The world runs on coffee. With today’s busy lifestyle, only a few superhumans among us do it all without some delicious help from caffeine. Of course, the only thing better than coffee is good coffee. And while you can go to that special cafe near your apartment every day, that gets time-consuming and expensive. Home-brewed coffee is better for your wallet in the long run, and it really frees up some time on your schedule.
If you’ve been looking for a coffee maker to be the savior of your morning, you might have come across the Ninja Coffee Bar. Ninja is one of the biggest and most popular names in kitchenware, so it makes sense if you’re more than a little intrigued.
If you’re trying to decide if the Ninja Coffee Bar is an adequate centerpiece of your kitchen, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading this review of the Ninja Coffee Bar to find out if it’s the coffee maker for you, and to see how it holds up against the competition. We guarantee that, even if you decide this Ninja coffee maker isn’t for you, we’ll have pointed you in the right direction to find the coffee maker of your dreams.
What’s So Good about the Ninja Coffee Bar?
If you mention that you’re thinking of buying a new blender or juicer for your kitchen, everyone you know will be suggesting Ninja products before you even finish speaking. Ninja has really cornered that part of the market, but they’re a little less-known for their coffee products. That being said, Ninja products have become so popular because they’re both easy to use and affordable, so anyone who values those traits will have to check out the Ninja Coffee Bar.
True to the Ninja brand, this coffee maker has been praised for being easy to use, but its real appeal is in its utility. Keep reading to learn more about the key features of the Ninja Coffee Bar so you can decide if it’s the coffee maker for you.
Important Feature #1: One-Touch Functionality
You shouldn’t have to be a professional barista to use a coffee maker and get your morning started off on the right foot. That’s why it’s so great that the Ninja Coffee Bar, with its one-touch functionality, is about as easy to use as making instant coffee. I don’t think the Ninja Coffee Bar could possibly be any easier to use.
There’s a clearly labeled dial (complete with pictures) that allows you to select the size of your coffee and four buttons that allow you to select what style of coffee you want. You have six different sizes -cup, xl cup, travel mug, multi-serve, half carafe, and carafe from smallest to largest – and easy access to “classic,” “rich,” and “over ice” coffee. The fourth button is for the “specialty brew” which gives you the option of adding milk and/or syrup later so you can make your coffee just the way you like it.
The simplicity of the Ninja Coffee Bar just can’t be beat, and the specialty option gives you room to spice things up a bit, which means that the Ninja Coffee Bar is an amazing choice for both beginners and pros. It really is like having a miniature coffee shop right in your kitchen.
Important Feature #2: Timer
Imagine waking up and having your perfect cup of coffee hot, ready, and waiting for you. Sounds like the kind of luxurious lifestyle that requires being rich and having a butler, but thanks to Ninja that can be a reality even without winning the lottery. Thanks to the 24-hour timer of the Ninja Coffee Bar, you can plan your day out the night before, and this futuristic coffee maker will take care of the rest.
Set the timer to make sure the machine gets started on your coffee a little before your alarm wakes up, and you’ll have your delicious caffeinated beverage waiting for you first thing in the morning. Just the smell of your coffee in the morning might be more helpful in getting up than any alarm clock could ever be. Who knows? You might just find yourself skipping the snooze alarm and jumping out of bed as soon as you wake up. The 24-hour timer of the Ninja Coffee Bar will make you a morning person before you know it.
Important Feature #3: Self-Cleaning
Between the amazing timer and the self-cleaning feature of the Ninja Coffee Bar, this coffee maker really might just be the most convenient product on the market. To use the self-clean feature, simply gill up the coffee maker’s 48-ounce water reservoir with 16 ounces of vinegar and 32 ounces of water. Then press the “Clean” button, and you’re done!
The entire process takes about 8 minutes. You’ll have to quickly run the reservoir through some water to remove any leftover vinegar, and just like that your coffee maker is good as new! Sometimes new kitchen equipment can just mean something else you’ll have to clean, but that’s definitely not the case with the Ninja Coffee Bar.
Even if you’re not satisfied with the self-clean feature, our Ninja coffee maker is a sinch to clean by hand. All of the parts are removable, so you’ll have no problem getting every bit of leftover coffee out of this coffee machine. Any way you look at it, you won’t have to waste a lot of time cleaning the Ninja Coffee Bar.
The Pros and Cons
We can’t pretend that the Ninja Coffee Bar is a perfect coffee machine, and we don’t intend to. Like all coffee makers, this Ninja product has its flaws, and we want to make sure you really understand the full picture before you go out and buy the Coffee Bar for your kitchen. As a quick wrap-up, we’re going to give you all of the pros and cons of the Ninja Coffee Bar. Keep reading for the key points – warts and all – of the Ninja Coffee Bar.
- The three different presets and the “specialty brew” button make this coffee machine great for both beginners and experts.
- The self-timer and the self-cleaning functions make the Ninja Coffee Bar one of the most convenient options out there.
