Lots of people love coffee. The problem is that unless you want to splash the cash (or use those awful pods), you are pretty much going to be limited to standard filter coffee in the comfort of your own home. Sure. It is great and all, but some of us crave a good iced coffee, or maybe a cappuccino on occasion. This is why the Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker turned our heads.
Note: this isn’t going to be your typical review. We are going to go into as much depth as we possibly can on the Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker. We aren’t going to sum everything up into a few pros and cons. We are going to let you know what we love (and what we don’t love), as you work your way through the review. This way you will get an idea of everything that it brings to the table.
What is the Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker?
We are going to be talking about each of the features of this bit of kit throughout this review. We want to start by giving you a quick overview of what this coffee maker brings to the table, though.
The long and the short of it is that this is a filter coffee machine. It can make a variety of different brews (both hot and cold) at the press of a button. You can fill up a variety of ‘cup sizes’ with the same machine (you don’t have to use the included carafe!). This makes it an incredibly versatile piece of kit. Many people love the range of options available to them with the Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker. It is the perfect ‘at home’ companion. More on these options in a short while.
The coffee maker is made by a company called NinjaShark. While you may not have heard of them before, the company has been around for a good couple of decades. Across two different brands (incidentally called NInja and Shark), they produce a variety of kitchen appliances and vacuum cleaners. Most of them have a bit of modern flair to their design. All are well-constructed, and all perform to a high standard. If you pick up a product from NinjaShark (including the Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker), you won’t be disappointed.
So, now that is out of the way, let’s jump into the plethora of features this product brings to the table.
What is in the box
Open up the box, and you will have your Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker there. However, you will also have a few other accessories that you can play about with:
- 50oz Glass Carafe
- Fold-Away Frother
- Permanent filter
- Smart Scoop
- Water Reservoir
- Quick start guide
- Recipe book
You would expect most of this to be included with a coffee maker anyway, but we will go through some of the bits and pieces to let you know why it is so special.
Who is it for?
The Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker has been designed for those people who want a nice, quality cup of coffee in the comfort of their own home or small business. If you want versatility in the types you make, but you don’t want to use pods, then this is the best route to go down.
The small size means that it is going to be perfect for even the smallest of kitchens. Although, the more ‘modern’ style of the Ninja Speciality Coffee Maker means that it is probably going to work best with those rooms that have more of a contemporary vibe to them.
Variety of coffee making options
On the machine, you will have four different options:
- Classic brew
- Rich brew
- Iced coffee
- Specialty brew
This is a good mix of options for those who love a bit of variety in their caffeine intake.
The classic and rich brew will pump out a standard coffee. This is the normal drip-feed coffee for those who want something that tastes good, but don’t want to go to the lengths of frothing milk or tinkering about with various flavorings. The rich brew will give you a little bit less water in your jug but will give you a lot more of a caffeine kick. It is perfect for those who want something a bit on the stronger side.
Just fill up a mug with some ice and hit the iced coffee button. We have seen a lot of coffee machines that pump out iced coffee before, but very few of them come close to the taste that the Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker can produce.
The specialty brew option is for those who want to make weird and wonderful coffee. It is going to pump out an espresso (or two) sized shots. You can then use these to make your own mochas, cappuccinos, or whatever other coffee you like. This little caffeine shot is going to be very, very strong. It will taste incredibly smooth, though.
Produces a variety of different cup sizes
This is one of the reasons we love the Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker so much. Not only do you have a great deal of versatility when it comes to the type of coffee you are making, but you also have multiple options when it comes to the amount you are making.
We are going to assume that the vast majority of people are going to be using the carafe. This is fine. However, we also know that there are a few people who just want to put together a single cup of coffee. The Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker makes this ridiculously simple.
You can choose six different sizes. You don’t even need to use the carafe to make them. For example; if you have a favorite mug, then you can just stick it on the little shelf and the machine will fill up your coffee mug directly for you. It is a lot more convenient. Probably going to save you a bit of time when it comes to doing the washing up too!
The real advantage of this all is that you are guaranteed to get the perfect cup of coffee every time. Nothing too strong, and nothing that is heavily watered down. It is going to be ‘just right’.
Since we are on the subject of cup sizes, we do want to talk about the carafe a little bit. For the most part, the carafe is well-built. Normally at this price point, you tend to get a carafe which explodes at the slightest knock (everybody hates cheap glass), but that isn’t the case here. You end up with a solid piece that can put up with a ton of use throughout the day. The only issue we have with it is the fact that the top is a bit too heavily styled. This can make it awful to clean if you have larger hands. You simply can’t fit them in there. We are positive that you will come up with a solution to that, though!
