Breville Bambino Plus, Breville The Infuser or Breville Barista Express

Currently looking for a new coffee making set up. I've had the Breville Barista Express before (gave it to my parents) thought that was a great machine, but always had trouble getting the shot right - seems like the grinder had issues as it didn't matter what setting of courseness it would just run fast (unless I used a pressurised filter) - tried expensive fresh beans too and same result. Then I read around here and noticed a few people also stating about issues with the Barista Express and that it would be best to look at getting a separate grinder.

So this brings me to my question about which setup I should go for. I'm open to other suggestions, but just keeping in mind current prices:
1. Breville Bambino Plus - $550 (no Good Guys Commercial access) - seems handy with the automatic and manual steam wand + would get the Smart Grinder
2. Breville The Infuser - $400 (on sale at David Jones) - doesn't have the automatic features but comes with more portafilter options, slightly larger than the above + would also get a Smart Grinder
3. Breville Barista Express - $750 ($600 on sale) - no need for the above smart grinder, although, from past experience I think I would prefer to have a proper working grinder (unless others experience of the Barista Express is different to mine).

Many thanks for your help! Open to other suggestions as well.

EDIT: Price budget around $600-$700.

Comments

  • +2 votes

    Breville dual boiler 920 plus grinder.

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      Sorry just updated with my budget around $600-$700.

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        increase it will be worth it

        • +1 vote

          The dual boiler is insane value, but it is more expensive for the machine alone, and again you'll need a seperate grinder.. and all the breville grinders are basically the same.. so for an improvement there you're prob looking at $500 for the grinder…

          I currently have a BDB + breville smart grinder pro, but want a niche grinder (waiting for stock).

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            @GuniGuGu: What do you find lacking in the smart grinder Pro?

            • +1 vote

              @kiitos: Consistency and also just general grind quality. So literally same bag of beans (roasted locally btw), same grind, same dose (weighed indvidually)… One shot will pull in 20 seconds another in 30.

              Also the grind itself has a tendency to clump and lastly retention.

              Lastly I grind different beans for different styles like pour overs, cold and espresso as well as decaf and always the first few grams are old beans / wrong grind.

              Look i'm being critical here and also justifying to myself why i want to spend $1k on another grinder.. I think the SGP is a fine entry level grinder, but it's basically identical to the grinder in the BES870 too, and I've just hit the wall with it.

              I purchased the SGP as a stop gap until the niches become available again and then i'll sell the SGP.

              • +1 vote

                @GuniGuGu: I've got the same BDB and SGP set up, and I am also looking at upgrading the grinder for similar reasons, although I don't think I can spring for a Niche.

                I started with an Infuser, and the BDB is a massive step up in quality. Better quality shots and much easier to steam the milk.

                SGP is the weak spot really. I honestly wouldn't be suprised if it held the Infuser back too. I think the Barista Express is basically the Infuser+built in SGP. If so I'd rather buy separate so you can upgrade the grinder in the future. For me, the biggest issue is the clumpiness, which seems to get worse the finer the grind is. I use a WDT tool and a distributor to overcome this, but I think that there's only so much a WDT tool can do, since the grinds will never be as fluffy as a good grinder.

                Of the presented options, I would choose 1 or 2, but if you can, get the BDB.

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                  @PCHammond: Yeah, I'd agree 100% here.. if you're looking to save, get the infuser and spend a bit more on the grinder.. if you can, get the BDB though. There's literally nothing even close to it at its price point. Not until you spend $2.5k

                  On the positive side all the Breville stuff seems to retain pretty good value, so you should be able to sell any of that equipment in the future. Just like I plan on doing when I got the SGP.

                  • +1 vote

                    @GuniGuGu: Yeah I was tossing up between a BDB and a Profitec Pro 600. I chose the BDB since it's not even 1k, and it's just go so many user friendly features. If it lasts 10yrs, then I can just upgrade to the next model that comes out.

                    I'd say that OP's problems with the BE is due to the grinder, and even then probably needed to grind finer.

  • +1 vote

    Barista Express

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      This.

      I upgraded from Breville The Infuser + cheap grinder setup to a barista express a few years ago and this is a better setup an requires less bench space.

      With your budget, I don't think you can get either 1 or 2 and a decent grinder as well which is better than the one in BES870.

      also, don't think 1 comes with unpressurised baskets.

      •  

        What grinder do you currently use? Would be interesting to see results of how the Smart Grinder compares to the BES870. At current sale prices I could get the Breville Infuser + the Smart Grinder for around $600.

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          I currently use the one in BES870. Bench space was one of my other concerns. It's not the best. But wayyy better than the sunbeam one I had.

          I've read some comparisons about the breville smart grinder and it does look like they use the same burr set in all of their low to mid range grinders. Main advantage would be that you see the grind time with display.

          But I grind to weight rather than time. Weight can change depending on the beans, the time from roast etc. It can even change if you open the lid while grinding. It does look fancy, but maybe not that great?
          Maybe read a bit about it.

          Also, from what I remember the infuser did not have pre infusion step like the BES870, would always result in channelling. I had to use a little spray can to wet the grounds manually. Well I still do it, makes a nice even pour

  •  

    I think, it would be depending on what sort of coffee you have.
    1 Small footprint. Newest model with current technology. Apparently it is really handy to have auto steam but it lacks hot water. If you drink Espresso or milk based, this should be a issue but if you drink long black etc, you will need to boil water separately. As a espresso drinker, I personally would go with this option.

    2 Having the pressure gauge is a plus and good to have hot water out for long black etc. steam-wand wise Bambino might be better.

    3 Small footprint. Try single dose. Because of the heat from the machine, beans left in the grinder/hopper tend to go off very hence not so good coffee at times.

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      Is that right that the Bambino Plus has no hot water spigot? I was very close to buying one, but we're a long black household… I think I assumed that a hot water spigot would be mandatory and not an optional extra :-(

  •  

    Very happy with the barista express in my office. Always takes a few "test" shots with new beans to get the grind settings right. It gets the pressure & timing (and flavour!) in the right zone. I plan to get this machine for home when my old breville dies.

  • +1 vote

    Breville barista pro, wouldn’t bother with the express, $899…. great steam power with 4 hole tip, never had any issues with grinder (apart from back to back shots and heating up issues with the beans) but if you do need to grind finer adjust the top burr. Takes 1 minute.

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    I have an old Sunbeam Cafe Series with the Breville Smart Grinder. The Sunbeam is on it's last leg. I was looking at buying the Infuser? A penny for you thoughts

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    Bambino is basically OOS stock everywhere.
    Breville just dropped a new delivery in Aust few days ago so you will see stocks appearing in some stores soon.
    Appliance online have it listed as $463 but OOS

    Bambino has the faster heat up, so great from switching from one to another - only has a single boiler though.

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      Ah cheers for the heads up - the Bambino definitely looks cool with the automatic frothing part. I prefer manual, but the rest of the family would probably prefer automatic.

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    The problem with these manual machines is you need to do everything exactly the same for the coffee to be exactly the same every time. Why don't you look at something like the Delonghi Magnifica S which is a semi automatic machine. You can still froth your own milk, but once you get the grind right with coffee you like, it theoretically should make the coffee the same every time with a push of a button. Another advantage is less mess. Prices seem to range from $699 to $750 ish

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      Because the quality is nowhere near the same.

      My parents have had semi automatic machines of different generations for over 10yrs and the quality is nowhere near the same as a manual. In the end, using cheap old Vittoria beans tastes the same as good quality freshly roasted beans.