Breville Bambino Vs Gaggia Classic: A Battle Between Two Beginner-Friendly Models

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If you’re looking for your first espresso machine for your home barista journey, my comparison of the Breville Bambino vs Gaggia Classic is for you. In short, the latter is the winner.

Opting for the Breville Bambino is an economical way to relish cafe-quality espressos without leaving home. Like its counterparts, it boasts a robust construction and compact design and is straightforward to use and clean. However, it lacks a built-in grinder, so an additional purchase of one is necessary for the machine’s

The Gaggia Classic dates back to even before the 1990s, and it’s still a common sight today. This longevity raises the question, “Does it still hold relevance, or is it time for it to fade into history?” To this, I’d simply say there’s plenty of life in the old dog yet!

Breville Bambino Vs Gaggia Classic: Comparison Chart

Image
TIE
Breville Bambino Espresso Machine BES450BSS, Brushed Stainless Steel
TIE
PrimaDonna Class
Model
Breville Bambino
Gaggia Classic
Dimensions
7.7 x 12.6 x 12.2 inches
9.5 x 8 x 14.2 inches
Weight
10.8 lbs
19.9 lbs
Heating System
Single aluminum boiler
Single aluminum boiler
Milk Frothing System
Amanual Steam Wand
Amanual Steam Wand
Spigot Type
Dual
Single
Max Cup Clearance
4.5 inches
4.5 inches
Water Reservoir
2.1 liter
1,4 liter
Bean Hopper
-
-
Built-in Grinder
No
No
Cup Warming Tray
Easy to Use
Easy to Clean
What I Like
Price
$299.95
$599.99
TIE
Image
Breville Bambino Espresso Machine BES450BSS, Brushed Stainless Steel
Model
Breville Bambino
Dimensions
7.7 x 12.6 x 12.2 inches
Weight
10.8 lbs
Heating System
Single aluminum boiler
Milk Frothing System
Amanual Steam Wand
Spigot Type
Dual
Max Cup Clearance
4.5 inches
Water Reservoir
2.1 liter
Bean Hopper
-
Built-in Grinder
No
Cup Warming Tray
Easy to Use
Easy to Clean
What I Like
Price
$299.95
More Info
TIE
Image
PrimaDonna Class
Model
Gaggia Classic
Dimensions
9.5 x 8 x 14.2 inches
Weight
19.9 lbs
Heating System
Single aluminum boiler
Milk Frothing System
Amanual Steam Wand
Spigot Type
Single
Max Cup Clearance
4.5 inches
Water Reservoir
1,4 liter
Bean Hopper
-
Built-in Grinder
No
Cup Warming Tray
Easy to Use
Easy to Clean
What I Like
Price
$599.99
More Info

Last update on 2024-06-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Breville Bambino Vs Gaggia Classic: Differences

At the end of the day, the Breville Bambino defeated the Gaggia Classic 4-1. Continue reading to explore the capabilities of this small workhorse.

Coffee Flavour

Winner: Breville Bambino

Portafilter & Tamper

The Breville Bambino and Gaggia Classic, unlike their “bean-to-cup” counterparts, demand a deeper level of participation in the brewing ritual – they necessitate that you handle the grinding and tamping personally. Yes, that’s too much to do for a beginner, and it can get daunting quickly. But to my mind, that’s the sacrifice needed to get a truly excellent espresso that fits your preferences. In fact, numerous coffee aficionados derive great pleasure and a sense of tranquility from engaging in this process!

Of course, unless you use pre-ground coffee, you must grind your beans with a separate grinder. This procedure can generate some noise, so to keep the peace and tranquility, I would suggest refraining from undertaking this chore in the wee hours of the morning in order not to disturb others’ sleep.

Once you have the coffee grounds on hand, you’ll need to tamp them with a portafilter and a tamper. The Gaggia Classic comes with a 58-millimeter portafilter and a plastic tamper, while the Breville Bambino includes a 54-millimeter portafilter, a tamper, and a duo of filter baskets – one double-wall and one single-wall.

portafilter
Portafilter

If you don’t intend to use pre-ground coffee, it’s advisable to bypass the double-wall baskets. Although the single-wall filter basket might take a tad longer to get familiar with, it will reward you with a richer and sweeter espresso experience.