- Easy size selection means you can make the perfect amount of coffee with zero effort.
- Customers have complained that the machine drips a lot, though there is a “stop drip” button.
- It’s a little smaller than some of the other coffee makers on the market.
How Do You Use It?
As we’ve mentioned more times than I care to count, using the Ninja Coffee Bar is one of the easiest things in the world. Just fill up the water reservoir, place your ground coffee of choice in the coffee tray, and you’re pretty much done! All that’s left is to select your size and style, and, of course, the fun part: drinking your delicious coffee.
As far as cleanup, you can either use the self-clean function or manually clean the machine, which won’t be too hard since the Ninja Coffee Bar comes apart. It’s really that simple, and whether you prefer iced coffee or you like your coffee hot, you’ll be able to use this machine blindfolded in no time.
What Do the Reviews Say?
In short, they approve. The Ninja Coffee Bar has earned over 9,800 reviews on Amazon, and almost all of them are positive, with the Coffee Bar averaging 4.5 stars. Customers praised the Ninja Coffee Bar for its simple design, its flexibility in terms of flavor, and, of course, its great coffee.
As one Amazon reviewer said: They seemed to get everything spot on in design, function, and flexibility! Another customer simply stated, “love at first brew!” A third customer loved the Ninja Coffee Bar but lamented that it was a little big, stating “Great coffee. Big Footprint.” So if counter space is a concern of yours, you might want to look at other coffee makers, though the unfortunate truth is that they’re all a bit big.
As far as professional reviewers go, the story is more of the same. One reviewer stated, “Ninja Coffee Bar is as versatile as I’ve seen – of drip varieties, of course. I admit I’m impressed!” Another gave her review the subtitle, “This Machine Does it All.” The combination of simplicity, versatility, and affordability really earned the Ninja Coffee Bar a spot at the top of the rankings.
How Does It Compare?
Nothing exists in a vacuum, and even if you’ve pretty much formed your opinion on the Ninja Coffee Bar, it’s important to look at the other top products on the market. In this upcoming section, we’re going to quickly compare Ninja Coffee Bar to some of the other popular pressure cookers on the market so that you can see what else is out there before making your purchase. You gotta beat the best to be the best, and we’re going to see if the Ninja Coffee Bar can go toe-to-toe with the competition.
Ninja Coffee Bar vs Keurig K-Duo Essentials
Keurig is the name when it comes to coffee machines. It’s gotten to the point that, much like “Band-aid” and “Vaseline” the Keurig brand name has become synonymous with coffee makers in general. That’s why we just had to see how the Ninja Coffee Bar holds up against the Keurig K-Duo Essentials.
To start things off, the Keurig K-Duo Essentials is much cheaper than our Ninja product. For a lot of customers, that really is the beginning and end of it. The Ninja really does justify the steeper cost. The Ninja Coffee Bar offers a wider selection of coffee than its Keurig counterpart, which offers only classic coffee and strong brew. The Coffee Bar also comes with a milk frother included, so the price might even win out in the long run, if you don’t like your coffee black.
Other than price, the main reason you might opt for the Kuerig product is its 60-ounce water reservoir, which is ten ounces larger than the Ninja’s tank. If you don’t like needing to constantly fill the water reservoir, those extra ten ounces will make a big difference, and your coffee-drinking experience will stay streamlined for that much longer.
To recap, if you want to save your time or your money, go with the Keurig K-Duo Essentials. But if you want better coffee and more options than you know what to do with, then pick the Ninja Coffee Bar.
Ninja Coffee Bar vs De’Longhi BCO430BM
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This time around is a bit of a role reversal from our previous matchup. While our Keurig coffee maker was cheaper than the Coffee Bar but also a lower quality than our Ninja product, the De’Longhi BCO430BM is the opposite. The De’Longhi BCO430BM comes with an advanced milk frother and has been praised for offering much more flexibility than the Ninja Coffee Bar. Indeed, De’Longhi, in general, has made a name for itself as a brand that offers premium-grade coffee makers, and the BCO430BM is just a case study.
An article on thespecialtycoffeebeans.com said that while the De’Longhi BCO430BM “is one of the brand’s most basic models, it encompasses both espresso and drip coffee lovers’ needs.” The De’Longhi BCO430BM was also praised for its milk steaming wand and its programmable design.
If you’re a little more experienced and really know your coffee, then the De’Longhi BCO430BM is probably a better choice for you than the Ninja Coffee Bar, and De’Longhi machines will probably be much more your speed than any of the Ninja Coffee Bar models. Of course, while the De’Longhi BCO430BM may be the superior coffee machine in terms of quality, it falls behind when it comes to accessibility, and it’s a little more expensive than our Ninja product. It doesn’t offer any of the presets or simple selection options that the Coffee Bar features, and you’ll want to really know your coffee if you’re going to buy this machine. One last point in De’Longhi’s favor, however, is that the De’Longhi BCO430BM doubles as an espresso machine.
