Breville Cafe Roma Vs Bambino Plus: A Hands-On Comparison

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The Breville Cafe Roma vs Bambino Plus are entry-level espresso machines, but their capabilities should not be underestimated. Despite their straightforward designs, they are quite adept at pulling excellent espresso shots. In my opinion, these budget machines give other brands a run for their money. 

Between the two, the Breville Bambino Plus stands out as the superior choice over the Breville Cafe Roma. It heats up more quickly and includes a pre-infusion feature. Additionally, it can steam milk automatically and provide more customization options.

Breville Cafe Roma Vs Bambino Plus: Specs & Features Comparison Chart

Image
THE WINNER (#1)
Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Machine,64 Fluid Ounces, Brushed Stainless Steel, BES500BSS
THE RUNNER-UP (#2)
Breville ESP8XL Cafe Roma Stainless Espresso Maker,1.2 liters
Model
Breville Bambino Plus
Breville Cafe Roma
Dimensions/Weight
7.7 x 12.7 x 12.3 inches/12.3 lbs
11.8 x 8.6 x 8.7 inches/13 lbs
Interface
Button-Operated Interface
Knob-Operated Interface
One Touch Drink Options
1
2
Built-in Grinder
Grinding Settings
Heating System
Single ThermoJet
Single Thermoblock
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
1.2 L/None
Filter
Compatible With Pre-ground Coffee
App Connectivity
User Profile
What I Like
Price
Price not available
$247.99
THE WINNER (#1)
Image
Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Machine,64 Fluid Ounces, Brushed Stainless Steel, BES500BSS
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
Price not available
More Info
THE RUNNER-UP (#2)
Image
Breville ESP8XL Cafe Roma Stainless Espresso Maker,1.2 liters
Model
Breville Cafe Roma
Dimensions/Weight
11.8 x 8.6 x 8.7 inches/13 lbs
Interface
Knob-Operated Interface
One Touch Drink Options
2
Built-in Grinder
Grinding Settings
Heating System
Single Thermoblock
Pump Pressure
15 Bars
Pre-Infusion
Milk Frothing System
Manual Steam Wand
Spigot Type/Cup Clearance
Dual/4 inches
Water Reservoir/Bean Hopper
1.2 L/None
Filter
Compatible With Pre-ground Coffee
App Connectivity
User Profile
What I Like
Price
$247.99
More Info

Last update on 2024-02-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Breville Cafe Roma Vs Bambino Plus: Differences

The Bambino Plus clearly outshined the Cafe Roma with a score of 4-0. Follow me and find the answer to the question, “How are they different from each other?”

Coffee Flavor & Brewing System

Winner: Breville Bambino Plus

Built-in Grinder

These Breville machines are great, but where’s the grinder? Yes, there’s no built-in grinder on these machines, so you will have to figure out a decent coffee grinder on your own. Don’t worry, I won’t leave you stranded in your quest for the perfect coffee grind. Some of my top recommendations include the Porlex Mini, the Comandante, or the Breville Smart – all of them are affordable and very effective.

Dosing & Tamping

The Breville Bambino Plus, despite its compact size, includes a 54mm portafilter. Yet, compared to the 54mm portafilters from other Breville models, this one seems less professional, but at least it is better than the Cafe Roma’s 50mm portafilter, more or less.

the bambino plus uses a 54mm portafilter
The Bambino Plus uses a 54mm portafilter

And while we’re on the subject, both feature double-wall filter baskets. But besides one basket for a single shot and one for double shots, the Cafe Roma has a basket for ESE pods, which are small, pre-packaged coffee capsules.

Both come with their own tamper. The Cafe Roma’s tamper is made of plastic and doubles as a scooper for ground coffee, like that multi-tool. The Breville’s tamper is not terrible, but I do wish for something a bit heavier and sturdier.

Heating System

Winner: Breville Bambino Plus

Surprised about the single-boiler system in these budget-friendly espresso machines? Not at all. After all, we’re not breaking the bank with them. But let’s spill the beans on what this means for your espresso escapades. With a single boiler, you can’t multitask brewing coffee and frothing milk. 

The Cafe Roma boasts a thermoblock system, taking about 30 seconds to warm up.  On the flip side, the Bambino Plus features a ThermoJet lightning-fast system, which is ready in about 3 seconds and uses significantly less energy than thermoblock.

Brewing System

Both machines feature a 15-bar pump, which is ample for extracting a rich espresso shot with a beautiful crema layer. Nowadays, 15 bars of pressure is the norm for most espresso machines. Some provide up to 19 bars of pressure, such as the Delonghi Dinamica Plus, which, in my opinion, is overkill.

When it comes to brewing a show-stopping espresso, pre-infusion is the key, and sadly, it’s not always a standard feature in entry-level machines. And here’s where the Breville Bambino Plus steals the spotlight from the Cafe Roma.

During this pre-brew step, the Bambino Plus gently soaks the grounds under low pressure, which is crucial for unlocking those rich, aromatic flavors. And let’s not forget how it combats tamping mistakes that can lead to channeling.

But wait, there’s more! You can adjust the pre-infusion duration on the Bambino Plus by simply holding down the brewing button. This feature alone elevates the Bambino Plus above its peers in its price range and even above its class.

