Do you want to wake up to barista style coffee every morning? Alas, it is a distant dream for many stuck with hard to use coffee makers and going to a café means standing in line which might not be a great idea. So, a better option would be to bring a complete coffee maker system home like the Ninja Coffee Bar Single-Serve System. With so many choices in the market, customers often find themselves perplexed.
You don’t have to do any hard thinking or analyzing as we have done the homework for you. Today we will review the Ninja CF112 coffee maker and find out whether it suits your requirements.
Ninja Coffee Bar CF112 Overview
The Ninja Coffee Bar Single-Serve System comes from the family of SharkNinja, a house-care company that was founded in 1995 in Montreal, Canada. The company works passionately to develop innovative and creative products at a great price.
When we first looked at the coffee bar system, it came across as sturdy and reliable. However, when we dug further, we realized that it was just the outside illusion. The product is not free from flaws.
It is made from black plastic that is bedecked with curves, ridges and highlights in quite thin stainless steel material. No wonder this product has a mass appeal to it, but we felt it slightly lacks in durability.
If you are looking for a compact and travel-friendly coffee maker, then this is not the product for you as it is huge in size. It takes up much counter space. That makes it a kitchen-based brewer.
The Brewing Mechanism
On the left-hand side, there is a huge filter basket that takes standard cone paper filters (No. 4). You can choose to grind some coffee beans for the reusable filter or use the pods. For those asking if it can accommodate the Keurig pods, it cannot. While that’s a disadvantage, it’s possible to find some fitting ones.
For the filter basket, you can wash it after use, but you have to take care of the dripping remainder as you move to the trash.
Just below the filter, you will find a large glass carafe which stands on a circular hot plate. You can brew in it or use other cups as well. Just make sure they fit in below the filter.
On the right-hand side, you can see a cylindrical water tank which is molded from a transparent plastic material. It is equipped with characteristic horizontal ridges and gouged handholds. It’s easy to refill it, but you have to do it often just like any other single-serve brewing machines.
We appreciate how comfortable it is to get a grip on the removable reservoir. There’s a lid on the top which flips open with ease to reveal a wide mouth used for filling up the tank with coffee grinds.
Controlling How Ninja CF112 Brews
Under the water reservoir, you can see the control panel, which is simple to use. It has a nice digital clock along with various controls and options to operate the programmable brewing functions.
There are many dials and buttons on the panel to enable you to brew different styles and flavors of coffee. You will also find the option to set the size of the brew. The only thing left for it is to accommodate bigger carafes if you need to brew more than the mug.
Now, you may be wondering how the machine knows the amount to brew after pressing the buttons. The CF112 model has what the manufacturer calls the Auto-iQ one-touch intelligence that draws just the right amount of water to mix with the grounds in the filter.
Before we can make the most of the brewing, here is a video that shows how the Ninja arrives and first use.
The Coffee Style Versatility
We love the coffee bar’s different modes and the ability to brew multiple styles of coffee. You may choose your preferred method depending on your style and taste. The ‘classic brew’ for example gives you a standard smooth and balanced flavor. The ‘rich brew’ is for those who want a barista style coffee with rich flavors right at home.
Among the drinks where it performs best apart from the classic brew are the iced coffee and the café forte. For the latter, a rich taste is heavily dependent on the types of beans you use.
One of the flaws that most customers confuse about is the machine’s ability to brew espresso. This is not a traditional espresso brewer. Instead, it gives you three times the usual concentration in coffee for the flavoring. Espresso needs pressure, and this unit does not provide that.
The Milk Frother
Ninja comes with a milk frother that allows you to do it in a cup. That’s very convenient from a machine of less than $100. You can choose to froth both cold and hot milk, but you have to heat it first since this brewer does not do it for you.
That is another disadvantage from this machine, but if you don’t mind heating the milk, everything is smooth. It would also be better if there were a drip tray for it since some milk is left in it after frothing. You also need to clean after every use.
The benefit here is that you can froth right from your cup before adding the strong coffee.
Despite the few shortcomings, Ninja Coffee Bar does not need you to know the coffee making skills since it does most of the tasks. All you have to do is turn it on, press a few buttons after filling in the requirements and wait for your coffee in the tumbler.
Features of the Ninja Coffee Bar Single-Serve System with Built-In Frother
- Measures 12.2 x 11 x 16.3 inches
- Weighs 12 pounds
- Pod-free single serve
- Ninja XL hot and cold tumbler
- Built-in frother to brew
- Custom brews – classic, rich, or over ice
- Advanced thermal flavor extraction technology
- Different brew sizes – XL cup, travel mug, and XL multi-serve
- Auto-IQ one-touch Intelligence
- It comes with a manual with detailed instructions on how to use and clean the coffee maker
- The highly flexible coffee maker can control how much water it uses
- It is also highly versatile as you can make different flavors and types of coffee
- Makes great coffee within minutes every single time
- Milk can be frothed into silky micro-foam to give you special latte brews
- There are four different brew sizes to choose from
- It makes you refreshingly fresh cold coffee without being watered down
- Auto-IQ one-touch Intelligence makes life simpler and helps you make coffee quicker
- Comes with a 40-page recipe book and well-designed Ninja tumbler
- The quality is sub-standard with plastic parts feeling cheap
- Coffee will not be hot enough if you don’t heat milk beforehand
- It does not brew espresso quality. Just highly concentrated coffee close to espresso
- Fragile parts may break if you are a rough handler
- It is not portable so you can’t take it with you
- The coffee maker is too big for a small kitchen counter
- Cannot warm milk. It only froths it
We compared the Ninja Coffee Bar Single-Serve System with the Keurig K545 Plus Coffee Maker, and we feel both these products offer a high level of flexibility and versatility. While the Keurig K545 is made of plastic, the Ninja Coffee Bar has a mix of stainless steel and plastic.
The exterior facade of the product in review feels a little cheap in quality, but we cannot ignore the enormous difference between the price. It wouldn’t be wrong to call this Ninja system a cheaper Keurig-alternative.
As an aside, we made a side-to-side comparison of 2 Keurig machines here.
If you want to enjoy café style coffee without paying the high price, the Ninja Coffee Bar Single-Serve System can be the perfect solution for you. It is considerably cheaper than competitor products that come with similar features.
This coffee maker allows you to enjoy different brews in various styles and modes. We are all praises for the unbelievable price to performance ratio offered by this item.
However, on the downside, it’s too big to fit in a small kitchen counter. It is not easily portable, so you cannot hope to take it with you camping.
The plastic material feels thin and cheap, so we cannot guarantee its durability. Nevertheless, the product comes with a one-year manufacturer warranty so you can get a replacement if the parts become damaged. It also comes with a 40-page menu book. That makes it an excellent deal if you are buying it as one of the coffee gifts to a friend who wants to learn how to make different coffee drinks using this machine.