Breville Bambino Plus vs Barista Express: The Ultimate Comparison Review

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The better choice between the Bambino Plus vs Barista Express, it’s by design and performance that the winner is the Breville Barista Express. With functions such as hand-free operation and dose-control grinding that are convenient for new users or those who are just learning to make coffee. 

The Barista Express has the grinding function that supports you in grinding any type of coffee bean without losing the flavor or aroma of the beans. So, for someone who drinks a lot of espresso and who knows coffee’s many aromas, the Barista Express will tickle and satisfy all your coffee senses.

The Bambino Plus, on the other hand, costs less than the Barista Express. And yet, it offers hands-free automatic steam wand function with which you can comfortably and quickly create silky micro-foam milk for your lattes and cappuccinos. It’s less “hands-on” than the Barista Express, so it is suitable for someone who is on a tight budget and who doesn’t want to learn about making espresso just right!

Breville Bambino Plus vs Barista Express: Comparison Chart

Image
The Winner (#1)
Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
The Runner-up (#2)
Breville BES500BSS Bambino Plus Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
Model
Breville Barista Express BES870
Breville Bambino Plus BES500
Dimensions
12.5 x 12.6 x 13.1 Inches
12.5 x 7.6 x 12.2 Inches
Capacity
1.9 Liters
1.8 Liters
Material
Steel
Stainless Steel
Color
Stainless Steel
Brushed Stainless Steel
Weight
23 Pounds
3.1 Pounds
Heating System
1600W Thermocoil–Integrated
600W ThermoJet–Integrated
Power
1600 Watts
1560 Watts
Pre Infusion Function
Dose-Control Grinding
Removable Water Reservoir
Proprietary Thermojet Heating System
Precise Espresso-Extraction
Purge Function
Hands-Free Grind Operation
Hans-Free Automatic Steam Wand
What I Like
Price
$689.95
$499.99
The Winner (#1)
Image
Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
Model
Breville Barista Express BES870
Dimensions
12.5 x 12.6 x 13.1 Inches
Capacity
1.9 Liters
Material
Steel
Color
Stainless Steel
Weight
23 Pounds
Heating System
1600W Thermocoil–Integrated
Power
1600 Watts
Pre Infusion Function
Dose-Control Grinding
Removable Water Reservoir
Proprietary Thermojet Heating System
Precise Espresso-Extraction
Purge Function
Hands-Free Grind Operation
Hans-Free Automatic Steam Wand
What I Like
Price
$689.95
More Info
The Runner-up (#2)
Image
Breville BES500BSS Bambino Plus Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
Model
Breville Bambino Plus BES500
Dimensions
12.5 x 7.6 x 12.2 Inches
Capacity
1.8 Liters
Material
Stainless Steel
Color
Brushed Stainless Steel
Weight
3.1 Pounds
Heating System
600W ThermoJet–Integrated
Power
1560 Watts
Pre Infusion Function
Dose-Control Grinding
Removable Water Reservoir
Proprietary Thermojet Heating System
Precise Espresso-Extraction
Purge Function
Hands-Free Grind Operation
Hans-Free Automatic Steam Wand
What I Like
Price
$499.99
More Info

Last update on 2022-07-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Breville Bambino Plus vs Barista Express: Differences

The final result, out of the comparison of both amazing espresso machines – the Bambino Plus vs Barista Express, the latter is completely ahead of the game, winning 3 – 1 against the former.

Benefits like precise grinding of coffee beans and more user-friendly functions helped Barista Express take first place. However, you’ll also find many similarities between both espresso makers so read more to find out the needle in the haystack.

1. Taste Of Espresso

The Winner: Breville Barista Express

Breville Barista Express Espresso Flavor
Breville Barista Express Espresso Flavor

Coffee Grinder

Let’s talk about espresso for a minute.

You will find only a few good espresso machines that are less than $1,000 that make rich and delicious espresso. And the Breville Bambino Plus and Barista Express are two exceptions. 

The Breville Bambino Plus comes equipped with a 4-key formula with dose control and optimal temperature. No grinding but a balanced and barista-grade portafilter. Combined with the low-pressure pre-infusion technology, you pull espresso shots that are full-bodied and aromatic.

The first key difference lies in their coffee grinders which the Bambino Plus DOES NOT HAVE.

