Breville Bambino Plus vs Barista Express: A Full Comparison

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Are you an avid coffee enthusiast looking to elevate your home brewing game? The battle between the Breville Bambino Plus and Barista Express can make your decision-making process a bit daunting.

Here is the short answer: We recommend the Breville Bambino Plus over the Breville Barista Express for its compact size, user-friendly features, and affordability.

While the Barista Express offers a built-in grinder, the Bambino Plus allows for the option of purchasing a separate grinder that can offer superior performance at a lower overall cost.

In this blog post, we delve into a comprehensive comparison between these two popular espresso machines.

Whether you prioritize convenience or crave a hands-on brewing experience, join us as we explore the key features, functionalities, and differences that set these machines apart.

By the end, you’ll have a clear understanding of which espresso machine suits your brewing style and preferences. Let’s dive in!

SpecificationBreville Bambino PlusBreville Barista Express
Machine TypeSemi-automaticSemi-automatic
Built-in GrinderNoYes
Pressure GaugeNoYes
Dose Control GrindingNo Yes
Removable Water ReservoirNo Yes
Milk FrotherAutomaticManual
Portafilter TypePressurizedPressurized & Non-pressurized
Water Tank Capacity64 oz (1.9 L)67 oz (2 L)
Heating SystemThermojetThermocoil
Pre-infusion FeatureYesYes
Dimensions (W x D x H)12.5 x 7.6 x 12.2 Inches12.5 x 12.6 x 13.1 Inches
Weight3.1 Pounds23 Pounds
PriceCheaperMore Expensive

Overview of the Breville Bambino Plus: A Compact Espresso Marvel

The Breville Bambino Plus is a remarkable upgrade from its predecessor, the original Breville Bambino machine. With added automatic features, this compact espresso machine offers a convenient and professional brewing experience without overwhelming your kitchen space.

Equipped with a powerful hands-free automatic steam wand, the Bambino Plus effortlessly creates microfoam milk, ideal for crafting beautiful latte art.

Its ThermoJet heating system ensures a swift start-up time of just 3 seconds, allowing you to indulge in a delightful espresso experience without delay.

One of the standout features of the Breville Bambino Plus is its built-in PID and preinfusion capabilities, typically found in more expensive machines.

These features contribute to the machine’s ability to pull exceptional shots, delivering full-bodied flavors with every brew.

Using a 54mm stainless steel portafilter, the Bambino Plus accommodates 18 grams of coffee, ensuring a robust and flavorful extraction.

Despite its compact size, this espresso machine appeals to both novice and professional baristas, offering a professional feel coupled with user-friendly controls.

While the Breville Bambino Plus is more affordable compared to other options in Breville’s lineup, it’s worth noting that additional coffee gear, such as a coffee grinder, may need to be purchased separately.

Despite this, this espresso marvel offers an incredible brewing experience, making it an excellent choice for those seeking high-quality shots with ease and style.


  • Built-in PID and preinfusion, typically found in more expensive machines
  • Automatic milk frothing for effortless cappuccinos and lattes
  • Compact size, ideal for limited counter space
  • Easy to use with pre-set push-button controls
  • Reliable and consistent in brewing espresso and other coffee drinks
  • Abundant customization options for personalized brews
  • Rapid heating, allowing for quick startup
  • Beginner-friendly, making it perfect for those new to espresso brewing
  • Affordable compared to other Breville Espresso machines


  • No built-in grinder, requiring a separate purchase
  • Small drip tray that needs regular cleaning to prevent overflow
  • Limited coffee strength adjustments compared to some other machines

An Overview of the Breville Barista Express: A Beginner’s Brewing Companion

The Breville Barista Express stands as a popular choice among home baristas seeking an affordable yet versatile domestic espresso machine. Designed with novice users in mind, this machine offers a range of brewing controls without overwhelming beginners in the process.

Visually appealing and constructed with a robust stainless steel housing, the Barista Express exudes a sense of durability and quality.

Its weighty design further enhances the feeling of a professional-grade espresso experience right in your kitchen.

One notable distinction between the Breville Barista Express and the Bambino Plus lies in the built-in conical burr grinder.

With the Barista Express, you have the convenience of grinding fresh beans directly from the bean hopper atop the machine.

This allows you to fill the portafilter with your desired dose of coffee, adding a touch of customization to your brewing routine.

