Breville Bambino Plus vs Bambino Pro: Which Is The Better Espresso Machine Under $500?

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The Breville Bambino Plus is renowned as one of the best espresso machines under $500 in the market. A lot of folks stumble upon the Breville Bambino Pro model online and begin to feel perplexed as they’re unsure about the distinctions between these models. 

In a nutshell, if I had to pick the winner in the debate of Breville Bambino Plus vs Bambino Pro, I’d go with Breville Bambino Plus.

Speaking of the Breville Bambino Plus, it’s a truly fantastic machine. It strikes a balance between being compact and offering a wide range of features, allowing you to craft delightful espresso and velvety milk froth. Furthermore, you’ll find it more readily available for purchase on retail websites compared to its counterpart.

Basically, the Breville Bambino Pro is essentially the Breville Bambino Plus with just one extra feature: more professional filter baskets. This addition means you can create coffee like a skilled barista and enjoy the improved flavor. However, the Bambino Pro is only exclusive to Seattle Coffee Gear.

Breville Bambino Plus vs Bambino Pro: Comparision Chart

Image
The Winner (#1)
Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Machine,64 Fluid Ounces, Brushed Stainless Steel, BES500BSS
The Runner-up (#2)
-
Model
Breville Bambino Plus
Breville Bambino Pro
Dimensions (WxDxH)
12.5 x 7.6 X 12.2 Inches
12.5 x 7.6 X 12.2 Inches
Weight
3.1 lb / 1.4 kg
3.1 lb / 1.4 kg
Filter Basket Type
Pressurized
Non-pressurized + Pressurized
Water Capacity
64 oz
64 oz
Heating System
ThermoJet heating system
ThermoJet heating system
Interface
Buttons
Buttons
Milk System
Automatic steam wand
Automatic steam wand
Froth levels
3
3
Temperature levels
3
3
Pre-infusion
Digital Temperature Control (PID)
Auto Purging
Hot Water Function
What I Like
Price
Price not available
$549.95
The Winner (#1)
Image
Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Machine,64 Fluid Ounces, Brushed Stainless Steel, BES500BSS
Model
Breville Bambino Plus
Dimensions (WxDxH)
12.5 x 7.6 X 12.2 Inches
Weight
3.1 lb / 1.4 kg
Filter Basket Type
Pressurized
Water Capacity
64 oz
Heating System
ThermoJet heating system
Interface
Buttons
Milk System
Automatic steam wand
Froth levels
3
Temperature levels
3
Pre-infusion
Digital Temperature Control (PID)
Auto Purging
Hot Water Function
What I Like
Price
Price not available
More Info
The Runner-up (#2)
Image
-
Model
Breville Bambino Pro
Dimensions (WxDxH)
12.5 x 7.6 X 12.2 Inches
Weight
3.1 lb / 1.4 kg
Filter Basket Type
Non-pressurized + Pressurized
Water Capacity
64 oz
Heating System
ThermoJet heating system
Interface
Buttons
Milk System
Automatic steam wand
Froth levels
3
Temperature levels
3
Pre-infusion
Digital Temperature Control (PID)
Auto Purging
Hot Water Function
What I Like
Price
$549.95

Last update on 2024-03-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Breville Bambino Plus vs Bambino Pro: Differences

The final score of this debate is 1-0 and 1 draw, the win comes to the Breville Bambino Plus. Keep reading to find out more details. 

Filter Basket & Portafilter

The Winner: Tie 

Breville Bambino PlusBreville Bambino Pro
Portafilter Diameter54 mm54 mm
Filter Basket TypePressurizedNon-pressurized + Pressurized

The Breville Bambino Plus seems to have been designed with the initial target audience being consumers who might not have a dedicated grinder on their kitchen counter. Hence, the inclusion of the pressurized basket can produce an espresso that meets an acceptable standard, particularly when using pre-ground coffee. This isn’t just my guess; Mr. Phil McKnight, General Manager at Breville Group, actually shared this insight.

Consequently, individuals seeking a more advanced and “authentic” coffee experience aspire to use non-pressurized baskets so that they can brew the coffee in a traditional way, yielding a more refined flavor profile. And you know what? That’s precisely what the Breville Bambino Pro offers.

