Helpful Guide – Review and Test
Feels like it`s been a while since my last review… Anyways, I’m reviewing Breville’s latest home espresso machine today this is the bambino, and it’s one of their smallest machines. Yet, it’s, also at a fairly affordable price range for something with these sort of features.
If you do not have time to read the whole review, let me just get straight to the point.
So I thought we’d review it and see if it’s actually worth it.
Now, it’s about 12 inches in length 7 inches across and about 12 inches in height. So it leaves a tiny counter footprint.
You also have a full water tank attached on the back that can hold 1.4 fluid leaders, which is pretty impressive for something of this size.
Now the front is also pretty standard.
You have your steam wand and your group head and then on the very top.
You have your controls, which is just four buttons.
These correspond to your group head settings as well as hot water and steam for your steam wand.
This machine comes with two different basket sizes, the single shot and the double.
However, I find that you won’t ever really use this single.
This yields a tiny amount of coffee, and it’s tough to dial in espresso with it.
Keep in mind; You can absolutely use the single with all of these steps.
You’ll just be using a smaller amount of coffee and yielding a smaller amount of espresso.
Now, you have the drip tray in the front, which is very easy to take apart and clean.
It also has this little nifty feature here that will tell you when you need to empty it.
It`s a straightforward feature that I love about the Barista Express as well.
I find many espresso machines have these, but they’re always super-nifty and appreciated because I would constantly be overflowing and spilling if I didn’t have one of these.
Next thing we have is the steam wand.
You have a guard on top, which is great because these things get super hot.
It also has a really nice range of motion.
However, I’m gonna talk about the size of the steam wand in just a little bit.
Also, note that you only have control of the steam wand by this button on the front.
Now, on the back, it’s very easy to fill up your water tank.
Just pull off the lid, fill it up to the max marking, and put the lid back on again, as I mentioned before, this holds 1.4 fluid litres, which is a very decent amount and will last you several days if you’re only making coffee once or twice a day.
I do want to mention something here because this is such a small machine.
The portafilter is mostly made out of hard plastic, and it is difficult to break the seal once it’s in the group head. For me, that`s a huge negative!
So I would recommend putting the coffee machine somewhere where it has a little space to move around because if you’re, not stabilizing it, you might have a mess.
Now, since I’m using the double shot basket, I’m, going to be dosing about 18 grams of finely ground coffee into my portafilter.
However, this will depend on how you like your coffee to taste, and what coffee you’re using so somewhere between 16 to 19 grams is best, but I’m doing 18 with my coffee beans.
Now this machine also came with a small plastic tamp.
Very nice, fit perfectly into the portafilter, and I am going to be using that today.
It’s very light, so be careful to apply the proper amount of pressure, so you don’t end up with a channelling shot.
I want to note one of the nicest features of this machine, and that is how quickly it heats up.
Generally, I found they can take anywhere from a minute to several minutes to reach optimal temperature with espresso machines.
However, this will reach the optimal brewing temperature in just three seconds.
The lights on the front will flash, and once they’re steady, you are all good to go, so if you’re in a rush, if you’re someone who’s out the door very quickly, this is the machine for you.
Now the bambino comes with default settings.
The double shot pulls out to 60 millilitres by default and the single shot to 30 millilitres.
Now you can, of course, stay with these settings.
They’re perfectly fine, and they’ll work for any beginner.
But if you’re, someone that wants to change them or do it manually, you’re able to do that as well, and I’ll touch on that in a second, but for now, I use the default settings at first.
At this point, I am still not done with my initial review, but I am falling in love with this machine. Really good quality and I honestly is feeling that this is a perfect machine for your home.
As you can see (image above), I pulled a beautiful shot that has a really really thick crema on top, has a really really nice body and incorporates together very well.
This coffee is supposed to taste, rich and comforting and chocolatey, and it was exactly that by the way, if you want to buy it, it’s not possible a the moments because I am roasting my own 🙂
Let’s talk about how you can brew coffee to your own settings.
Repeat all the steps, get your portafilter in, and then hold down your dosing setting in this case, double shot for about three seconds.
Your machine will then start brewing, and it is now your job to stop it when you have reached your desired amount.
I wanted to pull my shot a little bit shorter, so I just pressed it when I wanted to stop.
It stopped brewing, and now it has saved that setting so the next time you brew and press the button.
It will pull it out to that previously decided amount, pretty nifty, pretty easy.
You can do this with a single shot as well.
Okay, let’s, move on to the fun stuff that is milk, steaming and latte art.
This is where I really start to judge home espresso machines because there is such an extensive variance in quality, both of steam wands and of overall milk foam quality that you can pull from espresso machines.
So as I mentioned before, there is only one button to control when you turn your steam wand on and off.
So, essentially, you have one setting and not too much variance of control over how much air you’re, letting in at a particular point two things I will note about.
This is because of how small the steam wand is.
It is sometimes pretty difficult to get the proper point of leverage to create either a whirlpool or to incorporate air.
Another problem I want to mention, which is not at all unique to the bambino, is that, due to the amount of time it takes to incorporate the proper amount of heat into your milk, you will often find your milk crusting and burning onto the side of your wand.
This is not a huge issue, and again, this is super common in home espresso machines, but it is something I’m gonna address in a second.
Let’s get to pouring.
As I always do, I will transfer into a second jug because it provides a more uniform and overall, better milk quality.
I was actually super surprised with the quality of milk I was able to achieve on this machine.
As I mentioned before, it took quite a while to steam.
My milk and I also had a couple of difficulties finding the steam one’s right position.
However, as you can see, this pour is beautiful, and that is, for the most part, all because of the milk.
It was super buttery, super creamy and super uniform in texture, which is fantastic.
Based on this pour alone, I would argue that the steam wand is the best part of this machine.
Now let’s take a peek at the backwater tank.
You’ll notice, I’ve only used about one-quarter of it, and we’ve pulled at least three to four shots.
I’ve also steamed an entire drink, and you still got quite a bit left.
All in all, this little machine packs quite the punch, and I was super impressed by it.
You can find it on Amazon here.
There are a couple of flaws that I mentioned before, like how much it moves from side to side when pulling out the portafilter and how small the steam wand is.
But those things are minor compared to the quality of the espresso, it pulls great shots, and the power of the steam wand is good.
When you are looking for a small kitchen counter espresso machine, that is budget-friendly, this is a great option.
As you notice in the Amazon box above there are Breville bambino + the Breville Barista Express.
So which one should you get?
Well, if you like to grind your beans, I personally would go for the Barista Express!
If that is not an important factor for you, or you want a separate grinder, then I think the Bambino is an absolute masterpiece for your kitchen counter.
Personally, I would go for the Barista Express, if you are looking for expresso machines in the cheaper end, as it`s just a little bit better on all fronts. But, the negative is that it`s twice as big, on your kitchen counter…
You can get the Barista Express on Amazon right here.
Hard to please everyone 🙂