I’ve Used the Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Maker Every Day for the Past Two Years—Here’s My Review

The Breville Bambino Plus espresso machine is the secret to turning your home into your own coffee shop.

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breville espresso machine on a counter with the taste of home we tried it logoNicole Doster/Taste of Home

Late one night my partner asked me, “What’s the one thing in the house you couldn’t live without?” Before I had a moment to answer, he blurted, “I’ll go first: our coffee maker.” I laughed with a snort at the comment but ultimately agreed. Our Breville Bambino Plus espresso machine has held a firm grip on our morning routine for years.

We use it to make lattes in the morning (mine, hot and foamy; his, chilled and sweetened), after-dinner espressos and hot chocolates for the nieces and nephews around the holidays. When we’re feeling especially indulgent, we even treat ourselves to the occasional espresso martini. It’s truly our most-used kitchen gadget.

As a former barista, I had always dreamed of owning my own espresso machine. Coffee snobs like myself know espresso is the ultimate home and kitchen essential. I could never bite the bullet, though, as traditional espresso makers were bulky and thousands of dollars outside my price range.

And while I’ve tried dozens of coffee products to mimic the lattes I served at my former cafe, it wasn’t until I bought the Breville Bambino Plus that I was able to make cafe-quality espresso drinks at home. Here’s my honest Breville Bambino Plus review.

What is the Breville Bambino Plus?

Breville 1 Nicole Doster JveditNicole Doster/Taste of Home

The Breville Bambino Plus is a compact espresso machine that’s great for novice and pro baristas alike. This machine has the same core features as any traditional espresso maker: the ability to make rich, flavorful espresso and foam milk until it’s light and frothy. However, what sets the Bambino Plus apart is its pre-set push-button controls for fast and convenient brews. Oh, and it’s one of our Test Kitchen’s favorite espresso machines.

What’s more, it has a super small footprint (just like the Hamilton Beach Scoop or Minipresso machine) that doesn’t take up much counter space. I’ve designated a small kitchen island cart as our defacto coffee bar and the Bambino Plus fits with plenty of room for must-have accessories like a grinder, knock box and kettle.

Consider it one of the best gifts for coffee lovers. Bonus: It’s available on Amazon.

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Breville Bambino Plus Product Features

Breville 2 Nicole Doster JveditNicole Doster/Taste of Home

The Breville Bambino Plus is more compact than most coffeemakers and espresso machines, measuring just over a foot tall and seven inches wide. The machine clocks in at 12.6 inches deep. Measure your space if you have shallow countertops to ensure you can access the water tank.

The machine has an illuminated front display with buttons for one-shot, two-shot and steam presets. Additionally, milk steaming presets come with three temperature settings (warm, ideal and hot) and three settings for desired texture (low, medium and high foam). A small metal sensor at the base of the machine detects when your milk has reached the right temperature for hands-free frothing.

Breville Bambino Plus accessories include a 54-millimeter portafilter, two single-wall filter baskets, two dual-wall filter baskets, a tamper, a stainless steel milk jug, cleaning tablets, descaling powder and a leveler they call “The Razor” for sculpting your grounds into a perfect puck. (I’ll admit, I seldom use the razor as I find it a bit fussy.)

How We Tested It

@nickidoster I am simply OBSESSED with my espresso machine. It’s small and perfect for making lattes while I work from home. Also, LOL at my latte art #brevilleespressomachine #mustbuy #coffee ♬ Say So (Instrumental Version) [Originally Performed by Doja Cat] – Elliot Van Coup

I’ve used this product since January 2021 and I’ve found it extremely reliable for espresso and other coffee drinks as it brews quickly and consistently.

To put my Breville Bambino Plus review to the ultimate test, I performed a time trial to show just how quickly each pre-set option works:

  • Pull one shot of espresso: 21 seconds
  • Pull a double shot of espresso: 25 seconds
  • Steam 9oz of milk using the auto sensor: 1 minute—However, I prefer to manually steam my milk, which takes about 40 seconds.

From start to finish, it takes about two minutes to make a hot latte and under 30 seconds to enjoy a shot of espresso. The Breville Bambino Plus heats up quickly, meaning you spend less time waiting for your morning pick-me-up. (Trust us, it’s faster than waiting for your Brown Sugar Shaken Espresso in the Starbucks drive-thru!) Now that it performed as a single-serve coffeemaker, it was time to put it to the next test.

To see how it would perform for larger groups, I’ve also put this machine to the stress test of a large family dinner. I didn’t even have to refill the machine’s tank, which conveniently holds up to 64 fl. oz. of water. This was the cherry on top of my Breville Bambino Plus review: successfully serving eight after-dinner espressos with ease.


  • Simple push-button controls for pulling cafe-quality espresso
  • Built-in steam wand with an automatic setting that adjusts to suit your preferences
  • Lightning-fast heat-up time
  • Small size that doesn’t take up much counter space


  • Does not come with a grinder
  • High price point, which may not be worth it for those who do not regularly drink espresso
  • Routine cleaning can be confusing


Breville3 Nicole Doster JveditNicole Doster/Taste of Home

How to Clean the Breville Bambino Plus

The Breville Bambino Plus needs light cleaning after every use.

