While I’m all about sophisticated SCA-certified coffee makers, I know that many of you just want a solid, inexpensive machine that brews good coffee with no fuss. That’s why I’ve decided to write this review of the Ninja CE251.
I’ve even ordered one of these bad boys to try out for you. I’ll share some of my observations with you later in this 12-cup Ninja coffee maker review. In the meantime, let’s take a closer look at what this famous coffee maker can do.
Main Thing – Fast Review
|Capacity||60 Fluid Ounces|
If you’ve had a chance to read my guide to the best Ninja coffee makers, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of this company’s machines.
While the Ninja CE251 doesn’t have as many features as some of the manufacturer’s more popular machines, there’s still reason to recommend it to Deep L lovers. And with an affordable price of just $79.99, the Ninja CE251 offers good value for the money.
Just one look at the Ninja CE251 is enough to realize that this machine is a couple of notches above your grandmother’s coffee maker. Stainless steel accents give the Ninja a sleek, modern look, and the stylish ribbed water tank sits atop an intuitive control panel. More importantly, the compact dimensions of the Ninja CE251 make it a great option for those with limited kitchen space. I think this 12-cup coffee maker would be ideal for one-room apartments, dorm rooms, or secret hideaways.
Complete Review of the Ninja CE251 Coffee Maker
For those who don’t mind a milk frother, an iced coffee option, or the ability to brew coffee in different-sized cups, the Ninja CE251 could be your new favorite coffee maker. Let’s take a look at some of the features that make the Ninja 12-cup coffee maker stand out from the crowd.
Sometimes I get the feeling that the manufacturers are making fun of me by making it so difficult to fill the water tank. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to fill the coffee maker with water, only to end up spilling half of it all over the kitchen table.
That’s why I’m so glad this Ninja coffee maker has a 1.7-liter removable water reservoir with clearly labeled level markings.
Not only does this make filling the water tank easy and convenient, but it also means you can keep it clean without worrying about what might be growing in there.
Ninja claims that the CE251 has an advanced kettle for a “perfectly hot cup of coffee.” The aluminum kettle regulates the brewing temperature to ensure an even brew.
Many of you will love to hear this, but I remind you that the water may be too hot to brew coffee.
Before testing the Ninja, I was concerned that the manufacturer was going a bit overboard. However, during my test of the 12-cup Ninja brewer, I was relieved to find that the machine brews the coffee at the ideal temperature of about 200 degrees Fahrenheit (93 degrees Celsius).
The Flavor Straw may have a horrible name, but it’s a very well-thought-out feature. The Flavor Straw sits in the Ninja’s glass carafe and ensures that the coffee is circulated during the brewing process.
This means you no longer have to worry about a weak first cup before reaching the rocket fuel at the bottom of the carafe. Instead, you’ll enjoy consistent coffee every time – I call that a win!
The Ninja CE251 has a reusable sieve filter, which is something I always like to see. However, using a permanent filter can cause you to find sediment in your coffee, which is not to everyone’s liking.
You can use Melitta #4 filters if you prefer a clean cup. By the way, if your reusable filter goes bad, just spend $5.00 for a replacement gold filter on Amazon.
When brewing coffee with the Ninja CE251, you can choose between two brew strengths: Classic and Rich. The first setting is for a clean, balanced cup of coffee, while the second set is said to offer a deeper, richer extraction.
I have experimented with these settings on other Ninja brewers and have found that there is hardly any difference in cup results. I have to admit that I had the same experience when I tried the 12-cup Ninja coffee maker. This is not to say that I didn’t get good coffee with the machine, just that the brew strength option seems superfluous.
24-hour delayed brewing.
If you like to plan, the Ninja CE251 is for you. You can program the brewer to brew coffee up to 24 hours in advance, which is a pretty impressive feature. However, I have to say that I’m not comfortable with the idea of leaving the coffee ground for that long. After all, the oxidation process causes too many aromatic substances to be lost and the coffee doesn’t taste as good anymore.
I have a much better idea: a coffee robot that takes care of everything – I’ll start developing it as soon as I finish this review of the Ninja CE251!
As I mentioned earlier, the Ninja CE251 can brew up to 1.7 liters of coffee, making it ideal for families or true caffeine lovers. It should be noted that this coffee maker always uses all the water in the pot, so you have to be prepared for that.
Adjusting for small quantities
At first, I was a little confused about the small quantity setting – didn’t I just tell you that the Ninja always uses all the water in the pot? So why a special setting for small quantities?
It turns out that activating this setting tells the brewer that you will make less coffee, so it adjusts how the coffee is made. I can’t find any more information than that, so I guess we’ll have to trust the manufacturer.
