Our Sage Bambino Plus review found that this machine has many positives as well as a few disadvantages.
Throughout this article we take a look at various aspects of the device, so you can be fully informed when you choose whether or not to buy the Sage Bambino espresso machine.
Our Sage Bambino Plus Review in a Nutshell
The Sage Bambino is the fun-sized version of an espresso machine – petite, yet very much the real thing.
The beauty of the Sage Bambino Plus espresso machine is that you can whip up a cup which tastes like one from your local café without it hogging much space in your kitchen.
It’s also perfect for the morning rush, heating up within three seconds, thanks to its thermo-jet technology. The machine serves a rich espresso shot with a thick crema within half a minute.
The thermojet-powered steam wand is the highlight, producing supremely-textured milk or an extra thick crema.
With a high-quality, easy-to-clean stainless steel exterior, the Sage Bambino Plus espresso machine is a simple yet sleek-looking addition to most kitchens.
Bear in mind that it’s very light, weighing a meagre seven kilograms, so you may have to hold it in place to stop it from sliding around your benchtop.
One of the best bits of this machine is how easy it is to use. You won’t have to spend time fiddling with milk temperature and the water tank before you crack into coffee making.
The digital heating system (PID) ensures the optimum temperature is used for your espresso but offers the flexibility to choose your preferred temperature through customisable settings.
It’s similar to the Sage Bambino – the older ‘non-plus’ version of this model – but the Bambino Plus has superior milk frothing technology and is generally easier to use.
Its steam wand has automatic milk foam texturing, four steam holes instead of one, and you can easily change the milk temperature.
It’s a little larger and has a two-year warranty, while the original Bambino has a one-year warranty.
Despite being such a small machine, it has a decent tank size of 1.9 litres. Try to keep it full as it will help this lightweight machine to move around on your bench less.
Once you’ve got the hang of this nifty little machine – and it’s not hard to get the hang of – it’s difficult to produce a bad coffee. For such a compact machine, it leaves little to criticise.
Sage Bambino Plus Review — a Look at the Specifications
Our Sage Bambino Plus review found this machine’s specifications almost perfect for what it intends to achieve.
From the water capacity to the heating system – the Bambino Plus is designed for speed, convenience, and great coffee.
|Thermocoil heating system
|15 pump bar
|19.5 cm x 32 cm x 31 cm
Four-hole steam wand
Stainless steel razor blade
Single and dual-walled portafilter baskets
|Automated milk frothing system
Thermojet heating coil
Digital temperature control
Brushed stainless steel
Automatic milk texturing
|Two-year repair, replace or refund guarantee
Explore the Sage Bambino Plus Features
The Sage Bambino Plus espresso machine includes many handy features that mean making excellent espressos is quick and hassle-free.
Milk Steaming Wand
Perhaps the masterpiece of this small-bodied machine, the four-hole milk steam wand produces silky, bubble-less, cafe-quality milk.
This allows you to make flat whites and lattes that woo you as much as the espressos do.
The steam wand has three settings so you can select your milk frothiness and temperature.
The different settings are ideal if you’re interested in dabbling in latte art. The only drawback is that the wand length means it’s better for steaming a lot of milk.
It takes a little longer than making a crema – don’t expect the same three-second turnaround from the wand – but the end result is worth the wait.
Digital Temperature Control
This system—also called a PID—enables a well-controlled coffee extraction. You can also choose the ideal temperature for your shot.
Combined with the Thermocoil technology, this system makes it easy to maintain the ideal temperature for any brew.
Three-Second Heat Up
Like other Sage coffee machines, it won’t feel like you’re watching the pot boil as you wait for this machine to rev into gear.
ThermoJet technology means it heats up within three seconds and produces your coffee shot in less than 30 seconds. It reaches 93°C quickly, the perfect extraction temperature.
If you’re a latte or cappuccino lover who’s often in a rush to get out the door, the Sage Bambino Plus might be made for you.
Stainless Steel Exterior
The high-quality exterior of the Sage Bambino Plus means it’s more durable than its petite size would suggest.
The classic brushed, stainless steel or black model adds a classy touch to any kitchen decor.
With such a small and simple design, you won’t have a bulky machine taking over your benchtop.
The fuss-free tray is easy to take out and clean. It’s just as well because its small size means you may have to clean it often, especially if you’re making a few coffees each day.
It will quickly fill up with milk and water, so make sure you check it each day so it doesn’t make a mess.