Breville Bambino Plus's pressurized baskets
Breville Bambino Plus’s pressurized baskets

First, we will talk about the Bambino Plus. It offers a single-shot pressurized basket, a double shot pressurized basket, and a 54mm portafilter. These baskets prove highly beneficial for beginners, enabling hassle-free brewing of a cup of joe. However, their utility is somewhat restricted for more experienced home baristas. 

Because the pressurized baskets essentially “cheat” by faking proper pressure and crema, even with improper grind size and tamping. Consequently, the quality of espresso produced using these baskets cannot match the excellence achieved through non-pressurized ones.

Breville Bambino Pro's non-pressurized basket
Breville Bambino Pro’s non-pressurized basket

Moving on, let’s delve into the Breville Bambino Pro. It is the same as the Breville Bambino Plus, except it comes with additional non-pressurized baskets. These baskets are key to crafting authentic espresso. However, using them requires a grinder and a certain level of skill. This is because you’ll now have full control over all the elements that contribute to making an outstanding espresso, such as coffee grinding and tamping.

I have two exceptional options to aid you in choosing a grinder: the budget-friendly Breville Smart Grinder Pro and the more professional Baratza Sette 270.

Breville Bambino Plus and Breville Smart Grinder Pro is a perfect combo
Breville Bambino Plus and Breville Smart Grinder Pro is a perfect combo

Having come this far, you might be wondering why I still consider the results a tie in this aspect. That’s because the inclusion of non-pressurized baskets on the Bambino Pro isn’t necessarily a significant advantage. If you opt for the Bambino Plus, you can easily purchase separate non-pressurized baskets for the machine.

Tamper

Talking about portafilters, it’s worth discussing tampers as well. Both the Breville Bambino Plus and Bambino Pro come with a tamper, but I found it to be a bit small for their portafilter. Consequently, I purchased a different tamper, specifically the Normcore 53.3 millimeter tamper, and it fits perfectly and works well for achieving a better tamp.

Availability 

The Winner: Breville Bambino Plus

As I mentioned earlier, the Breville Bambino Pro is exclusive to Seattle Coffee Gear. However, it’s important to note that this machine might not always be in stock on their website. While waiting for it to be restocked is an option, many individuals prefer not to delay their purchase when they have a strong desire for it. Aversion to waiting is common among many individuals, and enduring an indefinite period of waiting can be quite discomforting.

Purchasing a Breville Bambino Plus and a separate non-pressurized basket is a relatively straightforward process. Whenever the need arises, you can simply add it to your cart and complete the payment. These accessories are readily available from numerous retailers, both online platforms such as Amazon and brick-and-mortar stores.

Breville Bambino Plus vs Bambino Pro: Similarities

Coffee Flavor & Brewing Technology

Heating System

They are equipped with a ThermoJet heating system, which is just incredible. Not only does the ThermoJet heat up swiftly, but it also consumes notably less energy compared to a Thermoblock or traditional boiler.

From the moment you press the power button, it takes a mere 3 seconds to reach the ideal extraction temperature. Similarly, they’re quick to steam milk, taking around 2-4 seconds after pressing the steam button.

Thanks to the PID controller, these machines can effectively maintain a consistent temperature as well.

Preinfusion

While pre-infusion greatly contributes to successful espresso extraction, it’s not always present in entry-level machines. Luckily, these models come with an automatic pre-infusion feature that gently wets the coffee puck under low pressure, unlocking all potential aromas.

What adds to the impressive features is the option to control the pre-infusion duration manually.  Performing manual pre-infusion is quite easy: simply hold down the brewing button for your preferred duration.

However, do note that manual pre-infusion is limited to a maximum of 10 seconds right before the pump reaches 9 bars of pressure. Here’s the full process: initiate by pressing the button, pause it before the pressure increases, and then promptly press it again.

