Most people don’t buy espresso machines for their homes, instead opting for small manual options – most of those things are too darn big for the kitchen counter and too darn expensive for a home appliance, after all. Thankfully, both of those things are slowly changing. Case in point: the Breville Bambino Plus, a compact espresso machine that should let you make all sorts of fancy coffee drinks from the comfort of your home.
A shrunk-down version of those complex-looking barista machines at your favorite local coffee shops, this espresso maker measures just 11.8 x 7.7 x 12.6 inches (height x width x depth), ensuring you won’t have much of a problem finding room for it in any countertop. Despite that compact size, it can do most of the things those fancy machines perform at the café, from quickly heating your water and precisely extracting the espresso to strictly controlling the temperature and even steaming your milk.
The Breville Bambino Plus uses the same innovative Thermojet heating system found in the outift’s bigger, more expensive models, allowing the machine to reach optimum extraction temperature in just three seconds, while digital temperature control ensures it stays there, automatically detecting and minimizing any fluctuation throughout the extraction process. During extraction, it starts with a low-pressure pre-infusion to evenly soak and expand the grounds, then gradually increases the pressure (it uses 9 bars, same as most espresso machines) to help ensure all flavors are drawn out evenly to create a cup that’s both sweet and creamy.
It has a 54mm porta-filter that’s sized to hold 19 grams of ground coffee (it can actually hold 22 grams, but they recommend 19 grams as the standard dose), which, the outfit claims, is the key quantity to replicating that full-flavored taste you enjoy when buying espresso at your favorite joint. That, by the way, is a far more generous serving than the 11 to 13 grams capacity you’ll normally get in most other espresso makers.
The Breville Bambino Plus has an integrated steam wand that can automatically steam milk to a silky and velvety micro-foam, allowing it to reach the right kind of temperature and texture to let you mix a delicious café-quality latte. And, yes, that micro-foam texture will allow you to create latte art on top of your coffee, so you can decorate your morning coffee with hearts, flowers, and, if you’re a little loopy in the head, obscene objects. After steaming, it automatically purges the onboard heat system, ensuring the next cup of coffee you make is extracted at the correct temperature.
It comes with physical controls right on the machine, so you just press the one cup, two cup, or steam button to get things rolling. Both the temperature and texture level of the milk can be adjusted, too, from the same control panel, giving you a fair amount of control on that end. The entire thing, by the way, is made from stainless steel, so this should be far sturdier than most stuff you probably have in the kitchen counter.
The Breville Bambino Plus is available now.