Breville Barista Express vs Bambino Review: What You Need To Know About Their Programmability & Ease of Use For Daily Brewing

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For espresso drinkers, picking between 2 popular Breville Barista Express vs Bambino, but most importantly high-quality, machines can be difficult.

Having said that, the first thing to learn about espresso is that not every machine is built the same. For example, the Breville Barista Express comes with a built-in grinder and gives you more control. It has everything an espresso lover needs to make espresso at home from scratch.

The Breville Bambino is more compact and lightweight without a grinder. It features a button control interface which is easier and has a faster heat-up time. This makes it the perfect choice for a quick and delicious espresso shot – plus excellent steamed milk just like in a barista.

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Breville Barista Express vs Bambino: Comparison Chart

Image
The Winner (#1)
Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
The Runner-up (#2)
Breville Bambino BES450
Model
Breville Barista Express BES870XL
Breville Bambino BES450
Dimensions (LxWxH)
12 x 11 x 13.5 Inches
12.5 x 7.6 x 12.2 Inches
Weight
23 Pounds
12 Pounds
Color/ Material
Stainless Steel/ Brushed Stainless Steel
Stainless Steel / Brushed Stainless Steel
Power / Voltage
1600W / 110-120V
1560W / 110-120V
Grind Capacity
1/2 lb Bean Hopper 
Single or Double Shot Only
Removable Water Tank Capacity
67 Ounces
47 Ounces
Bar Pump System
15 Bar Pump System
9 Bar Pump System
Pre-Infusion Technology
Included
Not Included
Shot Size
Single (8-10g) & Double (15-18g) + Adjustable Grind Size
Single & Double Shot (18-22g)
Boiler Design
Thermocoil, Stainless Steel
ThermoJet 
Portafilter size
54 mm
54 mm 
Steam Wand
360 Degrees Swivel, 1 Hole Tip
ThermoJet Steam Wand with Swivel
Warranty
1 Year
1 Year
Interface
Analog Gauge, Button Control
Analog Gauge, Button Control
Temperature Control
Digital Temperature Control (PID)
Digital Temperature Control (PID) 
What I Like
Price
$599.95
$299.95
The Winner (#1)
Image
Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
Model
Breville Barista Express BES870XL
Dimensions (LxWxH)
12 x 11 x 13.5 Inches
Weight
23 Pounds
Color/ Material
Stainless Steel/ Brushed Stainless Steel
Power / Voltage
1600W / 110-120V
Grind Capacity
1/2 lb Bean Hopper 
Removable Water Tank Capacity
67 Ounces
Bar Pump System
15 Bar Pump System
Pre-Infusion Technology
Included
Shot Size
Single (8-10g) & Double (15-18g) + Adjustable Grind Size
Boiler Design
Thermocoil, Stainless Steel
Portafilter size
54 mm
Steam Wand
360 Degrees Swivel, 1 Hole Tip
Warranty
1 Year
Interface
Analog Gauge, Button Control
Temperature Control
Digital Temperature Control (PID)
What I Like
Price
$599.95
More Info
The Runner-up (#2)
Image
Breville Bambino BES450
Model
Breville Bambino BES450
Dimensions (LxWxH)
12.5 x 7.6 x 12.2 Inches
Weight
12 Pounds
Color/ Material
Stainless Steel / Brushed Stainless Steel
Power / Voltage
1560W / 110-120V
Grind Capacity
Single or Double Shot Only
Removable Water Tank Capacity
47 Ounces
Bar Pump System
9 Bar Pump System
Pre-Infusion Technology
Not Included
Shot Size
Single & Double Shot (18-22g)
Boiler Design
ThermoJet 
Portafilter size
54 mm 
Steam Wand
ThermoJet Steam Wand with Swivel
Warranty
1 Year
Interface
Analog Gauge, Button Control
Temperature Control
Digital Temperature Control (PID) 
What I Like
Price
$299.95

Last update on 2021-10-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Breville Barista Express vs Bambino: Differences

While both machines, the Breville Barista Express and the Bambino are good-looking and sturdy machines, the Barista Express wins, 3 – 1 against the Bambino, as the best espresso machine for everyone.

You will need to learn the basics to get it right. But it’s more sophisticated in that you can make espresso exactly as you like it.

1. Built-In Grinder

The Winner: Breville Barista Express

Breville Barista Express Built-In Grinder
Breville Barista Express Built-In Grinder

Dose control grinding maintains consistent and effective espresso results. With the Barista Express, you have an integrated, superior conical burr grinder. It grinds the coffee beans and transfers them directly into the portafilter, which is also of great quality.

