Both models are popular choices for home baristas and coffee lovers. The Breville Bambino and Bambino Plus are two entry-level semi-automatic machines, but what sets them apart from one another? In this article, we’ll delve into the similarities and differences between the Breville Bambino and the Breville Bambino Plus to help you make an informed decision on which model is the best fit for you. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced barista, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to choose the right machine for your home espresso setup.
Breville Bambino vs Bambino Plus: Comparison Table
Breville Bambino vs Bambino Plus: How are they different?
The Breville Bambino and Bambino Plus are pretty affordable but solid semi-automatic machines. They are a lot cheaper than the machines in the Breville Barista family but still capable of delivering great tasting espresso.
What these machines have in common is that they are both very compact, powerful and easy to use but at the same time they don’t leave too much room for customization. While other more expensive machines let you adjust the brewing temperature or even the pre-infusion time, you will not get this with the machines in the Bambino line. So, if full control over the brewing process is a must have for you, these espresso machines are not for you.
If you are looking for a solid semi-automatic entry-level espresso machine, one of these two could be ideal for you. But how exactly is the Breville Bambino different from the Bambino Plus?
The main difference is that the Bambino Plus offers automatic milk frothing. Basically, you are paying the extra cost for this additional feature. Another key difference is that the Bambino includes a hot water dispenser that is not present in the Bambino Plus.
Now, we will go into more detail and explore similarities and differences.
Heating System and Espresso Brewing
The Breville Bambino and Bambino Plus may be small but they are equipped with Breville’s advanced thermojet heating system. Thanks to this heating system, these machines can heat up in less than 3 seconds and they can transition almost immediately from brewing to steaming mode. When it comes to speed, both machines can definitely outperform other more expensive semi-automatic machines in the market including the Breville Barista Express.
There is no difference in espresso quality between these two machines. Both the Bambino and Bambino Plus offer low pressure pre-infusion and PID temperature control. The low-pressure pre-infusion soaks the ground coffee in the portafilter before espresso brewing begins. This helps reduce the risk of channeling for a more even extraction.
The PID temperature control makes sure the water stays at the ideal temperature during brewing which will give you more consistent results for every shot you pull.
Finally, we need to mention that one of the most important factors that determine the quality of the espresso shot is the grind size and quality. Neither the Bambino nor the Bambino Plus are equipped with a built-in grinder. Then, your choice of grinder will play a great part on the quality of your espresso shot. We recommend you get a good burr grinder if you do not already have one.
Design and Build
The Bambino and Bambino Plus have a stainless-steel build with a minimalist design. Even though they are on the smaller side they still feel pretty solid.
Both the Bambino and Bambino are very compact machines with the Bambino being slightly smaller. Still, both machines are small enough to fit in most kitchens.
The Bambino Plus being the bigger machine, also has a bigger water tank with a capacity of 1.9L vs. the 1.4L in the Bambino. A bigger water tank means you will have to refill the Bambino Plus less often.
One drawback about the design of both machines is that the included portafilter has a plastic handle that feels cheap. However, if this really bothers you, you can always buy a better portafilter which should be pretty affordable.
Ease of Use
The Bambino and Bambino Plus have a pretty minimal interface with only a few buttons. There are not that many customization options, so learning to use either machine should be relatively simple. Both machines have different features that make one or the other easier to use for certain use cases.
First, both the Bambino and Bambino Plus give you the option to pre-program the duration of a single and a double shot. Then, you will not have to manually stop the shot every time unless you wish to do so.
The main difference between the two machines is the milk frothing experience. The Bambino Plus can automatically steam milk while this process is fully manual in the Bambino. This makes the Bambino Plus the easier to use machine when it comes to milk steaming. With the Bambino, unless you already know how to froth milk for coffee drinks, you will have to learn how to use the steam wand a milk pitcher to get the right results.
