Do you love milk espresso beverages like lattes and cappuccinos? If so, you’re probably also tired of spending $6 two to three times a day at a café. “Just make the drinks at home,” they say, but maybe you’re not interested in embarking on the long journey of becoming an at-home barista.
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If this sounds like you, then the Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Machine could be the solution you’ve been searching for.
The Breville Bambino Plus is the perfect entry-level beginner’s machine. Just purchase your favorite café coffee grounds, pile them into your porta filter, razor and tamp and the Bambino Plus takes care of the rest.
Don’t worry about advanced difficult concepts like getting the temperature or timing of your shot right.
Best of all, the Bambino Plus quickly and automatically froths your milk for you.
After you’ve extracted your shot of espresso just fill the stainless-steel milk jug, choose your desired heat and texture, and place the mug under the steam wand to watch it work its magic.
Don’t waste any time learning how to make the perfect foam for your favorite beverage. Simply enjoy consistently great milk-based beverages with this well-priced, compact espresso machine.
What we love about the Breville Bambino Plus:
- Compact Footprint and Modern Design.
- Get Barista-Quality Milk Based Beverages at Home.
- Simple, Easy-to-Use Analog Interface.
- Spectacular Steam Wand Functionality.
- Auto-Purge Function Keeps your Steam Wand Clean.
- PID Technology for Effortless, Precise Water Temperature.
- Low Pressure Pre-infusion Method for a Rich, Balanced Flavor.
- Low Maintenance: Large Water Tank and Easy Clean Up.
Components of the Breville BES500BSS Bambino Plus:
B. Control panel
1 CUP, 2 CUP and STEAM buttons
With preset shot durations or
programmable durations and volumes
C. MILK TEMP settings
Select from Warm, Ideal and Hot
D. MILK FOAM settings
Select from Low, Medium and High
E. Group head
G. Steam wand grip
H. Extra-tall cup clearance for tall mugs
I. Steam wand
With automatic milk texturing
J. Milk jug temperature sensor
K. Removable drip tray grid
L. Removable drip tray
Design of the Bambino Plus
Dimension and Weight
The Bambino Plus Espresso Machine has a modern design and stainless-steel body, weighing in at 14.4 pounds. Its key design feature is its small stature.
It has an ideal design for those tight on counter space.
The machine has a small width of just 7.7 inches, but due to its 12.6-inch depth it’s still able to provide the features you love – like a nice big 64-oz water tank and a cup warming roof.
Color Options – this BES500BSS model has two beautiful color choices: Stainless-steel and Royal Champagne
With the simple 3-button control center, you can pull single or double shots as well as turn on the incredibly efficient automatic steam wand.
There are two knobs, one for foam volume and another for temperature, which each have three independently adjustable levels.
The machine will know when your milk is at the correct temperature due to the sensor below on the drip tray area where you place your milk jug. The drip tray is easily removed and even has a red indicator that pops up when it gets too full. It’s important to keep the area clean so the sensor can continue working optimally.
Features & Performance of Breville Bambino Plus:
If you are a newbie to the espresso world, you would appreciate the many helpful built-in functions in this product. Check out these set of automatic features:
Automatic Micro-Foam Milk Texturing
Perhaps the most stand-out feature on this machine is its ability to automatically create micro-foam milk texturing with three different levels of texture at three temperatures completely hands free.
The first texture level is a fine, liquid milk foam great for lattes and flat whites, while the last texture is a fuller, fluffier foam, better for cappuccinos.
The second option falls somewhere in between those two. The temperature of the milk can be changed between 50°F, 70°F, and 90°F.
The steam wand itself has a slender, professional appearance and has four holes at the tip. It stays clean easily too with its clever auto-purge function. Best of all? It’s extremely fast to heat up and creates café-quality micro-foam in just 30-40 seconds.
Tip: remember to momentarily purge the steam wand just prior to texturing milk. To purge, press the STEAM button to start purging, then press it again to stop.
3-Second Heat Up Time
The Breville Bambino Plus offers a super-fast startup time of just 3 seconds thanks to its cutting edge “thermajet” heating system.
This unique system allows for a much faster switch between pulling shots and frothing milk than traditional single-boiler machines, too.
Low Pressure Pre-Infusion
Low pressure pre-infusion allows for your grounds to be coated evenly shortly before extraction for the most consistently best tasting shots possible.
You can even program the volume of either your single or double shot, and you can manually extract by holding down the buttons.
Tip: press the 1 CUP or 2 CUP buttons during the programmed process will immediately stop the extraction.
Save space without compromising on features with the Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Machine. Get café-quality espresso, automatic milk frothing, and a large 64-oz water tank all in a machine that is just 7.7 inches wide.
All the Accessories you need – included!
The Bambino Plus comes with all the accessories you need to get started, including Breville’s patent Razor leveler and a stainless-steel milk jug. Other accessories include a 54mm tamper, two dual wall filter baskets, and cleaning tools.
With MIN and MAX markings
B. 54mm tamper
C. Steam tip cleaning tool
E. Dual wall filter baskets (1 cup & 2 cup)
F. Cleaning disc
G. Espresso cleaning tablets
After 200 extractions, the BES500BSS will detect that it needs to begin a cleaning cycle. It will tell you as much by flashing the 1 and 2 Cup buttons alternately. Insert the provided cleaning disk and lock in the portafilter to begin the group head’s cycle.
