If you like mochas and macchiatos, you're probably familiar with the florescent lighting of your local cafe.
It can be tough to find a coffee maker that brews your specialty drinks as nicely as a professional unit, especially if you don't want to hack off an arm and a leg to pay for it.
It might seem easier to just deal with the nose-ringed barista to get your coffee the exact way that you want it.
We were in the same boat, coasting the same waters, when we discovered the Ninja Coffee Bar.
In case you're a visual person, here is a video review of the Ninja coffee bar.
Our Thorough Review on Ninja Coffee Bar - 2017
You might be familiar with Ninja already. They're a company known for their blenders, mixers and juicers, and they've built up a good reputation for their high-quality products that work... well, like ninjas.
They've recently turned their efforts to coffee, and the results are as excellent as you'd expect. The Ninja Coffee Bar is everything that we could want in a home coffee station. It's gotten to the point where we don't even visit coffee shops anymore.
If you're hoping to cut the cord with your own Starbucks, here's a review of the Ninja Coffee Bar that might open your eyes like it opened ours.
With a dazzling array of features, functions, options, controls and adjustments, the Ninja Coffee Bar offers a customized cup of coffee whenever and however you'd like.
The first thing that you'll notice about the Ninja Coffee Bar is the sheer amount of stuff that comes with it. When you open the box, here's what you'll pull out:
- Ninja Coffee Bar unit
- 8 oz hot and cold tumbler
- Milk frother
- 40-recipe cookbook
- Permanent filter
- Coffee scoop
- Glass carafe with warming plate
- Instruction manual
That's a lot of supplies, and each has a place and purpose when brewing a good cup of coffee. Let's break them down.
The Ninja Coffee Bar can be used to create everything from hot dripped coffee to iced latte drinks. The key to its versatility is its control panel. Partly digital and partly comprised of old-school buttons and dials, it will let you brew whatever you're in the mood to brew.
Do you like standard black coffee without any surprises? Or do you prefer a deeper, richer flavor to really wake you up after a long night? Choose "classic" or "rich" mode.
Are you a fan of iced coffee beverages? Do you hate when the ice melts and leaves your drink watered down to complete tastelessness? Choose the "over-ice" brew that will deliberately strengthen your coffee's concentration to accommodate melting ice in the future.
Do you enjoy making your own cappuccinos and café au laits? Choose "specialty" mode to brew hot and cold beverages just like your local coffeehouse. Who needs Starbucks when you have a ninja at your disposal?
The Ninja Coffee Bar measures 10.8 x 10.5 x 14.9 inches and weighs 8.2 pounds. That's pretty standard for a brewing unit, but keep in mind that its many accessories will also need counter space. It isn't just a coffee maker; it's an entire coffee bar. You'll need room to spread everything out.
In terms of cup size, the Ninja Coffee Bar can make both single-serve cups and large, office-satisfying pots. You can prepare small mugs to be consumed with the morning paper or large thermoses to take with you during your commute.
Speaking of thermoses, the Ninja Coffee Bar does accommodate them in its brewing station. You can choose between four different brew sizes for your drink:
- Cup (9.5 ounces)
- Travel mug (14 ounces)
- Half carafe (19 ounces)
- Full carafe (38 ounces)
Again, the Ninja Coffee Bar is all about convenience, so just about everything is adjustable. You'll be in control of your own caffeine experience.
Our favorite feature of the Ninja Coffee Bar is its Auto-iQ One-Touch Intelligence function.
It's a mouthful, but it basically means that you only need "one touch" to get your coffee going. The machine will automatically calibrate the necessary temperature and water saturation for your chosen drink. You won't have to worry about messing up some small detail of your brew and ruining the entire carafe.
You might also like the Ninja Coffee Bar's Thermal Flavor Extraction technology, a delicately-calibrated blending system that will whip your drink into shape while also pulling out the full flavor potential of your grinds.
There are other features to enjoy about the Ninja Coffee Bar, too. For example, there's a "drip stop" button for when you need to pause your brewing without making a mess. There's an auto-off feature that will shut down the machine after two hours of inactivity.
You can even set the timer and hit the "delay brew" button to prepare your coffee at a predetermined time. Make it fire up while you're still in bed; remind it to brew a fresh cup every hour while you're plowing through work forms. Its clock can be adjusted down to the minute and with both AM and PM times.
Oh, and don't forget the milk frother! You can add a lovely layer of crema to your coffee beverage by using the frother to aerate your two percent. It'll taste just like a barista did it, but you'll get to have all of the frothy fun yourself.
Personally, we love playing with the frother just as much as using it.
At A Glance
- You can make anything from a single cup of coffee to an entire carafe.
- You'll have your choice of plain, rich or specialty modes to control your own caffeine experience.
- There are many convenience options to make your mornings a little easier.
A few drawbacks keep the Ninja Coffee Bar from being a perfect machine.
The Ninja Coffee Bar is a great coffee maker; there's no doubt about that. But we'd be remiss if we didn't talk about the potential downsides of making it your main source of java.
The big flaw of the Ninja Coffee Bar is its tendency to overbrew its drinks. As confirmed by independent tests, its internal temperatures can get up to 208°F. That's slightly too high for the optimal cup of coffee. You'll need to beware the bitterness or just use less of the machine's "rich" brewing modes.
The design of the Ninja Coffee Bar leaves a lot to be desired. Though it tries to replicate the sleek, chrome appearance of high-end coffee makers, the truth is that it's made of plastic. Most components are black, so it's not immediately noticeable as a cheap-looking instrument, but you won't be able to fool anyone who actually uses it.
Another potential issue is the amount of counter space that the Ninja Coffee Bar requires. Between its brew stations, milk frothers, water tanks and plastic carafes, you'll have a lot of pieces to arrange. Throw in the recipe book and instruction manual, and you'll need drawer space as well.
We've already talked about the measurements of the Ninja Coffee Bar, so we won't belabor the point. It's just something to think about if your kitchen is already crammed with appliances.
At A Glance
- Overbrewing is a concern.
- The plain design won't be winning any awards.
- It will require a sizable amount of counter space.
All in all, the cons of the Ninja Coffee Bar don't outweigh the pros, but you should still be aware of these things if you're trying to make a smart purchase decision.
No coffee maker is perfect, but the Ninja Coffee Bar makes a worthwhile attempt.
The Ninja Coffee Bar will live up to its name by serving as an all-in-one coffee station in your home. Whether you enjoy plain black coffee or specialty lattes with lots of lathered foam and ice, this is a machine that can get the job done.
It isn't without flaws, of course, but none of them stand out as a reason not to buy the unit. If you're worried about bitter coffee, just choose a regular brew mode instead of an extra-concentrated one.
If you don't like the plastic ribbing of its water tank, remind yourself that the plastic is protecting great technology inside it.
You don't even have to worry about cost. The Ninja Coffee Bar retails at around $100-$150 depending on the store, and while that's not the lowest price tag on the market, it's very fair considering how much the Ninja Coffee Bar has to offer. You can get all of its functions and features without blowing your entire paycheck on it!
At the end of the day, the Ninja Coffee Bar is more than just a coffee maker. It's an entire coffee experience wrapped inside a single machine, and that's why it's one of our favorites.