Design & Convenience

Winner: Breville Bambino Plus

Dimensions & User Interface

Breville Cafe RomaBreville Bambino Plus
Dimensions11.8 x 8.6 x 8.7 inches7.7 x 12.7 x 12.3 inches
Weight13 lbs 12.3 lbs 

The Cafe Roma resembles a classic espresso machine, while the Bambino Plus has a look similar to a coffee pod machine. Fitting either of these machines in your kitchen shouldn’t be a problem, but keep in mind the need for regular access to the removable water tank since overhead cabinets could obstruct this. 

Additionally, both machines feature straightforward control panels, ensuring that beginners or those unfamiliar with espresso machines won’t be overwhelmed, unlike the experience with larger, more complex machines that have numerous cryptic controls.

The Cafe Roma features a minimalistic control panel. It includes a power switch on top, along with two indicator lights – one indicating preheating and another showing that the machine is on. Below these, there’s a prominent dial to switch between steam and espresso functions.

the cafe roma’s interface
The Cafe Roma’s interface

On the other hand, the Bambino Plus has dedicated buttons for single and double espresso shots and another for activating the steam wand. Additionally, there are buttons with scale indicators for fine-tuning milk temperature and texture.

the bambino plus's control panel
The Bambino Plus’s control panel

Spout Type & Cup Clearance

Breville Cafe RomaBreville Bambino Plus
Spout TypeDualDual
Cup Clearance4 inches4.5 inches

Essentially, these machines limit you to using espresso cups, so to use a large travel mug, you’ll have to pour the drink from a smaller cup into it. While not all home baristas may find this inconvenient, it’s a personal annoyance for me. Many commercial machines include a cup raiser, which acts like a “high chair” for smaller cups, helping to maintain the crema layer, but they don’t.

Water Reservoir & Bean Hopper

Breville Cafe RomaBreville Bambino Plus
Water Reservoir1.2 liters1.9 liters
Bean HopperN/AN/A

Access to the Cafe Roma’s water tank for refilling is required more often, but this frequent water change can be advantageous as it leads to less need for descaling. An important point to note is that neither of these machines comes with water softener filters. Therefore, it’s advisable to use pre-filtered water to ensure the longevity and performance of the machines.

Milk Frothing System

Winner: Breville Bambino Plus

The Cafe Roma comes with a standard steam wand, which means you get to play barista and froth your milk manually. It’s a bit tricky at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’re good to go. If you’re really keen on nailing the perfect froth, consider grabbing a small thermometer.

the cafe roma's manual steam wand
The Cafe Roma’s manual steam wand

Still, the space between the steam wand and the drip tray is, well, not exactly spacious. The wand doesn’t swivel, which will annoy many people when trying to fit your milk pitcher in there. This can be a bit of a bother, especially if you’re the kind of person who loves extra-large cups of caffeinated bliss.

On the other hand, the Bambino Plus has an automatic steam wand and a temperature sensor, which, on your behalf, monitors the temperature of the milk foam while frothing. This simplifies the process of making microfoam: just fill a pitcher with milk, place it under the wand, and press a button.

the bambino plus automatic steam wand
The Bambino Plus automatic steam wand

Additionally, the steam wand on the Breville Bambino Plus is capable of rotating 360 degrees. And if you prefer to roll up your sleeves and get more control over the process, it can be used as a manual one.

the temperature sensor
The temperature sensor

Drink Options & Programmability

Winner: Breville Bambino Plus

Drink Options

Breville Cafe RomaBreville Bambino Plus
Espresso
Espresso
Hot water

If you’re expecting a machine that offers a long list of one-touch beverage options, the Cafe Roma and Bambino Plus may disappoint you a bit. They offer nothing more than espresso. So you want a cappuccino or a flat white? Roll up your sleeves and get frothing! 

Programmability

Adjustable SettingsBreville Cafe RomaBreville Bambino Plus
Coffee StrengthNoNo
Coffee TemperatureNoNo
Milk Foam TemperatureNoYes
Milk Foam TextureNoYes

Both allow you to time your shots or the shot volume, but the similarities end there. The Bambino Plus is more flexible, with options to fine-tune the texture and temperature of the milk foam. They don’t have user profiles – This means you’ll be readjusting your settings every single day, which can get a tad tedious after a while.

the bambino plus features three levels of milk temperature
The Bambino Plus features three levels of milk temperature

Quick Rundown Of Breville Bambino Plus

Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Machine,64 Fluid Ounces, Brushed Stainless Steel, BES500BSS
1,795 Reviews
Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Machine,64 Fluid Ounces, Brushed Stainless Steel, BES500BSS
  • 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 2024-02-29 / 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 Cafe Roma

Breville ESP8XL Cafe Roma Stainless Espresso Maker,1.2 liters
  • Stainless-steel espresso machine with 15-bar thermoblock pump
  • Dual-wall filter system for excellent crema; froth enhancer, cup-warming plate
  • Accesories: Stainless steel frothing pitcher Tamping tool/measuring spoon/cleaning tool
  • Removable drip tray and grid; Frothing jug included
  • Measures 9 x 9 x 12 inches; 1-year limited warranty

Last update on 2024-02-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Easy to use.
  • Cheap.
  • Compatible with ESE pods.
  • Thermoblock fast-heating system.
  • Compact footprint.
Cons
  • The wand can’t rotate.
  • No pre-infusion.
  • Plastic tamper.

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References

5/5 - (3 votes)