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Breville Bambino Plus Review: The Best Bang For Your Buck

Breville Bambino Plus Review: This machine brings you exceptional taste and a user-friendly design, what more could you want?

breville bambino plus review

Expert Consulted: Carl. Utilizing my 6 years of experience in the coffee industry, I’m able to provide accurate and concise information, helping you make informed choices about beans, brewing methods, and equipment, thereby elevating your coffee experience. In this personal Breville Bambino Plus review, I’ll share my knowledge and experience to help you decide if this fantastic machine is the one for you.

Recently, there’s been a bit of a trend regarding cheaper espresso machines, so you may find it difficult to know which ones are worth purchasing.

But don’t you worry, I’ve been personally testing this machine for the past week and I can confidently say this is the best espresso machine for under $500.

And I’m going to prove it to you.

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Breville Bambino Plus

Incredible value, incredible taste!

Fully automatic milk steamer

Powerful steam wand

Top-notch espresso

Incredible Value

Small footprint

Very poor tamper quality

Drip tray must be emptied often

Breville Bambino Plus Review: Quick Overview

Back when Breville announced the Bambino Plus, they were already a highly-rated company when it came to coffee machines.

So, as expected, people were ready for this to shake up the budget home espresso scene, and it did exactly that.

breville bambino plus review: quick overview

While exploring some budget espresso machines and the various options out there, you may have encountered a few coffee snobs who swear that having those thousand-dollar bank breakers is the only way to go.

Well, I’m here to prove them wrong and show you an easy, small, and barista-capable machine with some features even their machines won’t have!

As this is just a quick overview, I will glance over some of the main features for you.

Probably the best feature of all, the thermojet heating system. Breville has invented a way to heat your espresso machine in just three seconds!

The next feature is the automatic milk steaming system, this works by using a temperature sensor below the milk pitcher that senses when the milk is ready.

You can choose from three levels of milk texture, and temperature.

Another great thing about this machine is the ability to program your shots, a necessary option for anyone looking to brew consistent and barista-level espresso.

Breville Bambino Plus Review: What Are The Features?

Now let’s move on to every feature this machine has to offer and talk about them in much greater detail.

Automatic Steaming System: Tutorial Included

One of the key features people look for when considering an espresso machine is the steam wand and its respective power/ease of use.

Fortunately for you, the Bambino Plus makes it super easy to create beautifully textured milk with lovely microfoam for latte art.

  1. Fill your pitcher between the ‘min’ and ‘max’ lines. You can add more or less depending on your preference, just make sure it’s enough to submerge the steam tip, and not too much that it drowns the wand.
  2. I recommend quickly turning on the steam wand before placing anything under it, this will purge the wand and bring it up to steam pressure. Do this by pressing the ‘steam’ button one time, waiting until steam is coming out, then pressing the button again to stop it.
  3. Now choose your preferred temperature and texture, (look below if you are confused about how to do that) and pull the wand out towards you, place the pitcher in, and bring the wand back into position.
  4. Ensure the temperature sensor is completely dry, then make sure the pitcher is fully covering it before starting the steaming process.
  5. Now just press the steam button and let it do its thing! This process takes about a minute and everything will be automated. I would still make sure to monitor it just in case, safety first.
  6. Once the steaming has ended, remove the pitcher and the wand together by just pulling back. Then grab a damp microfibre cloth and clean the milk residue off the wand.
  7. For the final step, push the steam wand back into its native position, and it will begin its automatic purging.
automatic steaming system: breville bambino plus review

Adjusting the level of milk texture and temperature is a piece of cake. For temperature, simply press the little button corresponding to the red light and that’s it!

Level one is ‘warm’, level two is ‘ideal’, and level three is ‘hot’.

Be very careful when using level three though, as in my personal experience, the milk actually overflowed the pitcher and seemed as though it wasn’t going to stop any time soon.

Adjusting the milk texture is the same case, all you have to do is press the little button that corresponds to the white-ish blue-ish color below the red temperature one.

The three levels of milk texture are as follows:

Level one ‘low foam’, level two ‘medium foam’, and level three is ‘high foam’. You can think of these as latte, almost cappuccino, and cappuccino level.

However, you may be wondering, can I steam manually if I want to? The answer is yes, the 4-hole steam wand allows for a quick and easy time when manually steaming too, only taking around 40 seconds.

Stock Tamper From Breville

stock tamper from breville: breville bambino plus review

One of the first upgrades I recommend making if you have this machine or are planning on getting one, is upgrading the tamper to a much heavier one or to a calibrated spring tamper.

To put it simply, the stock tamper is far too lightweight and it does not fit the portafilter properly which causes a few issues.

The first issue you’ll encounter is when you attempt to do your standard tamping, you will find that there is a lot of room for the tamper to wiggle and wobble out of place, creating an uneven tamp.

Not only that, but the tamper is too light, therefore making it much more challenging to put the necessary pressure required for tamping properly.

It’s still possible to brew a great coffee using this tamper, it will just be much more difficult.

Stock Portafilter From Breville Bambino Plus

Stock Portafilter From Breville Bambino Plus: breville bambino plus review

The Bambino Plus comes with Breville’s standard 54mm spouted portafilter, and this will do just fine. It doesn’t feel very premium to hold, but that’s expected with a sub-$500 machine.

It comes equipped with both single-wall and double-wall filter baskets, aka non-pressurized and pressurized.

I highly recommend you ignore the double-wall filter baskets unless you intend on using pre-ground coffee.

There’s more of a learning curve with the single-wall baskets but trust me, it’s very much worth it.

Why is it worth it? The flavor you get from using the single-wall baskets will be sweeter and much more complex.

