Ninja is known for putting a creative spin on traditional appliances, and their Coffee Bar is a prime example of their innovation. The Ninja Coffee bar is definitely not a traditional espresso maker by any means, but it can certainly act like one, while providing plenty of extra features.
Single serve coffee makers are all the rage these days, but not all of them are worth using. The Ninja Coffee bar manages to implement some very noteworthy features and settings, giving it an unrivaled sense of versatility and ease of use.
When first taking a look at the Coffee Bar, it doesn’t really look any different from other contemporary coffee makers, but a further examination reveals all of its capabilities.
This machine is on the smaller end of the spectrum by design, so you should have no trouble fitting it into an ideal spot on your counter, or in the corner. The black/stainless steel look is the only color option at the moment.
So, here’s how it all works. The Ninja Coffee Bar is a pod-based coffee maker can make standard coffee, or use its technology to create brews that are similar to the flavor profile you’d get with espresso.
It doesn't use a portafilter, but it can accommodate both coffee pods and grounds, making it very versatile. You can either load the grounds in through the top using a metal filter, or load your pods into the side.
After that, you select the style of coffee you’d like, which varies between classic, rich, over ice, or an enhanced option that draws out more of the coffee’s flavor and strength, known as “Cafe Forte.”
After pushing the button, the Ninja Coffee Bar brews directly into your provided tumbler, or whatever cup or mug you want to use (as long as it fits.)
On the side, there is an integrated milk frother that can be used on both hot and cold milk. You can place your entire beverage into the frother, or use your own steam pitcher. The milk will need to be heated separately, so keep that in mind.
All of these features give you a huge amount of control over how you’d like your coffee to taste, both in terms of strength and flavor, and your milk inclusions. This can all be had for under $100, which is a great deal.
Despite all of its features and versatility, the Ninja Coffee Bar still comes across as simple, and does not require any kind of learning curve or special skills to use. As long as you can measure coffee and push a few buttons, you now how to use it.
This is a really interesting product, for sure. Overall, we are big fans of the convenience it offers, and all of the added features and settings that you can use to really dial in your ideal brew.
The various coffee brewing strengths are excellent. This lets you use the same consistent amount of grounds and water, while letting the Coffee Bar handle all the work with the strength and flavor.
The iced setting is especially helpful. We’re not sure what is going on inside to make the brew come better suited for ice, but it works.
As for the Cafe Forte part, again, we don’t know what’s going on when it brews it that way, but it creates a noticeably different brew. Depending on the beans you use, you can draw out some very complex flavors with the push of a button.
The milk frother is awesome, especially if you’re wanting to create an iced coffee drink that still has foam, almost like an iced cappuccino. The further aerates the milk, so you can use it hot or cold. Using it with heated milk creates some impressive foam that is very similar to what you’d get with an actual steam wand.
We appreciate the ability to use both pods and grounds, which is something you don’t see everyday. It’s nice to have the option. The included tumbler is good too, and is equally suited for both hot and iced drinks.
It feel a little petty to pick on a machine that bills itself as a single serve coffee maker, but it really would be nice to be able to brew bigger batches into a carafe or pot. Having that option would make this a truly exceptional product -- but the single serve thing works just fine.
We wish there were more color options as well. Yes, the stainless steel look is very versatile and can fit into most any kitchen, but some bolder color options, or even just an all white version would be good.
It’s important to note that this is not a traditional espresso maker by any stretch. Don’t let that cool milk frother fool you. Yes, you can make concentrated brews that taste similar to espresso, but it’s not espresso.
That said, if you know what you’re getting, you’ll love using this machine.
Also, to really get the most out of the Ninja Coffee Bar, it’s best to order it with some high-quality beans so you can savor the taste more. You can find a ton of amazing roasters on Amazon.
The Ninja Coffee Bar definitely does things differently, but in this case, that’s the point. For under $100, you get a futuristic coffee maker that affords you a slew of brewing options, and even kicks in a free tumbler to use on top of it all. Pretty hard to beat.
If you want a fast, convenient, and versatile way to enjoy coffee each day, the Ninja Coffee Bar makes a great addition to your kitchen, even if you already have an espresso maker or coffee brewer. We strongly recommend it.