Pause during the brewing process
If you’re the type of person who likes to step out of the shade and quickly grab a cup before the brewer finishes brewing, you’ll be happy to know that the Ninja CE251 has a pause while brewing feature.
That means no messy splashes and no evidence that you’ve been there. But don’t make it a habit: I don’t condone drinking under-extracted coffee.
The Ninja CE251’s glass carafe is nothing special but serves its purpose well. It has an ergonomic handle, a breakable lid, and a well-designed spout that keeps coffee from spilling out.
And let’s not forget the carafes, Flavor Straw! I hope that’s the last time I have to say those two words together.
Adjustable heating plate
If you’ve read my 2022 Guide to Coffee Makers, you’ll know that I’m not a fan of hot plates. No matter how sophisticated the keep-warm function is, you always end up with coffee that’s too bitter and gives you a sad face and an upset stomach.
The Ninja’s keep-warm plate can be programmed for up to four hours, and the manufacturer claims the coffee won’t burn. Don’t say you weren’t warned!
Using the Ninja CE251 Coffee Maker
I can think of a few situations where you might find this Ninja coffee maker confusing and difficult to use. For example, if you just arrived from another dimension or were raised under a rock, the Ninja might give you some trouble. Others don’t even need to read the instructions to get a good cup of coffee with this machine.
I should tell you that you will have to invest a little time in cleaning the Ninja 12-cup coffee maker before using it for the first time. The manufacturer recommends not only rinsing all the removable parts but also making a few infusions with water to prepare the machine.
When you’re ready to brew, add filtered water to the removable container and freshly ground coffee to the filter. While I always like to weigh my coffee with a coffee scale, I know many of you prefer a no-frills method.
You’ll be happy to know that there is a Ninja coffee scoop for measuring coffee grounds. You’ll be even happier to know that the spoon has its handy compartment on the side of the machine.
Place the carafe under the brewing group and press the power button on the control panel. Then select the brew strength before pressing the brew button. Remember that if you brew four cups or less, you must also select the Small Batch function.
After a few minutes, a beep will sound to let you know that the hard work is done – now you can enjoy your delicious coffee! If you’re one of those sneaky coffee thieves who brew in the middle of brewing, you’re probably already enjoying a cup with a satisfied look on your face.
Observations on the Ninja CE251 coffee maker.
At the beginning of my Ninja 12-cup automatic coffee brewer test, I brewed two cups of coffee from a single Nicaraguan source. Nicaraguan Catuai Rojo is one of my current favorite coffees and I wanted to see how the Ninja would cope with a light roast.
I wanted to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use two tablespoons of ground coffee. However, it didn’t seem like enough, so I added a third scoop just to be safe. The results in the cup were satisfactory, but far from amazing. The change in infusion settings also had no noticeable effect on the taste of the coffee.
The coffee had plenty of body and some of the chocolate notes I was hoping for. Still, Nicaragua lacked the long finish and nice acidity that I get when I brew with a Chemex.
By the way, I should mention that the Ninja CE251 does not hold back with gurgles and pops when brewing. It’sIt’soudest machines I’ve tried. Still, you won’t hear a deafening noise once the coffee is ready: just three polite beeps and that’s it.
Brewing a full pot
Next, I decided to brew a full carafe of a blend with a medium roast profile. However, I was a little concerned about whether the permanent filter would be large enough to hold 12 scoops. So I used a slightly finer grind to compensate.
Fortunately, this was the right decision and I had no overflow problems. In fantastic of steeping all the coffee grounds evenly. Still, I have to say that the brew group lid doesn’t seal very well, so some water leaked out during brewing. As it turns out, this coffee maker seems tailor-made to get the best out of simple coffee blends. The Ninja produces a round, full-bodied cup that is very satisfying. My caffeine level got a little out of control – just ask the neighbors!
-Frequently Asked Questions-
How do I descale a Ninja CE251 coffee maker?
Descaling the Ninja CE251 coffee maker is very simple: just pour a mixture of the descaling solution and water into the container, then press the cleaning button to start the cycle. Once the descaling cycle is complete, prepare a pitcher full of water just to clean the machine of any residual cleaning solution.
Is the Ninja CE251 programmable?
The Ninja CE251 can be programmed to brew coffee up to 24 hours in advance using the delayed brew feature.
What size filter is suitable for the Ninja CE251 coffee brewer?
Although the Ninja CE251 coffee maker comes with a gold-colored reusable coffee filter, you can also use size 4 paper filters.
What grind for the Ninja CE251 coffee maker?
As with all automatic coffee makers, it is best to start with a medium grind on the Ninja CE251 coffee maker. You can easily adjust the grind to suit your taste.