The Breville Bijou Espresso Machine is one of Breville’s most affordable espresso machines. Like many of the best coffee machines, it has an in-built steam wand that’s perfect for creating your own frothy drinks and working on your latte art. The Breville Bijou also has an unusual dial that means it is perfectly suited to those who prefer long coffees to shots of espresso. Because it extracts coffee continuously until the dial is switched off, be careful to never leave it unattended when making your brew.
At just £199, there’s no denying that the Breville Bijou Espresso Machine is one of the cheapest machines on the market if you enjoy making your coffee from scratch. For that price you would struggle to buy some of the best pod coffee machines, which are typically the cheapest choice for those who want a budget-friendly machine, so it’s astounding value for an espresso machine.
I put the Breville Bijou to the test for a few weeks to see if it was suited to my busy, caffeine-fuelled lifestyle, and while it’s not the perfect choice for every coffee drinker, I think it fits the bill nicely for those who aren’t fussy about following specific recipes but want a machine that can extract fresh espresso and create foamy milk from scratch.
Ideal Home rated: 4 out of 5 stars
Reasons to buy:
- Budget-friendly option
- Continuous extraction will suit americano lovers
- Powerful steam wand
- Easy controls
- Large water tank
- Great extraction
Reasons to avoid:
- Won’t fit larger mugs
- Hard to do specific coffee measures
- Not the most attractive machine
Breville Bijou Espresso Machine
- Coffee type: ground
- Control type: manual
- Water tank capacity: 1.5 litres
- Pressure: 15 bar
- Power: 1050 watts
- Power cord length: 1.2 metres
- Dimensions: 33 x 24.6 x 34 centimetres
- Weight: 5kg
The Breville Bijou comes with double-wall filter baskets in single or double shot sizes. The portafilter is 52mm wide and the handle has a latch to keep the filter baskets in place when you’re tapping out used coffee grounds.
You’ll also get a 2-in-1 scoop and tamper that’s perfect for adding grounds to the basket and then applying even pressure to compress them inside the portafilter. You will need to lift the filter up and twist it into the locked position that’s displayed on the front of the machine to start brewing.
Many of the coffee machines I’ve tried take only a few seconds to pre-heat, but the Breville Bijou takes about 30. Its lights start flashing when you press the power button and you’ll be ready to use when they turn solid. You then twist the dial above the steam wand to the cup sign if you want to start brewing, or the steam sign if you want to froth your milk. Remember, you’ll need to twist back to the neutral position to stop, so there’s no automatic measurements of coffee shots with this espresso machine.
Making espresso in the Breville Bijou
To make my latte I used the coffee scoop to add my grounds to the coffee filter and then pressed them down into place using the tamper. It’s important to make sure your coffee grounds are even across the filter for a balanced brew.
Once my machine was ready to go, I pressed the coffee button and then twisted the dial to start brewing. The Breville Bijou pre-infuses when brewing espresso, meaning it lets a little water into the filter and allows it to infuse a little before continuing to extract the coffee. This resulted in a seriously tasty crema and a delicious taste in my coffee.
I did experience a couple of issues when brewing though. I used one of my cosier and larger mugs for my morning brew, which I had to tilt to slot underneath the portafilter. Because it fitted so snugly underneath the machine, I was also unable to see how much coffee had been brewed.
This wasn’t an issue for me, because I know that I like my coffee quite strong, but if I had only wanted a single shot of coffee it would’ve been better to use a pre-measured espresso cup.
Making a latte in the Breville Bijou
One major gripe I have with the Breville Bijou is that it doesn’t come with a jug for steaming milk. You’ll have to buy one yourself, which will cost an extra £10 on Amazon, but it’s a shame that one isn’t included with a coffee machine that has a steam wand built-in.
I pressed the steam button after brewing my espresso, because it takes a few more seconds to pressurize. Once it was ready, I flushed out the steam wand by switching the dial to steam mode and then switched the dial back to neutral. After that, I inserted the wand into the jug, just under the surface of the milk, and watched as it made a whirlpool in the milk.
Once my milk was the consistency I wanted (firm at the top and hot to touch at the side of the jug) I switched the dial back to neutral and tapped my jug against the surface of my counter to remove any larger bubbles.
I was really impressed with the Breville Bijou’s steam wand, which was powerful and reliable even when frothing for long periods of time. It also has a plastic tab at the top of the wand to pull it in and out of position.
Cleaning the Breville Bijou
After foaming your milk it’s best to flush out the steam wand once more and use a clean wet rag to remove any milk from the wand before it dries on, which can be unhygienic and lead to blockages.
The best bean-to-cup coffee machines are neat and tidy, but with an espresso machine without an in-built coffee grinder I always find that the grounds get everywhere, so prepare to wipe down your surfaces regularly to keep them clean. The stainless steel exterior of the Breville Bijou, while attractive, does need regular wiping down. On the plus side, the drip tray does not fill up very fast at all because the coffee machine does not drip once you’re done brewing.
Should you buy the Breville Bijou?
The Breville Bijou Espresso Machine is a genuinely powerful appliance. It’s great value for those who care a lot about coffee but can’t justify splashing out on something from Sage or De’Longhi. While it’s not got the looks of the Sage Bambino, which I tested just before this machine, it does deliver almost identical performance for a fraction of the price. The water tank is large and easy to refill, and the 15 bars of pressure deliver perfect espresso.
I did find that there were some design issues with the Breville Bijou. It won’t fit larger mugs, and when you do have a tall glass underneath the filter, you’ll struggle to see how much coffee you’ve brewed unless it’s in a glass. The pre-heat time isn’t ideal (the Sage machine takes just 3 seconds) and the bulk of the machine could use some refining, but under the hood, this is a great coffee machine for those on a budget.
About this review, and the reviewer
Millie Fender is small appliances editor at Ideal Home. She reviews everything from coffee machines to air fryers from her own kitchen, meaning these tests have been carried out in the same conditions that you’ll be using the machine.
The Breville Bijou was kindly sent to Millie by Breville, and she tested it for a month before returning it. This gave her the chance to test all of its functions as well as cleaning and check for any troubleshooting. While she prefers a frothy latte or an iced cappuccino, her partner is never running on less than three americanos, so the Breville Bijou was very thoroughly tested.
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