Dual Wall Baskets
You can use the dual-wall, pressurised baskets with any size of pre-ground coffee. The Sage Bambino Plus can pressurise the coffee and produce what is known as a ‘false crema.’
Meanwhile, the single-wall basket is excellent for fine and freshly ground coffee, producing a thick crema and high-quality espresso shot.
Freshly ground beans are always better, but the option of the two baskets means your coffee will be pretty high quality either way.
We suggest opting for the dual-wall baskets if you have pre-ground beans. It will give you a smoother espresso shot.
Manual and Automated Options
There are three simple buttons on the Sage Bambino Plus:
- Single espresso
- Double espresso
- Automatic milk texturing
Assuming you’re happy with the automated options, making coffee is a breeze.
If you have more experience with making coffee, you can also try the customizable pre-infusion manual control settings.
These customizable settings are similar to those usually found in more expensive espresso machines. Likewise, you can easily adjust the milk frothing system to suit you.
Automatically Powered Milk Heating System
This automatic milk frothing system nails the smooth milk of more expensive espresso machines without you tinkering with manual settings.
While there are three different foaming settings to choose from, it has manual settings, too, so you’re covered either way.
But, with such an effective automatic milk frothing system, you might never have to use the manual settings.
Lower water pressure at the start of the extraction helps to gently expand the grinds for an even extraction and smooth taste.
You’ll see pressure ramp up to as high as 15 bars as you watch the machine serve your coffee.
It’s a sophisticated technology that isn’t usually found in such low-cost espresso machines.
The machine has a handy cleaning feature, which means it automatically purges and resets the heating system – including the steam wand – so that it’s ready for next time.
It’s a novelty, as you don’t have to spend extra time manually cleaning it if you’re in a rush.
The feature is new to the Bambino Plus and not found on the original Breville/Sage Bambino.
Razor Trimming Tool
The precision dose razor trimming tool means you won’t have to worry about guessing the right amount of coffee in your basket.
It means it won’t matter if you use a different grinder – the amount will be the same.
It also helps ensure the coffee bed is low enough once the portafilter is locked into the machine.
Setting Up Sage Bambino Plus Espresso Machines
Like most things about the Sage Bambino Plus, the setup is pretty painless.
Sage appliances are known and loved for being low maintenance, so the journey from the box to a piping hot cup is usually short and sweet.
And it’s no different with the Sage Bambino Plus. So here’s how to get your machine up and running like a champ.
- For any new espresso machine, you should rinse the accessories with warm water and dishwashing liquid.
- Ensure all the following are clean:
- Milk jug
- Drip tray
- Water tank
- Steam wand
- Filter baskets
- Dry them all, then slot your tray back into place.
- Find the best spot for your machine in the kitchen, and make sure it’s close to a plug socket.
- Fill your water tank up to the max line and pop it back into place.
- Run water through it a couple of times to rinse the machine and prime the heating system. You can do so by simply pressing the buttons at the front.
- Still stuck setting it up? You can find the full Sage Bambino Plus manual here.
Making Your Espresso Shot
Now, for the fun stuff. Follow our directions to use the Sage Bambino Plus to brew the perfect espresso shot.
Pro Tip: We recommend freshly ground, full-bodied coffee beans for the best espresso shots. Check out our manual coffee grinder recommendations here and our electric coffee grinder recommendations here.
- Snap your single or dual walled baskets into your portafilter, and put your ground coffee in.
- Give it a firm tamp, using your precision dose razor trimming tool to ensure you’re getting the right amount of coffee with no variation.
- We suggest using a double shot for your espresso. Coffee pros claim that 14 to 18 grams is the best coffee amount to use.
- Once you’ve got the right amount, lock the portafilter into place.
- Pop a coffee mug underneath, press the single or double shot button, and wait a speedy three seconds for the machine to heat up.
- If you want to add milk, you’re in for a treat. Pour your milk into the milk jug, place it under the steam wand, and press the milk steaming button.
- From there, it’s easy. The automated milk-steaming features mean you can choose what you’re after – low, medium, or high – for your temperature and texturing options.
- Sit back and relax while it perfects your milk.
- Voilà! Pour the frothed milk into your cup and enjoy your first brew from your new machine.
Once you’ve well and truly got the hang of it, try out some latte art – this automatic milk frothing is made for it.
Using Sage Bambino Plus in an Office – Quick Tip
While it’s a perfect at-home machine and its fast features are tempting to bring into an office, the Sage Bambino Plus is too small for a larger workplace.
