Do you find yourself doing a lot more of working from home and a lot less of going out to buy your daily cup of joe? If you’re like me, the answer is yes. And with that comes the difficult decision of which at-home coffee machine is the best one to purchase; Ninja Coffee Bar vs Nespresso.
The answer to that depends on a variety of factors including, but not limited to, how you like your coffee.
The Ninja Coffee Bar takes the traditional at-home drip coffee maker and elevates it. Depending on the model purchased, it comes with either a glass or stainless-steel carafe for multi-cup brewing. However, both models also offer the option of single-serve brewing.
Nespresso Vertuo, an upgrade from the Nespresso Original model offers more flexibility with coffee sizes ranging from a traditional, or short, espresso to a large coffee. The machine utilizes a barcode system and reads that stamped information to determine the size of the brew. The water, temperature, and quantity are all precalculated.
How to Brew
To make a cup or carafe of coffee in the Ninja Coffee Bar, you fill the removable water reservoir to the appropriate line based on brew size. Using the provided scoop, add coffee grounds based on the size of coffee you are going to make and pour it into the permanent filter found in the brew basket.
You also have the option of using a paper filter, in which case the one provided with the machine needs to be removed; the paper filter and the permanent filter cannot be used together. Once the brew basket is closed, select the size and brew style and your coffee will be ready for you in minutes.
For the Nespresso, you fill the water reservoir, select the capsule corresponding to the size of beverage you are making, and hit brew.
You’ll notice a considerable difference in the two machines based on how you make a cup of coffee. If you are looking for a quick 2 to 3 step process (and even less if the water is already in the reservoir), the Nespresso Vertuo is the one you want to go for.
I would suggest the Ninja Coffee Bar if you don’t mind the extra steps of coffee grounds, scooping, and filters all for the nostalgia of a freshly brewed cup (or two) of coffee.
Types of Coffee
Here is a break down of what each machine requires in order to brew a coffee:
- Ground coffee (any brand)
- Paper filters (only if you don’t want to use the permanent filter included with the machine)
- Nespresso specific capsules
The Ninja Coffee Bar allows you the option of using any brand of ground coffee. This in itself is advantageous because you can continue using ground coffee you may already have or even try different roasters and types of beans from week to week.
The Nespresso Vertuo does not have third party capsule options. This means that you can only use Nespresso brand capsules in your machine; a disadvantage because you are limited in the flavors and choices of coffee.
Additionally, whereas third party options would allow you more cost-effective selections, the lack of availability potentially means a higher-end cost when it comes to enjoying your daily cup of coffee.
Types of brew:
The Ninja Coffee Bar brews sizes ranging from single-serve to a full carafe. By using its specialty drink option, you can make a concentrated espresso-style of coffee that can be used in more flavor-rich drinks such as lattes and cappuccinos.
It also has an iced brew option which, when selected, makes a perfectly brewed coffee that is best brewed and served over ice.
The Nespresso machine has the word “espresso” in it so the main style of drinks are espressos, whether they be of the long or short version. The added benefit of the varying sizes of capsules is that based on whichever one you choose; you have the option of making a regular-sized cup of coffee.
If you are a fan of starting your morning with an espresso, I would not recommend drinking the specialty brew from Ninja Coffee Bar as an option. It is only best used when making complex drinks with added creams, milk, and flavors that require a more concentrated coffee flavor.
For espresso fans that like the occasional regular-sized coffee, the Nespresso Vertuo is the one that checks off more of the options in this category.
Ease of Cleaning and Sustainability
A coffee machine is only as good as how clean it is. When looking to purchase a coffee machine, you want to make sure you choose one that is easy to clean and maintain. Here’s how the Ninja Coffee Bar vs Nespresso stacks up in this department:
Ninja Coffee Bar:
A “clean” light near the bottom of the machine will light up when descaling is required. You may already know it’s time to clean the machine by the taste of the coffee. Descaling your Coffee Bar is very easy and requires either a generic descaling solution or water and vinegar.
The mixture runs through the system until the clean cycle is completed. You want to make sure you do this process 2 or 3 more times to make sure there is no solution left in the machine that might mix in with your next cup of coffee.
The Nespresso machine alerts you that it’s time to descale when the light turns a combination of red and green. The entire process takes up to 20 minutes and requires a descaling solution. Once the entire process is completed, it is recommended to flush the system out at least once more to ensure no solution makes it into your next cup of coffee.
In addition to the regular descaling requirements of both types of machines, daily cleaning is also suggested. The coffee grounds from the Ninja Coffee Bar are compostable and can be thrown in with food waste or even put into your potted plants to help the soil; the paper filters, if used would have to be thrown in the regular trash.
The Nespresso machine uses pods that are compostable and recyclable but may involve additional cost to ship back to the company or depending on where you are located, may not be available in your area; the only option of disposing of them would be to include them with the trash.
Both machines seem to use the same cleaning method with Nespresso descaling taking a little bit longer than the 8 minutes needed by the Ninja Coffee Bar. Cleaning is an important step in ensuring you get the best coffee each time so even a 20-minute time frame doesn’t seem like much compared to the return on investment.
Features and Components
The Ninja Coffee Bar and the Nespresso both have additional features and components that can make your coffee brewing experience even better.
Here’s a comparison of Ninja Coffee Bar vs Nespresso features:
Ninja Coffee Bar:
- Two models available:
- Stainless steel carafe option (which keeps beverages warm for up to 2 hours)
- Glass carafe option that can be kept warm by way of the attached warming plate
- Delay brew function which allows you to set a timer for fresh-brewed coffee within a 24-hour window; this can be used for any size brew.
- Coffee scoop, plastic filter, and milk frother (where available)
- Ninja Coffee Bar system is an upgrade of the Ninja Coffee Bar with additional features and higher price points based on model.
- One base model available in one color
- Free “discovery set” of capsules – 12 counts (where available)
- Brewed with crema and authentic espresso
- Wide variety of model upgrades with additional features, styles, and colors with varying price points
Each of these coffee machines offers a specific style of brew, Ninja being a drip-style with a focus on regular cups of coffee and Nespresso being a barcoded capsule technology that focuses mainly on that perfect cup of espresso.
They both offer brew options that can be used to make fancier beverages such as lattes and cappuccinos with the Ninja Coffee Bar offering an external milk frother (where available).
They have their disadvantages as well with Nespresso limited to exclusively requiring their branded capsules to be used and Ninja involving multiple steps to brew a cup or carafe of coffee.
However, the Ninja’s option to schedule a brew at any time up to 24 hours in advance may be seen as the perfect way to wake up in the morning; to the smell of fresh-brewed coffee.
The comparison of Ninja Coffee Bar vs Nespresso is not an easy one to make but if you break it down into the categories above, you should have a better understanding of which machine is going to be the best option for you in the long run.