The Barista Express empowers you with significant control over the brewing process, enabling the customization of espresso shots according to your taste preferences.

Experiment with different grind sizes, extraction times, and water temperature to achieve your desired flavor profile.

Setting itself apart from similar machines, the Breville Barista Express features an integrated charcoal filter within the water tank.

This unique feature helps to purify the water used for brewing, enhancing the overall taste and quality of your espresso.

In summary, the Breville Barista Express serves as an excellent option for espresso enthusiasts curious about home brewing.

Its integrated grinder, user-friendly controls, and sturdy construction make it an accessible choice for those seeking to streamline their espresso-making process without the need for piecing together individual components.


  • Built-in grinder for fresh coffee bean grinding, crucial for excellent espresso
  • Ideal for dedicated espresso enthusiasts seeking a high-quality machine
  • Includes all necessary accessories for a complete brewing experience
  • Pressure gauge aids in precise extraction
  • User-friendly frother creates elegant texture for espresso shots
  • Thermocoil heating system ensures fast heating times
  • Temperature control feature for optimal water temperature during brewing


  • Some plastic components in the machine’s construction
  • Bulky size requires adequate counter space
  • Regular maintenance is necessary to prevent the accumulation of leftover grounds and mess, as neglect may result in increased noise levels

Breville Bambino Plus vs Barista Express: Key Differences

In this subsection, we’ll explore the key differences that set these two popular machines apart. Let’s discover which machine aligns best with your espresso brewing aspirations.

Design Comparison: Breville Bambino Plus vs. Barista Express

The Breville Bambino Plus stands out with its smaller and more compact footprint, making it an excellent option for those with limited counter space. Its sleek and minimalist design adds a touch of elegance to any kitchen.

However, it’s worth noting that the compact size advantage is diminished if you already have a separate grinder taking up counter space.

On the other hand, the Breville Barista Express boasts a larger and more substantial design. While it takes up more space on the counter, this size accommodates the built-in grinder, which is a notable feature of the Barista Express.

The rugged stainless steel construction enhances its durability and gives it a professional appearance, elevating the overall aesthetic of your coffee setup.

Consider your kitchen layout and available counter space when choosing between the Breville Bambino Plus and Barista Express. If space is a concern, the Bambino Plus offers a compact solution.

However, if you value the convenience of an integrated grinder and appreciate a robust and visually striking machine, the Barista Express might be the ideal choice.

Performance Comparison: Breville Bambino Plus vs Barista Express

When it comes to performance, the Breville Bambino Plus and Barista Express showcase distinct features that cater to different brewing preferences.

The Barista Express takes the spotlight with its built-in grinder, adjustable shot volume settings, and a visible pressure gauge.

This combination provides greater control over espresso taste and volume, allowing for customized brews tailored to your liking.

It excels in producing authentic espresso shots and exquisite milk foam, elevating your coffee experience to new heights.

On the other hand, the Breville Bambino Plus offers a more streamlined and automated brewing process.

With pre-set push-button controls, it ensures fast and convenient brews without compromising on taste.

Despite its compact size, the Bambino Plus surprises both novice and professional baristas with its ability to pull excellent shots and deliver satisfying results.

In terms of heating systems, the Breville Barista Express relies on a thermocoil heating system, while the Breville Bambino Plus employs a thermojet heating system.

While both machines utilize “Thermo” technology for heating, the Bambino Plus boasts an impressive start-up time of just 3 seconds, compared to the Barista Express’s 40 seconds.

Although this time difference has no impact on the espresso flavor, it highlights the Bambino Plus’s quick readiness for brewing.

Ultimately, if you seek the utmost control over the brewing process and crave the tastiest flavor in your coffee, the Barista Express emerges as the top choice.

Its additional buttons allow for precise adjustments, providing an immersive and personalized brewing experience.

From creamy lattes to velvety cappuccinos, the Barista Express opens up a world of coffee possibilities.

Dose Control Comparison: Breville Bambino Plus vs Barista Express

The Barista Express stands out with its adjustable brew size and visible pressure gauge, offering a comprehensive “dial-in” experience for your espresso shots.

With the ability to adjust the brew size and a range of grind settings on the grind amount dial, you have maximum control over the concentration and flavor of your espresso.

