Buying Guides

Best Ninja Coffee Maker: Where’s the Bar on these Bars?

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Previously, if you wanted a full coffee house experience at home, you would have to invest in a coffee grinder, a drip coffee machine, an espresso maker, a milk frother, a stovetop french press if you’re feeling fancy, and even a pod coffee maker for those lazy days where you don’t feel like dealing with beans.

That all sounds like a pretty expensive process, doesn’t it? Not to mention you’ll end up with a fairly busy kitchen worktop with not much room for anything else. However, thankfully, that’s no longer the case with Ninja coffee makers.

These wonderful little machines pack an array of brewing capabilities in a relatively small but powerful package. But does that broader capability mean that Ninja is simply a jack of all trades and a master of none? That’s what we’re here to find out.

At A Glance: Our Top 5 Picks for Ninja Coffee Makers

Why Get One

One word: Versatility. Whether you’re looking for much more convenience from your home brewing, or you’ve decided that the five different coffee machines sitting on your kitchen counter are taking up to much space, then a Ninja Coffee maker is for you.

What to Expect

You can expect at least four brewing options from most Ninja Coffee Makers: classic, rich, iced, and specialty. Some models offer a Cafe Forte or Cold Brew coffee option as well. 

Here’s what each option entails:

  • Classic: This is your typical cup of Joe – the trusty go-to brew.
  • Rich: With a strength somewhere between the classic and espresso options, this will give you a beverage that plays well with dairy without overpowering or being overpowered.
  • Iced: This option opens a whole new world of at-home coffee brewing. It allows you to brew your coffee over ice for a wonderfully refreshing caffeine fix.
  • Cold Brew (only available in newer models): This isn’t exactly the pure, 14-hour cold brew you can make yourself, but it brews slower and at a cooler temperature to create an overall smoother cup.

 As well as all these different coffee options, Ninja machines come with an Auto IQ One Touch feature. This means that the coffee maker will measure the water and pull the coffee for you once you’ve selected which size you’d like. Aside from simply being much easier, this will eliminate a lot of the guesswork when you’re trying to make the perfect cup.

Speaking of cup size, Ninja has a single cup option, which effectively competes with other pod and dual brewing systems. This is especially important because you can use your own coffee grounds– revolutionary.

Quick Summary: The Best Ninja Coffee Maker

Ninja CFP301 DualBrew Pro System 12-Cup Coffee Maker, Single-Serve for Grounds & K-Cup Pod Compatible, 4 Brew Styles, Frother, 60-oz. Water Reservoir with Separate Hot Water Dispenser & Carafe, BlackNINJA DUALBREW PRO COFFEE MAKER
  • Water Reservoir With Separate Hot Water Dispenser & Carafe
  • 4 Brew Styles
  • Single-Serve For Grounds & K-Cup Pod Compatible
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Ninja Hot and Cold Brewed System, Auto-iQ Tea and Coffee Maker with 6 Brew Sizes, 5 Brew Styles, Frother, Coffee & Tea Baskets with Glass Carafe (CP301)NINJA HOT AND COLD BREWED SYSTEM
  • Coffee & Tea Baskets With Glass Carafe
  • Auto-iQ Tea
  • 5 Brew Styles
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Ninja CM407 Specialty Coffee Maker, with 50 oz. Thermal Carafe, Black and Stainless Steel FinishNINJA SPECIALTY COFFEE MAKER
  • Black And Stainless Steel Finish
  • With 50 Oz. Thermal Carafe
  • 6 Brew Sizes
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Ninja CE251 Programmable Brewer, with 12-cup Glass Carafe, Black and Stainless Steel FinishNINJA 12-CUP PROGRAMMABLE BREWER
  • 12-Cup Glass Carafe
  • Black And Stainless Steel Finish
  • Hotter Brewing Technology
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Ninja Top Picks Compared

While Ninja Coffee has a respectably large array of products, we have selected and reviewed the four that we think will give you the best idea of the range and the best products across it. We have also included a couple of recommendations for variants if one of these models isn’t exactly what you’re looking for.

Ninja Dualbrew Pro Coffee Maker (CFP301)

First up, let’s look at the newest and most innovative Ninja Coffe Maker on this list. The Dualbrew Pro is one of the most versatile homebrewers on the market, and it caters to practically every kind of coffee drinker. It’s also the first Ninja Coffee Maker EVER to brew K-Cups and grounds – a pretty revolutionary step up for Ninja. So, whether you want a small cup of hot coffee or a full 12-cup carafe for the whole family, this coffee maker is for you.

