Ninja Coffee Maker Reviews
Are you bored with the Mr. Coffee pot that you’ve had for the last decade? Is your bank account looking stretched from so many coffee shop purchases?
Whether your morning go-to is a classic drip, something extra strong, a latte, cold brew, hot tea, or anything in between, there is a Ninja coffee maker to match your needs. This review will go through several of our favorite Ninja brewers to assess their strengths and weaknesses, so you can choose the one that best suits your brew preferences and style. Read on!
At A Glance:
The 4 Best Ninja Coffee Makers in 2023
Ninja doesn’t specialize in coffee, but they’re no slouches when it comes to making appealing and user-friendly coffee machines. Versatility is probably their greatest selling point, as Ninja brewers have made a name for themselves by being effective all-in-one coffee machines.
Whether you love coffee, tea, a creamy latte, or a refreshing cold brew, one of these Ninja coffee makers is sure to deliver.
|Ninja Hot and Cold Brewed System||
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|Ninja 12-Cup Programmable Drip Brewer||
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|Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker||
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|Ninja DualBrew Pro Specialty||
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The Hot and Cold Brewed System is essentially a consolidation of all the best features, plus a few improvements, from the now-obsolete Coffee Bar line. With capacity ranging from a single cup or travel cup to the full 10-cup carafe, this coffee maker can satisfy your early morning craving as well as impress your friends when you invite them over.
As its name suggests, the Hot and Cold Brewed System can make an array of hot and iced beverages using its five brewing styles: Classic, Rich, Speciality, Cold Brew, and Over Ice. Like the Coffee Bars, this Ninja coffee maker has an integrated frother that will turn both hot and cold milk into velvety foam for an array of drinks. Perhaps one of the greatest perks to this coffee maker is its relatively compact size, particularly given its capacity for so many brew styles and volumes.
One last piece of good news–all of the removable parts on the Hot and Cold Brewed System, except for the stainless steel carafe–are dishwasher safe. No more time-consuming descaling and toothbrush cleaning. Just pop the pieces in the dishwasher, run descaling solution through your machine, and you’re ready to go.
Read our full Ninja Hot and Cold Brewed System review to learn more.
Ninja may be known for their flashy all-in-one coffee makers, but they also know that sometimes simple elegance is the best approach. The Ninja 12-cup Programmable Drip Brewer is an excellent tool for anyone who wants to add convenience and style to classic drip coffee.
This Drip Brewer is the best of all things drip, with a little extra. It uses pre-infusion and a showerhead style water release to evenly bloom and saturate the grounds (1). And it circulates brewed coffee in the carafe to guarantee consistent flavor and temperature throughout the whole batch.
Don’t want a whole carafe? No problem, just use the small batch setting to brew the amount of coffee you need. You can even stop brewing midway to steal a mugful before the whole carafe is brewed using the “Pause” function.
All these specs are classic, beloved features of any great drip machine, so what makes the Ninja stand out? This drip coffee maker can brew two styles–the “Classic” brew you know and love, and the stronger, more concentrated “Rich” brew. This Ninja gives you a nice level of customization without overcomplicating things.
The Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker is a slightly simplified version of the Hot and Cold Brewed System, but with one important improvement. It is an SCA-Approved brewer, which means that it has been certified by the Specialty Coffee Association for the quality of its brews (2). It boasts excellent temperature consistency, pre-infusion, and even saturation of the grounds. If you like to spend money on quality coffee beans, this is the brewer they deserve.
It offers four brew styles–Classic, Rich, Over Ice, and Speciality–and has an attached milk frother suitable for both hot and cold beverages. Like other Ninjas, this brewer offers a range of brew volumes from single-serving to the full 10-cup carafe.
There are stainless steel and glass carafes to choose from, and while the stainless steel is more expensive, it is also more durable. And the absence of a warming plate means less energy wasted on keeping your coffee hot.
As with all Ninja coffee brewers, the Specialty Coffee Maker is easy to maintain. When your machine needs to be descaled, the ‘Clean’ button will illuminate, and the cleaning cycle is fully automated. All you need to do is add descaling solution. All the removable parts, aside from the stainless steel carafe, are dishwasher-safe.
4. Ninja DualBrew Pro Specialty – Best for Small Spaces
Brew styles: Classic, Rich, Specialty, and Over Ice
- Drink sizes: Small Cup, Cup, XL Cup, Travel Mug, XL Travel Mug, ¼ Carafe, ½ Carafe, ¾ Carafe, or Full carafe (using ground coffee)
- 6, 8, 10, or 12 oz (using a coffee pod)
- Water reservoir: 60 ounces
- Carafe: Glass
The DualBrew gets its name because it can brew either using ground coffee or coffee pods, though that is far from its only selling point. This compact coffee maker measures just 9.13″ deep x 11.39″ wide x 15.54″ tall while still packing a ton of functionality.
Whether using ground coffee or a pod, it can brew four different styles – Classic, Rich, Specialty, and Over Ice – and brew a K-Cup even faster when compared with Keurig models. Impressively, it has even more drink size options than the more expensive Hot and Cold Brewed System, so you can always brew just the right amount and never waste. It includes a fold-away milk frother, perfect for a small kitchen where buying a separate milk frother is just one more piece of clutter.
