In my line of work as a “coffee guru” (for want of a better term). I often get asked to compare apples with oranges because, I guess, people have dilemmas about products that need answering. One of the apple and orange questions I get asked a lot is, which is better for me to buy, a Ninja coffee bar, or a Nespresso system? In truth, it is really difficult to compare two coffee machines which essentially do things very differently in comparison to each other.
However, they both cost around the same amounts of money and they ultimately both make coffee and so I guess it is a natural question to ask. So here goes, here is my best Ninja coffee bar vs nespresso shoot out.
There are many Ninja coffee machines on the market and there are even more types of Nespresso machines also. Here is a list of the main Ninja coffee makers on the market:
- Ninja Coffee Maker CF080Z Programmable Auto-IQ
- Ninja CF091 Coffee Maker
- Ninja Hot and Cold CP307 Auto-IQ Brewed System
- Ninja Single-Serve Pod-Free Coffee Maker Bar
- Ninja Coffee Maker CF085Z Programmable Auto-IQ
Here is a list of the major Nespresso coffee machines on the market:
- Nespresso Pixie
- Nespresso Creatista
- Nespresso Expert
- Nespresso Inissia
- Nespresso KitchenAid
- Nespresso Prodigio
- Nespresso CitiZ
- Nespresso Essenza
- Nespresso Lattissima
- Nespresso U-series
- Nespresso Maestria
This is a bit of a minefield when trying to compare two products, so I have decided to choose two evenly priced products that are very popular as well. I have decided upon comparing the Ninja hot and cold brewed system and the Nespresso VertuoPlus.
Ninja Coffee Bar vs Nespresso Comparison
|Machine Brand:||Ninja Hot and Cold Brewed System||Nespresso VertuoPlus|
|Type Of Coffee:||Pour-over coffee||Espresso Coffee|
|Dimensions:||11.81 x 10.01 x 15 inches (L x W x H)||12.8 x 5.6 x 16.2 inches (L x W x H)|
|Weight:||17.25 lbs||9.72 lbs|
|Water Tank:||50 oz||40 oz|
|Price:||Check Here For Latest Amazon price||Check Here For Latest Amazon Price|
Ninja Hot and Cold Brewed System
Ninja Hot and Cold Brewed System Features
Here are some of the great features that the Ninja Hot and Cold Brewed System has:
One of the great things about the Ninja is that it can make both coffee and tea drinks. Not only that but it can make many varieties of coffee and tea drinks. The drinks on offer are:
- Cold Brew
Classic drinks are normal long drinks, whereas Rich selection is a stronger slightly shorter drink. Over-Ice is self-explanatory but basically just fill a cup with ice and make your brew over it. Cold brew is like it says a cold tea or coffee. The specialty selection is a short drink that is used when using the milk frother.
6 x Brew Sizes
There are 6 sizes available to brew from just a single cup or travel size through to a half carafe or full carafe.
Variety of Tea Types
The tea selections are very good from normal black tea through Oojong to herbal teas. Depending on your selection, the Ninja will know the right temperature and number of steeps that are needed for the perfect brew.
50 fl oz Thermal Carafe
Fantastic thermally insulated stainless steel carafe which is designed to keep your hot brew hot for up to 2 hours and your cold brew, cold.
Smart Basket Recognition
The Ninja hot and cold-brewed system will instantly recognize which smart filter basket is installed inside the machine. The machine comes with a smart basket for coffee and one for tea as well. Whichever one you fit into the machine, it will display on the front panel as either tea or coffee.
Ninja Hot and Cold Brew System Performance
After unboxing the Ninja coffee machine, the first steps before you can actually make a nice, steaming fresh brew (or non-steaming if making a cold brew), is to clean it thoroughly. This involves washing the water tank, filter baskets and coffee filter in warm soapy water.
After everything has been cleaned, you will also have to perform two test brews just to rinse through the system and make sure it is prepped correctly and hygienic for its first proper use.