Less often, you’ll need to descale the machine. This is indicated by alternate flashing of the cup buttons and the steam button.
Once you fill your machine’s water tank with the recommended amount of the descaling agent and water, you simply press the 1 Cup and Steam buttons simultaneously for 5 seconds and the machine will automatically enter descaling mode.
Tip: When the descaling is complete, remember to remove and empty the waste water container. And, rinse the drip tray and water tank, dry thoroughly before replacing them back onto the Bambino.
The machine is extremely easy to clean when compared to many others we’ve tested. Especially the steam wand with its convenient auto purge function that keeps it from ever clogging up with milk.
Things to Think About
Despite the machine’s toy-like appearance, its parts feel solid. The only part of the Bambino Plus that feels cheap is sadly the 54mm portafilter. Considering this is the part you’ll be touching the most, it seems like an odd choice to us.
Luckily, you can use any of Breville’s other 54mm portafilters on this machine.
We are using a sturdier one with a non-pressurized basket from another machine and it instantly improves the quality and feel. We highly recommend this for the best tasting espresso shots possible.
Tip: if you are shopping for an beginner espresso machine with a commercial grade portafilter, check out the KitchenAid semi-automatic espresso machine with a 58mm portafilter.
The only other complaint we have is that there is no dedicated hot waterspout, which can be a drawback if you have any Americano lovers in your household.
The setup process for the Breville Bambino Plus is incredibly simple:
- Step 0: Remove all the packaging and find a spot for your machine. Insert drip tray.
- Step 1: Take out the water tank and fill to the maximum and replace. Turn on machine.
- Step 2: Press the 1 Cup button once illuminated, and the machine will complete its first use cycle.
- Step 3: All lights will illuminate, signifying your machine is ready to use!
Tip: when inserting the portafilter, check the handle is aligned with the INSERT position. So, after you place the portafilter underneath the group head, rotate the handle towards the center – until resistance is felt.
Comparable: Breville BES500BSS Bambino Plus vs. Gaggia RI9380/46 Classic Pro
We received a request from our reader group to compare these two models earlier this month – during our evaluation of the Bambino Plus. Here’s the result of our comparison:
The Breville Bambino Plus is an entry-level machine that’s great for people looking for milk espresso beverages. That’s because of its simplistic buttons and the edition of its steam wand.
The Gaggia Classic Pro aims to do the same, albeit with a bit less automation in comparison to the Bambino Plus.
Let’s take a deeper look into these two machines marketed to the same audience to determine who comes out on top.
In contrast to the Breville Bambino Plus Espresso machine’s modern and round appearance, the Gaggia Classic Pro has a boxy, classic Italian look. Its significantly bulkier in appearance and a bit bulkier in actual size as well, coming in at 1.3” wider and 2.8” taller. What you prefer style wise will be entirely up to you!
Both machines have a simple three button command center with the ability to pull a single or double shot and use the steam wand. The Breville has a 54mm portafilter, which is generally easier to use for beginners, while the Gaggia has a 58mm portafilter which is generally heralded to be better quality.
Functionality wise – both are quite similar, but the way they deliver on these functions are different.
For one, neither have a dual boiler, but the Gaggia takes 10 seconds to heat up on its classic single boiler, while the Breville only takes 3 seconds to heat due to its innovative thermojet heating system.
The Breville has no adjustability on your espresso shot’s temperature considering its PID Temperature Control that takes the guesswork and difficulty out of getting consistent shots.
On the other hand, the Gaggia’s classic style requires you to do some research on temperature surfing until you can get your shots just right.
Both models offer steam wands, but the two have vastly different functionalities.
The Breville’s four-hole tipped wand is entirely automatic and hands-free with the ability to choose three temperatures and textures; plus, it has auto purge for easy cleaning.
The Gaggia’s wand has two holes and is completely manual. You must start steaming at just the right time and it’s a bit clunky due to the two-pivot swivel.
Which model should you get?
In most cases, it depends on what you want out of a machine, but in this case the Breville Bambino Plus is the better all-around choice for most beginners.
The only case in which the Gaggia wins out is in its commercial-grade portafilter.
That said, you can easily switch that portafilter out on the Breville once you’re ready for it. Not to mention, the 54mm is perfectly fine, if not the best choice for beginners.
You might want the Gaggia for its classic Italian nostalgia, or maybe you’re a huge coffee nerd who likes to work hard for a great shot of espresso, but in that case, why would you be seeking out an entry level machine like this anyways?
Truly, the Breville Bambino Plus delivers the same features in a much cleaner and consistent way. Plus, it’s far easier to operate for beginners.
The Breville BES500BSS Bambino Plus Espresso Machine (view on Amazon) is an excellent choice for milk espresso beverage lovers looking for their first easy to use, espresso and coffee machine combo.
Make delicious cappuccinos, lattes, and flat whites from the comfort of your own home daily, and you’ll make back your investment on this machine in no time.
Take all the guesswork out of home espresso-making and simply pull great, consistent shots of rich and smooth espresso time after time. Easy to use, easy clean up, easy decision.
Related articles – you might also like:
- Top 5 espresso machines by the popular Breville brand – for every skill level and budget.
- Top 10 espresso machines under $500 – where Bambino Plus is ranked as best option for beginners who love milk-based coffee beverages.