs of your coffee maker so you know you’re getting the best cup of coffee you can, every time!