Another important difference between the two machines is that the Breville Bambino can dispense hot water. The machine can use the steam wand as a hot water outlet which is super useful to make americanos. On the other hand, there is no easy way to get hot water with the Bambino Plus. It is unclear why Breville decided not to include this feature in the Bambino Plus but it is something we miss as americano drinkers.
Finally, there is a difference in how often you will need to refill the water tank in these machines. The Breville Bambino Plus has a bigger water so you will not need to refill it as often. That’s one less task on your list.
Both Breville machines have a pretty simple user interface. The Breville Bambino is the simplest and easiest to use as it only has 4 buttons: ones for single shot, one of double, one for hot water and one for steaming mode. And of course, it is pretty self-explanatory what each button is for.
The Bambino Plus does not have the hot water button but instead it has two buttons to adjust the steaming temperature and texture.
However, one disadvantage of such a minimalist interface is that you will need to use a combination of buttons to program your shot which would be easier on a machine with dedicated knobs or buttons for this function.
Steam Wand and Milk Frothing
Milk frothing is probably where the biggest difference between the two machines lies. The Breville Bambino Plus offers automatic milk frothing while the process is fully manual in the Breville Bambino.
On the Bambino you will have to learn how to properly use the wand and pitcher to get the right texture for your milk. On the other hand, the Bambino Plus has three temperature and three texture options you can choose from to automatically steam your milk. Of course, there is also the option to steam manually with the Bambino Plus.
Also, manual steaming will be slightly faster on the Bambino Plus as the machine features a more advanced 4-hole steam wand versus a single hole wand on the Bambino. But, one drawback is that the steam wand on the Bambino Plus only moves up and down and cannot be rotated. This is not ideal for manual steaming which indicates the Bambino Plus was built with automatic steaming in mind.
Finally, both machines are capable of switching from brewing to steaming in almost no time thanks to the thermojet heating system.
Price and Value
Both of these machines are pretty affordable for a semi-automatic espresso machine. The Bambino Plus is the more expensive of the two and you are basically paying the additional cost to get automatic milk steaming.
When it comes to espresso quality both machines are equally as good. Both machines are also pretty easy to use with a very user friendly and minimal interface.
Which espresso machine is the better value for the price will depend on how much you value the automatic milk frothing function.
There are a few differences in the included accessories.
Both machines come with a 54mm portafilter, a 16 oz milk pitcher, both pressurized and non-pressurized portafilter baskets, and a tamper. But, the Breville Bambino Plus includes a razor precision dosing tool. This tool is very helpful to achieve a more even tamp for better extraction. But, this is not the end of the world, you can get this tool separately for a pretty reasonable price.
The other difference is in the tamper. The Bambino comes with a plastic tamper while the Bambino Plus includes a metal tamper. A plastic tamper makes it harder to get a nice flat puck, so if you end up getting the Bambino consider buying a metal tamper. Luckily, they are pretty affordable.
|1 & 2 Cup Single Wall & Dual Wall Filter Baskets||1 & 2 Cup Single Wall & Dual Wall Filter Baskets|
|54 mm portafilter||54 mm portafilter|
|Plastic tamper||Metal tamper|
|–||Razor precision dosing tool|
|16 oz stainless steel milk jug||16 oz stainless steel milk jug|
|Steam Wand Tip Cleaning Tool||Steam Wand Tip Cleaning Tool|
Bambino vs Bambino Plus: The Winner
The Breville Bambino and Bambino Plus are compact but powerful machines. They both can deliver great espresso quality and have an advanced heating system that guarantees fast heat up time. The main difference between these machines is in the milk steaming process. The Bambino Plus can froth milk automatically while the process will be manual on the base Bambino.
We believe there is not a clear winner here and it is more about finding the machine that provides the best value for you.
Get the Bambino if:
- You are mainly an espresso and americano drinker.
- You do not mind steaming you milk manually and/or are even excited about learning a new skill
Get the Bambino Plus if:
- You do not want to froth milk manually and/or have no interest in learning.
- You mainly plan to make milky drinks like cappuccinos and lattes.
- The lack of a hot water outlet is not a deal breaker.
