These two espresso makers look alike but are quite different. Read this Breville Bambino vs Bambino Plus comparison to find out which one is best!
When it comes to Breville espresso machines, there are a few different models to choose from.
In this blog post, we will compare the Breville Bambino and the Breville Bambino Plus espresso machines. We will take a look at the design and build quality, the espresso and milk steaming performances, the number of features, the value for money, the ease of cleaning, and the number of accessories included with each machine.
Both bring third wave specialty coffee to your home at an affordable price. But, which one is right for you?
Let’s get the Breville Bambino vs Bambino Plus showdown started!
The Breville Bambino and Breville Bambino Plus espresso machines both feature an attractive and compact design, making them perfect for any kitchen.
They look very similar, although, at the time of writing, the Bambino comes in one single color - brushed stainless steel. The Bambino Plus, on the other hand, comes in 9 different colors, including the Damson Blue, one of the nicest colors we’ve seen in any espresso machine.
In other words, the Bambino Plus has the advantage in design if you care about theming your kitchen.
Although the Bambino Plus is a compact espresso machine, it is larger. Measuring 7.7W x 12.6D x 12.2D inches (19.6W x 32.0D x 31.0H cm) compared to the regular Bambino model which measures 6.3W x 13.7D x 12.0D inches (16.0W x 34.8D x 30.5H cm).
The 1.4-inch width gain may not sound like a lot, but you need to account for space to have a coffee grinder. You should use freshly ground beans. It would not be fair for the Bambino line-up to be exposed to pre-ground coffee.
This size difference translates to the water tank capacity. The Bambino Plus comes with a 64-oz (1.9 L) whereas the Bambino comes with a 47-oz (1.4 L) water tank. This is a significant difference, given the Bambino Plus is not that much larger.
When it comes to build quality, both Bambinos feature high quality stainless steel materials.
However, we were surprised that the drip tray of the more expensive Bambino Plus did not fit as snuggly. This is likely because of the milk system temperature sensor that sits on the drip tray.
The winner is the Bambino Plus because it comes with a larger water tank and 9 colors. Although the Bambino is smaller, this difference is minimal and could be offset by the type of grinder you choose.
Both the Breville Bambino and Breville Bambino Plus come with similar features.
Despite being seemingly simple machines, they pack a lot of technology under their hood. Both machines come with:
We should note that the Bambino has an advantage when it comes to dispensing hot water.
It comes with a dedicated hot water button whereas the Bambino Plus does not. For the Bambino Plus, you need to press the "1 Cup" and "Milk Foam" buttons to activate hot water dispensing through the steam wand.
Another difference in features is the milk steaming system. The Breville Bambino Plus' is automatic or manual with 3 adjustable milk temperature and texture levels, whereas the Bambino only comes with a manual steam wand.
The winner is the Bambino Plus because it comes with automatic milk frothing and more customization options for your milk. The Bambino does have a slight advantage in the hot water department with its dedicated button. But both machines can dispense hot water via the steam wand.
We mentioned above that both the Bambino and Bambino Plus come with pre-infusion, a 15-bar Italian pump for a 9-bar extraction, PID temperature control, and pre-set or programmable shot volumes.
Something we have not mentioned yet is that both come with a 54-mm portafilter. The portafilter feels a bit cheap but fortunately is compatible with other 54-mm portafilters, including the ones from the Barista Lineup.
Both machines now include 2 single-wall and 2 dual-wall baskets for 1 or 2 espresso shots. Dual-baskets are preferable to extract the rich and complex flavors of espresso but are a bit less forgiving when it comes to puck preparation.
There are no differences when it comes to espresso performance. Both espresso makers are able to extract delicious espresso shots by simply pressing a few buttons.
This is a tie. There is no difference between the Bambino and Bambino Plus when it comes to brewing espresso. Both models feature the same pump, ThermoJet PID controlled heating, pre-infusion, and the same portafilters. And yes, both models yield high espresso quality.
When it comes to the milk steaming system, the Breville Bambino and Bambino Plus offer very different options.
The Breville Bambino espresso machine comes with a manual 1-hole steam wand. It swivels 360 degrees, a great option since you will be manually texturing milk. Naturally, the Bambino will require you to learn how to texture milk, and even if you got the skills, it will require you to put more effort into making that morning cappuccino - not something many people want to do upon waking up.
In contrast, the Bambino Plus uses an automatic milk frother with a 4-hole steam wand that can be programmed to 3 temperatures and milk textures.
The 4-hole steam wand also means a quicker steaming process.
The Bambino Plus steaming wand can also be used in manual mode; however, it's not as easy to use as the Bambino because it only goes up and down - the Bambino Plus steam wand does not swivel 360 degrees.
The winner is the Bambino Plus. This should be a fairly obvious one - the Bambino Plus comes with a manual or automatic 4-hole steam wand that is programmable to 3 temperatures and milk textures. The Bambino comes with a manual 1-hole steam wand.
