Breville Bambino Plus BES500BSS (Stainless Steel)

Breville Bambino Plus BES500BSS (Stainless Steel)

 VerifiedMPNs:13246 and BES500BSS
Breville Bambino Plus BES500BSS (Stainless Steel)
4.1

29 reviews

PositivevsNegative
76%10%14%
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Product is used
  • Daily
  • Weekly
Build Quality
4.2
Value for Money
4.2
Ease of Use
4.3
Cleaning & Maintenance
4.4
Noise Level
3.8
Consistency
4.4
Milk Frothing
4.5

Reviews

29 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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Keith
Keith7 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
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
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Elmar Shar
Elmar SharSydney, NSW51 posts
  Verified BES500BSS
Build Quality
Value for Money
Ease of Use
Cleaning & Maintenance
Noise Level
Consistency
Milk Frothing
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
Anna
Anna2 posts
  BES500BSS

Great espresso machine with tips

Milk frother awesome. Makes great coffee. Some tips:
* Take the frother out of the milk before it stops and wipe it straight away with wet washer. Stops the end getting clogged and keeps it cleaner
* With the automatic purging, use a small cup and tip it down the sink. THen you don't need to empty the tray very often
* Use a small washer on top to stop vibrations of the above-mentioned cup and tamper
* Clean with these tablets (cheaper than Breville) https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/174461062567 Show details
Build Quality
Value for Money
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jill
jillSouth East Queensland, QLD4 posts
  BES500BSS

good machine with a couple of design flaws

Makes great coffee. there are two design flaws. one is mechanical the other program related.
When the pump is running for making coffee or heating the milk the vibrations make the coffee cups moves resulting in the coffee going straight in the drip tray instead of in your cup.
There is a head cleaning and descaling feature in the software program. both come up after 200 uses or so The descaling message can be overwritten but the head cleaning cannot. This means you have to perfrom the head cleaning operation before you can continue making coffee. this take 5 minutes minimum, not very handy when you have visitors and need to make more than 2 coffees. It should be possible to overwrite the head cleaning as well Show details
Noise Level
Waz
WazSouth East Queensland, QLD8 posts
  BES500BSS

Great little machine, only down side is the drip tray is too small

I’ve had this machine for a couple of weeks now and it’s a great little machine. Makes great coffee and the milk frother does a great job.

The only down side is the drip tray is just a little too small and it only takes a minor knock to dislodge it. Show details

Cleaning & Maintenance
Nic
Nicbrisbane57 posts
  BES500BSS
Value for Money
Noise Level
Carls
Carls10 posts
  BES500BSS

Awesome- if you don't have much bench space!

The machine is the ultimate pocket rocket! Coffee tastes great, we use it 3 times daily.
It's easy to clean, easy to fill up with water.
Milk frother heats up nice and hot.
Sometimes the single handle cup gets stuck but I think that's because I jam-pack the coffee in.
If you don't like bench clutter and want a minimalist machine- this is honestly worth every cent. No regrets. The silver machine looks so pretty on the kitchen counter too! Show details
Value for Money
Noise Level
Milk Frothing
Alan E
Alan ESydney, NSW
  BES500BSS
Value for Money
Noise Level
Consistency
Kelley R
Kelley RPerth, WA15 posts
  Verified BES500BSS
Build Quality
Value for Money
Ease of Use
Milk Frothing
Elees
EleesPerth, WA
  BES500BSS

The best purchase! Love it!

I love coffee and since having my first baby and being on maternity leave, I have found a new love for it! I wanted a machine that had a small footprint (I have limited bench space) but I didn’t want to compromise on quality. I settled for the Breville Bambino Plus and what a good choice that was! The machine itself is compact and semi automatic which makes it super easy to make my coffee with minimal cleaning and mess. The taste of the coffee is phenomenal (I make sure I buy good coffee beans which I’m sure would help) to the point where I would say it tastes the same as what I’d get at the cafe.
This machine has honestly been the best purchase, well worth the money.  Show details
Value for Money
Noise Level
Milk Frothing
Tim
TimSouth East Queensland, QLD4 posts
  Verified BES500BSS
Build Quality
Value for Money
Ease of Use
Cleaning & Maintenance
Noise Level
Consistency
Milk Frothing

Questions & Answers

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.

Kevin N.
Kevin N. · Bambino Plus BES500BSS (Stainless Steel)

Cleaning procedure

Gayle
Gayle  

Haven't had it long enough yet

vickimcgaw
vickimcgaw · Bambino Plus BES500BSS (Stainless Steel)

Hi. Breville Bambino Plus BES500BSS Stainless Steel coffee machine purchased 2 mths ago is not heating water, nor frothing milk. Thank you. Vicki

hutchyhouse
hutchyhouse  

Sounds defective, I'd return it under warranty

vickimcgaw
vickimcgaw  

Thank you for your response. Have contacted the company as well. A replacement sounds in order.

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
Visit official website
  • MPN: 13246 and BES500BSS
  • GTIN13: 9312432031509

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