As well as black coffee, you can add a touch of foamy milk or cream with the help of the detachable frother arm, and the machine will also give you a delicious hot latte or an equally scrummy iced one. As well as coffee styles, it also features four different brew types, an independent hot water system, and can brew a specialty coffee, which is Ninja’s version of an espresso shot.

All in all, this is a coffee machine that you will look forward to using and owning. It is one of our top picks due to its versatility and ease of use, not to mention that it is backed by one of the most reputable brands in the world of kitchen appliances. Trust us. If you enjoy having all of the bells and whistles on your coffee gear, this one is for you.

Ninja Hot and Cold Brewed System (CP301)

On Sale

Next, we will look at the model that effectively replaced the Ninja Coffee Bar Lineup: the Hot and Cold Brewed System. 

Size-wise, this model can brew a cup, XL cup, travel mug, XL multi-serve/travel mug, half carafe, and full carafe. You can choose from the classic, rich, over ice, cold brew & specialty functions for brewing. Plus, it can also brew Herbal, Black, Oolong, White, and Green Tea if you’re into that.

The machine bundle includes permanent coffee and tea filters, separate coffee and tea baskets, Ninja smart scoop, a quick start guide, and a 40-recipe book. And the machine itself features a removable water reservoir, a 10-cup thermal carafe, and a fold-away frother.

Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker (CM407)

The Specialty Coffee Maker is pretty similar to the Hot and Cold Brewer, except it’s slightly limited on brewing. Many nixed components are in the tea area, so no big loss for coffee lovers. But you can’t brew pods either, so if you want the full range of coffee capabilities, you’d be better of with the Dualbrew.

Nonetheless, the Speciality is a great machine. It brews consistently delicious cups of coffee, whether you want a latte, macchiato, or just a simple, classic brew. You can also prepare ice beverages and make a range of brew sizes from a single cup to a half carafe or a full carafe. The Speciality has a broad range of capabilities and options, and there is more than enough versatility here to satisfy most coffee drinkers.

Ninja 12-Cup Programmable Brewer (CE251)

On Sale

Last but not least, this 12-cup programmable coffee maker is a great pick for someone who needs a bigger coffee pot but isn’t bothered by a lot of advanced features. It can brew both Classic and Rich coffees and produce exquisite, flavorful, never bitter beverages.

In addition, it is also elementary to use. The water tank is removable for easy filling and can hold up to 60 ounces of liquid – plenty to fill the 12-cup glass carafe. But you can also choose the small brew setting to create 1 – 4 cups that are just as delicious. Once you’ve chosen your brewing size, simply add your grounds, select your coffee strength, and voila! The perfect cup of delicious coffee!

But there’s more! As well as superb coffee capabilities, this Ninja model has some pretty useful additional features. The delay brew setting allows you to brew your coffee for a specific time – perhaps you want a hot pot waiting for you first thing in the morning. Plus, the adjustable warming plate will keep your coffee hot for up to 4 hours.

Previous Ninja Coffee Bar Models

The above machines are Ninja’s current offerings in the coffee brewing arena. However, many previous models of Ninja coffee machines are still sold as “Renewed” or refurbished products. If you’ve heard of the “Ninja Coffee Bar” models, these CF models are what they’re referring to. Because they are so reliable, many people still opt for and recommend them.

CF112 Single-Serve System with Built-In Frother

If you’re only fueling a coffee home of one, this entry-level, single-serve coffee machine might be best for you. It has the full range of brewing capabilities from classic to forte, explicitly built for serving 1-2 drinks at a time.

It comes with a tumbler and a built-in milk frother, and it’s compatible with both a permanent filter and disposable paper ones. The CF112 also comes with a 1-year limited warranty.

On the flip side, measuring 12.2 x 11 x 16.3 inches, this machine is a bit on the large side for the limited capacity. There have also been a few complaints about the cleaning light staying on even after descaling.

CF087 Coffee Brewer with Thermal Carafe

The CF087 can make single-cup, travel-cup, half carafe, and full carafe brews, making it more capacity versatile than the CF112.

The 43-ounce carafe is included with the machine. In this case, it’s a stainless double-wall thermally insulated carafe. The carafe differentiates this model from the slightly cheaper CF082, which has a glass carafe and warming plate.

That difference simply makes for a better-tasting brew, especially if you drink it slowly over two hours rather than immediately after brewing.

One of the biggest selling points on this Ninja is its pre-infusion-esque feature, where grounds are wet before the brew cycle. This improves the flavor quality overall.

The main drawbacks of this machine are that the frothing wand is not built-in, and it cannot brew XL cup or XL multi-serve sizes.