Ninja recommend that you use filtered water in the Ninja as there is no water filter included in the water tank itself. This ensures that the water quality will be at its best. It will also contain less contaminants and also decrease the amount of descaling that will have to be done from time to time.
The procedure for making a brew is different for each drink type you wish to make but the instructions and feedback you get from the machine make the process very easy.
The basic procedure for each drink is typically:
- Fill the water tank to the required level depending on the size of the drink you are making. You just need to make sure that you have enough water in the tank, especially if making a carafe.
- Open the filter holder and place the required smart basket into the holder. There is a smart basket for either tea or coffee. Whatever you place in there, the machine will recognize it as tea or coffee.
- For coffee, there is a reusable and washable coffee filter that needs to be inserted into the smart basket. You can also use normal paper filters if you so wish but I see no point as the reusable filter works great.
- You then need to add either ground coffee or tea to the Ninja at the required amount.
- Select the drink you require via the selection knob and press start.
I have to say I was very impressed with the standard of the coffee that was brewed. I especially loved the iced coffee drinks that I made. Nothing better on a hot summer day! As for the tea, I was less impressed but I am sure with a bit of tweaking I could improve the quality. I prefer my tea quite strong and I found it a bit too weak for my taste.
The ninja also has an installed milk frother which is a great idea. However, in practice it does fall a bit short in comparison to the steam wand milk frothers you see on other machines. For starters, you need to use pre-heated milk if you require warm milk foam. All I am saying is don’t expect too much from the milk foam produced. It does make produce a thicker more emulsified milk but not really what you could call a milk foam.
I really liked the speed that the Ninja can make its drinks, a whole carafe of either tea or coffee can be made within 5 minutes. The colder brews take longer but trust me, it is worth the wait!
Ninja Hot and Cold Brew System Ease Of Use
In use, I found the Ninja to be a joy to work with. The instructions that come with the machine were reasonably clear but to be honest I am the sort of person who only skims through instruction manuals anyway.
The Ninja hot and cold brew system has a great automatic function on it, that is very easy to set up. You need to set the time on the digital clock by clicking the hour and minute buttons respectively which is super simple to do. For an automatic brew, you need to click on the “Delay Brew” button under the clock. You are then prompted to enter the time you want your brew to be made. This is perfect for those early mornings rushing to get to work. Just prep your drink the night before and it will be ready for you when you get up.
Depending on the smart basket installed (coffee or tea) the machine’s front panel will display options for the drinks available. It will also state whether it is coffee or tea in big orange illuminated letters.
Just turn the knob to select the size of the drink you want from a small cup to a full carafe and make sure that you have enough water in the tank. You then use the start/select knob to choose the type of drink. If it is tea, you also need to press the button labeled with a tea leaf to bring the tea options. Overall, it is very intuitive and you will be ready to make a brew of your choosing in next to no time.
If you need to make a milk-based drink using the included milk frother, you need to select “specialty” from the drink type selector. This produces a smaller more intense brew to allow room for the milk foam in the cup too. In use, the milk frother is an arm that pulls out. Just insert the tip of the frothing arm into the milk in your jug and press the button on top of the milk frother. This will churn the milk until you get the consistency you are after. For warm milk, you need to pre-heat the milk.
Ninja Hot and Cold Brew System Build Quality
All in all, the build quality is very good. It is made of tough plastic in its entirety, except for the stainless steel carafe which is a great item in itself. The carafe is not dishwasher proof though, so don’t be tempted to wash it in there.
The Ninja is a very compact unit and will fit easily under a kitchen cabinet. There are also no parts that lift up, so there are no worries about clearance above it either.
It has a handy cup holder which folds down under the filter for when you wish to make a brew in just a cup and not use the carafe. It just simply folds away when not in use.
The milk frothing arm tucks neatly away inside the machine when not in use and simply pulls out when you need it. There is also a place for the included coffee/tea scoop on the side of the Ninja coffee maker. It really is a very well thought out and compact machine.
