Breville Bambino Vs Bambino Plus: Is the Difference Worth It?

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Breville has released a variety of innovative bean-to-cup machines, but just forget them for now. Today, I will talk about the most compact and budget-friendly Breville machines: Breville Bambino vs Bambino Plus. At first glance, they don’t have much difference, but actually, they are apples and oranges.

The Breville Bambino Plus has some better-quality accessories. It even has a frother and a sensor to automatically steam your milk to your desired temperature and texture without burning it.

But if you have trained as a barista, you can opt for the Breville Bambino instead of spending extra bucks on the Plus version. This one is also a bit more compact, meaning it eats less counter space.

Breville Bambino Vs Bambino Plus: Specs & Features Comparison Chart

Image
THE WINNER (#1)
Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Machine BES500BSS, Brushed Stainless Steel
THE RUNNER-UP (#2)
Breville Bambino Espresso Machine BES450BSS, Brushed Stainless Steel
Model
Breville Bambino Plus
Breville Bambino
Dimensions/Weight
7.7 x 12.7 x 12.3 inches/12.3 lbs
7.7 x 12.6 x 12.2 inches/10.7 lbs
Interface
Button-Operated Interface
Button-Operated Interface
One Touch Drink Options
1
2
Built-in Grinder
Grinding Settings
Heating System
Single ThermoJet
Single ThermoJet
Pump Pressure
15 Bars
15 Bars
Pre-Infusion
Milk Frothing System
Auto-Frothing Wand
Manual Steam Wand
Spigot Type/Cup Clearance
Dual/4.5 inches
Dual/4 inches
Water Reservoir/Bean Hopper
1.9 L/None
1.4 L/None
Filter
Compatible With Pre-ground Coffee
App Connectivity
User Profile
What I Like
Price
$499.95
$299.95
THE WINNER (#1)
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
$499.95
More Info
THE RUNNER-UP (#2)
Image
Breville Bambino Espresso Machine BES450BSS, Brushed Stainless Steel
Model
Breville Bambino
Dimensions/Weight
7.7 x 12.6 x 12.2 inches/10.7 lbs
Interface
Button-Operated Interface
One Touch Drink Options
2
Built-in Grinder
Grinding Settings
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
1.4 L/None
Filter
Compatible With Pre-ground Coffee
App Connectivity
User Profile
What I Like
Price
$299.95
More Info

Last update on 2024-07-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Breville Bambino Vs Bambino Plus: Differences

The Bambino Plus decisively outperformed the Bambino, scoring 4-0. Below, you will find a side-by-side comparison of both machines, illustrating the aspects in which the Bambino Plus excels.

Coffee Flavor & Brewing System

Winner: Breville Bambino Plus

Built-in Grinder

Neither machine features a built-in grinder. But if you already have an espresso-worthy grinder or can find a deal on one, they’ll be your golden ticket to bypassing those Starbucks lines (and costs) for your perfect shot of espresso.  And for those who don’t have a grinder yet, don’t fret – they come equipped with pressurized filter baskets, allowing you to use pre-ground coffee.

Dosing & Tamping

These come kitted out with all the essentials for your caffeine ritual, including a tamper, a portafilter, a couple of portafilter baskets, and a shiny stainless steel milk jug for your frothing adventures. Still, the Plus version also has the Razor precision dosing tool in its arsenal.

They both use a 54mm portafilter, which is a tad cheaper than higher-end Breville machines like the Barista Espresso or Barista Pro. But you can always upgrade the portafilter at a later time if you want. And if you want to level up your espresso skills, for example, you can even get a 54mm bottomless to experience maximum flavor.

their portafilters feel a bit cheap compared to other barista machines
Their portafilters feel a bit cheap compared to other Barista machines

Let’s not forget about the tamper. The Bambino Plus’s tamper is stainless steel, like the one you’ll get with higher-end Breville machines, which is sturdy and feels great in your hand. The standard Bambino’s tamper is plastic, but hey, nobody’s stopping you from upgrading to a stainless steel one later.

Heating System

With Breville’s signature ThermoJet heating system, these machines heat water in just 3 seconds – a game-changer for those chaotic mornings when you can barely wait for your coffee. It’s significantly quicker than its siblings in the Breville family, which use an inferior thermocoil heating system.

What’s more, both machines come equipped with digital temperature control (PID, or Proportional Integral Derivative, for the tech-savvy among us), which really isn’t somewhat common at this price. It gets the water to the perfect temperature for optimal espresso extraction.

Brewing System

Both of these espresso wizards feature a short, low-pressure pre-infusion stage paired with a 15-bar Italian pump. So whether you’re grinding your beans fresh or using pre-ground espresso, this combination brings out the rich and complex flavors needed for a heavenly shot of espresso. It gets even better since you can customize the length of the pre-infusion step. 

If you’re scratching your head about pre-infusion, it is where a small amount of water is first introduced to the coffee grounds before the full extraction process begins. This short step helps to evenly saturate the coffee grounds, leading to a more even extraction and potentially a better-tasting espresso.

Design & Convenience

Winner: Breville Bambino Plus

Dimensions & User Interface

Breville BambinoBreville Bambino Plus
Dimensions7.7 x 12.6 x 12.2 inches7.7 x 12.7 x 12.3 inches
Weight10.7 lbs 12.3 lbs 

First off, I love how compact they are. They are among the smallest offerings from Breville, making them ideal for settings like college dorms or small urban apartments. And to compare, the Bambino is slightly smaller than the Bambino Plus, but this doesn’t compromise on the quality of the coffee it produces.