This brings up the topic of coffee grinders, to utilize this machine’s full potential you must invest in a high-quality burr grinder rated for espresso.

A cheap hand grinder can do the job if you’re on a budget, but I recommend saving for a slightly more expensive electric grinder.

User Interface

As I’ve mentioned already, the Bambino Plus is a super easy machine to use and the user interface really reflects that.

There are only five buttons and they all explain exactly what they’re for.

The one-cup button is for one shot of espresso, and the two-cup button is for a double shot of espresso.

You can also program the length of your shot by holding down the one-cup and two-cup at the same time for a few seconds until they flash a few times and turn solid.

From there just press either one to start the extraction, and press once more to end it.

For the steaming buttons, see ‘Automatic Steaming System’, I explain them in full detail there with a tutorial too.


pre-infusion? breville bambino plus review

You’ll be glad to hear the Bambino Plus has an automatic pre-infusion function.

This is essential for the development of aroma, and may also help with avoiding channeling. But obviously, this isn’t just a magic solution for channeling, so make sure to always prep your puck.

Pre-infusion simply dampens the coffee grounds under very low pressure to saturate the puck and allow water to pass through more evenly.

What’s more, the Bambino Plus has a custom pre-infusion option you can easily activate by pressing the brewing button and holding it, the pre-infusion will end once you let go.

ThermoJet Heating System

Perhaps the best feature of all, the ThermoJet heating system.

This method of heating is truly incredible, you can go from turning on the machine to brewing in just three seconds!

That means no more waiting up to ten minutes for your machine to be ready to brew.

But wait, it gets better. The ThermoJet uses significantly less energy than a thermoblock or traditional boiler for example.

Which Accessories Come With The Bambino Plus?

I really have to hand it to Breville for the accessories they include with their machines. Even on their lower-end machines like the Bambino and Bambino Plus, you still get the whole package.

The items included are as follows:

  • 54mm tamper

  • Stainless steel milk pitcher

  • Razor trimming tool

  • Cleaning/Descaling tablets

  • Steam wand cleaning tool

  • 4 x filter baskets

  • Water filter

  • 54mm portafilter with non-pressurized double-shot basket installed

Size and Design

size and design: breville bambino plus review

Breville has decided to go for the simple and user-friendly look with this machine. No fancy pressure gauges or confusing components, just a few buttons on the front, and that’s it.

Other than a few parts like the portafilter handle for example, the Bambino Plus has stainless steel all over the place which really gives it that professional look.

However, there are still some flaws in the design, mainly the weight of this machine. When locking in the portafilter and also removing it, it’s very easy to send the machine flying off your countertop.

So, I would love to see a remodel in the future where it’s slightly heavier to counteract this issue.

To contradict myself a little, the small and compact design of this machine can be great for those with limited space.

Surprisingly, the water tank actually lasts a good amount of time, I don’t find myself refilling it very often. The tank holds about 64.2 fl oz or 1.9 liters.

One component I do find myself refilling/emptying though, is the drip tray. This drip tray is just tiny, you’ll find yourself having to empty it every five coffees or so, perhaps even lower than five if you flush the machine after each one.

Cup Height

cup height: breville bambino plus review

A make-or-break feature on espresso machines is the cup height, this is mostly apparent if you’re somebody who likes to measure out your shots for the best flavor and consistency.

This is because you’ll be using a scale and that adds a bit of height to your cup, so on some machines, you will not have enough room to fit your cup and scale underneath.

Fortunately, the Breville Bambino Plus has no issue with this, as there’s plenty of room for your cups to fit underneath, with or without a scale.

I will mention however, that I highly recommend purchasing a bottomless portafilter for many reasons, but one is the extra space you’ll get from having those long spouts removed.

Cleaning The Breville Bambino Plus

Although cleaning is usually a nightmare, the Bambino Plus is actually very easy to keep clean.

Just make sure to run a shot without the portafilter in every day, this is called flushing. Also, clean the portafilter after each use.

Another great method to improve the quality of your shots while simultaneously keeping the puck and shower screen clean is using a puck screen.

This inexpensive tool is not necessary but will greatly improve your experience with your machine.

For the steam wand, ensure that you have a dedicated damp microfibre cloth at the ready, and wipe the wand straight away after every use. Milk sticks to the wand extremely fast so you need to be quick.

Combine this with following the instructions in the manual for cleaning and descaling and you’ll have yourself a machine that’ll last you for years to come.

In case you aren’t aware, the machine will let you know when it needs descaling by flashing its lights. It can be a little time-consuming but is not difficult.

Verdict: Breville Bambino Plus Review


Breville Bambino Plus

Incredible value, incredible taste!

Fully automatic milk steamer

Powerful steam wand

Top-notch espresso

Incredible Value

Small footprint

Very poor tamper quality

Drip tray must be emptied often

I must start off by saying if you’re deciding between this machine and a cheaper automatic coffee machine, I would avoid the latter unless you don’t have the time to learn the process of semi-automatic coffee making.

The quality of cheap automatic machines is very low and you will be left wanting so much more, in terms of espresso quality and also milk quality.

Speaking of milk quality, I was pleasantly surprised with the milk you can achieve using the automatic milk steaming function.

It’s worth mentioning that you can get better milk quality by steaming manually, but the automatic steaming function will do most people just fine.

You can most definitely create latte art with the auto milk, craft brilliant cappuccinos, and even lattes. What more could you want?

The espresso side of things could be improved, but for the money you’re paying, it’s well worth it. You can brew some seriously tasty shots with the Bambino Plus.

It’s hard to fault this machine when you consider how much you’re paying for it, all in all, I think this is the best espresso machine for less than $500.

Image Attribution and Licensing

Main Image: Custom made by me.

#1: Custom made by me.

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#7: Custom made by me.