If you’re a real snob who needs the best product, go with the De’Longhi BCO430BM. But if you want something more intuitive and beginner-friendly, stick with the Ninja Coffee Bar.
Ninja Coffee Bar vs Nespresso
At this point, the comparison game becomes a lot more apples to oranges than what we’ve been dealing with until now. The Nespresso machine is actually qualitatively different from the Ninja Coffee Bar, as it’s a pod-cased coffee maker, compared to the coffee grounds you’ll use with a Ninja Coffee Bar.
What this means in practice is that you’re much more limited with a Nespresso machine, as you’ll only be able to use pods that are compatible with the machine, and you’ll be stuck with those flavors, though the pods do have enough variety that you may not feel particularly pigeonholed.
After spending so long praising the Ninja Coffee Bar for being so easy to use, it’s almost weird to call it the less intuitive option in any comparison, but that’s what’s happening right now. The pod-based machines like Nespresso really are as easy as can be. Just make sure there’s water in the tank, pop the pod in, and you’re pretty much set. Of course, the pods themselves can be a little more expensive than other types of coffee, and they’re pretty wasteful for the environmentally-conscious folks out there.
If you just want the easiest machine possible, then you’ll definitely want a Nespresso machine, and you can hopefully find a pod that really matches your tastebuds. But if you want something that is less wasteful, gives you the flexibility you need, and can maybe put you on the right track to being a real coffee snob, then you should go with the Ninja product. It’s still plenty easy, and maybe you’ll find yourself graduating to more advanced machines like the De’Longhi BCO430BM. Of course, even when it comes to convenience, it’s not so cut and dried. No Nespresso machine is going to have the amazing 24-hour timer of the Ninja Coffee Bar.
Does the Ninja Coffee Bar Make Espresso?
The perhaps-unsatisfying answer is “sort of.”
Now for some clarification. While the Ninja Coffee Bar system doesn’t technically make espresso, it does make a stronger and more concentrated coffee that most drinkers will compare to espresso. Of course, the real coffee lovers out there might know that, as per Walton Holcomb, “an espresso machine uses pressure to force the water through the beans to extract the coffee, and the Ninja Coffee Bar uses the drip system.” To a lot of customers, this is a distinction without a difference, but for certain coffee snobs, this distinction makes all of the difference in the world. Of course, either way, you’re getting some great-tasting coffee that will put a pep in your step.
Should I Buy the Glass Carafe or the Thermal Carafe?
While the Ninja Coffee Bar comes packaged with a carafe by default, you have the choice between a glass carafe or a thermal carafe. Which one you should buy really comes down to your drinking habits and your budget.
The thermal carafe is more expensive by a not-insignificant amount, but it’s, unsurprisingly, both more durable and more insulated. The glass carafe is cheaper but also delicate, and it won’t keep your coffee hot for as long.
If you’re on the clumsier side, or if you tend to nurse your coffee for longer and let it sit, then you should definitely spend the extra money and get the thermal carafe. But if you trust your fingers and usually drink your coffee while it’s still piping hot, then opting for the glass carafe is a good way to save a buck.
On top of the actual machine, the packaging and value of this Ninja coffee maker really push it over the top. For an affordable price, you’re also getting a glass carafe or thermal carafe of your choice, as well as a mug, a milk frother, and more. This Ninja product is the complete coffee-making (and coffee-drinking) starter pack. This coffee maker is the perfect centerpiece for any caffeine fiend’s kitchen.
But if the Ninja Coffee Bar isn’t quite what you’re looking for, there’s more out there that might be more your speed. If you’re okay with the same exact coffee every morning (guilty), then the Keurig K-Duo Essentials might be perfect for you. It’ll really streamline your morning and get your coffee as quickly as possible, and the fact that it’s one of the cheapest options out there obviously doesn’t hurt its case.
Of course, if you’re a serious connoisseur, you should check out the De’Longhi BCO430BM, or the rest of the De’Longhi catalog. There’s really no sugar-coating this; it’s not exactly user-friendly. But the honest truth is that in terms of coffee quality, it’s the best out there. If you need the best coffee and you don’t care how much you’re paying, De’Longhi is calling your name.
Finally, if even the Ninja Coffee Bar is just too much for you, you can always go with pod-based coffee makers like the Nespresso or certain Keurig models. Just find the pod of your dream flavor and you’re set. Pod machines are the easiest way to make coffee, and it’s not even close. Even instant coffee takes more attention and brainpower.
That brings us to the end of our review, and we’re just about ready to wrap things up. The point of any review is just to answer, “Is this product worth my hard-earned money?” With the Ninja Coffee Bar, the answer to that question is a resounding yes! With its design that a child could figure out, and its variety of options for both sizes and styles, plus the specialty feature to let you think outside the box a little, this Ninja Coffee Bar really is one of the best coffee making machines out there.