Breville has many options to choose from. This time, we’re pitting two of their top-selling espresso machines against each other; the Breville Bambino and the Bambino Plus.
Both have a relatively small footprint and are in the low-medium price segment. But which coffee machine comes out on top? We say it depends on your needs. If you’re big on making effortless lattes and cappuccinos with an automatic steam wand, go for the Bambino Plus. Contrarily, with the Bambino, you save a good amount of cash if you’re willing to froth your milk manually.
Let’s get to the nitty-gritty of these two Breville espresso machines.
At A Glance
With these two espresso machines, there is a lot of common ground and intuitive Breville technology shared, but also a lot of features separating the two.
With so many machines looking the same on the outside, it’s important to look deeper at the functionality and features that differentiate one brewer from the next.
- Relatively compact machines with a small footprint
- Breville Thermojet technology with a 3-second heat-up time
- PID water temperature control of 200 °F (93 °C)
- User-friendly LED button display interface
- 54mm portafilter with 18-22 gram capacity
- Milk Frothing — The Bambino Plus offers a hands-free, automatic milk wand, while the Bambino is a manually operated steam wand with 360-degree rotation.
- Adjustable Milk Temperature — The Bambino Plus lets you customize your milk heating.
- Custom Milk Texture — The Bambino Plus lets you choose from 3 settings for your froth texture, while the Bambino only has one default option
- Water Reservoir — Breville Bambino Plus has the bigger tank
- Color Options — The Plus has nine color variations, while the OG Bambino only comes in brushed stainless steel
The Breville Bambino is a 3rd generation maker from the Breville family, with improved performance and functionality compared to its predecessors.
With a 54mm portafilter harnessing a 9 bar extraction rate and a 15 bar Italian pump, you’re getting the professional grade taste from home that will rival coffee shops.
And with low-pressure pre-infusion at the heart of the brew process, you’re in for a more balanced cup of coffee with all the distinct flavors intact. This technique slowly introduces pressure to the coffee grounds, increasing to higher rates over time, allowing for a more even extraction.
You can also guarantee a better cup with Breville’s digital temperature control (PID). This system control provides the optimal temperature for brewing and coffee extraction for a consistently delicious espresso taste.
This is a user-friendly brewer and, similar to the Plus, operates by using a button control panel. You can select 1 shot of espresso or hit the double shot button for more. With the thermojet heating system and easy-to-use interface, you’ll have excellent espresso faster and easier than ever.
Though it’s not automatic, the frother has 360-degree movement, which swivels off of a ballpoint and helps you easily position your milk jug. The downside here is that without the automatic texturing, it will take some trial and error and lots of practice to achieve the microfoam cafe quality.
And like many inexpensive Breville machines, there is no included built-in grinder.
- Makes excellent espresso at an affordable price
- Latest Thermojet and PID technology
- Manual frother with 360-degree movement
- User-friendly button operation
- Compact and lightweight
- Manual milk frothing; will take practice for beginners
- 1-year product warranty
- Comes with a plastic tamper
The Breville Bambino Plus, as the name suggests, is a brewer with upgraded functions and features compared to the original Bambino machine.
To start, the Plus is just as compact an espresso machine, weighing slightly more than 14 lbs. Similar to the Bambino, the Bambino Plus also brews with all the power of bigger, high-ticket makers, with low-pressure pre-infusion and PID temperature control technology.
The Bambino Plus features a larger water tank, at 64 oz., eliminating all those extra trips to the Brita filter you would have to take with the original Bambino.
Where the Bambino Plus really stands out is in its preparation of milk-based espresso drinks. Take your cappuccinos and lattes to the next level.
The Bambino Plus has an automatic steam wand. This translates into a convenient and hassle-free creation of cappuccinos and lattes. Compared to the Bambino, it frothes significantly faster thanks to its four-hole steam wand.
You can also get more creative with the Plus’ milk frothing performance by tailoring your temperature and texture to you. Adjust this maker’s milk texture by choosing one of 3 settings or by programming your desired temperature.
The downsides to the Plus are, like the classic Bambino, there is no included built-in grinder, while the drip tray on the Bambino Plus is also relatively small and fills up pretty quickly.
- Same technology for high-quality espresso
- Automatic, customizable steam wand
- Microfoam texturing
- XL water tank
- 2-year warranty
- Considerably more expensive
- Small drip tray
|Breville Bambino||Breville Bambino Plus|
|Weight||10.9 lbs.||14.4 lbs.|
|Dimensions||6.3″ W x 13.7″ D x 12″ H||7.7″ W x 12.6″ D x 12.2″ H|
|Heat Up Time||3-second Thermojet heating||3-second Thermojet heating|
|Water Reservoir||47 oz.||64 oz.|
|Removable Water Reservoir||Yes||Yes|
|Display||LED button display||LED button display|
|Steam Wand||Manual, with 360-degree rotation||Automatic, four-hole steam wand|
|Color options||Brushed stainless steel||9 color options|
Bambino vs Bambino Plus Features
Ease of Use
Both brewers operate off of simple, one-touch button interfaces that allow you to brew hands-free and automatically. The user experience for these brewers is meant to appeal to advanced users and beginners alike. All the taste of expensive coffee without the elbow grease.
The minimalist design, with a max of only 5 buttons on both machines, ensures there’s no room for confusion. The Bambino’s interface has dual shot selections on the left side, while the right side has buttons for water dispensing and/or steaming.
The Bambino Plus has the steam button next to the espresso cup buttons, where the right side has the custom temp and milk texture settings. Although the Plus doesn’t have a designated button, it is capable of dispersing hot water. Just hold the one-cup shot button and steam button for about half a second.
