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Gear

Keurig vs Ninja Coffee Bar Unpacked

Anyone on the hunt for a budget home coffee machine is bound to come across two names: Ninja and Keurig. As two of the biggest players in the low-priced brewer game, both companies offer feature-packed machines at low prices. 

Being in the same price bracket, one might assume that the two brands offer similar brewers. But the truth is, they’re about as identical as cats and…unicorns…? Apples and oranges?

Today, we’ve got a showdown between two of the giants that dominate the budget brewer category— Keurig vs Ninja!

Let’s check out which is suitable for what and which option is better overall.

keurig ninja

 Keurig vs Ninja

Keurig Summary

Keurig is a company that is all about pod based brewing. They love pods SO much, in fact, that Keurig even has their own type of pods, known as K-Cups. And they’ve been pretty much doing that since the beginning.

Keurig K-Classic Coffee Maker, Single Serve K-Cup Pod Coffee Brewer
$99.99
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    11/27/2021 12:22 am GMT

    Keurig Coffee Maker

    They got their start way back in 1998, marketing their brewers and coffee pods to the office crowd. An easy way to caffeinate large groups of people quickly. 

    The idea was to replace the classic batch brewers that you’ll find in most offices. Keurig developed their single serve system as a way of combating stale coffee, sadly left at the bottom of a pot for hours on end. 

    In 2004 the company released their first brewers designed for home use, and the rest, as they say, is history! 

    To this day, there are hundreds of different K-Cups from different brands— from regular coffee and decaf to hot chocolate and chai. 

    large black coffee

    A Quick Note: What Are Coffee Pods? 

    For those unfamiliar with the K-Cup, it is essentially a small pod filled with ground coffee.

    Inside the pod is a filter that keeps the grounds out of the brew. Once the K-Cup is inserted into the machine, tiny needles puncture the foil lid. 

    The needles then pump hot water into the K-Cup until eventually the bottom of the cup ruptures, sending the brew flowing from the bottom. 

    Keurig Machine Options

    Keurig has several different coffee machines, ranging from the standard K50 to the Keurig K café series.

    Classic brewers like the K50 will brew simple pod based coffee. Fancier models, like the Keurig K café, allow you to use K-Cups to brew cafe-style drinks. 

    With an integrated milk frother, as well as the usual K-Cup functionality, the Keurig K café is probably the easiest way of making lattes, cappuccinos, and maybe even a cheeky mocha at home. Just add a pod, add some milk to the frother, and you’re good to go.

    ninja coffee

    What You Can Expect

    What Keurigs do best is brew single serve pods, quickly. A cup of caffeine with almost zero effort on the user’s part. That is exactly what it is designed to do and that it does well. 

    What it doesn’t do, on the other hand, is create a delicious extraction. It’s not designed to be a specialty machine, nor is it certified by the SCA. 

    While it can brew pretty hot, it’s unlikely that a Keurig machine could meet the specialty gold cup standards. So it is unable to extract coffee to the point we need for a really good brew.

    Hardware aside, Keurig owners will also face the issue of finding good coffee. Because remember, with a Keurig, we can’t just use beans from a local specialty roaster. It must be in a K-Cup! Long story short, as far as I’m aware, good coffee in K-Cups doesn’t exist.  

    Keurig brewing systems are all about convenience. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s not like you can have a bunch of V60’s, gooseneck kettles, grinders, and scales in the office kitchen! 

    cup of java

    Ninja

    Ninja, also known as SharkNinja, is a US-based company who got started back in 1996. Under the two entities, Shark and Ninja, they sell pretty much every home kitchen appliance under the sun. Grills, air fryers, vacuums, and, more importantly, drip brewers.

    Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker, with 50 oz. Thermal Carafe
    $389.89

    If you need brew variety, give this a glance. It comes feature packed!

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    11/27/2021 12:09 am GMT

    Ninja 

    The biggest pull for many Ninja coffee brewers is their versatility. Most Ninja brewers can make coffee in multiple sizes and in several brewing styles. 

    There are options for hot and cold drinks, and some of their offerings house a frother, perfect for making lattes and flat whites at home.

    From the Ninja 12 cup to the Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker, all of Ninja’s brewers are only compatible with ground beans. No pods or K-Cups necessary, although some options do allow you to use one if you wish. 

    Ninja Machine Options

    Ninja’s current lineup consists of three models. 

    One is a traditional style drip brewer, and the other two are what Ninja labels ‘The Coffee Bar’. 

    The idea behind Ninja’s Coffee brewing systems is that they are all-in-one. Good for brewing single serve black coffee, as well as whole carafes and milk based drinks.

    three brews

    What You Can Expect

    While Ninja brewers are pretty inexpensive, they are no joke. They are much more capable brewers when compared side by side with a Keurig. A few models are even on the SCA-certified home brewers shortlist. 

    Being SCA certified doesn’t guarantee that every cup will be spectacular, but it does increase the odds. We at least know that they can make coffee at the correct temperature for a good extraction and do so within a reasonable timeframe.

    Ninja is all about complete brewing systems. Not just simple brewers that will make a pot of coffee (though they do have one of those, too). They want to hit the trifecta of caffeinated drinks— black, white, and cold coffee. 

    On top of that, each Ninja machine features multiple strength settings and sizes. You can brew an XL cup or use the specialty function, whip out the frother and make a flat white!

    As for the downside to Ninja coffee brewers, they are more effort to use than a Keurig. You need to buy and grind your own coffees or buy your beans preground. You’ll also need to clean the filter basket and the carafe after brewing a batch of coffee. These things come with the territory of good coffee. 

