Breville Bambino Plus Vs Barista Pro: Let’s Reveal the Overall Winner!

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In the comparison of the Breville Bambino Plus vs Barista Pro, we’re looking at an entry-level model versus a more advanced offering from Breville. The Breville Barista Pro comes with a price tag that’s nearly double that of its counterpart, the Bambino Plus. In my view, the higher cost of the Breville Barista Pro is justified.

The Breville Barista Pro includes everything you need right out of the box, including a decent built-in grinder with 30 grinding settings. If you opt for the Bambino Plus, be prepared to invest additionally in a high-quality stand-alone grinder, which might cost as much as the machine itself, not to mention you’ll need to get single-wall baskets if you aim to brew like a barista.

The Breville Bambino Plus really stands out in the realm of milk frothing with its auto steam wand, which, in my opinion, is one of the best steam wands out there. Another notable benefit of this one is its compact size and lightweight design.

Breville Bambino Plus Vs Barista Pro: Specs & Features Comparison Chart

Image
THE WINNER (#1)
Breville Barista Pro Espresso Machine BES878BSS, Brushed Stainless Steel
THE RUNNER-UP (#2)
Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Machine BES500BSS, Brushed Stainless Steel
Model
Breville Barista Pro
Breville Bambino Plus
Dimensions/Weight
13.5 x 16.1 x 16 inches/27.5 lbs
7.7 x 12.7 x 12.3 inches/12.3 lbs
Interface
Non-Touch Screen
Button-Operated Interface
One Touch Drink Options
2
1
Built-in Grinder
Stainless Steel Conical Burr Grinder
Grinding Settings
30
Heating System
Single ThermoJet
Single ThermoJet
Pump Pressure
15 Bars
15 Bars
Pre-Infusion
Milk Frothing System
Manual Steam Wand
Auto-Frothing Wand
Spigot Type/Cup Clearance
Dual/4 inches
Dual/4.5 inches
Water Reservoir/Bean Hopper
2 L/0.25 Kg
1.9 L/None
Filter
Yes (Optional)
Compatible With Pre-ground Coffee
App Connectivity
User Profile
What I Like
Price
$849.95
$498.90
THE WINNER (#1)
Image
Breville Barista Pro Espresso Machine BES878BSS, Brushed Stainless Steel
Model
Breville Barista Pro
Dimensions/Weight
13.5 x 16.1 x 16 inches/27.5 lbs
Interface
Non-Touch Screen
One Touch Drink Options
2
Built-in Grinder
Stainless Steel Conical Burr Grinder
Grinding Settings
30
Heating System
Single ThermoJet
Pump Pressure
15 Bars
Pre-Infusion
Milk Frothing System
Manual Steam Wand
Spigot Type/Cup Clearance
Dual/4 inches
Water Reservoir/Bean Hopper
2 L/0.25 Kg
Filter
Yes (Optional)
Compatible With Pre-ground Coffee
App Connectivity
User Profile
What I Like
Price
$849.95
More Info
THE RUNNER-UP (#2)
Image
Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Machine BES500BSS, Brushed Stainless Steel
Model
Breville Bambino Plus
Dimensions/Weight
7.7 x 12.7 x 12.3 inches/12.3 lbs
Interface
Button-Operated Interface
One Touch Drink Options
1
Built-in Grinder
Grinding Settings
Heating System
Single ThermoJet
Pump Pressure
15 Bars
Pre-Infusion
Milk Frothing System
Auto-Frothing Wand
Spigot Type/Cup Clearance
Dual/4.5 inches
Water Reservoir/Bean Hopper
1.9 L/None
Filter
Compatible With Pre-ground Coffee
App Connectivity
User Profile
What I Like
Price
$498.90
More Info

Last update on 2024-06-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Breville Bambino Plus Vs Barista Pro: Differences

 The Barista Pro edged out the Bambino Plus with a score of 3-1. Without further ado, let’s jump right into the head-to-head comparison between these Brevilles!

Coffee Flavor & Brewing System

Winner: Breville Barista Pro

Built-in Grinder

Right off the bat, the Barista Pro stands out in the Breville lineup with its integrated burr grinder equipped with steel burrs and fed from a bean feeder on top. It’s designed based on the Breville Smart Grinder Pro, which, let me tell you, is an impressive piece of equipment in its own right.

the barista pro's stainless steel conical burr grinder
The Barista Pro’s stainless steel conical burr grinder

What’s more, the Pro has 30 grind size settings available. The level of control it offers is simply fantastic and adjusting the grind size is a breeze, thanks to a user-friendly dial on the panel. And my friend, remember to only do this when the grinder is running, or you’ll soon have to kiss your device goodbye.

the barista pro features 30 grind size settings
The Barista Pro features 30 grind size settings

On the other hand, the Bambio Plus doesn’t come with a built-in grinder, so it does require an extra step – purchasing a standalone grinder. And while we’re on this topic, I would personally recommend pairing it with the Smart Grinder Pro for a nice setup for your espresso journey.

