The Breville Bambino Plus (known in the UK as the Sage Bambino Plus) has a high price, but if you’re looking for a reliable coffee maker with quality parts and hassle-free service then this is a must-see. It has several features rarely found in the best coffee machines in the $400-500 price range, such as automatic milk frothing, single- and double-walled baskets, and the ability to customize pre-infusion. The Bambino Plus certainly has excellent value for money – if you’re willing to stretch your budget a bit more.
All these features make the Breville Bambino Plus a worthwhile investment for both beginners and more experienced smokers who want to experiment with the confidence that their machine is able to prepare a high-quality espresso right out of the box. After all, the Bambino Plus makes it very difficult to go wrong.
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Complete Review of The Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Machine
For those new to home brewing espresso, the initial price of the Breville Bambino Plus can be daunting. The price of $499.95 is certainly not a beginner’s device. However, the Bambino Plus has many features that would be difficult to find even in more expensive coffee machines.
From controlling the temperature and consistency of the milk to the 3-second heat-up time, customizable pre-infusion settings, to the professional-grade baskets, this extra price is worth ensuring you get a high-quality coffee every time you need it.
Breville Bambino Plus has not always been that expensive. Before the global pandemic broke out, its price averaged $399. However, in early 2020, these costs quickly caught up with the growing demand for high-end home coffee machines. While the average price is not yet seen to drop again, with the easing pressure, you will likely be able to find a discounted price for this model soon.
Perhaps the most exciting feature of the Breville Bambino Plus is the milk frothing system. The device will automatically froth the milk to the optimal temperature, creating a velvety consistency, and even applying a thicker microfoam on top. The auto-cleaning system was especially helpful, as you don’t need to wash the tip of the device (although you still have to wipe it to keep it shiny). In addition, you can always steam the milk manually.
But all that perfectly brewed milk would be nothing without a rich espresso made from one of the four included standard or double walled baskets. Being able to lean on an easier-to-use double-walled basket is appreciated as the extra pressure provided by the basket itself won’t require too fine grinding and attention to detail for a good, strong espresso.
However, the single-walled standard basket brewing option will also allow coffee lovers to adjust the grind size, pressure, and portafilter load for the perfect cup.
Breville Bambino Plus also allows you to adjust the time the device pre-covers the coffee grounds in the portafilter. This pre-infusion is an excellent function to ensure a constant coffee flow and thus a balanced taste, as the grounds are first moistened under low pressure. Out of the box, this time is set to eight seconds, but you can also press and hold the Extract Start Button to experiment with different pre-infusion settings depending on the grind size and degree of roast.
The Breville / Sage Bambino Plus has a slim, curved shape and stainless steel or matte black finish. Thanks to the small size, and softer edges, it has been possible to avoid the bulky aesthetics of many coffee machines. The compact style is great for not taking up space on the countertop, but thanks to such small housing, the device is extremely light.
I noticed that it was often necessary to support the body of the machine while inserting the portafilter, especially if the water tank on the back was not full. However, removing the drip tray did not cause any displacement during our testing which was a relief for me.
The simple design means that there are no unnecessary buttons on the front that would cause confusion – these are simply single and double brewing options and a button for steaming milk. In addition, there are also buttons for setting the milk temperature and the amount of froth.
Ease of use
Unlike many mid-range coffee machines with this level of customization and extra features, the Breville Bambino Plus uses its simple design to offer impressively easy operation. There is hardly any learning curve before you start making high-quality coffees and refilling them with perfectly frothed milk – just press a button and you’re done.
Initial setup is quick and easy, with just manual insertion of the included water filter and quick cleaning of the system before brewing. In addition, Breville clearly prints the descaling instructions on the inside of the water tank.
The automatic milk frother makes it effortless to prepare milk with the right consistency and a fluffy top. Just place the included jug on the temperature sensor, press a button and watch the machine do all the hard work for you, and it does it very well. What’s more, when you turn the nozzle back into its starting position, the system will automatically steam the wand to rinse out any milk residue.
The only stumbling block is that the drip tray is a bit too small to keep up with the extra water flowing through the foamer cleaning system. This means you will need to wash it fairly regularly – with about four drinks with milk a day, I used to empty it almost every other day.
The first thing you will notice about the Breville Bambino Plus is how quickly you can start using it. Heats up in just three seconds and quickly switches between juicing and steaming. This is an amazing feature that cannot be matched by many devices on the market today.
However, the real breakthrough for me was the pre-infusion settings. Combined with high-quality beans, fine grinding, and a single-walled basket, the pre-infusion settings allowed me to experiment until I learned how to make an incredibly full and well-balanced coffee. Tasting the difference in coffee richness in each cup while adjusting the pre-infusion time was a testament to how much control this feature gives.
However, if you don’t have a precision grinder or you use pre-ground coffee, you’ll still get the perfect coffee thanks to the double wall option. Compared to cheaper espresso machines, I was impressed with the balance achieved, as well as the Bambino Plus’s ability to maintain the original flavor complexity of my chosen roaster, even with a double-walled basket.
It took a little extra work to get the most out of the Bambino Plus, but even if you’re not using one of the best precision-controlled coffee grinders, you’ll still feel the character of the machine.
Of course, it’s still a homemade coffee machine, so you won’t find the delicate flavor treatment or the silky texture you would find with more industrial-grade models. Even so, I believe that the espresso prepared is comparable to what I would buy at a coffee shop, and it certainly outperforms a cheaper espresso for $200-300.
What We Didn’t Like
Breville Bambino Plus obviously has its drawbacks. The smaller drip tray means a bit more grooming, and the lightweight design requires extra care when inserting the portafilter. However, these graph quirks are natural enough to live with.
If, like me, you drink smaller coffees such as “flat white”, the included milk carafe may not fit your needs as easily as it does with a latte or cappuccino. It is a bit too wide for making smaller drinks and the Minimum Fill line (designed to cover the end of the milk boil tube) is slightly higher than our milk requirement.
Initially, this resulted in a large amount of milk spilling out after filling the cup, but after a few trials and errors to find out where the minimum fill line really is, I was able to significantly reduce this waste. In addition, you can always purchase a smaller stainless steel jug to use with this machine.
Should you buy Breville Bambino Plus?
If you are looking for a painless espresso and are willing to pay a little extra to ensure high quality every time, Breville Bambino Plus is the perfect solution for you. The same applies even to beginners who want to learn and experiment – the default temperature settings ensure a gentle extraction process right out of the box, there are extensive instructions on the size of the grinders and baskets that fit them, as well as an automatic milk frothing system.