This means you have to either buy a separate coffee grinder to use alongside freshly ground coffee (we all know that grinding beans fresh, right before brewing, results in a more intense and full-bodied flavor). Or you can buy pre-ground coffee from your nearest local coffee shop. Request for an espresso machine grind so you get the exact fineness, taking away your guesswork.

The Barista Express has a coffee grinder with a bean hopper. The grinder is steel conical. And it has 16 grind levels with volume controls at the press of a button.

This improves the quality of espresso. But that which the Bambino Plus creates is smooth and hot. And the ease with which it does so is also worth considering. Especially when the Bambino Plus is such an affordable choice.

You can say the same for the Breville Barista Express. But only that this one is a high-performing espresso maker with more customizable options. The Barista Express has more buttons than Bambino Plus. This means more control over espresso taste and volume. 

Not only does this very quality elevate the flavor and texture of espresso. It also transforms the way you brew coffee on a regular basis. It does have a learning curve. But once you do, there’s no going back.

You can make creamy lattes, cappuccinos, flat whites, mochas and so much more. 

Heating System

The comparison is between ThermoJet and Thermocoil. Here the Bambino Plus wins because it has a 3-second heating window. The Thermocoil boiler, of the Barista Express, offers no such added value.

This does not affect espresso flavor in any way because both machines use ‘Thermo’ technology to get going. Only that the Bambino Plus is a few seconds faster in heating up than the Barista Express.

2. Dose Control

The Winner: Breville Barista Express

Breville Barista Express Dose Control
Breville Barista Express Dose Control

The Breville Barista Express is more advanced. It offers a more nuanced espresso with a programmable strength, volume and grind setting.

Though both machines follow the same 4-level formula; that pre-infused the ground coffee to intensify its flavor and texture. However, the Barista Express bean-to-cup espresso extraction with direct dose control grinding into the portafilter (single and double shot 19g) is impressive.

The grind size dial is intuitive in that it accommodates all types of coffee beans you want. This type of precise espresso extraction is quite popular because it means you have more control over how concentrated you want your espresso to be.

The level of customization via button control and an analog gauge is one of the easiest and most authentic ways to use an espresso machine at home. And the Barista Express is a real delight in that regard because it offers all the hands-on features that a real barista does! 

Now, the Bambino Plus offers similar technology but without the coffee grinding directly into the portafilter. So you don’t have to measure out the dose by hand or using a coffee scale. You can manually override the Bambino Plus to decide how long a single/double shot you want. But that’s as much control you can expect from the Bambino Plus.

3. Milk System

The Winner: Breville Bambino Plus

Breville Bambino Plus Milk System
Breville Bambino Plus Milk System

For milk steaming, you can customize the temperature and pressure of the steam for smooth milk texturing in the Bambino Plus. Unlike the Barista Express, which uses a manual steam wand, the automated features of the Bambino Plus let beginners produce smooth and well-textured milk without messing it up.

I also found that the milk texturing on the Bambino Plus is a lot smoother and faster to control. The hand texturing steam wand on the Barista Express which demands your skills can take some time to learn than on the Bambino Plus.

That is why I prefer the steam wand on the Bambino Plus. It produces hot and creamy milk consistently with an adjustable milk texture and temperature setting. Breville Bambino Plus literally delivers a shot at the press of a button. It also features an auto-purge setting that self-cleans the steam wand after you use it. 

4. Utilities

The Winner: Breville Barista Express

Breville Barista Express Utilities
Breville Barista Express Utilities

The goal for any home espresso maker is to compartmentalize as many intricate features as possible to make it easier for you to pull a shot effectively. In the Breville Bambino Plus, this means a sturdy 54mm portafilter, well-organized buttons, light indicators – these make the Bambino Plus user-friendly for beginners.

In a compact and lightweight espresso machine, the customizations of the Bambino Plus are functional and accurate. Making it easier for beginners to make the richest espressos, better than what you drink in a barista.

With Barista Express, you get more flexibility. The same 54mm portafilter and a pressure gauge to let you know how much pressure is optimal for extracting full-bodied espresso. It also features a magnetic tamper that you can push back into the machine after tamping.

The Barista Express has buttons for controls too but there are more options that you can experiment with. While the Bambino Plus features a single shot, double shot, and steam pressure button with 2 adjustable buttons for milk temperature and texture. The Barista Express has the power button, grind size control, filter size, pressure gauge, program, single, and double shot. Plus, a button for cleaning and the hot water function.  