Now, I can understand the initial frustration you might feel about having to spend more money. So allow me to shed light on one of the biggest advantages of having a separate grinder: flexibility. Having a separate espresso machine and grinder offers a significant degree of versatility when you think about future upgrades. This setup allows you to upgrade either component independently. 

For instance, if you start feeling more adventurous and want a machine with more features, you don’t have to worry about what to do with a perfectly good built-in grinder. Similarly, if you find a grinder that offers more precision or better suits your needs, you can upgrade without having to replace your entire espresso setup.

Dosing & Tamping

Speaking of included accessories, each comes well-equipped to start your espresso journey. But the Barista Pro is better than the Bambio Plus in many ways. 

They come with 54-millimeter stainless steel portafilters, but not exactly the same type. The Bambio Plus’s portafilter feels a bit less professional compared to the one that ships with the Bambio Plus due to some reasons, like the lack of metal spouts.

The Bambino Plus and Barista Pro also differ notably in how many filter baskets they come with. The Bambino Plus only comes with two-wall filter baskets, while the Barista Pro includes both single- and two-wall baskets for both single and double shots.

For novices in the espresso world, the Bambino Plus’s pressurized baskets are a great feature. Pressurized baskets are much more forgiving if the grind size or puck preparation isn’t perfect. They help create a decent espresso shot by compensating for inconsistencies in grind size or tamping pressure.

Meanwhile, non-pressurized baskets allow for a greater degree of control and can yield more flavorful and nuanced shots, albeit with a higher demand for precision and skill. So if you’re an espresso enthusiast who’s willing to invest time in perfecting your grind size and puck prep, they will be more appealing. 

By the way, I’m glad to see that these machines come with decent tampers instead of the pathetically flimsy plastic ones. The Bambino Plus’s tamper even features a clever magnetic mechanism, so no more rummaging through drawers or leaving the tamper lying around where it can get lost or in the way.

the barista pro's tamper can be magnetically attached to the machine
The Barista Pro’s tamper can be magnetically attached to the machine

Heating System 

It’s no overstatement to say that these machines, with their ThermoJet heating system, are among the fastest to heat up in the universe. The ability to be ready to brew in just about 3 seconds is nothing short of astonishing, especially if you’re accustomed to machines that take upwards of 10 minutes just to warm up.

However, there’s a small caveat with the ThermoJet system that’s worth mentioning. The ThermoJet doesn’t heat up the brew head and portafilter until after the machine has been used a few times. This means that for your first few shots of the day, the portafilter might not be as hot as you’d ideally want it to be for optimal espresso extraction.

Don’t worry! You know, I always have a few tricks for every single issue!

One way is to let the machine warm up for about 10 to 15 minutes with the portafilter locked in place. Alternatively, for a quicker solution, you can pull a “blank shot,” meaning run the machine without coffee to warm the portafilter with hot water. 

Brewing System

The puck in the portafilter goes through a brief pre-infusion stage after these machines quickly heat up to the ideal temperature for brewing, and then the main extraction at 15 bars of pressure kicks in.

The pre-infusion involves soaking the puck with a bit of hot water at low pressure, which is crucial for aroma development and helps correct any inconsistencies in tamping that could cause channeling. Even better, these machines allow you to fine-tune the length of the pre-infusion step, which matters when dialing in your shot.

Both also feature a PID controller that maintains a stable temperature throughout the brewing process. This is very helpful when switching between brewing coffee and steaming milk.

If you’re curious about what PID stands for, it’s “Proportional Integral Derivative.” I know, just reading that might bring back some daunting memories of high school algebra classes. So, let’s just stick to calling it PID, shall we?

Design & Convenience

Winner: Tie

Dimensions & User Interface

Breville Bambino PlusBreville Barista Pro
Dimensions7.7 x 12.7 x 12.3 inches13.5 x 16.1 x 16 inches
Weight12.3 lbs27.5 lbs

The Bambino Plus is significantly more compact than the Barista Pro, making it an incredibly appealing option for smaller kitchens or cramped countertops. It’s also the lighter option, which is good for moving the machine, but you have to hold the machine firmly in place with one hand while inserting or removing the portafilter with the other.

If you’ve been waiting for color options beyond the classic stainless steel, you’re in luck. Both the Bambino Plus and the Barista Pro are now available in a wide range of colors. And regardless of which color you opt for, there’s no denying that both machines are quite attractive.

The Bambino Plus’s user interface is refreshingly straightforward, featuring just a few buttons that cover all the essential functions. You have buttons for pulling single or double shots and for engaging the steam wand. Additionally, there are a couple of buttons with scale indicators for adjusting the milk temperature and foam texture.

the bambino plus's interface
The Bambino Plus’s interface

Switching over to the Barista Pro, this machine presents a more modern feel with its LCD screen and additional buttons. The screen provides useful feedback, such as grind size, shot time, and water temperature. Once you’ve spent a little time with it, the operation becomes quite intuitive. 

the barista pro's panel
The Barista Pro’s panel

Spout Type & Cup Clearance

Breville Bambino PlusBreville Barista Pro
Spout TypeDualDual
Cup Clearance4.5 inches4 inches

The spouts on these machines are fixed, but they offer ample room to accommodate a variety of cups, including travel mugs. And should you wish to brew your espresso directly into a coffee thermos or a large latte macchiato glass, you have the option to remove the drip tray, creating additional space.