One of the nicest features of this model is the independent hot water system. You can choose between two temperatures (hot and boiling) to make tea, hot chocolate, oatmeal, or even ramen noodles. This coffee maker would be a wonderful asset in a college dorm room or even an RV, where it could double as a complete breakfast station.
How to Choose the Right Ninja Coffee Maker
As we mentioned, the variety of styles and features is a big selling point for Ninja coffee makers, but each brewer has its own set of nuances that you can use to find the perfect one for you. This buyer’s guide will help you through it.
Brew Style Choices
Every Ninja coffee machine can brew “Classic” and the slightly stronger “Rich” coffee, which is better with milk or for anyone who just enjoys a bold cup. If you just want to enjoy delicious cups of hot coffee, these will be the only two brew styles you need.
If you like to indulge in a refreshing chilled coffee in the summer months, then look for a more advanced model that also includes an Over Ice or Cold Brew brewing method.
If you enjoy cafe-style espresso drinks, you’ll want a Ninja coffee machine with the Specialty brewing option. While it can’t make a true espresso, it prepares a small, concentrated coffee that makes a fine base for a latte or cappuccino.
Here is a summary of the five available brew styles:
- Classic – The coffee you already know and love. It’s smooth and balanced for daily sipping.
- Rich – Richer than classic, the flavors of your coffee will be more pronounced and will hold up to milk or added flavor much better.
- Over Ice – Brew hot on top of ice for a refreshing iced coffee that is not watered down.
- Specialty – A concentrate similar to traditional espresso at your favorite coffee shop. This concentrate is intended to make a great latte or even a frozen, blended beverage.
- Cold Brew – In just 10 minutes, your Ninja can do what would otherwise take hours: brew delicious and refreshing cold brew coffee.
Do you like K-Cups?
At Home Grounds, we aren’t huge fans of K-Cups. They are bad for the environment and generally don’t produce very good coffee (3). Indeed, one thing we like about all the Ninja brewers is that they allow you to brew a single serving using ground coffee. However, we appreciate that sometimes the convenience of a K-Cup is just too tempting to resist.
If you like to keep a stash of K-Cups on hand for a quick brew or a unique flavored coffee, go for the Ninja DualBrew. It’s the only model that offers K-Cup compatibility while also providing the option of ground coffee.
Thermal or Glass Carafe?
Some Ninja coffee machines are only available with a glass carafe, but most offer an option for either glass or stainless steel. Both options have pros and cons, but for us, the thermal carafe comes out on top.
A thermal carafe is made from double-wall stainless steel with vacuum insulation. Essentially, it is a thermos. It keeps your coffee hot for hours without relying on a hot plate. Hot plates not only consume energy and force you to keep your coffee machine on, but they can quickly leave your coffee with a burnt or stale flavor. Though it’s worth mentioning that Ninja’s 12-Cup coffee maker offers a unique circulation system to avoid this problem. Stainless steel carafes are also far more durable.
So why, you ask, would anyone opt for a glass carafe? Well, for one thing, they’re less expensive. They’re also dishwasher safe on the top rack, making clean-up a little simpler. And some people prefer their aesthetic. If you plan to brew and consume a carafe of coffee right away, there’s no reason not to opt for a cheaper glass carafe – unless you’re prone to breaking things.
Deciding which of these machines is best is sort of like determining the best flavor of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream – it just depends on your taste.
Our top pick is the Ninja Hot and Cold Brewed System because it offers the most versatility. You can prepare everything from a black coffee to a frothy latte to a smooth cold brew. However, suppose you’re just looking for a basic coffee maker to deliver a delicious carafe full of java. In that case, the more affordable Ninja Programmable Coffee Maker will be right up your alley!
You clean your Ninja Coffee Machine by filling the water reservoir with a descaling solution or white vinegar. Select the full carafe size, then run the cleaning cycle. Follow this by a second clean cycle using only water (4).
You make iced coffee with Keurig by extracting your coffee over a cup of ice, then adding milk and sugar to taste. If you have a K-Elite or K-Supreme machine, you can use the “Over Ice” setting for a stronger brew suitable for iced coffee.
No, a Ninja coffee maker doesn’t need a filter. They are all equipped with reusable metal mesh filters, which many coffee lovers feel results in a more aromatic brew. They also eliminate waste and save you the cost of buying filters. However, if you prefer a cleaner cup, you can always add a paper filter to a Ninja coffee machine (5).
- McPhee, H. (2015, August 12). What’s A Coffee Bloom? Retrieved from https://fellowproducts.com/blogs/learn/what-s-a-coffee-bloom
- Specialty Coffee Association. (2022). SCA Certified Home Brewer Program. Retrieved from https://sca.coffee/certified-home-brewer
- Hamblin, J. (2015, March 2). A Brewing Problem. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/03/the-abominable-k-cup-coffee-pod-environment-problem/386501/
- Ninja Perfect Clean Technology. Retrieved from https://www.ninjakitchen.com/include/pdf/how-to-cleaning-instructions-60-cf090-17-18-19.pdf
- Pearson. D. (2015, January 20). Which Filter Brew Method is Best for You? Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2015/01/which-filter-brew-method-is-best-for-you/