  • To clean the espresso maker, remove the portafilter and run a shot of water through the machine. Wipe down the surface and dump the drip tray as needed. I use a microfiber cloth to get the machine sparkling clean.
  • To discard used espresso, utilize a sturdy knock box to remove the grounds from the filter basket. With a few deliberate thwacks, the puck will fall right out. Rinse the filter and save the grounds for gardening.
  • After using the steam wand, clean the surface with a damp cloth to remove residue. Always return the wand to its lowered position as the machine will automatically run a rinse cycle to prevent clogging. A small pin-like cleaning tool hidden beneath the water tank clears a clogged wand.

How to Descale the Breville Bambino Plus

The machine signals that it needs to be descaled by flashing the one-shot and steam button and the two-shot button alternately. This happens every 60 to 90 days.

  1. Fill the water tank to the descale line and add in the descaler. Stir until dissolved.
  2. Press and hold the one-shot and steam button until the machine powers down.
  3. Place a large bowl on the drip tray and put the steam wand inside.
  4. Press and hold the one-shot and steam button simultaneously for five seconds to enter the descaling mode. Both buttons should illuminate solid.
  5. Press the one-shot or steam button to start descaling. The machine purges water intermittently for about five minutes. Resist interrupting the process or you’ll have to start over.
  6. Once the machine has finished, empty the water tank and fill it with clean water. Run the rinse cycle by pressing the one-shot or steam button again. The machine continues to purge water for a few more minutes.
  7. It signals it’s finished when all the lights are illuminated. Refill the water tank and dump out the water in the drip tray.

How to Backflush the Breville Bambino Plus

When the Bambino starts “winking at you” (aka when the single-shot and double-shot buttons begin to alternately flash) it’s time to backflush the machine. This step forces water back through the system to remove buildup.

  1. Remove water from the drip tray.
  2. Insert the 1-cup basket and cleaning disc into the portafilter. Add a single cleaning tablet. (I prefer this kind compared to the pricier name-brand tablets.)
  3. Place a large bowl on the drip tray and fill the water tank to the max line.
  4. Press the one-shot and two-shot buttons simultaneously for a few seconds until they both are illuminated.
  5. Press either the one-shot or two-shot button. The buttons will flash and the system will backflush for about 5 minutes.
  6. Once the lights are all illuminated, the machine is ready to go. Rinse the filter before using it.

How to Turn Off the Breville Bambino Plus

To manually turn off the machine, press the one-shot and steam buttons. The Breville Bambino Plus automatically shuts off after a period of time if not in use.

Does the Breville Bambino Plus have a grinder?

This machine does not come with a coffee bean grinder. If you are looking for a quality grinder, I’d recommend buying a burr grinder. Experts say burr grinders help protect the coffee bean’s flavor and achieve a consistent grind. For ease of use, look for a model that grinds directly into your portafilter basket.

I recently purchased the Breville Smart Grinder after months of using a budget-friendly blade grinder and noticed a huge difference. The Breville Smart Grinder has super precise settings that are fun to play with to get the perfect taste. It also is great for grinding beans for the French press and other brewing methods.

What are the best espresso beans to order online?

Arguably the best part of making your own espresso is finding your favorite flavor profile. With the many options for ordering whole beans online, it really comes down to personal taste. If I’m not sourcing my beans from my local coffee shop, I often opt for these two brands:

  • Kicking Horse 454 Horse Power Dark Roast: This whole-bean coffee is smooth and chocolatey with no bitter taste. It’s the perfect crowd-pleaser.
  • Lavazza Super Crema: Lavazza is a great Italian brand, and this medium roast coffee is rich, bold and bright. It’s great for drinking on its own or pairing with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a decadent affogato.

Unsure of what coffee brand to go with? Try a coffee subscription box to get a sense of what type of beans you like.

What Other Shoppers Had to Say

Breville Espresso machine with a mugNicole Doster/Taste of Home

I’m not the only one happy with my Breville Bambino Plus review. Many experts in the coffee community deem this coffeemaker a good beginner’s espresso machine.

In his five-star review, user Seven Bates comments “This Bambino unit is actually worth the hype. You likely watched a bunch of YouTube videos where people were obviously sponsored in their reviews, and you’re likely skeptical—I was too. I took a risk and splurged, instead of buying a bunch of the units in the same range, between $500 and $700 bucks. I could tell by the first cup, that I had made a smart choice.”

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Nicole Doster
Nicole is the Content Director of TMB's Strategy and Performance team. She oversees the brand's shopping and trend editorial teams and assists with content planning across Taste of Home, Family Handyman, Reader's Digest, The Healthy and Birds & Blooms. With over seven years of experience writing and editing in the food and home space, she enjoys sharing cooking tips, recipe picks and product recommendations that make life a little easier. When she's not hunched over her laptop, she's either practicing latte art or fixating on her latest DIY home renovation.