Water Reservoir & Bean Hopper

Breville Bambino PlusBreville Barista Pro
Water Reservoir1.9 liters2 liter
Bean HopperN/A0.25 kilogram

Their tanks are spacious and removable, which is great. But you know what’s the difference? The Barista Pro has the option to use a water filter to soften the water. 

After all, the finest coffee is brewed with water that’s free from impurities, right? What’s more, using a water filter means there’s less need for frequent descaling of the machine as you savor your caffeinated beverages.

Milk Frothing System

Winner: Breville Bambio Plus

These machines come with 4-hole steam wands to steam milk. But just hold on for seconds! They are not really apples and apples. The Bambio Plus sticks with an automatic wand, while the Barista Pro features a professional manual wand. This implies that the method of steaming your milk will differ between the two.

the bambino plus uses an automatic wand compared to the barista pro that features a manual wand
The Bambino Plus uses an automatic wand compared to the Barista Pro that features a manual wand

The Bambio Plus has an outstanding automatic milk frother, so there’s very little for you to do when you’re making espresso drinks like a cappuccino or espresso macchiato. All you have to do is put milk in the pitcher, position it on a small temperature sensor under the wand, select your desired settings for milk temperature and foam level, and the machine will create some quite convincing latte art.

4-hole tip
4-hole tip

By the way, if you prefer to roll up your sleeves and get more involved in the milk steaming process, you can use the Breville Bambino’s wand to froth milk manually. But it is not placed on a ball joint, which might be annoying for steaming milk by hand.

Flipping over to the other side of the coin, let’s talk about the steam wand on the Barista Pro, which can indeed rival many more expensive models in terms of functionality and quality.

The Barista Pro’s wand can heat the milk up very quickly and boasts a full 360-degree rotation, allowing you to find the perfect angle for your pitcher. Its four-hole tip translates to an impressive amount of steam power to produce both ultra-creamy microfoam milk for Instagram-worthy latte art creations or an airy froth for a perfect cappuccino. Of course, you’ll likely get it wrong a few times before you get it right.

Drink Options & Programmability

Winner: Breville Barista Pro

Drink Options

Breville Bambino PlusBreville Barista Pro
EspressoEspresso
Hot Water

If you were getting excited at the thought of a specialty drink menu on these machines, I’m sorry to burst that bubble. Neither the Bambino Plus nor the Barista Pro come with a built-in menu for specialty drinks. However, there’s a feature on the Barista Pro that I found surprisingly more useful than I initially anticipated – its hot water dispenser.

the barista pro has an outlet for hot water
The Barista Pro has an outlet for hot water

With the Barista Pro’s impressive 3-second heat-up time, you can quickly have hot water to prepare hot chocolate, brew a cup of tea, whip up instant soup, or even make quick oatmeal. You have near-instant hot water at your fingertips instead of waiting around for a kettle to boil.

Programmability

Adjustable SettingsBreville Bambino PlusBreville Barista Pro
Coffee StrengthNoYes
Coffee TemperatureNoYes
Milk Foam Temperature YesNo
Milk Foam TextureYesNo

The Barista Pro allows you to adjust brewing temperature across five levels and tweak the dosing amount as easily as turning the dials. Regarding the Bambino Plus, you also have the flexibility to program your favorite shot volumes for both single and double shots. The Bambino Plus also allows you to choose the temperature and texture of the milk foam in 3 levels before frothing.

the barista pro features 5 levels of brewing temperature
The Barista Pro features 5 levels of brewing temperature

Quick Rundown Of Breville Barista Pro

Breville Barista Pro Espresso Machine BES878BSS, Brushed Stainless Steel
2,893 Reviews
Breville Barista Pro Espresso Machine BES878BSS, Brushed Stainless Steel
  • Item Package Dimension: 17.39L x 16.59W x 16.09H inches
  • Item Package Weight - 27.20 Pounds
  • Item Package Quantity - 1
  • Product Type - COFFEE MAKER

Last update on 2024-06-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Built-in burr grinder with 30 different settings.
  • Adjustable pre-infusion.
  • ThermoJet fast heating system.
  • Affordable price.
  • Ease to use.
Cons
  • On the heavy side.
  • One boiler.

Quick Rundown Of Breville Bambino Plus

Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Machine BES500BSS, Brushed Stainless Steel
  • Item Package Dimension: 17.64L x 16.99W x 10.24H inches
  • Item Package Weight - 15.74 Pounds
  • Item Package Quantity - 1
  • Product Type - COFFEE MAKER

Last update on 2024-06-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Tiny footprint and lightweight.
  • Temperature sensor for milk frothing.
  • ThermoJet fast-heating system.
  • Adjustable pre-infusion.
  • Very easy to use.
Cons
  • Cheap portafilter.
  • No single-wall basket.
  • No brewing temperature control.

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References

5/5 - (4 votes)