The Gaggia Classic’s tamper is pretty cheap and flimsy, but that’s what comes with most budget machines. Hence, I don’t consider it a deal breaker. My gripe is that it is too small for the portafilter, making it quite hard to get all the grounds packed down evenly. As such, I strongly advocate swapping it out with an appropriately sized metal tamper as soon as possible.  The Breville Bambino’s tamper, on the other hand, is still too lightweight. But it still beats what comes with the Gaggia Classic and even many models over $1,000.

tamping
Tamping

Heating System

If you expect a double-boiler espresso machine, the Breville Bambino vs Gaggia Classic will disappoint you. These small workhorses only come with a single boiler system, meaning a short waiting period is required for the machine to reach the proper temperatures for switching between brewing espresso and steaming milk.

Thankfully, the Gaggia Classic boasts an aluminum boiler, ensuring a swift preheating time of fewer than two minutes. The Breville Bambino is ahead with a proprietary ThermoJet heating system, enabling it to heat up and prepare for the first espresso shot in approximately three seconds! 

Three seconds? Yes, you’ve read it right. Even the expensive super-automatic machines from Jura (with thermoblock boilers) can be ready to go in around ten seconds. I could seamlessly brew one cup after another, which leads me to question the necessity of a dual-boiler system for the Breville Bambino. Also, the ThermoJet heating system is considerably more energy-efficient than a thermoblock or traditional boiler – a major plus! As a bonus, these workhorses are equipped with a cup warming tray that ensures your cups or mugs are preheated. That way, hot espresso can stay hot longer, preserving the flavors and aromas.

cup warming rack
Cup warming rack

It’s worth noting that there is no temperature adjustment on these machines: They are fixed at a temperature of 200°F. This allows beginners to focus on honing their barista skills. But for the adept coffee aficionados who enjoy tinkering with their espresso-making process, this can be a red flag!

Milk Frothing System

Both the Breville Bambino and Gaggia Classic are equipped with a manual steam wand, allowing for extensive control yet requiring a bit of a learning curve. But If you are willing to sharpen your frothing skills and techniques, you’ll find it really powerful. On top of that, these wand-equipped machines are considerably cheaper than ones with automated milk-frothing systems.

Using these wands is a breeze, but their somewhat short length can pose a challenge when using a large milk carafe. All you need to do is fill a metal carafe with milk, turn on a steam button (and wait 15-20 seconds), submerge the wand in the milk, and steam the milk until you can’t hold the carafe comfortably (65°C). A convenient insulated plastic handle is affixed to the wand for easier alignment.

frothing milk
Frothing milk

I found their wands produced consistent and powerful streams of steam.  The wand on the Gaggia Classic was satisfactory but didn’t quite reach the café-grade results: It struggled to produce the finely textured, velvety microfoam that a quality latte demands. In contrast, the Bambino’s steam wand was nearly impeccable, consistently enabling me to produce superb microfoam for gorgeous lattes and cappuccinos. Also, While the Breville Bambino comes with a stainless steel milk pitcher, the Gaggia Classic doesn’t, resulting in an additional purchase.

Avoid removing the milk pitcher immediately after turning off the steam wand, otherwise, your milk will be sprayed all over your counter. Instead, you should wait about 10 seconds while the wand slowly winds down.

Design & Usability

Winner: Breville Bambino

Dimensions, Footprint, & Weight

Breville BambinoGaggia Classic
Dimensions7.7 x 12.6 x 12.2 inches9.5 x 8 x 14.2 inches
Weight10.8 lbs19.9 lbs

Both stand out as strikingly sleek and gleaming coffee machines with a stainless steel finish. The Breville Bambino embodies an elegant, curved form, while the Gaggia Classic showcases modest, clean lines with a cuboid design. Regardless, they should be viewed as functional machines rather than ornamental fixtures that enhance your kitchen’s aesthetics.

They are one of the smallest espressos, ideal for those who don’t have a large amount of space to play with. I admire their stainless steel structure, which not only enhances their durability visually but also simplifies the cleaning process. But this construction contributes to their weight, making them heftier than they initially appear.

