Love brewing coffee in the comfort of your own home? Looking for a machine that gives you a flavorful, powerful, brew, as well as several different brewing options? How about a coffee machine that brews for both hot AND cold coffee? If you’re looking for the answers to some of these questions, you’ve come to the right place.
Introducing the Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker, soon to become your new favorite home appliance. It’s designed for any dedicated coffee lover, and it’s sturdy, dependable, sleek in appearance. Ninja sent us their Specialty Coffee Maker to review, and needless to say, we’re impressed. This extremely versatile machine is able to make just about any kind of coffee drink you prefer.
Read on to find out why the Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker is one of our favorite machines we’ve encountered so far.
History of The Ninja
Owned by SharkNinja Operating LLC, the Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker isn’t only the appliance that’s manufactured by this company. SharkNinja is a company based in the United States, and it produces a wide range of household products from ovens, to steam mops, to coffee brewers.
Creating innovative and efficient machinery, SharkNinja made its way onto the scene in 1998. Originally based out of Montreal, Canada, their handy household machinery has made its way into many American homes over the last few years. One of the most widespread pieces is (you guessed it) the Ninja Specialty Fold-Away Frother CM401.
The Ninja Need-To-Know
Why Get One?
One of the greatest things about the Ninja is its ability to perform a variety of operations while using a small amount of space. It also has multiple brewing options, and it’s the machine that can efficiently and effectively make almost any kind of coffee you prefer.
The overall characteristic of this machine that makes it a top seller is its incredible versatility. The Ninja is more than just a coffee maker–it’s a machine that’s designed to effectively complete multiple coffee making-tastes with quality performance and excellent efficiency.
Dimensions and Capacity
As far as wattage is concerned, the heating unit measures around 1500 watts. Weighing in at 13.4 lbs, the Ninja’s dimensions are 12×8.8×15 inches. It takes up minimum counter space by being a good bit taller than it is wide. If you have open space in your kitchen or higher-sitting upper cabinets, then the Ninja should sit comfortably wherever you place it.
The Ninja has multiple pieces that can be taken out, folded, or placed into the machine itself. With a measuring scooper, refillable water reservoir, an optional glass or thermal carafe, there are many features to this machine that make it more than worth the price.
- Glass/Thermal Carafe: Able to hold up to 10 cups (50 ounces). This removable container is able to hold large amounts of coffee to keep you going throughout the day. The glass carafe is also dishwasher safe, which is a huge bonus.
- Water Reservoir: The water reservoir, located on the right side of the machine, is able to hold around 50 ounces of water. It also has a fold-open top to make refilling it quick and easy to do.
- Ninja Scoop: One great thing about the scoop is that the measurements are designed to tell you how what size and how many scoops you need for whatever total brewing size you want to make.
- Frother: The frother is compact, simple to use, and FOLDABLE (we’re excited about it).
- Permanent Filter: Say goodbye to spending money on paper filters! The Ninja has it’s own filter that’ll make brewing coffee a breeze.
Another great feature about the ninja is its variety of brewing sizes. With a knob-shaped dial, you can choose between the offered sizes, giving you complete control exactly how much coffee you brew. The sizes include a small cup (9.5 oz), large cup (11.5 oz), travel mug (14 oz), large travel mug (18 oz), half of a carafe, and a whole carafe.
Not only is it versatile in brewing sizes, but brewing styles as well. Able to brew for both hot and cold coffee drinks, the Ninja’s settings consist of classic brew, rich brew, over ice brew, and specialty.
- Classic Brew: This option is suitable for brewing up some good ‘ole fashioned drip coffee. This setting is perfect for black coffee lovers and for the fans of the cafe au lait.
- Rich Brew: For those who need a little more kick in their cup, the rich brew setting will give you a more concentrated amount of drip coffee. This setting is great for those who enjoy a nice drip but need a little bit of a stronger brew to start off the day. These sizes are about 1 oz less for each of the classic brew sizes.
- Over-Ice Brew: One thing that sets the Ninja apart from other brewing machines is its ability to not only make hot coffee but cold coffee as well. It brews hot coffee and is specially designed to lock in the flavor of the coffee. To best brew on this setting, make sure to place your ice in your cup before you brew coffee over it.
- Specialty: This is a super-concentrated blend setting that’s designed to only brew a few ounces of coffee, but with a much higher punch of caffeine content and flavor. The specialty brew is the blend that is closest to an espresso-quality brew.
Like many high-end coffee makers, another brew setting feature that the Ninja comes with is a timer for self-brewing. As if this terrific machine wasn’t already efficient enough, you can also select what brew size/style you want hours in advance to when you’ll actually drink it. This feature adds onto the already impressive amount of power and versatility the Ninja possesses.
When it comes to cleaning out the Ninja, the process is similar to any other deep-cleaning process for other drip coffee brewers. After cleaning out and washing the carafe, water reservoir, and the permanent filter, you can run 50/50 vinegar and water through the machine to help remove some of the build-up inside of the Ninja.
