Best coffee in town - Ninja Coffee Bar System Review

This Ninja Coffee Bar System Review is a personal one. We can learn a lot from simply doing research. However, sometimes you have to have personal experience with a product to fully test it out. We did not know what to make of other information online so we purchased one for ourselves. It has now been nearly 2 years since Glenda purchased her Ninja Coffee Bar System so this is an update on an older post.

While doing our research for perfect drip coffee, we learned that pre-infusing with just enough hot water to saturate the grounds would make the resulting coffee taste much better. Only some high-end coffee makers would do that for you. The Ninja Coffee Bar was an exception as it also pre-infuses but was much more affordable.

Disclosure:This site contains affiliate links. That means that if you should click through and make a purchase then this site may receive a small advertising fee for helping you know a little more of what to expect.  You can find our legal pages here.

If you already know you want a Ninja like this one click here. If you are not sure then just read on to see if it would or would not be right for you. Maybe you would be interested in the brand new model at the bottom of this page.

Consumer Research

During our initial research of the Ninja Coffee Bar System, we found that consumers reported both good and bad reviews. We found mostly good reviews that talked about how good the coffee tasted. Those were raving reviews. People talked about the convenience and how versatile the machine was. You could make coffee (or tea) in a lot of different ways and sizes from a single cup to a whole pot. This seemed to be the perfect coffee brewer.

There were, however, also a smaller number of comments from people who had some problems. We are aware of the fact that there is nothing out there that someone, somewhere doesn’t have a problem with. But before we would consider doing a review of this coffee brewer system we wanted to have some firsthand knowledge.

Was the Ninja Coffee Bar a great product or just a great idea that did not turn out very well? 

Glenda purchased the Ninja Coffee Bar Glass Carafe System, read the instructions and started to experiment by making many different styles of coffee drinks. Then she proceeded to fall in love with the machine.  (She really does love good coffee and is rather picky with it.)There  is now a newer model that has 6 brew sizes plus more options. from what we have seen, people also love that one too.

Ninja Coffee Bar Problems 

Because we were unsure of the quality of the Ninja Coffee Bar we did not include it in our earlier article on the Best 2 Way Coffee Makers. Aside from the fact that it was more than just 2 way, We did not know if the problems were genuine concerns. They may have been the result of someone not reading the instructions and possibly messing up their machines as a result. We just did not know at that time.

Most of the owners who wrote in were happy and gave it a very high rating. We checked a number of different merchants and found the same thing. Most people love it. Many people say it is the best coffee maker they have ever had. But what about those who had problems?  Well, we did our research and learned a few things.

Here is what you should know if you have or plan to have a Ninja Coffee Bar System.

know before you brew

Ninja Coffee Bar Troubleshooting

Not everyone had a problem with this coffee maker. But for those who did, we realized that Most of those problems center around the cleaning cycle light. After performing a cleaning cycle, some people found that the light would not go off. Because they could not get the light to go off, they tried to just use the machine with the light on. That did not work out very well.   Those people who had problems with the cleaning light may have unknowingly failed to follow the instructions properly. We have good reason to say that because it looked like Glenda was going to have a problem too. Here is her story: 

Ninja Coffee Bar Clean Light Troubleshooting

“The first time I used the cleaning cycle on the Ninja Coffee Bar  I had no problems. Everything worked as it should. I made a lot of coffee using the different sizes and techniques. The next time the light came on I thought that I remembered how to do the cleaning cycle and did not really try to find the manual which had been put up for safe keeping. After all, a cleaning cycle was a cleaning cycle. Right?

Oh, boy was I wrong! I missed something important and the light did not go off. I hunted for the manual. Remember that I said it was put up for safe keeping? I could not find it. However, I am glad that I could not find it. That manual had simple instructions but did not address a couple of important things.

CLEANING INSTRUCTIONSI went online and downloaded a manual for a similar Ninja Coffee Bar. Later, when I did find the manual, I learned that those downloaded instructions included a couple of tips that were not in the owner manual that came with my coffee maker. However, by following these instructions properly, the light went off just as it should. I have had absolutely no problems since.

