3Breville Bambino Plus BES500

Breville Bambino Plus BES500

 Verified
3Breville Bambino Plus BES500
3.9

48 reviews

PositivevsNegative
73% · 359 · 19%
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Product is used
  • Daily
  • Several times a week
  • Weekly
Build Quality
4.1
Value for Money
4.1
Ease of Use
4.3
Cleaning & Maintenance
4.3
Noise Level
3.7
Consistency
4.5
Milk Frothing
4.4

Reviews

48 reviews
BanjoPaterson
BanjoPatersonForrest 2603, ACT114 posts
  Verified Top Review BES500BSS

It's a Little Bit Impressive

Introduction
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Do you dream of making a quick cappuccino before reading the paper or browsing Facebook? If so, the Breville Bambino Plus MAY be the machine for you! It is an excellent brewer with a small footprint.

What is the Breville Bambino Plus?
-----------------------------------
The Breville Bambino Plus occupies a curious niche between the pod machines, such as the Nespresso, and serious entry-level home Barista machines, such as the Gaggia Classic Pro or Rancilio Silvia.

And it does so rather well.

It allows the home barista more control over coffee, coffee grind (should you choose to grind your own), dose, tamp pressure and extraction time -- although the last has defaults -- than a coffee pod appliance, like the Nespresso or its Aldi equivalent. The results are rewarding for people who don't have time, money or inclination to delve into the whole coffee hobby, such as those who buy more expensive machines, like a Gaggia Classic Pro or the Rancilio Silvia.

But that's not to say the coffee is far worse. On the contrary, the Bambino is an excellent example of how spending more money on coffee machines quickly becomes a case of diminishing returns. In fact, it brews coffee better than it ought to.

My Purchase
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A disclaimer. I bought the Bambino from Gray's online auction site as a 'retail return'. Auctions often mean many things, some of which are not good. Happily, in my case, the machine was in perfect working order barring a slight discolouration on one side. Nevertheless, the term "caveat emptor" should be on the mind of anyone bidding in these auctions.

What You Get
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The Bambino is a coffee machine with a narrow and short footprint. A 54mm portafilter with plastic insert; two dual wall baskets - one single dose and the other double; a stainless steel jug; a tamp; a blind filter; a 'razor' tool to help measure the dose; and two cleaning tablets.

The build quality is suitable as an appliance, albeit with plastic and thin stainless steel bits. The heating element is a 'thermojet', a type of thermocoil, which has a metal tube running through a heated metal block. The main advantage of a thermojet over the usual thermoblock, which doesn't house a metal tube but instead has a cut-out channel for the water, is a likely improvement of the appliance's longevity. The joining of two metal blocks in a thermoblock can mean leakage over time if the seal weakens. This leakage should not, I believe, happen so readily with a thermojet.

The Bambino has a PID for a 93-degree C brew at 9 bars of pressure. Most home baristas see this as an ideal temperature and pressure set-up. While you cannot change these settings, unlike some higher-end espresso machines, they are good values to use. A temperature probe is located on the base of the drip tray and allows the Bambino to steam milk automatically. Unlike most inexpensive coffee machines, the Bambino has a three-way solenoid valve for back flushing.

The Bambino will automatically prompt for back flushing and de-scaling cycles after a set number of uses by cryptically flashing lights on its front. You need the manual to decipher these.

The drip tray itself is small, but removes easily and there is a float to show when it is overfull.

Buttons
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Across the top of the Bambino are three horizontal buttons and two vertical buttons close to the steam wand. The first two are for single shot and double shot espressos. The buttons allow for a volumetric flow, which can be re-programmed or remain at a default setting. The home barista can also manually control the flow.

The third button starts the steaming function, and the two horizontal buttons are for the milk temperature (top) and milk texture (bottom). The three milk temperature settings are about 50 degrees C (one light), 60 (two lights) and 70 degrees (three lights). The three milk texture settings are smooth, from latte art (one light) to full-body cappuccino (three lights).

Press the double shot button to turn the Bambino on, and both the single shot plus steam button to turn it off. I can vouch that, once turned on, it takes about 3 seconds to get up to temperature.