The design targets households, especially households in a rush. The drip tray fills quickly, which means it might need a cleanout each day.
While impressive for its size, the water tank is unlikely to be big enough for a big group of coffee lovers – unless you refill it many times a day.
It’s also lightweight and prone to slipping around, which could be a health and safety issue at work.
But if your heart is set on the Bambino for a smaller office, make sure it’s secured on the bench somehow.
You should also pop it on a mat to stop it from slipping too much and to catch any coffee debris that might mess up the kitchen.
For an office environment, it might be better to opt for some of the other Sage coffee machines (like the bulkier bean-to-cup machines).
Check out our top picks for 2022 to see what else is on offer.
Issues to Consider
All in all, you can’t go wrong with the Sage Bambino Plus espresso machine if you’re a coffee lover with a small kitchen and a lack of time on your hands.
But espresso machines are pricey and it’s best to make a purchase like this with an understanding of all the shortcomings you might encounter.
That way, you can flag any deal breakers. Here are some cons to consider before you splash out on a Bambino Plus.
High Drop from Coffee to Cup
Despite being a compact espresso machine, it’s still reasonably tall.
That means the Sage Bambino Plus espresso machine will have a high drop between the portafilter and your cup – unless the cup is unusually tall.
The splash from the coffee pour can sometimes make a bit of a mess.
Small Espresso Machine and Drip Tray
It’s one of its best qualities, but it could also be why the Sage Bambino Plus isn’t for you.
The Sage Bambino Plus is petite and it shifts easily because of its lightness, so it could end up sliding across your counter, especially when the water tank isn’t full.
Of course, you can hold a hand on it to secure it, but it’s worth being aware of in case you’re after something a little more robust.
If you’ve got a few people to caffeinate, you’ll also have some extra cleaning admin on your hands with the small drip tray.
Unsurprisingly for its size, the Sage Bambino Plus drip tray is small and needs a regular clean-out if you’re making three or four coffees each day.
Milk Steam Wand Length
The length of the steam wand means it’s better suited to a lot of milk in the jug.
This could mean you end up wasting some milk if you’re making coffee with less milk, such as a flat white.
The steam wand also takes a while to perfect your milk – it’s worth the wait, just don’t expect another three-second heat-up for the milk frothing process.
No Built-In Grinder
Unlike bean-to-cup machines, you’ll need ground coffee for the Sage Bambino Plus.
We recommend buying a separate grinder so that you can make your coffee with freshly ground beans – always the best option.
You can read about our top picks for manual grinders here and electric grinders here.
Pre-ground beans and the device’s dual-walled pressurised baskets will make a pretty tasty cup too.
But if you’re after cafe-style coffee, it’s important to use high-quality, freshly ground, Arabica coffee beans.
Sage Bambino Plus SES500BS vs the De’Longhi Dedica EC685M
They’re both hard hitters in the espresso machine world, and they’ll look pretty sleek in your kitchen. It’s why we included both in our Top 10 espresso machines.
These are two similar machines with some key differences that could help you make a decision or decide to keep looking.
With both, you’ll have a compact machine that pulls its weight when it comes to cafe-quality cuppas.
Neither are bean-to-cup machines, though, so you’ll need either a separate grinder or to use ground coffee.
So, which of these beauties is best for you and your coffee-making needs?
Both Are Easy to Use
Both of these machines are button operated and have a simple setup. They’re intuitive, so you won’t find yourselves squinting at manuals to make your first cup.
These machines are great for beginners, yet sophisticated enough for someone who’s after barista-level coffee.
They Have Similar Sizes
If you’re really short on space, the Dedica might be the one to explore.
The Bambino Plus measures 19.5 x 32 x 31 centimetres while the Dedica is 14 x 33 x 30 centimetres.
Identical Pump Power, Colours and Styles
Both machines have the same pump power and are able to produce 15 bars of pressure. This amount of pressure means the espresso can be quickly extracted if preferred.
Both Have Built-In Milk Frothers
Both machines have their own milk frother and a decent steam wand so you can texture milk for a cappuccino or latte. However, the Sage Bambino Plus produces silkier steamed milk.
One thing to note is that the Dedica also has a fairly short milk frothing arm, so it takes a bit longer to froth. It’s probably not ideal if you’re rushing out the door.
Different Pre-Infusion technology
The brewing sophistication is more advanced with the Bambino Plus.