For your benefit, here they are.

Two Important Tips For Cleaning the Ninja Coffee Bar

1. No other buttons but the “CLEAN BUTTON” should be pressed until after the clean and flush cycle complete. Unfortunately, I pressed the Classic Brew button to do my flushing. That was a no-no. That does not complete the cycle which enables the cleaning light to go off.

2. You must start the flush cycle within 15 minutes after the clean cycle ends. If you miss that, then the Clean light will not go off without going through another whole clean and flush cycle.

That 15-minute window of opportunity is what a lot of people miss. Without knowing that you have that window of time to start the flush cycle, it would be easy to make the same mistake over and over again. Set a timer to remind you to check on the machine in an hour and you will be fine.

Just to be on the safe side…  This instructional infographic from the Ninja Kitchen is now taped to the inside of my kitchen cabinet above the coffee maker.” If you get a machine similar to mine you might want to download a copy for yourself. If you get a model that has the built in frother you need the instructions for that machine instead.

Basically, reading and following the instructions eliminated the problem. We have found that to be true of a lot of things.

Other Troubleshooting Tips & Tricks

Other problems that some people mentioned had some easy answers. Below are some tips that may help you avoid those problems… or you may watch this helpful video:

Why is my cup overflowing?

  • Because you are not using the correct setting for the size of the container, for instance placing a cup or mug under the drip basket but leaving the setting for a half or full pot.
  • Or if you prefer your coffee weaker, you may be using a too small amount of coffee grounds for your size cup. (the grounds retain a certain amount of water in them so if you have fewer grounds, you have more water going into your cup. Just use a larger cup.  Also, if you use more grounds, the resulting brew will have slightly less volume.
  • Using too small of a cup. You should use at least a 12-ounce cup for the cup settings. I prefer to use a 14-ounce cup to avoid potential problems. An 8 or 10-ounce cup will simply overflow unless you stop the machine manually. The newer model has more sizes from which to choose.
  • Filling the reservoir above the max fill lineNEVER do this as it can also mess up some functions. If you put too much water in the reservoir that can also cause an overflow problem. However, you can fill up to the Max line and just draw out enough water for a cup at a time if you wish. I do this a lot because I would rather have fresh coffee each time. Only if I know I will be drinking the same kind of coffee over an extended period (or have company) do I make a whole pot.

Why is the Brew Basket overflowing?

This is not likely to happen unless you:

  • you are overloading the basket with too much ground coffee or
  • you are using too fine a grind for the machine. Medium to medium/fine grind is recommended for this machine.

Why is the coffee  going onto the counter instead of the cup or pot?

  • you left the brew pause tab on after sneaking a cup of coffee
  • check to see if coffee maker is sitting level on counter – if not then the coffee flow is following gravity. Try angling the coffee pot with the handle in the direction of where the overflow happens. It is a little wider that way. If that does not work try leveling the coffee maker.
  • after brewing wash the brew basket throughly with sudsy water and a brush. Sometimes a buildup on the outside bottom can redirect the flow of coffee to the edge where it will overflow on the counter. This buildup is not visible because the brew basket is black. This usually only happens if the counter is not level.

Coffee not hot enough?

This machine makes very hot coffee, these things can affect the temperature of the coffee in your cup:

  • You have turned the machine all the way off or had it unplugged.  The Ninja Coffee Bar has a preheat function that needs about 3 minutes to preheat the machine. Once the machine is turned on I leave mine on because I use it every day and multiple times a day. The machine is designed to be left on so that it can brew hot coffee quickly. You do not need to turn it off unless it is going to be several days between uses.
  • When adding milk or cream to your coffee… that will cool the coffee unless you also warm the addition. The glass milk frother that is included with the machine like mine is microwave safe. The newer model has a built-in frother With those models, you warm and froth the milk in your cup before brewing. You also have the option of warming in a separate cup while your coffee is brewing. Then you froth the milk and add to your coffee.

Is this machine too complicated to use? Absolutely not! You just need to know what to expect. If you don’t know what to expect, you may think that you have a defective machine when you simply did not know how the machine works.