Espresso
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I brewed espressos using both home-ground and store-bought, pre-ground coffee. I used the dual wall filter basket, although you can buy regular single wall baskets and better portafilters for the Breville. One feature of the Bambino is pre-infusion, which allows a small dose of water at low pressure to wet the coffee puck.

The Breville has a dosage 'razor', a distribution tool allowing one to size the dose. I used it once and shelved it. I recommend, for best results, buying and using a small set of coffee scales. In both cases, I aimed for 16 grams of coffee for a 32-gram shot with a 25-35 second brew time.

The result from my own finely ground coffee in the dual wall filter basket was good to excellent. While I pulled shots from my Rancilio Silvia with more texture and clarity, they're not proportionally better for the price differential. The espresso quality from the Bambino was at least as good, if not better than from most cafes -- specialty cafes excluded.

However, the result from pre-ground coffee was mundane. I couldn't hit the flow with time, yet still achieved a 'crema' from the pressurised basket. The difference is that pre-ground coffee is better for use as a base for a cappuccino, which leads nicely to milk-steaming...

Cappuccino
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The milk pitcher provided by Breville is designed to be placed on the temperature probe at the base of the drip tray. It's essential to position the stainless steel milk pitcher ON the temperature probe; otherwise, it continues steaming without stopping.

I was sceptical at first but found it formed an excellent foam in a quick time. I recommend using the milk's mid-points (two lights for temperature; two for texture). The steam wand only moves up and down -- no other direction -- and after steaming, the Bambino auto-purges the steam wand.

There is an ability to steam manually, should you want to, but this seems to go against the intended use of the Bambino Plus, which is excellent coffee with minimal input. This brings me to the workflow and the best reasons to buy the Bambino...

Why Would You Buy It?
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The Bambino is great if you want a quick cappuccino or espresso in the morning without too much fuss. In the time it took me to make a cappuccino on the Bambino and clean it, my Rancilio Silvia was still in its 15-20 minute boiler warm-up.

Yet the quality of the Bambino's coffee was not far off what one might expect from the more expensive Rancilio Silvia. So the Bambino wins concerning ease of use and coffee quality, and it makes a persuasive argument at its price point.

Why Wouldn't You Buy It?
--------------------------
The reasons to buy more expensive machines, such as the Silvia or even Gaggia Classic Pro, are for finer control over the coffee inputs and build quality/serviceability.

First, what do I mean by build quality? While the Breville Bambino Plus is well built, I suspect it's not designed to last decades nor be easily serviceable by the home barista. There exist decades-old Gaggias and Rancilios because you can open them up and replace components, including the boiler. The Gaggia and Rancilio, and other espresso machines, are designed to be easy to service on and upgrade.

If something goes awry with the Bambino outside of the warranty period, then the average home user will not be able to open it up and service it. That's not to say the Bambino won't last years, if not decades, but that after the warranty period, should it fail, then the cost to repair it may prove too much over the cost to replace it.

The second reason is control. Many expensive espresso machines allow the barista control over brew pressures, brew temperatures and water flow. For example, the Decent DE1PRO allows all or some of these parameters to alter during the brew cycle. While this can be rewarding, it is often time-consuming and, please note, expensive.

Conclusions
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I brewed some exceptional espresso shots and excellent cappuccinos. The workflow was quick, which is good if you are time constrained in the morning, and the quality is as good as, if not better than, most cafe bought coffee. While the Bambino's design is primarily for those who want a high-quality brew with minimal fuss, it could also be a start to a wonderful coffee journey.

If you want the best from the Breville Bambino Plus, I recommend buying a set of scales and a good grinder. That way, if you venture into a more serious coffee hobby and purchase higher-end machines, you won't have to buy these. Yet, the espresso quality and convenience from the Bambino Plus begs the question: why would anyone upgrade?

I'm not sure. It sounds like a two-cappuccino problem.

Purchased in at GraysOnline.