Breville Bambino Plus vs Barista Express: Similarities

What makes both the Breville Bambino Plus and Barista Express unique is their ability to deliver truly delicious and rich espresso at home. So you don’t need to go to an expensive coffee shop for it.

Both machines use fresh coffee, not pods or capsules. They come with a 54mm portafilter and tamper that matches the authentic barista experience. And a steam wand that lets you froth milk that is perfect for practicing latte art with.

Both machines are also made up of sturdy and high-quality stainless steel parts. With a twin brewing cycle that lets you make a single and double shot of espresso. You can adjust the coffee volume by manually overriding the single and double shot buttons.

With the 15 bar pump pressure, which is the ideal for home espresso makers, a beginner won’t feel intimidated when using a Breville machine. Both stay quiet, consistent, and make programmability for a drink like espresso comfortable and flexible. And all this at the touch of a few buttons!

Quick Rundown Of Breville Barista Express BES870

Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
  • The Breville Barista Express delivers third wave specialty coffee at home using the 4 keys formula and is part of the Barista Series that offers all in one espresso machines with integrated grinder to go from beans to espresso in under one minute
  • DOSE CONTROL GRINDING: Integrated precision conical burr grinder grinds on demand to deliver the right amount of freshly ground coffee directly into the portafilter for your preferred taste with any roast of bean
  • OPTIMAL WATER PRESSURE: Low pressure pre-infusion gradually increases pressure at the start and helps ensure all the flavors are drawn out evenly during the extraction for a balanced tasting cup
  • PRECISE ESPRESSO EXTRACTION: Digital temperature control (PID) delivers water at precisely the right temperature, ensuring optimal espresso extraction
  • MANUAL MICROFOAM MILK TEXTURING: The powerful steam wand performance allows you to hand texture microfoam milk that enhances flavor and enables creation of latte art

Last update on 2022-07-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • The built-in burr grinder is sturdy and fast.
  • It offers a combination of beginner-friendly and advanced functions.
  • Automatic self-cleaning settings are incredibly helpful.
  • All the necessary accessories included.
  • More accurate espresso extraction with pressure gauge.
Cons
  • Some parts of the machine are plastic.
  • The steam wand requires a learning curve.
  • The water tank needs regular refilling.

Quick Rundown Of Breville Bambino Plus BES500

Breville BES500BSS Bambino Plus Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
1,015 Reviews
Breville BES500BSS Bambino Plus Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
  • The Breville Bambino Plus delivers third wave specialty coffee at home using the 4 keys formula and is part of the Bambino Series that offers the faster way to professional results at home in a compact footprint: serious espresso, serious value
  • DOSE CONTROL GRINDING: Achieve a consistent and balanced espresso using the right amount of ground coffee; The 54mm porta-filter with 19 grams is the key for full flavor and cafe quality coffee
  • OPTIMAL WATER PRESSURE: Low pressure pre-infusion gradually increases pressure at the start and helps ensure all the flavors are drawn out evenly during the extraction for a balanced tasting cup
  • FASTER HEAT UP TIME: Innovative ThermoJet heating system achieves the optimum extraction temperature in 3 seconds
  • PRECISE ESPRESSO EXTRACTION: Digital temperature control (PID) delivers water at precisely the right temperature, ensuring optimal espresso extraction

Last update on 2022-07-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Straightforward, accurate functionality.
  • Compact and narrow design with less clean-up.
  • Automatic espresso extraction with fast heat-up time.
  • You can manually texture milk for better results.
  • Accurate milk texture and temperature levels.
  • Ideal choice for beginners.
  • Affordable selling price with low maintenance costs.
Cons
  • The drip tray and portafilter design is a bit weak.
  • No built-in grinder.
  • Not as many coffee strength adjustments.

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References

Final Verdict

Both coffee makers are great for pulling rich espresso shots at home. Plus, they have their very own steam wand for making creamy lattes and cappuccinos. Switching to an espresso maker is never an easy thing to do. But having the right espresso machine by my side has definitely made things easier. 

The Breville Bambino Plus vs Barista Express each has its pros and cons. Some more than others depending upon what you’re looking for. What you see here are just a few things I’ve picked up on over the years and find most helpful when buying a barista-grade espresso maker for home use.

5/5 - (2 votes)