The Ninja Specialty Coffee Machine is similar to a versatile hot and cold coffee machine but is priced at approximately $30 less. Both machines are capable of brewing regular coffee of various sizes as well as special cafe-style drinks. They even have features like Delay Brew and a fold-out milk frother. However, the compromise with the Ninja Specialty’s lower cost is the lack of brewing functionality compared to the Hot and Cold Infusion System.
Main Thing – Fast Review
Unlike the Hot & Cold machine, the Ninja Specialty Coffee Machine does not make a cold infusion or brew tea. However, if you don’t need anything more than a teapot, and you’re patient enough to make a cold brew overnight in a jar, those shortcomings of the Ninja Specialty Control Panel won’t matter – especially since it still offers many strengths and sizes of infusions.
- Variety of brewing styles and sizes
- Intelligent hob
- Durable filter included
- No cold infusion or tea option
- Large base area.
- Coffee burns sometimes.
Complete Review of the Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker
The Ninja Specialty Coffee Machine was released in 2019 with an MSRP of $180. Today it can be purchased on Amazon for $150 (opens in a new tab). It is a refreshed version of the Ninja Coffee Bar coffee machine, which has already been withdrawn from production and has a similar price. The differences between the two makers are almost negligible; Ninja Specialty has a more elegant and rounded design but forgoes the very strong Cafe Forte brew setting in the Coffee Bar.
The price of a Ninja Specialty coffee machine is $30 less than a comparable Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino Maker (opens in a new tab), which takes up a little less space and has an automatic milk frother but only brews one cup at a time.
A permanent filter is included with the Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker so you won’t have to buy paper filters but you can use paper cone #4 if you want.
The Ninja Specialized Coffee Machine offers six brewing sizes: standard cup, XL cup, travel mug, reusable XL travel mug, a half carafe (5 cups), and full carafe (10 cups) to match the slightly more expensive Hot & Cold model.
There are also two brew strength options: “Classic” and “Strong”. You can also choose the “with ice” option to make a hot coffee with ice without weakening it. The “specialty” setting allows you to obtain highly concentrated coffee for lattes and cappuccinos.
Ninja Specialty does not offer a brew strength option for iced coffee, and specialty drinks are only one size (4 oz). Still, for a device at this price point, Ninja Specialty has quite a range of brewing settings.
When it comes to convenience, Ninja Specialty has a delayed brew button that comes in handy when you want to wake up with a fresh pot of coffee. At the base of the coffee basket, there is a sliding Drip Stop switch which comes in handy when you need to drink your first cup of coffee before the rest of the pot is brewed.
As the Ninja Specialty coffee machine is equipped with a glass carafe, there is an intelligent heating plate at the base of the machine that adjusts the temperature to the amount of coffee in the carafe. You can program how long the hob will stay on, with a maximum operating time of four hours. You can also manually adjust the hob temperature by pressing the Stay Warm button.
Single brewing does not require any capsules, which is more and more typical of more expensive devices. However, if you want to turn your K-Cups into lattes, you can spend another $40 and purchase the Keurig K-Cafe Special Edition (opens in a new tab) with a sleek, brushed nickel finish reminiscent of coffee shop coffee makers.
The Ninja Specialty machine measures 12inche x 8.8inche x 15 inches. It is approximately two inches smaller than the Hot and Cold model, but otherwise the same dimensions.
On the left side of the Ninja Specialty is a foldable milk frother and a hanging storage compartment for the included Ninja Scoop – a convenient tool printed with the number of recommended scoops for each brew size.
In the center, there is an extendable platform for brewing individual cups. In addition to the 50oz glass carafe, travel cups and glasses can be placed at the base of the device. There is also a red light that indicates if the heating area is active.
On the right is a 50 oz plastic water tank with a hinged lid and markings indicating the minimum fill level for each brew size. The Ninja Specialty design makes it easy to remove the tank should you need to take it to a water source; however, I prefer the more discreet placement of the Hot and Cold Infusion System tank behind the control panel.
While you will still need to clear up a fair amount of countertop space for Ninja Specialty, you won’t have to worry about storing brew baskets that aren’t in use – which is worth considering for the Hot and Cold model.
Ease of use
The control panel of the Ninja Specialty Coffee is simple. With one knob, you choose the size of the brew you want to prepare. Or you can just press the button corresponding to the type of coffee you want and it’s ready.
The coffee brewing time at Ninja Specialty is roughly the same as for the Hot and Cold systems. It takes about 10 minutes to brew a full carafe on the “classic” setting.
All detachable parts of the Ninja Specialty coffee machine are dishwasher safe, including the glass carafe. If the appliance requires a more thorough removal of the limescale, the Clean button will illuminate.
Overall, the Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker has made some decent cups of coffee. Unfortunately, there were times when my coffee was bitter – and sometimes even burnt – when I chose the “rich” setting. I used the same type of coffee and brew setting on the Ninja hot and cold brew system and had no problem with this.
I must point out that I have a tendency to pour myself coffee as soon as the decanter is ready, so I can’t blame the burnt bitterness on the Smart Heating Plate. On the contrary – I think she did a good job of keeping my better coffee pots warm without overheating them.
While I’m not the biggest fan of iced coffee, the “iced” setting at Ninja Specialty did a good job of not watering down the coffee, but like the Hot and Cold System, my iced coffee was not particularly smooth.
The specialty coffees were my favorites and were generally easy to make, especially with the pre-made foldable milk frother. I especially like the flat whites and cappuccinos that I have tasted because the “special” infusions provided an excellent and balanced base to which I could add frothed milk and other touches (such as cinnamon).
The Ninja Specialty coffee machine makes a few noises when starting up and beeps when brewing is complete. Besides, it is a relatively quiet machine.
What we didn’t like
It’s a shame there isn’t much flexibility in choosing brew settings and sizes for iced coffee and specialty drinks, but that’s not the norm for most home brewers. However, the Braun MultiServe (opens in a new tab) allows you to brew iced coffee at different strengths, although it costs around $30 more than the Ninja.
The buttons on the Ninja Specialty infuser are almost flush with the control panel. This is not a problem unless it is time to set the clock. It is not a design that is conducive to pressing the same button multiple times. Considering you only need to set the time after plugging in – and again if you want to use the Delay Brew feature – that’s a minor issue.
Should you buy a Ninja Specialized Coffee Machine?
Overall, the Ninja Special Coffee Machine is a versatile machine that has everything you need to prepare many special drinks. It will work for anyone who wants to have a coffee machine that will brew a decent cup of morning coffee, and, if necessary, also prepare more refined drinks.
Ninja Specialty is a cheaper alternative for anyone who doesn’t need as many features as the Ninja Hot and Cold Infusion System. Besides the ability to brew tea and cold infusion via the Hot and Cold System, these two Ninja coffee machines have many overlapping functions. Both devices are pretty good at what they do, so your choice will ultimately be down to your preferences and budget.