It’s interesting how the world of coffee has evolved. We are creating all sorts of unique ways to make coffee as we plunge deeper into our love of caffeine. It is no longer a simple world of Mr. Coffee drip machines. You can buy espresso machines, milk frothers, single-serve brewers and even fancy drip coffee sets that reportedly make some of the smoothest coffee you will ever drink.
Investing in and learning how to operate all of these machines can be a huge hassle and buying fancy coffee at your local coffee shop every morning is not exactly an affordable option. This is where a Ninja Coffee Bar can come in handy. If you like to experiment with making different drinks but don’t want to empty your savings account in order to buy the best contraption for each style, this compact machine might be worth the investment. So, let’s take a look at everything that you get with this purchase and whether or not it is worth the price tag.
What Do Ninja Coffee Bars Do?
Ninja coffee bars do everything from traditional drip, concentrated brews that closely resemble espresso, and iced coffee. They are advertised as a machine that can do it all, and that seems relatively true for a majority of the customers reviewing this product. One of the most recent contraptions to come out of the Ninja Bar store is the CF097.
The CF097 is one of the most recent in a line of Ninja Coffee bars. It has some added features that the previous models were lacking, including some advanced technological perks, such as the Auto-iQ One Touch Intelligence, which we’ll discuss in detail later.
This machine has been rated number 1 in enough reviews to securely hold the spot as the best do-it-all coffee maker. To start off, let’s list everything that this, and other Ninja Coffee Bars, can make.
Traditional Drip Coffee
What is interesting about this machine is that, at first glance, it looks amazingly like a traditional drip machine. It has a carafe, a water reservoir with a clear window so you can easily see when it needs to be topped off, and space for your filter of coffee beans. If you want to make just a simple carafe of coffee for your family in the morning, you can sidestep the more complicated options and just go for the traditional brew.
When you make iced coffee, you want a brew that is going to be a little less on the bold side and rest a little more the on the smooth side. Coffee already has a naturally bitter taste to it, and when served cold, that bitterness is unfortunately enhanced. What this Ninja model does is brew coffee with the right amount of water so that the result is smooth and delicious enough to drink iced.
The Ninja Bar does a pretty decent job at making espresso. It usually doesn’t go down too smoothly as it is espresso made from a drip machine, but it comes close enough to satisfy all of the customers enthusiastic enough to write about this product. You can make espressos by selecting the Specialty Brew option, which will make a dense, concentrated drip that gets the job done.
Lattes and Cappuccinos
Once you have made your pseudo-espresso, you can use that as a base for lattes and cappuccinos. This machine comes with a built-in milk frother, meaning making a professional grade coffee drink at home is made relatively easy with a Ninja Bar.
Helpful, Additional Features that Add Versatility
Among the aforementioned options are also various brew levels and flavor profiles you can choose from. You can use the Classic Brew, Rich flavor, Over-ice, Specialty, or Café Forte.
This is where the AutoiQ One Touch Intelligence feature comes to play. When you select what serving size and what type of coffee you want to make, the machine uses this software to program the perfect amount of water, temperature and brew time needed to create the drink you selected. There is little to no fiddling on the customer’s part.
This model, the CF097, has a collapsible stand hidden alongside the area where the carafe usually rests, which will help you adjust to any size mug or thermos you wish to use. When you buy a Ninja Bar, it comes with all of the materials you need to utilize its features. It includes a carafe for hot and a carafe for iced coffee. Some even come with a thermal carafe, meaning your coffee will stay warm without having to worry about using a warming plate and potentially burning your morning cup of joe.
Other models come equipped with a warming plate for your carafe, while others don’t due to customer complaints regarding a burnt coffee aftertaste. This all depends on your personal preferences.
There are corresponding buttons to help you brew the right amount of coffee as well. On the CF097, you have the option of making a regular cup (8 oz), extra-large cup, travel mug, half of a carafe, or a full carafe. A measuring scoop that comes with the product has all of the correct ground amounts located on the spoon for easy reference. For all of the rather complicated drinks this can make, it is surprisingly easy to use.
What Do Ninja Coffee Bars Do?
- Choose a size: Select one of six sizes, ranging from a single cup to a travel mug to a full carafe
- Choose a brew: Dial up the flavor richness level by choosing a brew type: Classic, rich, over ice, specialty, or our...
- Pod free single serve: Offers unlimited variety use any brand of coffee, and personalize flavor by customizing the taste...
What Makes a Ninja Bar Unique?
The fact that you can make traditional drip, espresso, lattes, cappuccinos, and iced coffee all with one machine is a powerful selling point. The CF097 is particularly unique for its top-notch sensor technology, ensuring that all of your brews are made to the exact taste specifications.
For those that appreciate the subtle differences between a well-made cup of coffee and the more hastily concocted alternative, this will most likely be worth the investment.