This direct dose control, grinding the coffee beans directly into the portafilter, allows for precision and consistency in your brewing process.

On the other hand, the Breville Bambino Plus takes a more simplified approach. It lacks adjustable shot volume settings and a visible pressure gauge.

While it follows the same 4-level formula as the Barista Express to intensify the flavor and texture of the coffee, it does not offer the same level of control.

The Bambino Plus does provide the option to manually override and decide the duration of a single or double shot, but that is the extent of its dose control capabilities.

In terms of convenience, the Bambino Plus offers a streamlined process, eliminating the need to measure out the dose by hand or use a coffee scale.

However, if you prefer a more hands-on, authentic barista experience, the Barista Express with its grind amount dial, intuitive button interface, and analog gauge delivers precisely that.

When it comes to dose control, the Breville Barista Express grants you the freedom to fine-tune every aspect of your espresso, while the Bambino Plus offers a simpler, more automated approach.

Milk Frothing Comparison: Breville Bambino Plus vs Barista Express

When it comes to milk frothing, both the Breville Bambino Plus and Barista Express offer capabilities to create barista-quality milk for your coffee drinks.

The Breville Bambino Plus features an automatic milk frother that simplifies the milk texturing process.

With just a few button presses, you can place your milk pitcher under the steam wand, select the desired milk temperature and texture, and let the machine do the rest.

This automatic frother excels in creating perfectly textured milk that closely resembles what you would find in a cafe latte or cappuccino. It’s an ideal option for beginners who want to achieve cafe-quality drinks with ease and convenience.

In contrast, the Breville Barista Express comes with a manual steam wand that requires you to manually texture your milk.

This manual approach allows for more hands-on control and the opportunity to learn the art of milk texturing for latte art and specialty coffee creations.

While it may take some practice to master, the manual steam wand on the Barista Express offers greater flexibility and customization in achieving the desired milk texture and consistency.

When it comes to our preference, the steam wand on the Breville Bambino Plus stands out.

It consistently produces hot and creamy milk with adjustable texture and temperature settings.

With the Bambino Plus, you can effortlessly achieve barista-quality results at the press of a button.

Additionally, the auto-purge setting of the Bambino Plus ensures the steam wand is self-cleaned after each use, maintaining cleanliness and convenience.

Portafilter Comparison: Breville Bambino Plus vs. Barista Express

The Breville Bambino Plus comes with pressurized portafilter baskets only. This design choice limits the ability to brew with freshly ground coffee beans, as the pressurized baskets are intended for use with pre-ground coffee.

To brew with fresh coffee, you would need to purchase 54mm non-pressurized portafilter baskets separately, which typically cost around $25.

It’s important to consider this additional cost, along with a separate grinder if needed, when evaluating the value for money of choosing the Breville Bambino Plus.

In contrast, the Breville Barista Express provides greater versatility in its portafilter options.

It includes both pressurized and non-pressurized portafilter baskets, allowing you to choose the brewing method that suits your preference and skill level.

This flexibility is advantageous if you want to explore the nuances of brewing with fresh coffee beans and achieve a higher level of control over your espresso shots.

Furthermore, the Barista Express offers a convenient feature with its magnetic tamper. After tamping, the tamper can be easily pushed back into the machine, providing a tidy and convenient storage solution.

Key Similarities: Breville Bambino Plus vs Barista Express

High-Quality Steam Wands for Milk Frothing

Both the Breville Bambino Plus and Barista Express feature high-quality steam wands that excel in milk frothing.

The Bambino Plus offers the convenience of automatic milk texturing, allowing you to achieve perfectly textured milk with just a few button presses.

On the other hand, the Barista Express provides a manual milk texturing experience, giving you the opportunity to hone your skills and create customized milk textures for latte art and specialty drinks.

Advanced Brewing Control with PIDs and Over-Pressure Valves

Both machines are equipped with PIDs (Proportional-Integral-Derivative) and over-pressure valves, ensuring precise control over brewing pressure and temperature.

This advanced technology optimizes the espresso extraction process, resulting in consistently high-quality espresso.

Both the Bambino Plus and Barista Express should deliver comparable espresso quality if you have a grinder for the Bambino Plus that is of the same quality compared to the Barista Express.

Similar Control Settings for Customization

Both machines offer similar control settings, including options for one or two shots, hot water, and steam.

