Breville Bambino Spotlight

Written by
Chris Caruso
(we're on a mission)

Breville Bambino Espresso Machine


The Breville Bambino is a beacon for beginners stepping into the world of home espresso. Featuring a proprietary Thermojet-style thermoblock heating element, this machine is notable for its rapid heat-up time, being ready to brew in less than 5 seconds. Equipped with pre-infusion, volumetric shot control, and a PID-regulated brew group, the Bambino brings features typically reserved for higher-end machines into a more accessible price range. Despite its compact size, it does not compromise on the essentials needed to craft a perfect espresso.

In this machine spotlight, we will highlight the Breville Bambino, including its standout features and areas where it could be improved. We'll also compare the Bambino to the Breville Barista Express, another popular model, to help potential buyers understand their options. Additionally, we'll share where the Bambino can be purchased for those interested in making it their home espresso machine of choice.

Let's get brewing!

Table of Contents

Breville Bambino Machine Overview

Breville Bambino Features

Proprietary ThermoJet

The Breville Bambino utilizes a proprietary Thermojet-style thermoblock heating element, which allows for an impressive heat-up time of less than 5 seconds. This fast heating is particularly beneficial for those with busy mornings or anyone who appreciates the convenience of quickly making espresso without waiting.

The vibration pump, while being compact and affordable, complements the thermoblock by providing the necessary pressure for espresso extraction without the higher cost and complexity of a rotary pump. Plus, the Bambino has a 9-bar valve to ensure the coffee is exposed to the correct pressure every time.

Button Activation

The Bambino is activated via a button interface, making it straightforward and user-friendly. This choice of activation aligns with its beginner-friendly design, prioritizing simplicity and ease of use over more complex options. The Bambino has four buttons - one for a single shot, one for a double shot, and two smaller buttons for hot water and steam.

Bambino includes a dual-purpose steam wand for frothing milk and outputting hot water, expanding its capability beyond just espresso shots to a variety of coffee beverages, including lattes, cappuccinos, or even lattes.

PID Controller

One of the most impressive features is a PID controller, which regulates water temperature throughout the shot and steam. A PID is a little computer that calculates temperature swings and adjusts accordingly. It has become the gold standard for temperature regulation in espresso machines.

The inclusion of a PID in the Bambino is impressive, as it is a feature not always found in machines at this price point. While the Bambino does not offer individual degree temperature control, the PID system still represents a significant advantage in maintaining consistent brewing temperatures, ensuring that each shot of espresso is extracted with precision.

What Makes the Breville Bambino Special?

Rapid Heat-Up

The Bambino's Thermojet heating system is a standout feature, offering rapid heat-up times that are ideal for espresso enthusiasts who don't want to wait. Most entry-level machines use classic single boilers that take 5-15 minutes to heat. The Bambino's fast heating is not only convenient but also ensures that the machine is always ready when you are, making it perfect for those morning rushes or when entertaining guests.


With pre-infusion, the Bambino gently wets the coffee grounds before full extraction begins. This process helps ensure a more even extraction and is particularly beneficial for light roast coffees, which can be more challenging to extract evenly.

The Bambino offers controllable pre-infusion, ranging from 8-10 seconds. While this is not a huge range of control, it offers 90% of what any home barista needs to get the most out of their machine.

Volumetric Control

The Bambino's volumetric control allows users to set and save their preferred volume for espresso shots, offering a level of customization and consistency that is invaluable for creating the perfect espresso every time. This feature simplifies the brewing process and ensures that users can repeat their desired results with ease.

The Bambino can also run shots in manual mode for baristas who want more control. This dual brew option is a staple of Breville products, and it is nice to see it on their most affordable offering.

What is Missing on the Breville Bambino?

Breville Bambino Missing Features 2024

Durable Build

Perhaps the biggest downside of the Bambino is the overall build quality. While the compact footprint is nice, its lightweight and overall mediocre quality components give it an entry-level feel. While it offers significantly more options than the comparatively priced Gaggia Classic, it loses out on durability and heft.

PID Degree Control

While the Bambino benefits from PID temperature control for stability, the lack of individual degree control means users have less flexibility in experimenting with and optimizing their espresso extractions based on temperature variations. This feature is often sought after by enthusiasts looking to fine-tune their brewing parameters.

In addition, some baristas complain that the Bambino cannot reach the highest temperatures required to brew with light specialty roasts. One workaround is to run blank shots (without coffee) through the machine to heat all of the aluminum components, including the portafilter.

Comparison: Breville Bambino vs. Breville Barista Express

Breville Bambino vs. Ascaso Steel Duo

Heating Element and Pump

Both the Breville Bambino and the Breville Barista Express employ thermoblock heating systems, ensuring rapid heat-up times. Both machines utilize vibration pumps, which are known for their affordability and compact design. Functionally, the Bambino and Express are the same internally.

Features & Grinder

Of course, the biggest difference between the two machines is the inclusion of the integrated grinder on the Barista Express. While the inclusion of a grinder may be less intimidating to new baristas, buying the Bambino with a separate grinder nets a better value setup. Look to a grinder like the Baratza Encore ESP or DF54 to get better quality at a more affordable price.

Otherwise, both machines exhibit similar features, including volumetric shots, rapid heat-up, and PID regulation. The Express features a pressure gauge, which is nice to have but far from necessary.

Design and Build

The Bambino is significantly more compact than the Barista Express, making it an ideal choice for users with limited counter space. If you are just starting out in espresso and are unsure if you want to commit to the entire grinding and brewing process, the compact Bambino can be used with pre-ground coffee, getting you espresso in small spaces without too much investment.

Pricing and Availability


The Breville Bambino is available for purchase in the United States through reputable retailers such as Curated, Seattle Coffee Gear, and Amazon. With an MSRP of $299, it offers an accessible entry point into the world of home espresso making, balancing cost with performance and features. Whether you're a beginner looking to explore espresso at home or seeking a compact and efficient machine, the Bambino presents a compelling option.

The Final Sip

If you are looking to dip your toes into the world of home espresso, the Bambino is hard to beat. Using a proprietary Thermojet-style heating element, the Bambino has a rapid heat-up and is ready to brew in less than 60 seconds. The Bambino also comes with pre-infusion, volumetric shot control, and a PID-regulated brew group, features usually reserved for more high-end machines. While the Bambino may lack all the features found on a more prosumer-tier machine, it is often my go-to recommendation in the $300-500 price range.

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