Here’s a quick YouTube tutorial by Fantabulosity describing the step-by-step process on how to deep clean your Ninja Specialty:
Perhaps one of the most impressive traits about this machine is that it has the Specialty Coffee Association Golden Cup Standard of Brewing. The SCA has several requirements for products to be considered for this award, and the Ninja meets all of them. Known for delivering the highest quality of coffee right in the comfort of your own home, the Ninja has been rightfully recognized by the SCA. It has impressive performing abilities such as even saturation, coffee blooming, and consistent temperature levels and fluctuation.
Things We Love
Highly favored among many home coffee drinkers, there’s a lot about this powerful machine to love. From it’s sleek design to its sturdiness and dependability, the Ninja is certainly able to stand on its own in the coffee brewing world. Here are some of our favorite features of this excellent machine.
Using thermal flavor extraction, the Ninja is able to blend water delivery with automated controls that adjust the temperature and water amount based off of what brewing settings you select. This makes the brewing process super simple, since the only work you’re required to do it press a button.
With so many brewing options on the Ninja, it can be overwhelming choosing the right combination for you. However, once you choose what size and brew you’d like, all you have to do is add the correct amount of coffee. After that, the machine handles the rest of the brewing process for you.
Though the frother doesn’t actually heat the milk itself, the fact that it’s simple to use and super compactable is a great feature. Not only does it make the machine look sleek, compact, and not super clunky-looking, but it also helps preserve space in your kitchen.
After you brew your coffee, it’s nice to keep your coffee warm for a while after brewing. The Ninja’s heated plate is designed to keep your pot/cup/mug/whatever of coffee warm for about 2 hours. However, we should note that if you purchase a coffee maker with a thermal carafe, there’s no heating plate included.
One particular characteristic of the Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker that we love is the carafe purchasing options. The primary one we’re reviewing in this article is model CM401, which has a glass carafe. However, the Ninja model CM407 has an automatic thermal carafe. Both models of the machine are exactly the same except for the material of the carafes. Due to its engineering, the thermal carafe is slightly more expensive than the glass.
For those who plan on doing some more relaxed style brewing at home, the glass carafe should be just fine. The thermal carafe is ideal for those looking to do some more heavy-duty, multiple brews throughout the day.
Drip Stop Button
If you ever need to suddenly stop or pause brewing a cup of coffee, a drip-stop button comes in handy. Thankfully, the Ninja has this problem covered for you. This drip-stop button prevents overflow or the risk of burning yourself while brewing is in process.
Things To Improve
Alas, nothing is perfect. Though we here at Roasty adore this wonderful model machine by Ninja, there are a few minor things that can be tweaked and made better. Here are a few minor hiccups we’ve found to occur with the Ninja Specialty.
The beginning of the brewing process can get noisy, but it should cease after for the first few seconds. You can just hear it kicking into gear, then it beeps a few times when your coffee is done. It’s not loud enough to wake someone up, but it’s worth noting if you need a really quiet machine for some reason.
Though we do love the foldable frother, it’s always nice to have a frother that heats milk up as you froth it. Since the Ninja isn’t that heavy-duty of a coffee machine, having a non-heating frother is definitely the norm. The Ninja performs well as it is, but a heating frother would be the feature that would make it almost perfect.
Materials & Build
For the style of brewing system that it is, the Ninja is a worthy competitor in the home-brewing coffee game. There are some sturdy stainless steel components, but the rest of the machine consists of plastic and glass. Due to this, it’ll do great for the first few years or so of having it, but it unfortunately has a higher risk of breaking or malfunctioning quicker than other commercial-style coffee brewing machines.
Competing Ninja Models
Ninja also makes a few other coffee brewing systems that can be compared to the Specialty Coffee Maker. Though some of these makers have their own special characteristics, there are still some factors that separate the Specialty from its other siblings.
Ninja Coffee Brewer CE201
There are several benefits to the Ninja Coffee Brewer. For starters, it has a larger carafe that’s able to hold about 60 ounces of coffee. Though it doesn’t have as many parts as the Specialty, it also takes up less kitchen space. This makes it a much cozier option for the coffee lover who just wants a simple, and compact brewing method.
Unlike the Specialty, the Ninja Coffee Brewer only has two settings: classic and rich. Along with its more restricted brew settings, it’s also more restricted in brewing sizes. Unlike the Specialty, this model only offers brewing sizes of 12 cups and a “small batch” setting of 4 cups.
It’s also a drip coffee brewing method only. This means that the features that the Specialty possesses (fold-away frother, over-ice, and specialty brewing) aren’t possible.
Ninja Hot and Cold Brewed System CP307
A little bigger than the Specialty, the Ninja Hot and Cold packs a significant punch in brewing capacity. Though it has the same brewing settings as the Specialty, it has the upper hand due to its ability to also brew tea. Its tea settings include herbal, black, oolong, white, and green tea. It also has the option for a glass or thermal carafe.
Where size comes into play, the Specialty has the Ninja Hot and Cold beat. It’s slightly smaller, making it easier to store and use in your kitchen. And where cost is concerned, the Specialty also outdoes the Ninja Hot and Cold by quite a stretch.
All in all, the Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker CM401 is a great addition to any at-home coffee brewer’s kitchen. If you’re on the market for something flexible, affordable, and dependable, the Ninja is bound to become a quick favorite. It gives you plenty of bang for your buck, and can do any coffee brewing job you assign to it.
We here at Roasty continue to be impressed by this powerful little machine, and we’re confident you will be too.