One of the strengths of the Bambino line-up is how intuitive they are.
Both Breville espresso machines come with a no-fuss user interface. It consists of a control panel with buttons that are clearly labeled with icons, and with flashing lights to indicate the status of the machine.
The most significant difference you will notice when it comes to using the Bambino over the Bambino Plus is the milk texturing.
If you like to wake up with a daily cappuccino, the manual milk steaming of the Bambino might be a turn off. To even begin to use it, you will need to learn about milk texturing.
As we noted, the Bambino Plus has an automatic milk steaming system - so all you need to do is press a few buttons, and voila - you have the perfect milk froth for your milky coffee drink!
We should note though, that the base Bambino has a slight advantage if you like to drink Americanos. It comes with a dedicated hot water button whereas with the Bambino Plus you need to press the "1 Cup" and "Milk Foam" buttons.
The winner is the Bambino Plus. Making milky coffee drinks only requires pressing a few buttons, whereas with the Bambino the process is more manual and requires more time. Plus, you will need to learn how to texture the perfect micro-foam before you even begin to use it.
Cleaning and maintaining both the Breville Bambino and Bambino Plus is extremely easy thanks to the simple and practical design of these semi-automatic espresso machines.
Both machines use flashing lights (for example, the 1 Cup and 2 Cup alternately flashing) to tell you they need descaling or cleaning.
However, there are some differences when it comes to cleaning and maintaining the Bambino Plus over the Bambino:
The winner is the Bambino Plus. It comes with a cleaning program (that uses cleaning disks) and a descaling program (that uses descaling liquid). The Bambino only comes with a single descaling/cleaning program that uses descaling liquid. The Bambino Plus has a steam wand auto-purge whereas the Bambino's is manually purged.
No knockboxes are included with either machine.
I'm putting this in bold because it's a pet peeve of mine. How are we supposed to get the spent puck out of the portafilter? By hitting the garbage can or with our bare hands? If you care as much as I do, then you can buy the knockbox separately from Amazon, see below:
Besides this oversight, both the Bambino and Bambino Plus come with all the necessary accessories you need to make espresso and other coffee drinks.
Both Bambinos come with:
In addition, the Bambino Plus includes:
We should note that the tamper that comes with the Bambino Plus is made of metal whereas the tamper that comes with the Bambino is made of plastic.
The winner is the Bambino Plus. It comes with more accessories than the Bambino, including the Razor precision trimming tool. In addition, the Bambino Plus tamper is of higher quality being made of metal, whereas the Bambino tamper is made of plastic.
This might be a controversial topic because the features someone values might be seen as gimmicks by someone else.
Also, a less expensive product does not necessarily mean it is of better value.
At the time of writing, the Bambino Plus costs about $150 more than Bambino. For this additional cost, you get:
Are the above features worth $150?
Our opinion is that: Yes - they are definitely worth it.
Especially if you are not a morning person. Manually texturing your milk in the morning might seem like a daunting task if you just woke up and need coffee ASAP.
The convenience of automatic steaming will prove very useful and convenient for the majority of people.
Of course, if you don't care about milk and only drink espresso or Americanos, then getting the regular Bambino makes more sense. It's just that the majority of the consumers are not purists, myself included.
The winner is Bambino Plus. You get better value for your money since it provides many features that help make the milk steaming process easier and of higher quality. The warranty period is also doubled!
The clear Winner is the Bambino Plus!
There is a reason why the Bambino Plus made it to our list of the best Breville espresso machines!
The Breville Bambino Plus is better than the Bambino because:
The Bambino Plus offers several features not available in the regular model. These include an improved steam wand (4 holes vs 1 hole) with automatic milk steaming, programmable to 3 temps and textures, 9 colors to choose from, more robust cleaning and maintenance programs, a larger water tank, and a 2-year limited product warranty (versus 1-year for the Bambino).
Yes, both the Bambino and Bambino Plus have the same 54-mm portafilter, which is made of aluminum.
Yes, the Bambino Plus comes with two pressurized (i.e. dual-wall) filter baskets for 1 or 2 shots. It also comes with single-wall filter baskets for 1 or 2 shots.
Yes, you can steam milk manually with the Breville Bambino Plus. It comes with a manual steam wand that can be used to texture and heat your milk. Simply lift the wand to activate the manual mode. However, it does not swivel 360 degrees like the one in the Bambino.
Yes, absolutely! Using your machine without freshly ground coffee beans is a waste. Check our espresso beans recommendations!
The Breville Bambino Plus is the clear winner between these two models.
This does not mean the base Bambino is not a good product! Both are semi automatic espresso makers that prepare delicious espresso drinks and even allow you to make latte art!
In fact, if you don't care about milk then the base model is the way to go.
We hope that this guide has proved helpful in comparing the Breville Bambino Vs the Breville Bambino Plus.
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us!