With the pre-infusion and PID technology for better extraction and controlled milk temperature, you’ll end up with a smoother espresso.
There are also more customisable milk-steaming options with the Bambino, and the milk froth is definitely closer to café quality.
Heat-Up Times Differ
The Sage Bambino Plus’ water heat-up time is truly impressive, at a speedy three seconds.
The De’Longhi Dedica is a lot slower, at 40 seconds – fairly standard for an espresso machine.
They Have Different Tank Sizes
The De’Longhi Dedica has a much smaller tank size at 1 L, compared to the Bambino Plus’ 1.9 L.
The Dedica still has a pretty reasonable water capacity, given its small frame.
But, if you’re planning on making a few coffees a day, you’ll have to get used to re-filling the tank more often than with the Bambino Plus.
The Price Difference
So, if you’re a beginner espresso maker looking for a fuss-free machine that won’t dominate your kitchen, the De’Longhi Dedica could be the one for you.
It’s simple, nice to look at, and produces fantastic espresso.
But, if you’re willing to shell out a few more quid for more advanced milk frothing, stick with the small but mighty Sage Bambino Plus.
All in all, the Sage Bambino Plus is faster, with more high-tech features. The pre-infusion technology is a cut above, especially for its size.
If you’re after milkier coffees, the automated milk features will be hard to look past.
You’ll have to pay extra for these features though, and the price difference between the two machines is significant.
Why Should I Choose the Sage Bambino Plus Espresso Machine?
If you want stellar coffee, without the fuss or the clunkiness of a larger machine, look no further.
From strong espressos to creamy lattes – you’ll be able to whip up a sublime brew from the comfort of your kitchen.
The Sage Bambino Plus espresso machine, otherwise known as the Breville Bambino Plus, is highly affordable given its high-tech features.
Of course, you can find cheaper, but you probably don’t want to if high-quality coffee and ease of use are important to you.
If you’re interested in making high-quality cappuccinos without faffing around with the settings, the Sage Bambino Plus auto frothing will be your best bud.
The end result is a silky, creamy cuppa that some beginner baristas would struggle to achieve.
Our Sage Bambino Plus review found that the biggest perks of this machine are that it:
- Is small and compact
- Has a top-tier milk steam wand
- Has great coffee extraction technology
- Has advanced temperature control
- Has a beautiful, easy-to-clean exterior
While it’s similar to the older Sage Bambino model, the newer version has a more impressive milk frothing system and is simple for anyone to use.
If you’re a coffee-making pro, you may want a coffee machine with more customisable options.
The beauty of the Sage Bambino Plus lies in its speed and simplicity, which aren’t the most important features to everyone.
However, if you’re looking for a compact espresso machine that doesn’t take much of your time or brainpower first thing in the morning, you may have found the one.
Its temperature control, automatic milk frothing, and pre-extraction technology has this machine punching well above its weight.
It looks stunning in most kitchens, too. We prefer silver stainless steel for your timeless espresso look.
Small additions, such as the auto-purge feature, make this machine a friend to anyone who doesn’t want too much machine admin.
And the machine’s accompanying accessories mean you’ll have everything you need at your fingertips.
With the dual-walled baskets, you can make pretty delicious espresso with ground coffee, which is great for anyone who doesn’t want to invest in a grinder yet.
And the quality of the coffee is why we previously included a Sage Bambino Plus review in our Top 10 Espresso Machines of 2022.
Needless to say, we were impressed by this little machine and everything it can do. But what do you think? Let us know in the comments.
Need a premium choice? Check out the expensive Sage Oracle Touch or Sage Smart Grinder Pro here.
If you still haven’t found the perfect machine for you, check out our coffee machine buying guide for more tips and reviews.
Dan is a former competition barista and has been honing his knowledge of coffee for over two decades.
He has worked in coffee farms in Peru, as well as roasters in Australia. He now trains new baristas and hosts cupping experiences in Austin.
Jump To a Section Below
- Our Sage Bambino Plus Review in a Nutshell
- Sage Bambino Plus Review — a Look at the Specifications
- Explore the Sage Bambino Plus Features
- Setting Up Sage Bambino Plus Espresso Machines
- Using Sage Bambino Plus in an Office – Quick Tip
- Issues to Consider
- Sage Bambino Plus SES500BS vs the De’Longhi Dedica EC685M
- Why Should I Choose the Sage Bambino Plus Espresso Machine?