You can add any type of roast and it’ll not disappoint. The pros of using the Barista Express grinder is that you don’t have to buy a new one. The Barista Express is an all-rounder in that it has a bean hopper, grinder, and frother. Easier to clean, maintain, and use for a long time.

With the Bambino, things are not the same. You can select the shot volume but it does not include a grinder which means you need to buy a separate one. Or fall back on pre-ground coffee packages.

2. Temperature

The Winner: Breville Barista Express

Breville Barista Express Temperature
Breville Barista Express Temperature

The Barista Express produces a balanced and tasty espresso flavor. It’s more nuanced than the Bambino, primarily because it gives you more control and precision in controlling the water temperature and shot pulling time.

The PID technology ensures maximum flavor extraction. You control not only the shot pulling time and the shot volume but also the temperature of the water.

So the 3 settings you can adjust in the Barista Express are the grinder, time, and temperature. Does this also mean you can customize the flavor of espresso differently for different drinks? Yes, that’s right.

The pressure is also quite helpful as it lets you see the result of your experimenting with different variables accurately. Fine-tuning on an intuitive and user-friendly machine just got easier.

The Bambino’s PID technology is precise too. But it’s automated in that you cannot program it according to your style. It features pre-infusion technology, a low-pressure 8 bar system, and a ThermoJet heating system. It’s energy-efficient and gets the water right up to the precise brewing temperature in seconds.

I would recommend the Bambino if you don’t want to waste time. It’s quick but at the cost of losing precise control.

3. Programmability

The Winner: Breville Barista Express

Breville Barista Express Programmability
Breville Barista Express Programmability

The programmability of the Barista Express is fast and accurate. It is one of the fastest brewing machines, at this price point. You can adjust the grind, grinding time, shot volume, and temperature. So this makes prepping for the perfect cuppa a delight once you’ve gotten the hang of the basics.

Similarly, pulling your first shot of espresso is also quite simple and straightforward. It comes with a pamphlet that has all the information you need to get started

The only con about the programmability of the Barista Express, however, is that it does not include a timer for automatic shut-off.

The Bambino offers 4 buttons that you can press and hold for manual control as well. This includes the single and double espresso shot, steam, and hot water. You can manually program the shot volume and the machine will remember the time for the next shot, even if you turn the machine off. There is no temperature control on the Bambino. 

4. Automatic Milk Frothing

The Winner: Breville the Bambino

The Barista Express features a standard micro-foam milk frother. The steam wand is made up of stainless steel and plastic. It produces a dense foam that is good for a latte, cappuccinos, flat whites, etc. But it’s not as creamy and rich for doing latte art.

You can master the creation of latte art using Breville the Bambino. Even though its steam wand is short, it’s sturdy. And it dispenses hot water, which the Barista Express does too.

What is tricky about using the Barista Express steam wand is the cleaning bit. The milk will immediately solidify on the wand after use. You need to use a slightly damp cloth to wipe the surface of the wand. And run it for a few seconds to get rid of any clumps.

The Bambino steam wand increases the steam temperature to 266-degrees Fahrenheit. It’s a ThermoJet Powered Steam Wand which means it has proper temperature controls and it can produce barista-quality lattes/cappuccinos without messing up. Plus, it cleans in a single swipe. 

Breville Barista Express vs Bambino: Similarities

1. Brewing Quality

Both espresso machines produce creamy and rich espresso that is strongly aromatic and caramel-colored. The espresso has a thick layer of crema on top that works perfectly as black coffee or a latte.

Both machines dose out 19 to 22g of freshly ground coffee which pulls out an intense espresso flavor.

2. Portafilter

The 54mm portafilters, on both machines, are made up of superior materials. It’s not flimsy and feels heavy-duty with no plastic part inside.

For best results, run hot water through the portafilter after pulling a shot to get rid of coffee grounds that may have stuck to the top of the filter. You can also warm up the portafilter in the same way before. This pulls a richer and more nuanced flavor of coffee because the puck is always warmed up.

Quick Rundown Of Breville BES870XL Barista Express

Sale
Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
15,113 Reviews
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 2021-10-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Accurate and intuitive interface.
  • High-quality portafilter and steam wand.
  • Fast and manual milk steaming and texturing.
  • Strong and sturdy stainless steel design.
  • Automatic cleaning cycle for long-term use.
Cons
  • Takes some time to get used to.
  • Some parts are made up of plastic.

Quick Rundown Of Breville Bambino BES450

Pros
  • Faster performance with more consistent results.
  • Energy-efficient ThermoJet Heating System with steam wand control.
  • Low-pressure infusion improves espresso taste.
  • Easy to clean parts with removable water tank.
Cons
  • No programmability for temperature.

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