    Keurig & Ninja Coffee Makers Compared

    1. Keurig K-Classic K50

    Keurig K-Classic Coffee Maker, Single Serve K-Cup Pod Coffee Brewer
    $99.99
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      11/27/2021 12:22 am GMT

      The K50 is a classic Keurig single serve coffee machine. You’ll find these babies in hotel rooms and on buffet breakfast tables across the US. It is crazy easy to use, features a large water tank, and will even alert you when it’s time to run a descaling cycle. 

      Function Summary:

      • 3 brew sizes, from 6 ounces to 10 ounces. 
      • Fast 1 minute brew time.
      • Easy to clean and descale.
      • Features ‘add water’ and ‘descale’ alerts. 

      2. Keurig K-Mini Plus

      Keurig K-Mini Plus Coffee Maker, Single Serve K-Cup Pod Coffee Brewer
      $97.98
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        11/27/2021 12:09 am GMT

        Taking up no more space on the counter than a kettle, the Keurig K-Mini Plus is a teeny tiny little pod brewer. At just 4.5 inches wide and 11.3 deep, you could almost use it as a travel coffee maker! 

        Function Summary:

        • Built-in storage for up to 9 K-Cups. 
        • Strong brew function.
        • Auto off feature.
        • Removable water reservoir for easy cleaning.  

        Like all Keurig machines, the K-Mini Plus is super easy to use. It is designed as a single serve, single cup coffee maker. There are no buttons for brew sizes. Instead, just add the amount of water you want the machine to use with your pod. The handy auto-off feature automatically powers the brewer off 90 seconds after your last brew.

        3. Ninja 12- Cup Programmable Coffee Maker

        Ninja CE251 Programmable Brewer, with 12-cup Glass Carafe, Black and Stainless Steel Finish
        $79.99
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          11/27/2021 12:10 am GMT

          With a huge 60-ounce water reservoir, the Ninja 12-Cup is perfect for large batches of coffee. 

          Function Summary:

          • 24 hour delayed start timer.
          • Gold tone reusable coffee filter.
          • Hot plate to keep the coffee warm.
          • Flavour straw mixes the coffee as it enters the carafe. 

          The water tank is fully removable, making it easy to fill and clean. It has a couple of different brew strength options, as well as a small batch feature— allowing you to brew 1-4 cups of well-extracted coffee. Featuring a 12 cup glass carafe, the Ninja 12-Cup is a nice looking machine, fitting in well on any home brewing station. 

          4. Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker

          Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker, with 50 oz. Thermal Carafe
          $389.89

          If you need brew variety, give this a glance. It comes feature packed!

          SEE NOW ON AMAZON
          We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
          11/27/2021 12:09 am GMT

          As one of the few home machines to have gained the SCA stamp of approval, the Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker is an option that can brew tasty coffee. It features six different brew sizes, as well as four different strength settings. 

          Function Summary:

          • Delayed start timer. 
          • Fold away milk frother.
          • Removable water reservoir.
          • Compatible with Ninja’s XL multi serve tumbler.

          These settings range from a classic pot of coffee down to a specialty ‘shot’ of coffee concentrate, strong enough to pair with milk. This is what puts the specialty into the Ninja Specialty brewer!

          Attached to the side of the machine is a frother— essentially an electric whisk. The frother doesn’t heat the milk, but it will froth it nicely for a decent latte or flat white.

          With a packed feature set, the Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker is the most versatile machine on the list. Most of the time, when coffee machines are so full of stuff, they tend to fail at most things they do. 

          There aren’t too many machines on the market that can brew loads of different drinks and are also SCA certified. But the Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker is!  

          coffee shop cuppa

          Points To Consider

          Still stuck in the battle of the Keurig vs Ninja? 

          The most important thing to consider— really the only thing to consider, is the coffee you like to drink. 

          Want Pods?

          If you’re in the market for a pod-based machine, look no further than a Keurig. 

          Keurig coffee brewing systems, including the K café, are all about pods and pods only. 

          Having said that, there are a few models of Keurig coffee makers that accept reusable pods, meaning that you can use your own ground coffee. But because Keurig machines aren’t designed for that, these reusable pods will often result in weak, watery coffee. 

          While pod-based machines might not be my cup of tea, they certainly hold a place in many people’s hearts for a few good reasons.

          Why go pod-based?

          • Easy to use.
          • Brews coffee very quickly. 
          • Near zero cleanup required

          Why not?

          • Pods create a mammoth amount of plastic waste every year.
          • Coffee options are limited and usually not great.
          • Usually produces a poor quality cup of coffee.

          Need Brewing Options?

          Ninja coffee makers are far more ‘all rounder’ type machines. They can brew a carafe of coffee, followed by an iced latte, then a single cup of specialty Ethiopia Yigacheffe. 

          You can use absolutely any coffee you want— which is honestly part of the fun of making coffee. Exploring the world through these beautiful little seeds. 

          The truth is that you’ll get much better cups of coffee out of a Ninja coffee bar vs Keurig coffee maker. But it will require more work to brew those cups of coffee. Whether it’s worth the effort is entirely up to you!  

          Summary

          So, a Ninja Coffee Bar vs Keurig brewing system…Which one is better?

          It all depends on what you’re looking for. Willing to sacrifice flavor quality for speed and ease of use? Go for a Keurig pod-based system. They are so easy and blazing fast.

          Keurig K-Classic Coffee Maker, Single Serve K-Cup Pod Coffee Brewer
          $99.99
            SEE NOW ON AMAZON
            We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
            11/27/2021 12:22 am GMT
            Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker, with 50 oz. Thermal Carafe
            $389.89

            If you need brew variety, give this a glance. It comes feature packed!

            SEE NOW ON AMAZON
            We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
            11/27/2021 12:09 am GMT

            Ok with putting in a little effort to brew a tasty cup of coffee? Hands down, go for the Ninja. They don’t require a lot of work and produce a cup of coffee 10X better than a Keurig.