Let’s call ease of use a draw, as both espresso makers are really intuitive and easy to operate.
Let’s move on to the most significant difference between the two espresso machines. The manual vs automatic milk frother. Both machines deliver high-quality results, but the mechanism is fundamentally different.
The Bambino Plus features a four-hole automatic steam wand with adjustable milk temperature controls and texture settings. What this means is that the machine does all the work for you; you simply have to place the milk wand inside of the pitcher, press the button, and let the magic happen.
With the adjustable milk temperature option, you are able to set the temperature between 50 and 90 °C and the texture setting allows you to craft the perfect specialty coffee that’s right for you. Microfoam is moments away and all at the touch of a button.
The original Bambino operates with a one-hole manual steam wand; this translates into less convenience but more control over the final result. While operating the Bambino’s manual wand does involve a learning curve, it’s perfectly possible to create microfoam just as perfect as the Bambino Plus with a little practice. One thing I liked about the steam wand in the Bambino Plus is its ballpoint swivel. It moves 360 degrees and makes positioning the wand really easy.
The Bambino Plus frothes faster
In terms of frothing speed, the Bambino Plus has the edge with its four-hole wand. I found that the Plus is able to steam milk in around 30 seconds, whereas the Bambino takes significantly longer with its one-hole wand.
Ultimately, both steam wands perform very well, and it’s up to you if a manual or an automatic technology better suits your needs. The Bambino is perfect for those trying to up their at-home barista skills, as the machine grows with you as your skills improve. The Bambino Plus, on the other hand, is perfect for beginners or those who value convenience.
Winner: Bambino Plus
Performance and Coffee Quality
Both the Bambino and Bambino Plus share the same brewing process, with low-pressure pre-infusion and the Thermojet heating being the star of the show.
With its Thermojet technology, both machines are ready to brew in 3 seconds. The PID temperature control steadily keeps the temperature at 200 °F (93 °C) for optimal extraction and balanced flavors. The velvety, rich body in your cup of espresso can rival that of much more expensive espresso machines.
With its lighting-fast heat-up time, you won’t have to kill time between pulling shots of espresso and steaming milk either, as the machine is ready to go when you are.
Each machine has 54 mm single or double-shot dual-wall filter baskets to make up for the fact that neither has a coffee grinder. These types of filter baskets create high-quality espresso shots.
Both espresso machines fall in a low-medium price range depending on what kind of wiggle room you’re playing with. The Bambino gets the win over the Plus here, as the Plus is around 50% more expensive than the Bambino.
If you’re willing to put some more time and effort into your drinks by frothing manually, chances are you’d benefit from saving a good amount of money and sticking with the classic Bambino.
However, if you love the convenience of brewing cappuccinos and lattes at the push of a button, I think it’s worth shelling out the extra cash for the Bambino Plus. You get more control over your specialty drinks while savoring the taste of microfoam.
Design And Build Quality
Both Bambino makers are designed with durability in mind, featuring a stainless steel body and internal components. Most notably, the boiler systems of both machines feature a stainless steel design, capable of withstanding the high heat of brew cycles for many cups to come.
The brushed stainless steel finish gives the Bambino and Bambino Plus a solid build with high-quality, head-turning aesthetics. For these makers, the differences in design come down to subtle details.
The Bambino Plus has a wider range of color options, with 9 varieties to choose from. The Bambino only comes in brushed stainless steel yet remains a classic design choice for high-brow, traditional brewer fans.
The water tanks of both brewers are removable, while the Bambino Plus comes in the XL size of 64 oz. The Bambino’s 47 oz. reservoir is still larger than most standard espresso machines, but the Plus really leans into the convenience of not having to constantly refill your water. You can make over 20 espressos with one full Plus tank.
Similarly, the Bambino weighs just over 10 lbs. whereas the Plus weighs more than 14 lbs. Ultimately, both are ideal for coffee drinkers on the go who need to satisfy their cravings anywhere an electrical outlet can be found.
The Bambino’s drip tray feels more solid than the Bambino Plus’, while the Plus has a smaller drip tray that will require more consistent cleaning and maintenance. The Bambino Plus, however, features an integrated temperature sensor in its drip tray base, a trade-off for less space.
The Breville Bambino comes with following accessories:
- Single and dual wall filter baskets
- Stainless steel milk jug
- 54 mm portafilter
- Plastic tamper
- Steam wand cleaning tool
The Breville Bambino Plus includes the same accessories as the Bambino. Additionally, it comes with a razor precision dosing tool, perfect for leveling out the coffee grounds in the portafilter. Also, note that the tamper is made of metal, making a significant difference to the Bambino. It immensely helps you get a flat puck, avoiding uneven extraction or channeling.
The cleaning tool is used to unscrew the tip of the steam wand and clear away any blockages and build-up. The disc is used to deep clean the portafilter.
The Bambino Plus takes the accessory category for its improved material quality in the metal tamper as well as the razor precision dosing tool, used to accurately dose your ground coffee.
Winner: Bambino Plus
Breville Bambino Vs. Bambino Plus: which is better? It entirely depends on your needs and what you expect to get out of an espresso machine.
The Plus features a highly customizable, automatic steam wand for hassle-free specialty drinks at the touch of a button. If you’re a beginner in the espresso game or love the convenience of an automatic wand, the Bambino Plus is for you.
However, if you like to be in the driver’s seat and experiment with the creation of milk drinks, go with original Bambino. It’s a very solid machine, with a significantly lower price tag.
A lightweight and compact machine, the Breville Bambino makes excellent espresso with its latest Thermojet technology. It features a manual steam wand with 360-degree rotation and is considerably more affordable compared to the Bambino Plus.