  • Product is used: Daily
  • Grinder: Rancilio Rocky SD (Doserless)
Build Quality
Value for Money
Ease of Use
Cleaning & Maintenance
Noise Level
Consistency
Milk Frothing
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Jo
JoQueensland3 posts
  BES500BSS
Value for Money
Ease of Use
Cleaning & Maintenance
Noise Level
Maggie3029
Maggie3029Greater Melbourne (Outer), VIC165 posts
  Verified BES500BTR

Makes the best coffee and makes it hot

To say I’m impressed is an understatement. This compact little machine makes brilliant coffee. It also makes HOT coffee not lukewarm. It heats up and is ready to go in 3 seconds. I really can’t fault it. I feel like the quality of coffee pods has gone off lately, and the pod machines don’t make piping hot coffee. The Bambino Plus does. It’s quick, easy, tastes great and is piping hot. It is also
easy to clean. Of course there’s a bit more cleaning involved than with a pod machine, but the extra effort required is well worth it. You will get a piping hot satisfying coffee with this amazing little machine.
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Keith
Keith8 posts
  BES500BSS

Cleaning process is not a great experience

While I like the coffee making process and milk frothier the cleaning process is a real pain. You can be in the middle of making a coffee then all of the sudden it stops and you have to commence the cleaning process before you can commence making the coffee again.

Also the drip tray is far to small and overflows easily. I would not purchase this particular model again.

Breville need to do a lot better in making the cleaning process more intuitive giving the user a warning in advance that it will either require a cleaning cycle or descaling. Show details

Build Quality
Value for Money
Ease of Use
Cleaning & Maintenance
Noise Level
Milk Frothing
Hemsley
HemsleySouth East Queensland, QLD12 posts
  BES500BSS
Build Quality
Noise Level
Holly Clegg
Holly Clegg3 posts
  BES500SST
Build Quality
Value for Money
Chris
Chris
  BES500BTR

Used to be great, now rubbish

I bought the stainless steel model about maybe 4 years ago. It’s a wonderful machine, still going great. More recently I bought the black truffle machine for use in a different location. It was terrible from the start: the auto milk frothing didn’t work. The retailer sent it away for repair but that didn’t help, so the retailer replaced it with a new one: the auto milk frothing didn’t work on that one either. The retailer replaced it again and, guess what, the third one had exactly the same problem. Now the retailer has refunded my money. Either this was a terrible run of luck (unlikely) or the manufacturer has changed the specs of this machine since I bought the original a few years ago. Avoid. Show details
El
El3 posts
  Verified BES500BTR
Build Quality
Ease of Use
Noise Level
Consistency
Jeff C - Australia
Jeff C - AustraliaSouth East Queensland, QLD36 posts
  Verified BES500BTR
Build Quality
Value for Money
Ease of Use
Cleaning & Maintenance
Noise Level
Consistency
Milk Frothing
JGB
JGBPerth, WA17 posts
  BES500BSS

Looking good

I have been using the Breville Bambino Plus for over two weeks now and I agree with other reviewers that it's not easy to see the bottom tray filled up so quickly with the automatic purging and also the milk splatter with the auto steam wand cleaning.
I have resolved that by using a small jug and also a small jar for the steam wand cleaning as shown in the two video clips. The automatic purging uses 75ml of water each time, now I have decided to press it again to stop after just a few seconds which is enough to clear the coffee debris.
Otherwise, I am quite happy with it, we are enjoying good Cappuccino. Show details
Build Quality
Noise Level
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AGRADEMECHANIC
AGRADEMECHANICGreater Melbourne (Outer), VIC114 posts
  BES500SST

WHY.SUCH.A.BASIC.MISTAKE?