You also run the risk of messing up some of the electronics inside the machine by not following the instructions. That is true of any machine, including all coffee makers.

Why The Ninja Coffee Bar?

Ninja Coffee Bar Brewer with Glass Carafe (CF080Z)Ninja Coffee Bar Brewer with Glass Carafe (CF080Z)

Now that we have any potential problems taken care of, Why would you want to choose the Ninja Coffee Bar? Jay is very happy with his Cuisinart similar to what we talked about here. Glenda loves her Ninja Coffee Bar. The Ninja enables her to have her choice of brewed coffee either hot or iced in a variety of sizes. She can brew the strength to her liking and also be able to brew individual cups to her guests liking.

This is a multifunctional machine that will brew classic, rich brew, over ice and specialty brew that mimics espresso coffee. It comes with an 18 ounce insulated tumbler, a frother to froth either hot or cold milk and a recipe book with lots of great coffee recipes.

The versatility of the Ninja Coffee Bar far exceeds that of anything else we know of that is available. Because you can easily brew into a single serve cup, travel mug, half pot or full pot, you can easily serve your guests their favorite coffee drinks no matter how different their tastes may be.

You can have a pot of classic coffee on when someone wants a white chocolate mocha latte. It is a simple matter of moving the pot to a hot pad and brewing some concentrated specialty brew to be mixed with frothed milk, flavorings, and topping. When done, move the pot back onto the warmer plate, change the setting to either half pot or whole pot and turn the warmer plate back on.

That one individual may instead want decaf or iced coffee. One person may want a low-calorie coffee drink and another, full flavor.  It does not matter. you have the versatility to serve what is preferred.

Anyone who loves great tasting coffee and occasionally likes to have something really special brewed quickly… needs this machine sitting in their kitchen. The variety is limited only by your imagination or the ingredients you happen to have on hand.

Ninja Coffee Bar System Versus 2 Way Coffee Makers

The Ninja brewers go way beyond the 2 Way coffee makers that we reviewed earlier. 2 Way coffee makers are great coffee makers for anyone who simply wants coffee available either as a single cup or in a full pot. They offer the choice of using K cups or a permanent filter basket for single serve.The Ninja Coffee Bar does not accommodate K cups.

Since the Ninja Coffee Bar does not utilize K cups that might seem like an inconvenience for those who love using them. However, we actually prefer to use our own choice of coffee grounds.

We prefer being able to determine the strength of the coffee we brew. We also love being able to make the hot specialty coffee drinks or even iced coffee if we choose.

By being able to brew in so many sizes and strengths, plus being able to easily make so many different coffee treats, we feel that the benefits of the Ninja Coffee Bar far exceed any benefit that might exist in those coffee pods.

If you are someone who is not interested in specialty coffee then the Ninja Coffee Bar System also makes great tasting plain black coffee and makes it pretty quickly.  

One feature of the Ninja Coffee Bar that stands out to me is the way the lid is designed for the carafe.  What is outstanding to me is that the pot can sit on the hot plate for the full 2 hours and the coffee does not evaporate and cause the coffee to taste old. That coffee is delicious from the start to the last drop. that is something that most coffee makers can not say.

If using one of the prepaid coffee pods is important to you, then you might prefer one of the 2 way coffee makers with K cup capability.  Usually people prefer those when they want a quick cup of coffee with no cleanup. That is where the Cuisinart shines as it makes a quick hot cup that is delicious. We have found though that the Ninja is a bit quicker than the Hamilton Beach at producing a single cup of coffee. All 3 make great tasting coffee. It just boils down to personal preference.

