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Breville Bambino Review

One of the smallest machines we've found that can achieve cafe-quality results
breville bambino espresso machine review
Credit: Breville
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $350 List
Manufacturer:   Breville
By Michelle Powell, Max Mutter, and Penney Garrett  ⋅  Jun 24, 2021

#4 of 19
  • Espresso Quality - 40% 8.3
  • Ease of Use - 30% 6.4
  • Ease of Cleaning - 15% 7.0
  • Milk Quality - 15% 10.0

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.
Great espresso
Impressive milk steaming performance
Compact design
No built-in grinder

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Price $350 List
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Pros Great espresso, impressive milk steaming performance, compact designEasy to use, quick and convenient, decent frothed milkGood espresso and milk steaming, quite inexpensiveInexpensive, good milk-heating element, easy to operateHighly customizable, renders great shots, compact
Cons No built-in grinderUses expensive capsules, limited flavors availableDoesn't quite achieve cafe quality results, somewhat slow, no built-in grinderPoor microfoam, slow to heat up, limited to 14 grams doseLots of components, lots of cleaning, requires separate kettle and milk frother
Bottom Line One of the smallest machines we've found that can achieve cafe-quality resultsThis easy-to-use espresso machine and milk frother package is a great choice if you don't mind paying a little extra in the long run for convenience and so-so espressoOffers good taste and overall quality at a far below average priceThis basic machine may be appealing due to its low cost, but there are better options for producing good espresso if you're looking to save moneyThis manual machine is for espresso lovers that like to dial in every aspect of their espresso, but it requires additional purchases to make a cappuccino
Rating Categories Breville Bambino Nespresso Evoluo Gevi De'Longhi Stilosa Flair Classic
Espresso Quality (40%)
Ease of Use (30%)
Ease of Cleaning (15%)
Milk Quality (15%)
Specs Breville Bambino Nespresso Evoluo Gevi De'Longhi Stilosa Flair Classic
Dimensions 7.7" x 12.6" x 12.2" 9" x 12.2" x 12.3" 13" x 10" x 16" 8.1" x 13.5" x 11.2" 14" x 10" x 4"
Milk Frother Steam Wand Electric Stand Alone Steam Wand Steam Wand None
Measured Water Tank Capacity 47 oz 54 oz 42 oz 34 oz 2 oz
Cost per Shot $0.45 $0.85 $0.45 $0.37 $0.42
Lifetime Cost per Shot $0.58 $0.93 $0.50 $0.42 $0.49
Number of Cafe Replacement Shots to Make Up List Price 118 93 51 46 64
Number of Cafe Replacement Lattes to Make Up List Price 70 52 30 28 N/A

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. That said, if you're all set in the grinder department but are short on space and cash, this machine comes highly recommended.

Performance Comparison

breville bambino espresso machine review - small but mighty, this little machine impressed us at almost every...
Small but mighty, this little machine impressed us at almost every turn.
Credit: Jason Peters

Espresso Quality

For all intents and purposes, we think the espresso from the Bambino is almost 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 the espresso is maybe a slight step below what an experienced barista at a really nice third 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 with this little workhorse.

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 from what we could get in a cafe. Additionally, the Bambino heats up impressively fast, allowing you to steam your milk immediately after pulling a shot. Many fancier and more expensive machines can't do this, meaning your espresso shot — no matter how lovely — will be left to sit and flatten as you wait for the machine to be ready to steam milk. With the Bambino one can follow the other with no wait which made our barista testers very happy indeed.

breville bambino espresso machine review - 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.

Setting up the Bambino takes hardly any time at all. The instructions are clear and easy to follow. It may take you some time to find the right dosage and grind, but the instruction manual offers guidelines that we found to be both helpful and accurate. This machine also has a short pre-infusion feature, where low-pressure water is added to the prepared portafilter before the fully pressurized water starts to flow. This helps create a nicer finished espresso shot and can help even out inconsistencies in grinding and tamping technique.

breville bambino espresso machine review - 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, comparable to that of most semi-automatic machines. 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 a descaling solution packet to make things a bit more convenient.

For daily maintenance, all the Bambino requires beyond emptying the small drip tray is cleaning out the portafilter and wiping off the steam wand. Running some extra hot water out of the empty group head will help purge any leftover espresso grounds, and pressing the steam button will similarly purge any remaining milk particles from the steam wand. This machine also comes with a little tool, conveniently housed in the back under the water reservoir, to clear the tiny hole on the steam wand should it get plugged up. A small but thoughtful addition that we appreciate.

breville bambino espresso machine review - we appreciate the easy to fill water tank.
We appreciate the easy to fill water tank.
Credit: Jason Peters

Milk Quality

In our opinion, the steam wand on the Bambino is near perfect. Its 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.

Our testers with barista experience actually preferred this machine to the upgraded model, the Bambino Plus, specifically because of the steam wand. While the Plus is fully automated, a selling point for some folks, the manual steam wand on the regular Bambino allows for much more control. If you're the type that wants to be able to change angles and techniques on your own terms to achieve top-notch microfoam for latte art and creamy lusciousness for a proper cappuccino, you'll likely prefer this model too. On top of that, it's considerably cheaper than the Plus.

breville bambino espresso machine review - in our opinion, the bambino's steam wand is amongst the best on the...
In our opinion, the Bambino's steam wand is amongst the best on the market.
Credit: Jason Peters

If you come from a coffee background and have used a professional espresso machine before, one thing is worth noting about the Bambino. Unlike a multi-thousand dollar machine, the steam wand takes a moment to ramp up and even longer to turn completely off. Don't expect to turn off the steam wand and immediately remove your pitcher — if you do, you'll spray milk all over your counter. You'll need to turn it off and be prepared to wait about 10 seconds while it slowly winds down.


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. Several of our ex-barista testers choose this model for their homes and are very happy with it — high praise indeed. We wish it came with a heftier and higher-quality tamp, but that is easily replaced without totally blowing your budget.

breville bambino espresso machine review - yes, that beautiful crema came from this tiny and highly affordable...
Yes, that beautiful crema came from this tiny and highly affordable machine. We were impressed and think you will be too.
Credit: Jason Peters

Michelle Powell, Max Mutter, and Penney Garrett
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