Just as I was starting to get over how blown away I was by the performance Breville managed to fit into the tiny Bambino Plus, they went and released an even smaller version! Yes, the base Bambino loses some features over it’s bigger brother, but it also GAINS one! Could it possibly be the better option for you, for less money? Let’s find out!
Starting off with build quality, these machines are unsurprisingly very similar, EXCEPT in one area. I was surprised to discover that the drip tray on the base Bambino actually felt slightly more solid and well put together. I’m assuming this is in part due to the integrated temperature sensor in the base of the Bambino Plus, but overall, I just preferred how solid the drip tray slid and clicked in on the Base Bambino.
Looking at the form factor, both of these machines are EXTREMELY compact, with the Bambino being slightly smaller than the Bambino Plus. The physical machine is narrower at the top, and the water tank only holds 1.4L vs 1.9 on the Bambino Plus. The Bambino Plus is also available in a variety of colors, while the base Bambino is only currently available in stainless steel.
BOTH of these machines include Breville’s new Thermo-Jet heating system, which is quite simply the fastest single boiler configuration we’ve tested to date. Compared to the older Breville generations, these two machines are lightening quick with respect to both heating speed, and transition speed between brewing and steaming. It seems counter-intuitive, but these two machines pack a solid punch, easily beating out the larger Barista Express and Infuser in a steaming race.
Because the Bambino and Bambino plus have the same heating system, neither has the advantage when it comes to speed. But, the Bambino Plus has another trick up it’s sleeve with the addition of automatic temperature and texture control. 3 independently selectable levels of temperature and texture mean that you can get the exact amount of foam you want, at the exact temperature you want, time after time, and completely hands-free.
On the base Bambino, you will need to learn how to properly texture milk. How much air to introduce, how to mix it in, and how to feel for the right temperature. Even manual steaming is slightly improved on the Bambino Plus, thanks to a 3 hole steam wand, versus a single hole on the Base Bambino.
If you’re primarily going to be making lattes and cappuccinos, these factors combine to be one major reason to choose the Bambino Plus, over the base Bambino offering. The other, being that Breville decided for some reason not to include a steaming pitcher in the box with the base Bambino…. I’m not sure why they’d do that, but you can easily pick up an inexpensive one off Amazon.
Moving on to espresso quality, these two machines will be identical. They both offer low pressure pre-infusion, they both have single and double shot buttons that can be programmed to a shot length of your choice by holding both buttons down before extracting, and they both come with a slightly cheaper portafilter than the rest of the Breville machines, that you can upgrade at any time if you want.
Now, I said at the beginning of the article that the base Bambino actually has one feature that the Bambino Plus does not, and that is a hot water outlet. The steam wand of the base Bambino can be used to get hot water for Americanos or tea. Combined with the quick start up, this is hands down the fastest way to get on-demand hot water!
On the Bambino Plus, there is no way to get clean hot water from the machine, other than literally steaming a pitcher of water up to your desired temperature.
So, these two machines are both equally tiny, equally powerful, and equally good value for the money. The base Bambino will suit you just fine if you want to drink primarily espresso and Americano style drinks, while the Bambino Plus integrates a great automatic milk texturing system, it’s up to you to determine if that’s worth the extra money!
Need more? Watch the video!