After reading this comparison article, you should know if any of these two machines would be right for you. But, So, if you are still on the fence and want to learn more about these machines, we have a dedicated review of the Bambino Plus and the Bambino.
Interested in learning about other Breville machines? Read our review on the best Breville espresso machine.
What is the difference between the Breville Bambino and Breville Bambino Plus?
The Breville Bambino and Breville Bambino Plus are both entry-level espresso machines manufactured by Breville. But, the Breville Bambino Plus is a step up from the Bambino in terms of features and performance.
The Breville Bambino Plus offers automatic milk frothing with an improved 4-hole steam wand and programmable milk temperature and texture. The Bambino Plus also has a larger water tank which will let you make more drinks before refilling the tank.
However, the one feature that is present in the Bambino and the Bambino Plus does not have is the hot water dispenser. We are not sure why Breville decided not to include the hot water dispenser in the Bambino Plus as this can be really useful for making americanos.
Does Breville Bambino Plus have a pressurized portafilter?
Yes, the Breville Bambino Plus has a pressurized portafilter. This means that the portafilter is designed to maintain a consistent pressure throughout the extraction process, which helps to ensure that the espresso shot is of a high quality. The pressurized portafilter helps to regulate the flow of water through the coffee grounds, which can lead to a more consistent extraction. This is especially helpful for those who are just starting out with espresso making, as it can make it easier to produce a good shot without having to worry too much about the technique.
However, both the Bambino and the Bambino Plus also include non-pressurized portafilters. As you get more comfortable with espresso making, you have the option to use the more advanced non-pressurized portafilters too.
Can you steam milk manually with the Breville Bambino Plus?
Yes, although the Breville Bambino Plus offers automatic milk frothing, you can also steam milk manually.
To steam milk manually with the Breville Bambino Plus, fill the milk pitcher, insert the steam wand into the pitcher with the wand 1-2 cm below the milk surface and press STEAM to start. The steam wand allows you to adjust the temperature and texture of the milk to your liking, giving you complete control over the final result.
Keep in mind that manual steaming requires a certain level of skill and experience, so it may take some practice to get the hang of it. However, once you’ve mastered the technique, you’ll have the ability to create truly customized drinks with the Breville Bambino Plus.
Is the Breville Bambino Plus worth it?
Whether or not the Breville Bambino Plus is worth it depends on several factors and ultimately comes down to individual preferences and needs. Here are a few things to consider:
- Price: The Bambino Plus is an entry-level espresso machine that comes with a higher price tag compared to other entry-level models. However, it offers features and performance that are typically found on more expensive models, making it a good value for its price.
- Size: The Bambino Plus is compact and takes up less counter space compared to larger espresso machines, making it a good choice for those with limited kitchen space.
- Features: The Bambino Plus is packed with features that are designed to produce high-quality espresso, including low pressure pre-infusion, automatic milk frothing, and precise temperature control.
- Ease of use: The Bambino is designed to be user-friendly, with intuitive controls and an easy-to-use interface.
In conclusion, if you’re looking for a high-quality espresso machine that is compact and packed with features, the Breville Bambino Plus is definitely worth considering. However, if you’re on a budget or don’t need all of the bells and whistles, you may be better off with a more basic model.
Does Breville Bambino Plus have a grinder?
No, the Breville Bambino Plus does not come equipped with a grinder. If you do not already own a grinder, your options are to either buy a separate burr grinder or consider getting an espresso machine with a built-in grinder. For example, the Breville Barista Express would be a good option if you want to stay in the Breville family.
Should you buy a grinder with the Breville Bambino?
If you already have a separate burr grinder that you are happy with, then you do not need to purchase a grinder with the Breville Bambino.
However, if you do not have a grinder, or if you would like to have a complete, all-in-one espresso setup, then purchasing a grinder with the Breville Bambino may be a good idea. Freshly ground coffee is crucial for making high-quality espresso, and having a built-in grinder makes it easy to grind your coffee beans right before you use them.