The Barista Express, with its additional buttons, provides more control over the taste and volume of your espresso.

Whether you prefer a single shot or a double shot, both machines allow you to tailor your coffee to your desired strength and flavor profile.

Authentic Barista Experience with Fresh Coffee

Both the Breville Bambino Plus and Barista Express utilize fresh coffee, allowing you to enjoy the rich flavors and aroma of freshly ground beans.

They come with a 54mm portafilter and tamper, ensuring a consistent extraction and providing an authentic barista experience at home.

With these machines, you have the opportunity to explore different coffee beans and grind sizes to achieve your preferred espresso profile.

Quality Build and Customer Support

While both machines have an external build quality that may feel plasticky, their internal components are of high quality, ensuring reliable performance and durability.

Breville’s customer support is known for being helpful and responsive, should any issues arise with your machine.

You can rely on their support to address any concerns and ensure a satisfactory experience.

Suitable for Beginners with Quiet and Consistent Operation

With their 15-bar pump pressure, both the Breville Bambino Plus and Barista Express provide an ideal starting point for beginners in the world of espresso making.

These machines maintain a quiet and consistent operation, allowing you to focus on learning and perfecting your brewing skills.

Programmability features offer flexibility in creating your favorite espresso-based drinks with ease.

Verdict: Which Is The Better Option?

When comparing the Breville Bambino Plus and Barista Express, it becomes evident that both machines offer impressive features and capabilities.

However, we believe that the Breville Bambino Plus edges out as the better option for several reasons.

Firstly, the Bambino Plus provides a compact and space-saving design, making it an ideal choice for those with limited counter space. Its smaller footprint allows for easy integration into any kitchen setup without sacrificing functionality.

Furthermore, the Bambino Plus offers the convenience of automatic milk texturing, allowing even beginners to achieve barista-quality milk froth with minimal effort.

This feature is especially appealing for those seeking a hassle-free coffee-making experience without compromising on taste and texture.

Moreover, you could simply buy an external grinder for the Bambino Plus and it would offer pretty much the same capabilities as the Barista Express while still being cheaper.

While the Barista Express includes a built-in grinder, it is worth noting that you can purchase a separate grinder, such as the Breville Dose Control Pro or the Breville Smart Grinder Pro, which surpasses the capabilities of the Barista Express’ inbuilt grinder.


Which works out cheaper overall, the Bambnio Plus or Barista Express?

In terms of overall cost, opting for the Breville Bambino Plus and a separate grinder is the more economical choice compared to the Breville Barista Express.

While the Bambino Plus lacks a built-in grinder, it comes with a $300 lower price tag than the Barista Express.

However, the grinder integrated into the Barista Express is not highly regarded, and for the price difference, you can invest in a superior grinder.

The Breville Smart Grinder Pro, for instance, is a versatile grinder that falls well below the $300 price gap.

It offers compatibility with various brewing methods, including drip coffee, French press, and pour-over, providing you with a more comprehensive grinding solution.

Therefore, when considering the overall cost and the opportunity to acquire a better quality grinder, the Breville Bambino Plus, in combination with a separate grinder like the Smart Grinder Pro, proves to be a more cost-effective option than the Barista Express.

Is the Breville Bambino Plus suitable for beginners?

Yes, the Breville Bambino Plus is a great option for beginners. It offers pre-set push-button controls and automatic milk frothing, making it easy to use and achieve consistent results.

Can I adjust the shot volume on the Breville Bambino Plus?

No, the Breville Bambino Plus does not have adjustable shot volume settings. However, you can manually override the machine to determine the length of a single or double shot.

Does the Breville Barista Express come with a built-in grinder?

Yes, the Breville Barista Express comes with a built-in grinder. It includes both pressurized and non-pressurized portafilter baskets, allowing you to brew with fresh coffee beans.

Can I create latte art with the Breville Bambino Plus?

Yes, while the Breville Bambino Plus has an automatic milk frother that creates perfectly textured milk, it may not offer the same level of control for creating intricate latte art designs compared to the manual steam wand on the Barista Express.

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Jacob Harris

Jacob is a coffee enthusiast who turned his passion into a career. As the owner and editor of Karma Coffee Cafe, he shares his extensive knowledge and recommendations, captivating fellow coffee lovers.

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