Breville Bambino Review
Pros: Great espresso, great milk steaming performance, compact design
Cons: No built-in grinder
Compare to Similar Products
|Price||$300 List||$1,500 List|
$1,499.95 at Amazon
$545.99 at Amazon
$689.00 at Amazon
$499.95 at Amazon
|Pros||Great espresso, great milk steaming performance, compact design||Excellent espresso and milk steaming, can pull and steam simultaneously, multiple programmable features, relatively user friendly||Excellent espresso, achieves near-perfect microfoam in its steamed milk, relatively easy to use for a semi-automatic machine||Great taste, cafe quality lattes and cappuccinos||Great taste, exceptional lattes and cappuccinos, mostly automated milk steaming|
|Cons||No built-in grinder||Expensive, requires some effort and a learning curve||Expensive, requires more effort/practice than fully-automatic machines||Expensive, requires some effort and a learning curve||Expensive, no built-in grinder|
|Bottom Line||One of the smallest machines we've found that can achieve cafe quality results||Can make cafe-quality drinks at home with reasonable ease, but requires a bit of a financial investment||A cafe-quality machine that manages to still be friendly towards beginner baristas||If you don't mind a little learning curve and elbow grease, this is the best espresso you can make at home||An 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...|
|Ease Of Use (30%)|
|Ease Of Cleaning (15%)|
|Milk Steaming (15%)|
|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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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