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 number of appliances to achieve the necessary variety of brewing. However, with Ninja coffee makers, that is no longer the case.

You can get an array of brewing capabilities in a relatively small package. But does that wider 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 3 Picks for Ninja Coffee Makers

ninja coffee maker

Read on for reviews of Ninja’s top coffee makers and a guide on if or how to choose one for your home.

Quick Summary: The Best Ninja Coffee Maker

Ninja Single-Serve, Pod-Free Coffee Maker Bar with Hot and Iced Coffee, Auto-iQ, Built-In Milk Frother, 5 Brew Styles, and Water Reservoir (CF112)Ninja Single-Serve, Pod-Free Coffee Maker Bar
  • Pod-free single serve
  • Built-in frother to brew
  • Custom brew sizes
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Ninja Coffee Maker for Hot/Iced Coffee with 4 Brew Sizes, Programmable Auto-iQ, Milk Frother, 43oz Stainless Carafe, Tumbler and 100 Recipes (CF085Z)Ninja Coffee Maker for Hot/Iced Coffee
  • Easy-fill brew basket and permanent filter
  • Auto-iQ One-Touch Intelligence
  • Versatile
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Ninja Coffee Makers, 50 oz, SilverNinja CF091 Coffee Makers, 50 oz, Silver
  • Built-In frother to brew
  • 20-recipe inspiration guide
  • Permanent reusable filter
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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. It is a United States based company that was founded in 1996. They officially changed their name from Euro-Pro to SharkNinja in 2017.

Why Get One

One word: Versatility. Whether it’s a convenience or space concern, Ninja coffee makers are going to give you the versatility of a full blown coffee bar without having 4 different machines on your countertop.

What to Expect

You can expect at least 4 brewing options: classic, rich, iced, and specialty. Some models also offer a Cafe Forte or Cold Brew option. Here’s what each option entails:

  • Classic: This is your typical cup of Joe option- the trusty go-to brew.
  • Rich: With a strength in between classic and espresso options, this will give you a beverage that plays well with dairy without overpowering or being overpowered.
  • Iced: The option that honestly opens a whole new world of coffee brewing- this allows you to make hot coffee over ice for a wonderfully refreshing caffeine fix.
  • Specialty: This is essentially the espresso option. It’s technically a coffee concentrate, and it works best for making drinks that are typically espresso based (like a cappuccino or latte).
  • Cafe forte (older models): This option is specifically designed to help emphasize the unique characteristics of whatever grounds you’re using. It gives you a nice, full-bodied drink that should be good enough to drink black.
  • Cold Brew (newer models)This. isn’t exactly the pure, 14 hour cold brew that you could make yourself, but it is brewed slower and at a cooler temperature to achieve an overall. smoother cup. 

Aside from these options, the Ninjas have the Auto IQ One Touch Intelligence feature. That just means it measures the water and pulls the coffee for you after you select the cup size you want, which eliminates a good bit of guess work on your part.

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 pick your own grounds– revolutionary.

Ninja Top Picks Compared

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

Ninja Hot and Cold Brewed System (CP307)

On Sale

First up, we’re going to look at what has essentially replaced the Ninja Coffee Bar Lineup: the Hot and Cold Brewed system. If you can believe it, this Ninja model brings even more versatility to your countertop.

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

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

If you’d prefer the glass carafe version, check out the CP301.

Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker (CM407)

The Specialty Coffee Maker is pretty similar to the Hot and Cold Brewer, except it’s a little more limited on brewing. However, most of the nixed components are in the tea area, so no big loss for coffee purists. 

Furthermore, it can make classic, rich, over ice & specialty brews in the Cup, XL cup, travel mug, XL multi-serve, half carafe and full carafe sizes. Also, just like the Hot and Cold, this brewer has a 10 cup carafe, fold-away frother,  recipe inspiration guide, ninja smart scoop, and gold-tone permanent filter. The CM407 model comes with a thermal carafe, but there’s also a glass carafe option with the model CM401

Again, you can also get this in a glass carafe version with the CM401.

Ninja Coffee Brewer (CE201)

Lastly, we have a 12-cup programmable coffee maker. This model  has less brew options but bigger capacity for people who like to keep their coffee simple.

You can choose between the classic and rich strengths and choose between brewing a full 12 cup batch or opt for the small batch option to brew 1-4 cups. The XL showerhead helps ensure your grounds are evenly saturated, so you can count on a quality brews.

Even with the streamlining and simplification, the Coffee Brewer kept the removable water reservoir, Ninja integrated scoop, and gold-tone filter. This model is only available as a glass carafe. 

Previous Ninja Coffee Bar Models

The above machines are Ninja’s current offerings in the coffee brewing arena. However, many  previous 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 machine might be best for you. It has the full range of brewing capabilities from classic to forte, built specifically 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 is capable of making single-cup, travel-cup, half carafe, and full carafe brews. Making it more capacity versatile than the CF112.

The 43oz carafe is included with the machine. In this case, it’s a stainless double wall thermally insulated carafe. The carafe is what 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 are drinking it slowly over two hours, rather than immediately after brewing.

One of the biggest selling points on this Ninja is that it has a pre-infusion-esque feature, where gounds 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 that 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 5 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 hot plate for a little less by opting for the CF091.

The water reservoir holds enough water to fill a full carafe in one go (50 oz), and as an upgrade from the CF087, it’s also removable.

Our only complaints for 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.

Things to Consider

Drinking Habits

As always, your machine needs to be able to cater to your coffee drinking needs. If you need a machine that can fluidly transition from a single serve to a full carafe, there are several brewers that can accommodate you.

The CP307 and CM407 have the most versatility on this front, while the CE201 is better suited for those who have less specific brewing requirements or who are generally caffeinating larger crowds at once. 

To Froth or Not to Froth

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 frothing it for you can save you the time and money of getting a separate one. 

Both the CP307 and CM407 have convenient, effective Ninja fold away frothers, but the CE201 does not. So if you’re a fan of specialty drinks like lattes and cappuccinos, we’d suggest going for one of the first two rather than the latter. 

Free Real Estate

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

Here are the measurements for our 3 top picks:

  • CP307: 11.8 L x 10 W x 15 H
  • CM407: 12 L x 8.8 W x 15 H
  • CE201: 8.7 L x 9.9 W x 14.6 H

As always make sure to take into account not only your available counter space but also 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 coffer maker. So, keep that in mind as if you try one of these products.

If you aren’t really much of a purist or you don’t feel like making the effort to do this part yourself, you may want to opt for a pod coffee maker or a super-automatic espresso machine.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are all Ninja Coffee Makers Ninja Coffee Bars?

No, they are not. Ninja Coffee Bar actually 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 brewer 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. The only thing that’s gone away is the name! Nevertheless, you can still purchase many of the Ninja  Coffee Bar models as “renewed” products.

What’s the difference between glass and thermal carafes?

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. 

Thermal 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, which can lead to burnt tasting brews if left running for too long.  

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 the answer. If you’re wanting to go with something simple and easy, try the CE201. 

On the other hand, if you want a machine that can run the hot and cold tea and coffee brewing gambit, check out the CP307. Not a fan of tea? Go for the CM407. 

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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