Ninja Hot and Cold Brew System Pros and Cons
|Makes many types of coffee and tea drinks||No drip tray to catch stray water and stuff|
|Auto switch off and timed drinks operation||Doesn’t make espresso coffee|
|Tells you when it needs cleaning||Have to use heated milk for a warm milk drink|
|Easy to maintain and keep clean|
|Simple buttons and foolproof selections|
|Makes great drinks, especially cold and ice drinks|
Ninja Hot and Cold Brew System Verdict
For simple pour over coffee in a carafe in mere minutes, the Ninja does a great job. It really begins to shine though when you are looking for something a bit different. It’s iced and cold brew coffee or tea drinks are what makes this machine stand out for me. It has some shortcomings though and if you prefer an espresso coffee or a milk based drink then you should definitely look at the nespresso instead.
Nespresso VirtuoPlus + optional Aeroccino
Nespresso Virtuoplus Feature List
The beauty of all Nespresso machines is that they just make the whole process of making espresso coffee, super simple, and also super elegant as well. Here are some of the great features of the Nespresso VirtuoPlus:
Centrifusion Extraction Technology
This is a system developed by Nespresso for their VirtuoPlus coffee maker which is known as Centrifusion. Essentially, it means that the water is spun at around 7000 rotations per minute and the coffee grounds are extracted into this. This means more of the espresso coffee is extracted from the coffee pods.
5 Cup Sizes
A great feature of the VirtuoPlus is the ability to change the size of the coffee produced. There are in total, 5 cup sizes available:
- Alto coffee (14 oz)
- Coffee (8oz)
- Gran Lungo (5 oz)
- Double Espresso (2.7 oz)
- Espresso (1.35 oz)
As always with Nespresso, the different coffee drinks are available as different capsules or pods as I call them.
Blend Specific Brewing
The Nespresso VirtuoPlus is as close as you can get to foolproof coffee making with its use of blend-specific brewing. Each coffee blend capsule has a barcode on the rim of the capsule. When the Nespresso reads this, it knows exactly what parameters need to be changed for the perfect brew for that particular coffee blend.
Insert your coffee blend capsule, place your cup under the spout and press one button and the VirtuoPlus will create your coffee masterpiece in seconds. It really is that simple.
Welcome Capsule Gift Set
A lovely touch from Nespresso, they include a beautiful 12 capsule gift set with the VirtuoPlus machine. You can then try each capsule and decide which is your favorite. Try before you buy!
Recyclable Coffee Capsules
The Nespresso capsules are made of aluminum and are hygienically sealed and airtight so as to keep the coffee grounds as fresh as possible. Once used, the pods can then be easily recycled which is great for the environment.
Nespresso VirtuoPlus Performance
What I particularly like about all Nespresso machines is that you just get that feeling of quality right from the moment you take it out of the box. The other thing I love about Nespresso is their sheer simplicity and the VirtuoPlus is incredibly easy to setup. In fact, I didn’t really need the manual.
In case you don’t know how Nespresso works, the simplicity occurs because the coffee-making instructions are all etched into the barcodes on each Nespresso coffee blend capsule. Each coffee blend capsule contains instructions about the size of the drink, how much water to pour, temperature, etc.
The types of drink sizes available are:
- Alto – 14 fl oz,
- Coffee/mug – 7.7 oz,
- Double espresso – 2.7 fl oz,
- Espresso – 1.35 fl oz,
- Gran Lungo – 5 fl oz.
I tested the Nespresso with a double espresso Chiaro capsule which is described as a medium roast with a creamy and woody flavor. It was very easy to just insert the capsule, press the button and within a minute I had my double espresso ready.
It tasted great and had a decent crema as well. I really couldn’t fault the taste of this espresso.
I also tested the Aeroccino milk frother as well which is an optional extra that you can buy with the VirtuoPlus. The Aeroccino does a great job at making a nice milk foam and has the same simplicity as the Nespresso machine as well. I made some warm milk when I tested it and it came out warm enough but I would have preferred if I could have made it hotter.