Spout & Cup Clearance

Breville BambinoGaggia Classic
SpoutDualDual
Maximum Cup Height4.5 inches3.3 inches

These machines don’t give you the kind of cup clearance you’d expect from a super-automatic espresso automatic. But just avoid mammoth-sized cups, and everything will work smoothly. The portafilter on these machines has two spouts, allowing the concurrent brewing of two espresso cups. However, an automatic timer is absent, so you must intervene to stop the dispensing process manually.

make two shoots
Make two shoots

Water Reservoir & Bean Hopper

Breville BambinoGaggia Classic
Water Reservoir2.1 liter1,4 liter
Bean HopperNoNo

The Breville Bambino features a see-through water tank that can be conveniently removed for an easy refill. However, I was disappointed by the fact that the water tank on the Gaggia Classic was fixed. Of course, no one wants to lug a 20 lbs espresso machine to the sink to refill its water reservoir! Thankfully, all I had to do was fill its tank through an opening at the top of the machine. Generally, unless you and your loved ones are strong coffee drinkers, you’ll just need to fill up the tank at the end of the day.

breville bambino vs gaggia classic’s water reservoirs
Breville Bambino vs Gaggia Classic’s Water Reservoirs

Cleaning & Maintenance

Winner: Breville Bambino

Given that the coffee grounds never come into direct contact with the espresso machine’s internal components, your maintenance routine mainly involves tasks like descaling the machine, cleaning the milk system, and a few others.

You should clean the steam wand after each use by keeping a dedicated damp cloth or a steam wand cleaning tool at hand and wiping it, avoiding the formation of hard-to-clean milk residue on the steam tip. Running some extra hot water out through the wand before and after each use is also a smart move. The Breville Bambino comes with a tiny tool used to clear the hole on the steam wand by plugging it in – A small but welcome addition. Some components of this machine, including the pressurized basket, brew head, and steam valve, should be cleaned daily as well. 

Some components of this machine, including the pressurized basket, brew head, and steam valve, should be cleaned daily as well. The same should happen with emptying the drip tray and coffee grounds basket. The Gaggia Classic’s drip tray has a full indicator that lets you know when to empty it, but it would be better if this part were larger.

Descaling the machine is a simple 15-minute process with the provided descaling solution. Just follow the steps outlined in your user manual or watch YouTube tutorial videos for further clarification. For consistently excellent espresso flavor, it’s advisable to descale your machine every two months.

Utilities & Other Features

Winner: Tie

The user interface on both is very straightforward, consisting of only a few functional buttons, nothing more and nothing less. There are also handy indicator lights to tell you when the machine is on, which mode is used, etc. The Breville Bambino should be equipped with an on/off button instead of requiring holding down a combination of buttons to turn it off.

breville bambino vs gaggia classic's user interfaces
Breville Bambino vs Gaggia Classic’s user interfaces

Quick Rundown Of Breville Bambino

Breville Bambino Espresso Machine BES450BSS, Brushed Stainless Steel
  • Please refer to user guide or user manual or user guide (provided below in PDF) before first use
  • Low pressure pre infusion: Low pressure pre infusion gradually increases pressure at the start and helps ensure all the flavors are drawn out evenly during the extraction for a balanced tasting cup
  • Automatic Microfoam Milk Texturing: The automatic steam wand allows you to adjust the milk temperature and texture to suit your taste; Delivering Barista quality microfoam that enhances flavor and enables creation of latte art
  • Espresso Machine with precise extraction: Digital temperature control (PID) delivers water at precisely the right temperature ensuring optimal Espresso extraction

Last update on 2024-06-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Compact design and lightweight.
  • Easy to use and clean.
  • Complete set of accessories.
  • Simple interface.
  • Large water tank.
Cons
  • Limited settings to adjust.
  • No temperature or pressure control.

Quick Rundown Of Gaggia Classic

Pros
  • Simple and easy to use.
  • High-quality stainless steel.
  • Compact and lightweight.
  • Has a professional steam wand.
  • Affordable price.
Cons
  • Entry-level tample.
  • Single boiler design.
  • Outdated design.

Product Videos

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Rating 5/5 - (7 votes)