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Whether you’re a casual coffee drinker or a bona fide espresso connoisseur, you’ve probably heard of Breville’s luxe line of espresso machines. As someone new to at-home espresso-making, I was looking for a solid, entry-level espresso machine that wouldn’t break the bank, but would also yield the fancy coffee shop quality espresso I’ve come to expect. After extensive research, I decided on the Breville Bambino, so naturally, when the brand offered me the opportunity to test one, I accepted. The Bambino is a stylish, chrome single-cup countertop espresso maker. Breville offers two models—the Bambino ($350) and the Bambino Plus ($500).
The primary differences between the two are the Plus’ full automation as compared to the original’s partially automated process, the water tank capacity (1.5 quarts v. 2 quarts), and the price ($300 v. $400). Some owners and reviewers have commented that the drip tray seems more solid on the original model than on the Plus model, which is the one Breville provided for this review, but I certainly had no complaints, and the clean-up from the automatic cleaning process is simple.
While both models have a sleek and design-friendly form factor, the Bambino is slightly smaller and more compact than the Plus model, as would be expected.
Breville BES500BSS Bambino Plus Espresso Machine,
This stylish stainless steel design looks sleek on your countertop. It also comes in additional finishes and colorways.
As any espresso-nado would tell you, the quality of the pack of your beans is essential and the Bambino does not disappoint. The removable cup comes with a credit-card-size razor tool to finely grind and scrape the top of your loaded cup with precision. The tamping tool provided lets you get a satisfyingly compact and tight pack, essential to produce the slow honey-like drip of a properly prepared espresso from the Bambino.
The steam wand makes heating your milk a breeze with easy, touch-button options with three settings for the amount of milk and desired temperature respectively.
The simplicity of the design doesn’t compromise the taste of the product and I loved being able to make high-quality espresso at home with warm, freshly steamed milk all in just a few minutes—and with no mess. Neither Bambino model offers an integrated bean grinder so if that is a must-have feature for you, consider Breville’s other, larger models. Still, for those like me who buy pre-ground or who have a separate grinder, the Bambino is a great choice for a quick, clean, and precise pour every time.
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