CF097 Coffee Bar Brewing System with Thermal Carafe

This is the largest machine on the list, measuring 15 x 11.3 x 16.3 inches, though it is similar in build to the CF112. However, with the bigger footprint comes more signature versatility.

The CF097 can brew any cup size from single-serve to a full carafe and everything in between. You can also enjoy any of the five brewing methods, so you should be able to brew a cup that meets your needs any day of the week.

Another bonus is that this machine features a built-in frother, so if you adore microfoam, you won’t be disappointed. Also, the thermal carafe has a 10-cup capacity. You can also get a glass carafe with a hot plate for a little less by opting for the  CF091. The built-in water reservoir holds enough water to fill a full carafe in one go (50 ounces), and as an upgrade from the CF087, it’s also removable.

Our only complaints about this machine are that it takes up more space than the other options, and if you want it to shut off completely, you’ll have to do it manually.

Drinking Habits

As always, your machine needs to cater to your coffee drinking needs. Several brewers can accommodate you if you need a device that can fluidly transition from a single-serve to a full carafe.

Do You Want Pods?

The simplicity of brewing with a coffee pod attracts many people to pod machines as opposed to using grounds. But with Ninja’s latest Dualbrew model, you no longer have to select one or the other. So, if you want a machine that can brew a delicious carafe for the family, and lets you simply throw a pod in when you’re in a rush, then it’s a no-brainer!

To Froth or Not to Froth

Ninja Coffee Maker Frother

When it comes to stepping up your coffee game, frothing your milk is one of the easiest ways to do it. So having a coffee machine that’s actually capable of frothing it for you can save you the time and money of getting a separate one.

The CFP301, CP307, and CM407 have convenient, effective Ninja fold-away frothers, but the CE251 does not. So, if you’re a fan of specialty drinks like lattes and cappuccinos, we’d suggest going for one of the first three rather than the latter.

Free Real Estate

Ninja machines inherently save some space by cutting down on the number of appliances you need. However, you still have to consider the size. Ninjas tend to fall in the middle of the pack as far as space goes, taking up a pretty mid-range amount of vertical (perhaps a little on the tall side) and surface space.

Here are the measurements for our four top picks:

  • CFP301: 11.39″ L X 9.13″ W X 15.54″ H
  • CM407: 12″ L x 8.8″ W x 15″ H
  • CP301: 11.8 L x 10 W x 15 H
  • CE251: 8 L x 10 x 14 inches 

As always, make sure to consider your available counter space and your under cabinet space before actually buying a machine.

Before you Brew

These machines do require that you purchase and potentially grind your own beans. This can affect the flavor more than any component of the coffee maker. So, keep that in mind if you try one of these products.

Are all Ninja Coffee Makers Ninja Coffee Bars?

No, they are not. Ninja Coffee Bar refers to some of the older Ninja Coffee Products that we cover in the “renewed” section. They were dubbed coffee bars because they had a broader range of brew strength, type, and size than pretty much any other drip coffee maker on the market.

This versatile functionality hasn’t gone away in the newer models. In fact, they’ve added even more capabilities, like cold brew, and K-Cup compatibility. The only thing that’s gone away is the name! Nevertheless, you can still purchase many Ninja Coffee Bar models as “renewed” products.

Is a Ninja an espresso machine? 

No, at this point Ninja does not make an espresso machine. However, as mentioned earlier, several of the Ninja Coffee Makers will do a “specialty” brew that’s going to give you a 4 ounce, strongly brewed concentrate that can be used to make drinks like lattes and more which would normally require a shot of espresso. 

However, don’t buy a Ninja coffee maker expecting it to be a replacement for a traditional espresso machine. 

What’s the difference between glass and thermal carafes?

Glass And Thermal

One thing you’ll undoubtedly see a lot when shopping for any kind of drip brewer is mention of thermal and glass carafes. As a general rule, thermal carafes are preferable, even with the slight increase in price that comes with them.

Therma carafes keep your coffee hot by trapping in the heat created during the brewing process. This helps keep your coffee fresh for longer. On the other hand, glass carafes add heat back via a hotplate, leading to burnt tasting brews if left running for too long.

Are Ninja Coffee Makers hard To clean?

No, Ninja Coffee Makers aren’t difficult to clean. You’ll usually be advised that the machine needs cleaning by a little blinking indicator light that is basically your machine saying ‘clean me please!’ 

While descaling a coffee-maker may seem a little daunting, it’s not nearly as complicated as it sounds. The whole process should take about 15 minutes tops and only needs to be done every few months.

