Earlier this year, my workplace got a Breville (Sage for those in the UK) Barista Express espresso machine. Making my own coffees has been fantastic. They're always just the way I want them, and it's significantly cheaper than buying from a cafe.
This pursuaded me to get a Breville Bambino Plus at home. It makes great espresso for such a tiny machine. The only problem has been that it tends to leak from the drip tray.
After eight months with the Breville Bambino Plus, I no longer recommend it. Here's why!
The leaking happens in two locations:
At the pressure release pipe: water gets released from this pipe with enough force
that it splashes off the bottom of the drip tray, and back up over the drip tray
Around the milk jug thermal sensor: when the steam wand self-cleans, it sprays jets
of water into the drip tray. The pressure of this spray forces water up and over the
drip tray's edges around the thermal sensor.
The Bambino Plus drip tray doesn't have a rubber seal to prevent these leaks from occurring, which is an unfortunate shortcoming. The severity of the leaking seems to vary depending on how firmly the drip tray is attached—if your Bambino Plus is on a perfectly flat surface and you push the drip tray all the way into the machine, it seems to be fine. However, my kitchen table is somewhat uneven. If the drip tray is lower than the rest of the espresso machine, it doesn't seal very well and leaks occur. This has often resulted in a pool of water forming underneath the Bambino Plus, which is inconvenient to clean.
The good news is that these leaks can be minimised or fixed for about $1.50.
These leaks can be minimised or entirely fixed by adding your own seal to the espresso machine:
- Acquire 30 cm of 3 mm thick self-adhesive EPDM (about $1.50).
Cut a small section (about 50 mm), and apply behind the pressure release pipe.
Cut a longer section (about 120 mm), and wrap it around the walls of the thermal
- Insert the drip tray and ensure that it still fits. The fit may be tighter than it used to be.
- (Optional): Use the remaining EPDM to cut a few thin (1-2 mm) strips, and apply them to the lip of the drip tray, where the metal grill sits. This doesn't affect the leaking, but it reduces noise and vibration caused by the metal grill rattling when pulling a shot.
You may have better results if you can source something less porous, like solid rubber. The thinnest adhesive solid rubber I could find was 3 mm thick, which would likely prevent the drip tray from fitting. Adhesive rubber with thickness of 1 mm or less might work.