Ninja Coffee Bar Glass Carafe System Features

The  features for the machine I have are as listed:

  • Choose a Size… Cup, Travel Mug, Half Carafe, or Full Carafe…Brew directly into your favorite cup or travel mug or use the carafe.
  • Choose a Brew… Classic, Rich, Over Ice, and Specialty… To make a variety of hot, iced, and frozen blended coffeehouse-style drinks.
  • Auto-IQ One-Touch Intelligence… knows how to deliver the perfect amount of water at the right time for the size and brew type you select. No need to measure the water or refill the reservoir after every single serve brew.
  • 43 oz. Glass Carafe and Intelligent Warming Plate… To keep your coffee at the ideal drinking temperature with 2-hour auto shutoff.
  • Also Includes Ninja Hot & Cold™ 18 oz. Insulated Tumbler, Glass Ninja Easy Milk Frother, 40-recipe cookbook, permanent filter, Ninja coffee scoop, and 43 oz. glass carafe with a warming plate.

Ninja Coffee Bar System Review Summary

If you have made it this far down in the article, you probably want to know if Glenda still loves her Ninja Coffee Bar System. Absolutely she does. The only problem she says she has is that she is now tempted to drink too much coffee. When she is home she has to remind herself to also drink plain water. It is a good thing that coffee is good for you. Here is what she has to say:

The Ninja Coffee Bar System is really pretty simple and easy to use. But you do need to read the instructions. Otherwise, how will you know that there is nothing wrong with the machine when it pauses for almost a minute to pre-infuse the coffee grounds before resuming the brewing process? That is a process that adds a lot of flavor to the coffee.

One thing I have noticed with all my experimenting with my machine is that it has never brewed a bitter cup of coffee. I can make it strong, weak, or super strong if I wish. It is never bitter.  I am so glad that I got mine. I think that with proper care and use it will last a long time. This machine makes the best tasting coffee I have ever had... and I have had some really good coffee.”


Ninja Hot and Cold Brewed System, Auto-iQ Tea and Coffee Maker with 6 Brew Sizes, 5 Brew Styles, Frother, Coffee & Tea Baskets with Glass Carafe (CP301)Ninja Hot and Cold Brewed System, Auto-iQ Tea and Coffee Maker with 6 Brew Sizes, 5 Brew Styles, Frother, Coffee & Tea Baskets with Glass Carafe (CP301)Ninja Hot and Cold Brewed System, Auto-iQ Tea and Coffee Maker with 6 Brew Sizes, 5 Brew Styles, Frother, Coffee & Tea Baskets with Glass Carafe (CP301)

I have now had the original model for nearly two years and still love it. The machine works perfectly. However, there is now a new model that has some additional features that might just be what you are looking for.

For those who like to alternate between coffee and tea without having the tastes mingle… Or… For those who would like to have real cold brewed coffee or tea instead of just over ice…this newer version may just be a great step up for them. 

Not only does this allow you to brew either coffee or tea from the same machine without mingling the flavors but it also allows you to choose between cold brew or brewed hot but over ice for those iced coffees and teas. The cold brew takes a little longer at 10  to 15 minutes but produces a naturally smooth sweet flavor. The hot brew over ice brews quicker but still is never bitter .

  • Coffee and Tea Brew Settings: Brewing technology offers an array of coffee and tea options
  • Smart Basket Recognition: System recognizes basket and displays coffee or tea drink options
  • Separate Coffee and Tea Baskets: Brew coffee or loose or bagged tea to keep flavors separate
  • 6 Brew Sizes: Brew anything from a single cup or travel size to a half carafe or full carafe in your coffee maker
  • 5 Brew Styles: Choose your strength with Classic, Rich, Over Ice, Cold Brew, or Specialty.
  • Tea Type: Select your tea type and the system knows the temperature and number of steeps needed
  • 50 oz. (10-Cup) Glass Carafe and Intelligent Warming Plate: Adjust time and temperature as desired
  • Fold-Away Hot and Cold Frother: Turn hot or cold milk into silky-smooth froth in seconds.
  • Brew directly into a cup with the coffee brewer: Use any brand of coffee or tea, loose leaf or bagged.

May we offer you a cup of great coffee? Or a Latte?  or a cappuccino? How about a tall glass of iced coffee… or tea? All made your preferred way? Oh, I almost forgot… You want to get your very own Ninja so you can make your very own great coffee at home…

Related Posts:

Before You Buy a Cuisinart Coffee Center

Best 2 Way Coffee Makers

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