The Bambino Plus comes in nine different colors, whereas the Breville Bambino only comes in brushed steel. In addition to the stainless steel casing, the Plus version offers a vibrant palette, including black truffle, sea salt, damson blue, oyster shell, royal champagne, red velvet cake, black stainless steel, and smoked hickory. It’s quite charming to think of these color options in culinary terms, and all the available colors literally look delicious.

the simple control panel
The Bambino Plus’s simple control panel

The front panels of both machines feature a few well-marked buttons. The limited number of controls on each machine shows that brewing coffee with them is quite simple, which is indeed the case.

the breville bambino's control panel
The Breville Bambino’s control panel

Spout Type & Cup Clearance

Breville BambinoBreville Bambino Plus
Spout TypeDualDual
Cup Clearance4 inches4.5 inches

Both models offer ample space to accommodate most cups in your cupboard. And for mammoth-sized things, you can remove the drip tray to make more room to fit them. Though, let’s be real, how often are we really using a cup that big? I’m guessing not to often in your lifetime.

My only grip is that neither machine comes with a stand to elevate those teeny-tiny espresso cups to, you know, avoid splashes when dispensing. In fact, no Bambino machine has this feature. It seems that Bambino only thinks about big things and ignores the small ones.

Water Reservoir & Bean Hopper

Breville BambinoBreville Bambino Plus
Water Reservoir1.4 liters1.9 liters
Bean HopperN/AN/A

The Bambino has a larger water carafe, allowing you to extract more espresso shots between refills. If you live in a household with numerous coffee enthusiasts, a bigger water reservoir always makes sense. 

the bambino plus's tank is a bit larger
The Bambino Plus’s tank is a bit larger

There are no water filters included with these machines, so be careful with the water you will be using. I mean, you’re best off using filtered or bottled water for optimal results and to maintain the quality of your beverages.

Milk Frothing System

Winner: Breville Bambino Plus

Perhaps the biggest elephant in the room between these two machines is how they froth your milk. The Bambino has a manual milk wand, so there are no automatic functions here, but it puts more control in your hands. On the flip side, the Bambino Plus includes an automatic milk steam wand with a few presets for a “set it and forget it” approach.

I can’t complain about the power of the Bambino’s manual wand. It can also rotate 360°, allowing for full maneuverability. This design lets you find the perfect angle for milk frothing, which is crucial for achieving that sought-after microfoam. However, mastering the art of milk texturing with this manual wand does come with a bit of a learning curve, just like we’re learning to ride a bike at first.

the bambino requires manual steam milk
The Bambino requires manual steam milk

On the other hand, the Bambino Plus eliminates the guesswork and precision needed with a manual wand with its automatic frothing feature. So you just place the pitcher on a temperature sensor with the milk wand inside, select your desired temperature and texture, and let the machine do the frothing job.

the bambino plus's automatic steam wand
The Bambino Plus’s automatic steam wand

The Bambino Plus can produce high-quality microfoam milk for latte art. This capability is quite impressive for an auto wand, especially when compared to less versatile Panarello wands, which are only suited for creating thicker foam for cappuccinos. The Bambino Plus’s wand also cleans itself with hot steam after you take the jug out and put it back in its original position.

There is one point to highlight. The Bambino’s wand comes with a single hole, whereas the Bambino Plus features a four-hole tip. Generally, the consensus among coffee aficionados is that more holes mean more efficiency. I won’t get into this infinite debate, but the fact that the Bambino Plus does steam milk quicker.

Drink Options & Programmability

Winner: Breville Bambino Plus

Drink Options

Breville BambinoBreville Bambino Plus
Espresso
Hot Water
Espresso

One thing that the Bambino has over the Bambino Plus is its ability to pour hot water via its wand for Americano, tea, and more. This is a useful feature, but, to my mind, it isn’t big enough to help the Bambino turn the tables.

Programmability

Adjustable SettingsBreville BambinoBreville Bambino Plus
Coffee StrengthNoNo
Coffee TemperatureNoNo
Milk Foam TemperatureNoYes
Milk Foam TextureNoYes

While the Bambino only allows you to interfere in cup volume for both single and double shots, nothing more and nothing less, the Bambino Plus enables you to choose from three different temperatures (50, 70, and 90℃) and textures by pressing one of the two smaller buttons on the right. The control over milk temperature and texture is a useful feature, but it would be better if it were possible to experiment with brewing temperatures.

the bambino plus has 3 levels of milk foam's temperature and texture
The Bambino Plus has 3 levels of milk foam’s temperature and texture

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 2024-07-22 / 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
  • Substandard tamper and portafilter.
  • No temperature control.

Quick Rundown Of Breville Bambino

Breville Bambino Espresso Machine BES450BSS, Brushed Stainless Steel
  • Please refer to user guide or user manual or user guide (provided below in PDF) before first use
  • Low pressure pre infusion: 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
  • Automatic Microfoam Milk Texturing: The automatic steam wand allows you to adjust the milk temperature and texture to suit your taste; Delivering Barista quality microfoam that enhances flavor and enables creation of latte art
  • Espresso Machine with precise extraction: Digital temperature control (PID) delivers water at precisely the right temperature ensuring optimal Espresso extraction

Last update on 2024-07-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Space-saving design.
  • ThermoJet fast-heating system.
  • Affordable price.
  • Easy to use.
  • Amazing milk wand.
Cons
  • No built-in grinder.
  • Lacks brewing temperature control.

Product Videos

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References

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