Design & Usability

Size and Design 

Breville Bambino PlusBreville Bambino Pro
Dimensions (WxDxH)12.5 x 7.6 X 12.212.5 x 7.6 X 12.2
Weight3.1 lb / 1.4 kg3.1 lb / 1.4 kg

The Breville Bambino Plus and Bambino Pro have a really compact size. They can fit almost every counter space. However, do consider that the removable water tank will require regular access. It’s advisable to measure your overhead cabinet.

The main construction material utilized is stainless steel. I wish it were a slightly sturdier metal alloy, as the current choice feels a bit too flimsy. They have a weight of merely 1.4 kg. This becomes a significant annoyance when trying to detach the portafilter from the group head, as it can cause the entire machine to shift unexpectedly.

Water Tank

Breville Bambino Plus Vs Bambino Pro: Water tank
Breville Bambino Plus Vs Bambino Pro: Water tank

Both the Breville Bambino Plus and Bambino Pro feature a substantial water tank with a capacity of 64 oz, positioned at the rear of the machine. This capacity is particularly impressive given the compact size of these machines.

Interface

Their user interface is designed for simplicity and ease of use. It has buttons for single and double shots and a button for activating the steam wand. Additionally, there are a couple of buttons with clear indicators for adjusting milk temperature and milk foam texture.

This intuitive and user-friendly layout ensures that using the machine is a breeze, and you won’t need to invest hours in deciphering the instruction manual to get started.

Steam Wand

The automatic steam wand truly stands out as the gem of these machines. Its steaming and frothing function allows us to adjust between three froth levels and three temperature levels.

The system automatically adjusts the intake air to achieve your selected froth level, whether it’s more or less frothy. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it works quite effectively. By configuring it for a medium temperature and medium froth, I can achieve really smooth microfoam, suitable for pouring latte art.

Using Breville Bambino Plus's wand as a manual steam wand
Using Breville Bambino Plus’s wand as a manual steam wand

Certainly, there’s also the option of using it as a manual steam wand. Simply tilt the wand upward and press the steam button, and voila, you have manual steaming at your disposal. In this manual mode, the wand operates akin to a traditional 4-hole steam wand.

If you have a strong preference for a manual professional steam wand, it’s worth considering the Gaggia Classic Pro, which is available at a similar price point.

Temperature Sensor &  Auto Purging

They have a convenient feature – a temperature sensor located at the base. This sensor frees you from the need to stand by and monitor the process. Once your preset milk temperature is reached, the steam wand will automatically stop.

Breville Bambino Plus vs Bambino Pro: a temperature sensor
Breville Bambino Plus vs Bambino Pro: a temperature sensor

And when you lift the wand from the jug and place it back into its resting position, the machine will carry out an auto-purging process by passing water through the wand.

Hot Water Function

One function that many people don’t know is that the steam wand is capable of dispensing hot water. All you need to do is simultaneously press the lower right button and the one-shot button. It is convenient when I want hot water for a tea or an Americano. 

However, the temperature might not meet everyone’s preference for tea. It might not be as hot as water from a kettle, but still steaming and provides a quick solution for when I’m feeling a bit lazy and in need of a swift cup of tea.

Breville Bambino Plus can dispense hot water
Breville Bambino Plus can dispense hot water

Quick Rundown Of Breville Bambino Plus

Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Machine,64 Fluid Ounces, Brushed Stainless Steel, BES500BSS
  • Item Package Dimension: 17.64L x 16.99W x 10.24H inches
  • Item Package Weight - 15.74 Pounds
  • Item Package Quantity - 1
  • Product Type - COFFEE MAKER

Last update on 2024-03-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Straightforward push-button controls.
  • Incorporated an auto steam wand that can adjust the temperature and milk texture to your preferences.
  • Heat up really fast.
  • It has really compact size that doesn’t take up much counter space.
Cons
  • Its small drip tray fills up very quickly.
  • It doesn’t come with the non-pressurized baskets.

Quick Rundown of Breville Bambino Pro

Pros
  • Its small footprint makes it ideal for kitchens with limited space.
  • It has an automatic steam wand, including temperature controls and froth levels.
  • The ThermoJet heating system rapidly.
  • It adds the non-pressurized baskets for better extraction.
Cons
  • It’s exclusive to certain retailers.

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References

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