No pods required
One of the reasons why we are not seeing that many ‘variety’ machines like the Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker down the lower end of the market is due to the abundance of a pod. A long time ago, companies realized that they could make a lot more profit selling people coffee pods repeatedly. People loved the concept. Easy coffee making with a button press. The problem is that the coffee is never that great, and the costs for keeping one of these machines chugging along are ridiculously high.
The popularity of pods meant that most companies were not investing at this end of the market. If somebody wanted a ‘versatile’ machine, they would have to spend several hundred dollars. That is until the Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker entered the scene. With this machine, you don’t need pods at all. You just need to pick up your favorite grounds and you are pretty much good to go. This means the machine is going to be cheap to run but also offers a far-better tasting than any other pod machine does. It is a lot better for the environment too!
Of course, this means that if you do want to make yourself a good latte or cappuccino in the morning, you are going to need to know how to do it yourself. Although, to be honest with you, it isn’t that difficult to do. The Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker comes with a quick-start guide which will give you the recipe for just about every popular style you can imagine.
Conveniently, the Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker comes equipped with a fold-away milk frother. This means that you will be able to make some awesome specialty drinks without picking up any extra equipment. It isn’t the greatest frother in the world, but for a basic latte or cappuccino, it is more than enough. The only real downside is that you can’t heat milk with it. If you want hot milk with your coffee, then you will need to find another way to do this. Although, if you are going to huge lengths to make a quality drink, we are sure you will survive there!
We used to loathe permanent filters, particularly on the cheap coffee makers. They are awful to clean, and most of them are not fit for purpose. That isn’t the case with the Ninja Speciality Coffee Maker.
The included permanent filter has been designed to capture all of those beautiful coffee oils. The result is that the more you use your machine, the better your coffee will end up tasting. Ninja likens the taste to ‘french press‘ which, of course, tastes wonderful.
This is a fantastic filter and one that is sure to last a while. You don’t need to use paper filters with it at all, which is fantastic. Although, of course, you always have that option if you want.
Ninja Smart Scoop
The Ninja Smart Scoop takes the guesswork out of working out how much coffee you need to put into the filter.
Since this is such a versatile machine, there is a lot to remember when it comes to how much coffee you need. The Ninja Smart Scoop makes things easy. There are a lot of markings on the spoon which ensures you are always using the right amount of coffee. Sure, this is probably something that you can do with a tablespoon, but why do that when the Ninja Smart Scoop is so….smart?
All of the recipes in the included manuals will talk about measurements with the Ninja Smart Scoop, so you are going to become pretty familiar with it.
The taste of the coffee
So, now you know about all the awesome features of the Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker, we guess you have a burning question on your mind. “How does it taste?’. Well, the answer is; fantastic!
It is not going to be able to produce the same ‘quality’ of coffee that a pro machine can produce, but it is going to come pretty close. Every cup we tried that was made by the Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker tasted absolutely wonderful. It was smooth. You could really tell that the machine had been working hard to unlock the full flavor. Even when we loaded up the machine with cheap grounds, it still tasted fantastic.
Honestly, we would say that the Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker offers far, far superior coffee to any of the other machines in this price range. It is going to be a whole lot better than what those awful pod machines can produce too. It is safe to say that you won’t find a better-tasting coffee unless you are spending a few hundred dollars more (and want a bulkier machine).
The build quality
For the money, the build quality of this unit is superb. It is something which you are going to be using for years and years without issues. Some people have run into a bit of trouble on occasion. However, from what we have heard, Ninja is fantastic when it comes to replacing any faulty units (of which there are very few). So, you can purchase a Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker safe in the knowledge that if you pick one up, you are picking one up for the longterm. This isn’t like one of those cheap coffee makers that you will be throwing away after a year.
Affordable, yet high-quality, products are one of the reasons why NinjaShark is so popular when it comes to kitchen appliances. When somebody picks something up from them, they know they are going to be getting something good. They know they are going to be getting something which has good customer support behind it, and spare parts almost constantly available.
There are some places where the build-quality can be an issue. This is a cheaper machine so Ninja couldn’t splurge on a ton of fantastic parts. One place where they seem to have skimped is on the ‘sound dampening’ of the coffee maker. It is incredibly loud. So loud that you probably won’t need a cup in the morning. The is going to wake you up first! Although, to be honest, this is a problem with most machines nowadays. As long as the Ninja Speciality Coffe Maker continues to produce a quality cup of coffee, we can’t complain.
Is it worth buying?
You probably know the answer to this already; the answer is yes!
This is an affordable machine that has a plethora of options available when it comes to ensuring that you get a great cup. You will really struggle to find a better quality coffee machine unless you are spending a substantial amount more. None of those pods are going to come close to producing the type of coffee the Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker can produce. In our opinion, this is an absolute ‘must buy’. You must already be interested in it since you are reading this page. We can tell you that your interest is well-placed. If you buy this, you won’t regret it.