Although only a week old and working like it should after my wife bought it home, I wonder why they would make the BASIC MISTAKE of making the water tank.100%.clear.for.the.daylight.to."attack".the.water.and.promote.algae?????????
Elmar Shar
Elmar SharSydney, NSW51 posts
  Verified BES500BSS
Build Quality
Value for Money
Ease of Use
Cleaning & Maintenance
Noise Level
Consistency
Milk Frothing
Kfarrar
Kfarrar5 posts
  BES500BTR

So disappointed with this machine

After reading all the reviews that said this was easy to use all I want to do is throw it in the bin..so disappointed. Only 30mls coffee comes out of double shot. I read how to change it 2 60mls and it worked once then back to 30 mls. Now today I turned it on and the 2 coffee settings keep flashing. The temp of the milk even though set on the lowest temp came out at 90c. What a waste of $600. Show details
Build Quality
Cleaning & Maintenance
Noise Level
Consistency
Douha M.
Douha M.
  BES500SST

Best investment I’ve ever made

If you’re a mum, with infants/toddlers and don’t want to leave the house, this is the best thing you can buy if you need your coffee every morning! I’ve had this for over a year now, and I cannot go a day without it! Sure I’ll have cafe coffee here and there but at the times you need a warm hug the most, this is it!! I have turned so many family members to investing in this and they too have never looked back! So much better than coffee pod machines too! Easy to do and easy to clean, pretty to look at and super simple.
I was also tossing between this one and the smeg machine, but I don’t regret this purchase. The milk frother does it all on its own and it’s so much easier to understand too. Show details
Noise Level
Suz57
Suz57Perth, WA3 posts
  BES500BSS

Compact! Great machine

I wanted a compact coffee machine for use at home and to take in our van. I'm so happy with it. Easy to use, compact, easy to clean, takes minimum bench space.The milk throther has 3 settings, heats milk perfect. Show details

Questions & Answers

SPJ
SPJ · Bambino Plus BES500

We just bought a Bambino Plus. For some reason, when I select the 2 shot setting, I get only one shot. Then I tried re-setting the machine, and now when I select the 2-shot, it shoots out a full 250 ml cup!
Frustrating and disappointing as it is brand new and we paid over $500 for it. I realize that is not a lot to spend on an espresso machine, but I expected better performance after reading several positive reviews on Amazon.
Does anyone know what I can do to fix this problem?
Thanks!

Maggie3029
Maggie3029  
SPJ
SPJ  

Thank you!

Ed B
Ed B · Bambino Plus BES500

Our steamer function seems to be dying; bought our machine only 4-5 months ago. We have done the cleaning and descaling procedures and a reset to factory settings.
It started off with temp and froth lights flashing, supposedly indicating that the steamer was clogged, which it was not. Over the next few days the steamer switches off increasingly faster, almost as if the thermosensor erroneously indicates the milk has been properly heated, or there is backpressure is building up to switch the system off.

Krys
Krys · Bambino Plus BES500BSS (Stainless Steel)

After owning a breville dual boiler for several years we decided to try a small machine. Purchased the bambino plus in early April and by early May the steam wand failed due to no power. Tried everything suggested then received a replacement. Less than one month later after being really pleased with our morning coffees, same thing happened. Coffee poured ok but when I went to froth the milk - dead. No power. No light for the steam wand and no lights for temperature or froth. I went through the cleaning process and reset the machine with no joy. All I have is the one and two cup lights flashing. I have contacted breville and been told that this very unusual. Is it worth getting another replacement? Am I doing something wrong? I only make two or three cups of coffee each day. Any advice?

Jeff C - Australia
Jeff C - Australia  
Krys
Krys  

Thanks for that Jeff. Have done all of the above a couple of times over. Read various comments and suggestions online. Reset. Turned off overnight and had another attempt to no avail.

Details

Compare all Breville Bambino Plus BES500 listings
CategorySemi-Automatic and Manual Coffee MachinesSemi-Automatic and Manual Coffee MachinesSemi-Automatic and Manual Coffee Machines
Price (RRP) $599.95$599.95$599.95
Input Power1,600 W1,600 W1,600 W
Dishwasher Safe PartsNoNoNo
Water Tank Capacity1.9 L1.9 L1.9 L
Dimensions 310 x 195 x 320 mm310 x 195 x 320 mm310 x 195 x 320 mm
Weight5 kg5 kg5 kg
Milk FrotherSteam WandSteam WandSteam Wand
Bean GrinderNoneNoneNone
Manufacturer Warranty2 year(s)2 year(s)2 year(s)
Colour / FinishStainless SteelSea SaltBlack Truffle
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