Are you tired of handing over hundreds of dollars each month to your local coffeehouse barista? Start putting your money into other guilty pleasures, because with the Ninja Coffee Bar Brewing System you can bring all of that coffee goodness right in your own kitchen!
If you aren’t familiar with the Ninja line of blenders and food mixers, they are known for their power-packed products. Let’s dive in to see if the Ninja Coffee Bar Brewing System lives up to the Ninja reputation.
versatile features make this machine a true ninja
the price fairly matches its reputation in the industry
our rating, based on our sound and impartial assessment
Now, to our Ninja Coffee Bar Brewing System Pros and Cons...
The key feature of the Ninja Coffee Bar Brewing System is the Auto IQ, which regulates the flow and temperature of the water, but most importantly, stops in the middle of a brew to allow the grounds to saturate at different rates for the various brew choices. Additional features include an auto-regulating heating plate, an iced-coffee setting, and pre-measure scoop that provides accurate measuring for the perfect brew.
The design of the Ninja Coffee Bar itself is pretty standard for this type of coffee system, but keep in mind that you will also need a place for all of the parts that come with it.
Regarding cup size, you can make single cups, travel mugs, and both half and full carafes. The brew sizes include:
To brew one cup or a travel mug’s worth of coffee, the Ninja Coffee Bar Brewing System provides a handy shelf that pulls down when you remove the carafe, keeping the cup/mug closer to the drip mechanism, and above the heating plate. The metal, reusable filter pulls out easily for adding coffee grounds. Ninja provides a measuring scoop with one end measuring for a cup or travel mug and the other for a half or full carafe.
A perfect cup of coffee requires four essential things:
This unit covers all of these bases; let’s see how.
The Ninja Coffee Bar main feature is its Auto-iQ One-Touch Intelligence function. The “one-touch” is self-explanatory: just touch once, and your coffee starts brewing.
Then the magic begins. Ninja’s Auto-IQ pulls the ideal amount of water for the brew you’ve chosen, then sets the water temperature between 195-205 degrees for a perfect cup. The water draws from the reservoir to the brew basket, then showers over all of the grounds for even saturation.
Where Ninja differs from other coffee systems is that after the initial saturation of the grounds, the flow pauses to allow the coffee to “bloom” and saturate all of the beans for a fuller flavor. Then Auto-iQ starts the water flow again, delivering the precise amount of water for the brew you’ve chosen.
With grounds fully open and evenly saturated and evenly brewing, Auto-iQ starts up again to finish the brew. Traditional coffee makers pour right through the center without pausing, which over extracts those grounds causing bitterness, and under extracts the outside of the grounds, which creates a sour taste. The Ninja Coffee Bar Brewing System Auto-iQ allows for that resting period to allow the full flavor to come out.
Don’t be surprised by that resting period; it’s not just stopping, it’s allowing the flavor to come out of the coffee grounds fully.
You can see and smell the difference! Every single note of the coffee comes through.
Unlike other coffee makers, you don’t need to guess the amount of coffee, having to add more for a richer brew. With Ninja Coffee Bar Brewing System’s Auto-iQ, the Rich Brew setting uses thermal flavor extraction technology to take the right amount of water out of the reservoir and takes the exact amount of time to allow the grounds to be saturated more than the classic brew.
The Rich Brew setting creates a slightly smaller amount of coffee, leaving more room for cream or other additions without losing the fullness of flavor.
Here is a breakdown of some of the other features of the Ninja Coffee Bar Brewing System:
The Ninja Coffee Bar brew basket pulls out versus opening from the top, allowing you to have the Ninja Coffee Bar Brewing System on your counter under the cabinets without having to pull the machine out to use it.
Gold-tone Coffee or Paper Filters
There is a permanent gold-tone filter that is eco-friendly and easy to clean. But if you prefer paper filters, you can use them too. When using paper filters, take the permanent filter out, and then fold the seams of a number 4-size filter so that when you place the filter into the brew basket, it lays nice and flat in the basket without it folding over on itself. Then brew as you would normally.
There is a drip-stop feature, but it is not automatic. The mechanism to shut the drip off before removing the carafe is just under the brew basket. Make sure it’s off or closed when you want to pour a cup, then open it again when you put the carafe back to finish a brew cycle.
Like the brew basket, the water reservoir can be removed to fill, or you can access it from the top. It has a measuring scale on the side of it clear sides, so you can fill it up to the level you want, then allow the Auto-iQ to use what’s necessary.
Auto-on timer and Auto-Shutoff
The Ninja Coffee Bar Brewing System has both an auto-on timer and an auto-shutoff control. Set the timer and choose “delay brew” to set a specific time to prepare your coffee. The time can be adjusted to the minute. The auto-off feature shuts the machine off after two hours of inactivity.
Smart heating plate
The smart heating plate heats up when you start brewing a half or full carafe. But here’s where it shines; it calculates how much coffee is in the carafe and will adjust the temperature accordingly. With a full carafe, the heating plate will be hotter and will go down in temperature as you use more coffee and the carafe empties. With the Ninja Coffee Bar Brewing System, you will have delicious hot coffee until the last cup.
Over Ice Brew
With the iced coffee setting, the Ninja Coffee Bar creates an even richer brew over a glass of ice, allowing the ice to melt without losing the flavor. With this setting, you’re able to brew hot coffee over ice immediately, releasing the freshness right into the glass. The coffee isn’t stronger; it’s richer. And you don’t have to use stale coffee that’s been sitting in the refrigerator.
The Ninja Coffee Bar Brewing System comes with a milk frother for specialty drinks. Pour the milk into the frother and froth it to the consistency you want. Pour the foam right into the glass or cup, then place it on the brew shelf. The Auto-iQ takes even longer to brew, to get the most of your coffee beans. The specialty brew is more like a coffee extract, for drinks like cappuccinos, lattes, etc.
The entire brew basket and water reservoir come out for easy cleaning as well.
Occasionally the Ninja Coffee Bar will brew at a slightly higher temperature of 208 degrees, which is a bit too high for the best cup of coffee. The Rich Brew can also sometimes over brew, resulting in bitterness, so you might want to use the Rich Brew mode less.
Both the Ninja Coffee Bar Brewing System and the Keurig 2.0 can make a single cup or a full carafe, and both allow you to adjust the strength of the coffee, but the Ninja Coffee Bar Brewing System is much more precise. With the Keurig refillable K-cup filter you can use your own grounds and cut expenses, and you can brew other drinks like hot chocolate or tea, while the Ninja Coffee Bar Brewing System is designed for coffee drinks only.
If you are looking for a more personalized experience, including size and type of brew, the Ninja Coffee Bar Brewing System is your better option. However, if simplicity is more your style, check out our article on How to Choose the Right Keurig Coffee Maker.
The closest brew system to the Ninja Coffee Bar is the Bonavita Brewer 8-Cup. Both have processes that replicate a pour-over method and pre-infusion to saturate the grounds fully for an even brew. Their reservoir sizes are similar, and they both have manual and automatic settings. However, the Bonavita Brewer 8-cup doesn’t have brew size options, limiting you to a full pot of 8 cups. The latter also does not have an auto-start.
For its features, look, and the Auto-iQ system, the Ninja Coffee Bar Brewing System brews a consistent cup of coffee in many varieties at a good price point. Touted as a do-it-all system that brews hot and iced coffee and specialty beverages (not espresso, but close), it will please even the most discriminating coffee drinkers.