The Price is Not as Bad as One Might Think
Now, what does all of this cost? Surprisingly, not too much. Ninja Bars is available on Amazon.
Considering that some higher-end espresso machines can land in at around 180 dollars, this is actually an affordable price. Again, you will not get professional-grade espresso with this machine, but you will get dense, concentrated coffee that is close enough to make a delicious latte or cappuccino.
The CF097 tends to be the most expensive due to its latest additions. You can get certified refurbished options for as low as 80 dollars, however, and they would work just as well as a brand-new Ninja Coffee Bar.
Now, for the average price of 120 dollars, the Ninja Bar does offer a lot of neat features. It is compact and does pretty much whatever you want. The machine is rather decked out with all sorts of complicated technical gadgets, however, so if something breaks, fixing it might pose both a convenience and price issue.
On multiple customer reviews, people complained about the lack of friendly customer service. They found that if their machine had broken down, it was a hassle to work with the company to find a quick and easy replacement. Broken parts do not happen as often as one might think, but when it does, it is a larger issue than it should be for a company that has been in the coffee industry for quite a few years.
A Quick Look at the Competition
- Brews multiple k-cup pod sizes: (6, 8, 10 ounce) – the most popular k-cup pod brew sizes. Use the 6 ounce brew size to...
- Large 48 ounce water reservoir: Allows you to brew 6+ cups before having to refill, saving you time and simplifying your...
- Descaling: An important part of cleaning your keurig brewer. This process helps to remove calcium deposits, or scale,...
Keurig, in response to the Ninja Bar, has come out with their own version of a machine that can make all of the same drinks as its competitor. Called the Keurig K-Café, it does traditional drip, single serve traditional and espresso grade coffee. It, of course, comes equipped with a milk frother, so you can make nearly any kind of coffee imaginable.
This is an expensive alternative, however, coming in at around 180 to 200 dollars, which is a surprising spike in value. The most likely reason for this price increase is the fact that you could use Kcups with this machine and not the Ninja.
Our conclusion, however, is that the Ninja Coffee Bar does a good job at handling all of the same jobs as this newer Keurig without the exorbitant cost. So, if you are going for a versatile machine, the Ninja Bar is your best bet, as it is a tested and true product that doesn’t overcharge for the bells and whistles. Even if you can’t use Kcups, there are a plethora of options in terms of coffee ground flavors and roasts that will more than make up for the loss.
Who Should Buy This Machine?
What if you just like traditional drip coffee and only occasionally enjoy the creamy latte or sweeter cappuccino? Is the Ninja Bar worth it? Most likely not. You could easily get an affordable drip coffee machine that has the same brew settings as the Ninja Bar and go out to buy your own occasional latte at a coffee shop, saving yourself a fair bit of money.
This machine might only be worth it for those that love to frequently switch up their coffee routine and enjoy the process of frothing their own milk. It is easy to understand so making the drinks isn’t difficult, but the initial investment isn’t worth the occasional cappuccino, pseudo-espresso shot or latte.
If you do want to invest in this machine but drink primarily drip coffee, it might be wise to try a certified refurbished option off of Amazon. These are reported to work just as well, with a working shelf life that is about as long as brand new Ninja Bar’s. A refurbished unit is around $40 cheaper than a new one, too.
When buying this product, make sure that you will actually use all of its features. Too many times glowing reviews and overhyped descriptions trap people into thinking that they will use all of the bells and whistles, when all they really want is a simple cup of coffee. Before jumping into this purchase, make sure that you will actually enjoy making cappuccinos and lattes regularly. This investment isn’t worth it unless you truly want the variety.
Is the Ninja Bar Worth The Investment?
So, let’s do a quick summary of what we just went over. All in all, if you love playing barista at home, hate waiting in line at the coffee shop, and love experimenting with different ways to make your daily cup of caffeine, this is a fantastic option.
Although other companies have tried to compete with the Ninja Bar, this machine consistently ranks number 1 on many customers’ lists for its dependability, durability, and versatility. This is an experienced company with a long line of products, and through trial and error, have managed to produce something that meets a great deal of their customers’ needs at a surprisingly affordable price.
A friendly reminder that the customer service has poor reviews by multiple customers, so if any mishap occurs, this might prove to be a bit of an issue. Furthermore, if you rarely drink anything but traditional drip coffee, this machine should not be your go-to option, and you’re better off sticking to something like the Bella Ultimate Elite 12 Cup brewer, which only costs 50 dollars. However, if you want to give it a shot and don’t know if you might like making your own lattes, go for a refurbished option on Amazon, as it will get the job done just as well for only $80, as opposed to $120.
With how expensive getting a drink at your local coffee shop is nowadays, I would say this is a solid investment. It lives up to its name, and rarely disappoints.