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Breville Bambino Review

A small machine that makes great espresso and perfectly steams milk
Breville Bambino
Credit: Breville
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Price:   $300 List
Pros:  Great espresso, great milk steaming performance, compact design
Cons:  No built-in grinder
Manufacturer:   Breville
By Michelle Powell and Max Mutter  ⋅  Mar 18, 2021
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80
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 19
  • Taste - 40% 9
  • Ease of Use - 30% 6
  • Ease of Cleaning - 15% 7
  • Milk Steaming - 15% 10

Our Verdict

The Breville Bambino is the smallest of the company's espresso machine line, yet still manages to produce the cafe-quality results the brand is known for. Also like its siblings, it is well built and relatively easy to use and clean. By itself, it is probably one of the cheapest machines on the market that is capable of producing cafe-quality espresso and steamed milk. However, it does not have a built-in grinder, so you'll have to purchase an espresso quality one separately. But, if you already have an espresso worthy grinder or can find a deal on one, this machine may be your cheapest path to enjoying a perfect latte without leaving the house.

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Breville Bambino
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Great espresso, great milk steaming performance, compact designExcellent espresso and milk steaming, can pull and steam simultaneously, multiple programmable features, relatively user friendlyExcellent espresso, achieves near-perfect microfoam in its steamed milk, relatively easy to use for a semi-automatic machineGreat taste, cafe quality lattes and cappuccinosGreat taste, exceptional lattes and cappuccinos, mostly automated milk steaming
Cons No built-in grinderExpensive, requires some effort and a learning curveExpensive, requires more effort/practice than fully-automatic machinesExpensive, requires some effort and a learning curveExpensive, no built-in grinder
Bottom Line One of the smallest machines we've found that can achieve cafe quality resultsCan make cafe-quality drinks at home with reasonable ease, but requires a bit of a financial investmentA cafe-quality machine that manages to still be friendly towards beginner baristasIf you don't mind a little learning curve and elbow grease, this is the best espresso you can make at homeAn excellent choice for those trying to recreate cafe drinks at home, especially if you already have an espresso-quality grinder
Rating Categories Breville Bambino Breville the Dual... Calphalon Temp IQ Breville Barista... Breville Bambino...
Taste (40%)
9
9
9
9
9
Ease Of Use (30%)
6
9
7
7
7
Ease Of Cleaning (15%)
7
7
7
6
6
Milk Steaming (15%)
10
10
9
9
8
Specs Breville Bambino Breville the Dual... Calphalon Temp IQ Breville Barista... Breville Bambino...
Dimensions 7.7" x 12.6" x 12.2" 14.7" x 14.8" x 14.7" 5.6" x 14.5" x 17.3" 13.2" x 12.5" x 16" 7.7" x 12.6" x 12.2"
Warranty 1 Year Limited 1 Year Limited 3 Year Limited 1 Year Limited 1 Year Limited
Milk Frother Steam Wand Steam Wand Steam Wand Steam Wand Automatic Steam Wand
Water Tank Capacity 47 oz 84 oz 94 oz 67 oz 65 oz
Cost per Shot $0.45 $0.45 $0.45 $0.47 $0.47
Lifetime Cost per Shot $0.58 $1.08 $0.70 $0.72 $0.72
Number of Cafe Replacement Shots to Make p list price 118 588 235 237 237
Number of Cafe replacement lattes to make up list price 70 351 141 141 141

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Breville Bambino is the smallest and least expensive machine we've found that can produce cafe-quality results but the lack of a grinder somewhat limits both its value and space-saving design.

Performance Comparison


Credit: Jason Peters

Taste


For all intents and purposes, we think the Bambino's espresso is as good as what you'd get in a cafe. We were consistently able to pull full, robust shots with great flavor and solid crema. If you really want to split hairs that espresso is maybe a slight step below what an experienced barista at a really nice 3rd wave cafe could pull with a machine costing $10,000+, but for the most part we think even picky coffee drinkers are going to be more than satisfied.


That great espresso taste is backed up by a steam wand that can achieve near perfect results. In our tests this allowed us to enjoy lattes and cappuccinos that were almost indistinguishable to what we could get in a cafe.

The tiny Bambino is able to produce cafe-quality results.
The tiny Bambino is able to produce cafe-quality results.
Credit: Jason Peters

Ease of Use


Any semi-automatic machine is going to take a bit of practice for beginners to figure out, and a bit of effort to make each shot — grinding, tamping, and brewing manually takes some time and effort no matter how experienced you are. However, thanks to well designed and well built components, the Bambino makes this process easier than most. It is never going to match the ease and convenience of the fully-automated machines, but in our experience this is a sacrifice you have to make for truly great taste.


The Bambino features a classic, if miniaturized, intuitive Breville...
The Bambino features a classic, if miniaturized, intuitive Breville interface.
Credit: Jason Peters

Ease of Cleaning


Here again, the Bambino offers a fairly standard experience. Wiping down the steam wand and cleaning out the portafilter after each drink is fairly easy. Likewise, the drip tray is well designed and has a full indicator that lets you know when it needs to be emptied. The descaling process takes about 10 minutes and the machine comes with some descaling solution packets to make things a bit more convenient.


This cleaning process is comparable to those of most semi-automatic machines. If you want a more streamlined cleaning process you'll likely need to sacrifice a bit of taste quality and get a fully-automated machine.

We appreciate the easy to fill water tank.
We appreciate the easy to fill water tank.
Credit: Jason Peters

Milk Steaming


In our opinion, the Bambino's steam wand is near perfect. It's consistent and powerful stream of steam allowed us to get great microfoam time after time. As long as you're willing to go through the effort of manual milk steaming, this machine can get you cafe quality results.


In our opinion, the Bambino's steam wand is amongst the beat on the...
In our opinion, the Bambino's steam wand is amongst the beat on the market.
Credit: Jason Peters

Value


The Bambino is one of the least expensive machines we've found that can reproduce the kind of espresso drinks you'd get at a cafe. It doesn't have any sort of built-in grinder, so you'll need to purchase one to use the machine. Still, if you already have an espresso grinder, it is a great value for those seeking truly great espresso drinks.

Conclusion


The Breville Bambino is a great choice for anyone that already has an espresso quality grinder, or that is looking for a compact machine that can still produce great espresso and steamed milk.

Michelle Powell and Max Mutter