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Nespresso vs Ninja Coffee: Which One Should You Choose?

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Nespresso vs Ninja Coffee

We all want good coffee and easy to make, that’s what coffee-machines were created for. However, not all coffee makers are created equal and you need to do a bit of research if you want to pick the best machine for you. 

Nespresso and Ninja Coffee are both quite popular at the moment so you might have heard a lot about them, but they’re very different machines and we’re here to look at the pros and cons for both of them.

Nespresso is a Swiss-based company owned by the food giant Nestle, so they’re huge. Nespresso took the world by storm with its patented coffee pods some say are the best thing since sliced bread. 

The pods are the perfect product for the 21st-century fast-paced life. They’re super easy to use and probably the most difficult part is deciding which flavor best suits your mood. 

Ninja Coffee is a US-based company, founded in 1996. They used to go by the name of Euro-Pro Operating LLC, before rebranding to NinjaShark in 2017. 

Now, sharks are not known as great baristas, but the company is as ferocious as a shark when it comes to biting huge chunks out of their business rivals. 

Ninja Coffee is a sort of jack of all trades, offering you the choice between four different types of brew with just one machine. Not bad.

Nespresso = Espresso

That’s what Nespresso coffee makers offer – simple straight no-frills espresso. And quite a good espresso, as you get to choose from a variety of flavors like Fortissio Lungo, Roma, Rosabaya, or Arpeggio. Nespresso machines are not for cappuccino or other milk-based drinks lovers. 

They give you a great espresso, if you want cappuccino or latte you will have to buy yourself a milk frother, of which the company has several on the market. So no worries here. Bottom line, if you buy Nespresso, you only get… espresso!

Keep in mind what we’re talking about here are the traditional Nespresso models: Mini, Citiz, Pixie, and Expert which all only prepare espresso. For a machine that can also give you a cappuccino, you should look at their Lattissima and Creatista models, which are made for Nespresso by the rival DeLonghi company and are rather expensive.

Ninja Coffee - Four machines in one

Ninja Coffee, on the other hand, comes with the promise this is the only machine that you’ll ever need in your life. Just buy a Ninja Coffee maker and all your dreams will come true. Here is what they offer:

  • Classic: That’s code for basic drip-coffee of which you can make a whole pot just like on any regular filter coffee maker, like your Mom used to have
  • Rich: This is a bit hard to define as the brew falls somewhere between drip-coffee and espresso. This sort of coffee goes well with milk or creamer, with or without frothing
  • Iced: Definitely an interesting option, as it allows you to brew directly over ice cubes, which is excellent for hot summer days 
  • Specialty: Again, this is code for espresso, but we must warn you that you might not find it as rich and flavorful as the typical espresso at your favorite coffee shop. However, this espresso brew works great if you want to make cappuccino or latte.

Most Ninja Coffee models come with a frother, but you should know you will have to heat the milk yourself, on the stove. It does make a decent foam, though.

Cold-brew from a coffee machine?

The newest Ninja Coffee machines come with the promise of preparing cold brew coffee, which is increasingly popular these days. You probably know that cold brew is prepared with cold water and you have to steep the coffee grounds in it for at least 12 hours to get a decent concentrated brew. Ninja Coffee machines prepare a cold brew for you in just 15 minutes. 

The problem is it is not exactly cold brew as you can tell by the fact that the resulting brew is not cold, but lukewarm. And it doesn’t exactly taste like cold brew, either. It tastes OK, but those of you who enjoy a traditional cold brew will not be fooled by this pretend cold extraction coffee. 

Well, it stands to reason you cannot get the same drink if you only brew for 15 minutes. But, if you’re in a hurry, it might do.

How much coffee do you need?

Not you, personally. One cup at a time should be enough for a single person. And this is what Nespresso delivers, it is a single-cup coffee maker after all. 

Ninja Coffee machines, on the other hand, come with various brewing capacities. There are three models you can choose from:

  • Coffee Bar Single-Serve System: This model only allows you to make one cup at a time, so it’s not the best option for a large household or for entertaining friends. However, that one cup will be rather neat, as this model usually comes equipped with an incorporated milk frother.

  • Glass Carafe System: The glass carafe system allows you complete freedom to make how much coffee you want, a regular cup, a big mug, or indeed a whole pot. Obviously, that’s one pot of drip coffee or that special brew of theirs they call rich, which is a bit stronger than regular filter coffee. You can also use the carafe system to make iced coffee. This system keeps your pot of coffee warm for two hours then it turns off automatically. The company presents this as a plus, but true coffee lovers know that keeping coffee on a heater for too long will alter its taste, making it sort of scorched. It could be a good feature for an office coffee machine, though.

  • Thermal Carafe System: This system is pretty much the same as the glass carafe one, only the pot is made of stainless steel. This works like a thermal jug and keeps the coffee hot for a longer period, on its own without the added heat of a warming plate so the taste won’t suffer much.

Speaking of coffee temperature, there’s one (serious) complaint regarding both Nespresso and Ninja Coffee machines. The brew is not hot enough, at least not in the optimal range of 195-205 degrees. What you get with either of these machines is a coffee that’s only 175-180 degrees.

Cleaning and maintenance

This is something you want to consider carefully because you need to clean the machine between brews for best results. 

If you use Nespresso pods, cleaning doesn’t take long. Some parts are auto-cleaned after each brew, while the detachable ones are dishwasher safe.

The Ninja Coffee makers will require cleaning the coffee grounds residues, but the good news is the permanent filter and the filter holder are also dishwasher safe. If you have a carafe model, it is recommended you clean that manually.

There’s also the descaling problem, but fortunately you don’t have to take care of that very often. Once a month should be enough. 

Nespresso recommends using their special descaling tablets, which you need to order online. On the other hand, Ninja Coffee also offers a special descaling liquid but admits you can also use a water and vinegar solution for this operation.

The people at Nespresso are more high-brow and specifically warn customers against using vinegar.

The Verdict

The difference in price is not that important since both companies offer incredible coffee makers.

The only factor to guide you in making the right choice is the type of coffee you prefer. If you’re an espresso lover, you’re much better off with a Nespresso, which makes a great brew with a nice layer of crema on top of it.

Ninja Coffee machines make a drink that’s almost espresso, very close to a real espresso, but not quite. You can top it off with a layer of milk foam and make it a passable cappuccino, but not much else. 

However, if espresso is not your main concern you can buy a Ninja machine for the strong drip coffee it makes. But then again, if it’s only drip coffee you’re gonna drink why not buy a regular filter coffee machine which is way cheaper and use the rest of the money for the occasional trip to the coffee machine where you can get a real espresso and the fanciest cappuccino you can dream of?

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