To clean it, you need to cycle a quality descaling solution – or an alternative like white wine vinegar – through the machine. The method for this is pretty simple, and we have a complete step-by-step guide on how to clean your Ninja coffee maker to talk you through it.

What size filters do I need for my Ninja coffee maker?

A range of filters will fit a Ninja Coffee maker, from standard-sized paper filters to reusable filters to cone filters. However, most Ninja models will typically use the size four cone filters. Many models also come with a reusable filter as well.

Are Ninja coffee makers reliable?

Yes, Ninja coffee makers are very reliable kitchen appliances. This is one of the reasons that the models, even the older ones, never really stop being sold. Despite having a range of flashy high-tech machines, Ninja also encompasses a simple elegance that we’ve grown to know and love. This style, as well as being one of the most effective coffee machines on the market, is also easy to depend on.

However, that’s not to say that the product line hasn’t ever had any issues. The most typical difficulties reported by reviewers are reservoir leaks and an ineffective cleaning cycle. This has led to reports that some models have a typically shorter lifecycle than other coffee maker brands like Keurig or Cuisineart. However, Ninja has done a lot of work on their latest models to combat these problems, and the feedback on the new products is very positive.

What drinks can you make with Ninja?

Coffee From Ninja Coffee Maker

One of the best parts of owning a Ninja coffee maker is the vast amount of drinks you can make with a single machine. Whether you like a cup of black coffee in the morning, a latte around lunch, or even an iced coffee in the summer months, Ninja has got you covered. 

Here are some of the drinks you can make with a Ninja machine:

You can even make more innovative flavors with the specialty brew, such as peppermint white chocolate latte, s’mores latte, or a Mexican spiced coffee.

The only downside regarding coffee options is that you can’t actually make an espresso shot. Instead, the specialty coffee is excellent for mixing with milk and making a creative, rich brew but not so good for sipping on its own. But, with such a wide range of coffee-brewing goodness at your fingertips, this is a small price to pay (plus, an espresso machine isn’t too expensive if this is a necessity)!

How are Ninja Coffee Makers different from other brands?

There are several ways that Ninja coffee makers differentiate themselves from other models. Ninja’s best attribute is its ability to produce an extensive variety of excellent quality coffee from home, giving you a premium taste at an affordable price. Their ability to blend pod coffee makers and typical drip-feed machines is also super handy and will save you money and counter space!

Another great benefit of Ninja is their programmable settings that allow you to have your coffee ready in the morning – or whenever you want it.

Finally, there are all the other little things that Ninja adds to their coffee makers. The warming plate keeps your coffee warm for up to four hours, while the carafe comes in glass and thermal options and can fill up to 12 cups. These finishing touches just add to the overall brilliance of the Ninja experience.

Of course, it’s not 100% positive reviews. Some people complained the buttons were so flush that they became difficult to press, and others desired additional customization options when selecting brew and size settings. However, many of these comments are for older models, and Ninja-brand coffee makers have come a long way since then.

Recommended:

Braun vs. Ninja Coffee Makers

Cuisinart vs. Ninja Coffee Makers

What is the warranty on Ninja coffee makers?

All Ninja coffee makers come with a one-year warranty and a 60-day money-back guarantee.

Where are they made, and by who?

Ninja Coffee Basics (formerly known as Euro-Pro Operating LLC, SharkNinja Operating LLC) produces a variety of household appliances, from vacuums to (you guessed it) coffee makers. These days, the company that makes Ninja Coffee Makers is called SharkNinja. 

The business was founded in Montreal, Canada, in 1996 and has since relocated to Needham, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston. They officially changed their name from Euro-Pro to SharkNinja in 2017. However, most of their machines are actually made in China despite their USA business base.

Nonetheless, from what was once a small business, the company has blossomed into global cooperation, selling its products in all kinds of shops, from supermarkets to small appliance stores. SharkNinja is known for its creativity, simplicity, and affordability.

The Verdict

If you are looking for a versatile, reliable coffee machine to create the caffeination station of your dreams, Ninja Coffee Makers might be the answer. 

If you want to go with something simple and easy, try the Specialty Coffee Maker. On the other hand, if you want a machine that can run the hot and cold tea and coffee brewing gambit, check out the Hot and Cold Brewed System. And if you want all the bells and whistles and a coffee machine that can do everything, go for the Dualbrew or Dualbrew Pro.

Plus, if none of those strike your fancy, you can always go for one of the “renewed” or refurbished models. There’s a reason people love this brand. It’s because these machines last, and even the technology on the older models has managed to stay competitive.

Happy Caffeinating!

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