Nespresso VirtuoPlus Ease Of Use
The Nespresso really is foolproof and it just makes good coffee making an absolute breeze. The first thing you need to do is fill the water tank with water. It is advisable to use filtered water for taste and also to help with maintenance and less of a need to descale so frequently.
The water tank is also adjustable which is a great idea depending on where you place it in your kitchen. You can move the water tank to the left side, back or right side which gives you great versatility when positioning the machine. Before you use the machine to make a brew, it needs a good clean. Just clean the water tank with soapy water and then rinse through the machine with a triple press on the top button to prime the Nespresso ready for its first brew.
Once you have chosen your coffee capsule, the process is ridiculously easy. A simple little up movement on the silver lever at the front of the machine, opens it up ready to insert the coffee capsule. Just place the capsule in the Nespresso with dome side down and then a gentle press down on the silver lever will close the lid.
Place your cup on the adjustable cup platform and then press the top button and hey presto, your coffee will be poured. How simple was that? If you want extra water in your drink, you can top up the water by keeping your finger on the top button.
I then tried the Aeroccino milk foamer and that couldn’t be simpler to use either. After installing the little whisk in the Aeroccino, I filled it up with milk up to the clearly marked level indicator inside the Aeroccino. For warm milk, I simply pressed the front button once and the button lit up a red color to indicate it was frothing the milk and warming it up also. A triple press on the button would keep the milk cool but still foam it.
Like I mentioned before, it created some great foam but I would have preferred the milk to be hotter.
Another great thing with the VirtuoPlus, is that the empty coffee capsules are ejected into an easily removable container at the back of the machine. Nespresso provide recycle bags in which you just empty the container of used capsules into and then dispose of in your recycling bin.
Nespresso VirtuoPlus Build Quality
This is one thing that Nespresso do very well, build quality is top notch. It really is a quality piece of kit.
Made from tough plastic, it feels very light to pick up but you get the feeling it can withstand a bit of rough treatment.
Nespresso VirtuoPlus Pros and Cons
|Completely idiot proof operation||Coffee capsules can get expensive over time|
|Makes great espresso||You can only use Nespresso capsules|
|A larger variety of drinks available||No spout on Aeroccino for fancy barista milk foam art|
|Large water tank|
|Beautifully designed and looks great|
|Easy to keep clean|
Nespresso VirtuoPlus Verdict
There is no doubt about it, the Nespresso VirtuoPlus coffee machine is a classy piece of kit! Not everyone will fall in love with it but there is a very well defined market for it though. If you love good espresso coffee but hate the idea of having to make it and learn all the intricacies of an espresso machine then this is for you. Either that or you live with someone who is a trainee barista.
The simplicity of the VirtuoPlus is undeniable but, I was quite pleasantly surprised by how good the coffee produced actually was. Good crema and a nice well-rounded blend of coffee notes in a cup. The optional Aeroccino is also a nice addition to your coffee making armory but did lack some of the finesse of a typical steam wand.
Overall though, the Nespresso VirtuoPlus is a great espresso maker and something I would certainly be proud to own.
So Who Wins? Ninja Coffee bar vs Nespresso Verdict
Just like I said at the beginning of this article, it really is a bit like comparing apples with oranges by choosing a shoot out between these coffee making beasts. You asked me the question though and I hope I have helped give you the answer.
For me, I love espresso coffee and for that reason, I would invest my money in buying the Nespresso VirtuoPlus system. Not because I don’t like the Ninja, in fact,I love what that machine can do but it doesn’t make espresso coffee so by default it will lose the fight for me.
With that said, I am certain that there are many many people out there who love iced coffee/tea or a cold brew and just prefer a simple pour-over coffee, then the undoubted winner in that example is the Ninja by a mile!
So, it really does come down to your personal preference for the drinks you want. What I can say though is that you cannot go wrong by choosing the Ninja for great pour-over coffee and other drink varieties. You equally can’t go wrong by choosing the Nespresso VirtuoPlus for great espresso and sheer simplicity in use.