SharkNinja Coffee Bar Review

The Shark Ninja Coffee Bar CF091 gleams in no-nonsense black and stainless steel, with its water tank glass emphasizing the look. This business-like coffee maker is designed for an environment where coffee tastes vary and sometimes demand is heavy. Where its "Advanced Thermal Flavor Extraction Technology and Auto-iQ One-Touch Intelligence" can be best used.

What does that really mean? And, more to the point, does it give you great coffee? Read the rest of the review below to find out:

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Table of Contents

Versatility & ChoiceA Choice of Brews
Advanced Thermal Flavor ExtractionHow It Works
Swinging Milk FrotherEasy To Clean?
The Full WorksFeatures & Specs
AccessoriesPros and Cons
Consumer RatingsSummary

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Versatility and Choice

Here I'm not talking about a choice of pods, because the Shark Ninja Coffee Bar coffee maker doesn't use them. That brings the running costs down a bit. Mind you, it doesn't grind your beans either, so if you grind your own then you'll need to keep your burr grinder.

What it does do, first off, is offer you a choice of single serve or carafe. You can have any one of six brew sizes, from cup to full carafe. Selection is by way of the easy-to-turn knob at the top of the control panel.

The Coffee Bar doesn't do espressos, but it does cover virtually every other coffee drink you can name. You can even make tea with it. But it's how to make good coffee that we're really interested in, isn't it? And we have five main routes to follow.

A Choice of Brews

The Classic Brew is a rather basic cup of coffee. Delicious for sure, but maybe a little bland? In that case, consider next the Rich Brew. This is stronger and ideal for when you want to add milk, cream or flavoring without diluting the taste.

Feeling hot and sticky in the summer heat? Then try the Over Ice Brew. This is more concentrated. It has to be to keep the flavor in a mugful of melted ice. Best to fill your mug with ice to the top to get a proper sized brew. It just has to be my favorite, for sure.

Next up is the Specialty, or Concentrated Brew. It's for blended coffees, whether ice blended or milk frothed. It gives you 4-oz of concentrated brew for blending into flat whites, lattes, mochas or cappuccinos. Want a double shot of it? I know I would. Just press the Cafe Forte button instead for a full 8-oz.

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Ninja Coffee Bar
Shark Ninja Coffee Bar

About Shark Ninja's "Advanced Thermal Flavor Extraction" Technology

Just what is "advanced thermal flavor extraction"? And what is "Auto iQ One-Touch Intelligence", come to that?

Taking the second phrase first, it means that, having selected your size of brew, you only need to touch the buttons once. That's to select the exact kind of brew that you want from the options I've mentioned.

There's one thing I want to mention here. Once you've made your selection the Coffee Bar swings into action and there's no going back. It calculates and delivers the correct amount of water, and assumes that it's all available. So always monitor the water level to avoid running out of water before the end of the brewing cycle.

The "advanced thermal flavor extraction" means that the machine ensures that all the flavor is extracted from the coffee grounds. Other machines might simply drown the coffee grounds in hot water and allow it to filter through into the cup or carafe. The trouble here is that often the process is over before all the flavor is extracted.

How the Shark Ninja Coffee Bar works

The Shark Ninja Coffee Bar does it differently. There are twelve evenly-spaced holes, in a circular pattern, above the filter basket where you place the grounds. These are where the water comes through. The machine, knowing how much grounds there are, allows just enough hot water to drip through to saturate them fully.

It then leaves things for around 15 seconds (depending on the size of brew) to allow pre-infusion to take place. All the flavor is loosened and made ready for release. Only then is the rest of the water dripped over the grounds to filter through. The result is a delicious cup or carafe of coffee, according to your selection.

And if it's taken "advanced thermal flavor extraction" to produce it then I for one won't be complaining.

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The Swinging Milk Frother

The milk frother folds away neatly at the left rear of the Coffee Bar when not being used. When you need it you swing it round to the side, where there's plenty of room for your mug or carafe. It has a unique attachment that whisks and froths your milk, and easily detaches with a twist for rinsing clean.

You can froth anything with this. At least, anything that's capable of being frothed, including almond- and cashew-milk. You do have to heat your milk in the microwave first, though, for around 30 seconds per cup, as the Coffee Bar doesn't do it for you. That aspect has attracted some adverse comment from users, but it's not that much of an inconvenience. And just think how much you've saved by not having a milk heater.

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Is the Shark Ninja Coffee Bar Easy To Clean?

The short answer is yes. The machine itself notifies you when it needs cleaning. Using a proper cleansing agent, just press the Clean button on the control panel to start the process. You should run two cleaning cycles before using the Coffee Bar for the first time. Just follow the cleaning instructions in the User Manual.

The milk frother will need regular cleaning, of course, and you can easily detach and re-attach it. The water reservoir and lid come out easily for washing in the dishwasher. And the permanent filter has a natty little handle you use to remove it for rinsing.

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The Full Works

Shark Ninja leave nothing to chance with their Coffee Bar. On top of the range of brews and brew sizes there's the question of filters. Some of us prefer a paper filter, even though we have to replace them after each brew. You can easily replace the permanent filter with a paper filter.

There's a built-in swing-down platform to accommodate smaller cups and mugs. This helps cut down on splashes, and hence cleaning. Nice touch. You also have a double-ended scoop for measuring your grounds, that stores away neatly on the side.

The drip-stop lever is something you don't see on most other coffee makers. You'll find this on the water outlet, and you slide it along to cut off the flow of water. You may be brewing a full carafe, and want a quick mug for yourself. Don't forget to re-slide it back afterward, to resume the carafe's cycle. If you do forget, there's a warning light and a friendly "beep" after a few seconds.

Shark Ninja haven't neglected to make full use of the digital clock, now situated on the "floor" of the machine. Through it, you can program your brewing cycles, and set up a delayed start.

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Features and Specifications of the Shark Ninja Coffee Bar:

Product Dimensions: 15 x 11.3 x 16.3 inches
Item Weight: 12.7 pounds
Shipping Weight: 15.7 pounds
Manufacturer: Shark Ninja
Origin: China

Top Dial Selection Volumes:
Regular Cup 9.5-oz
XL Cup 11.5-oz
Travel Mug 14-oz
Large Travel Mug 18-oz
Half Carafe 28-oz
Full Carafe 43-oz
[NB Use a container that is larger than your selection, to avoid overflow]

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Ninja Coffee Bar
Ninja Coffee Bar in action

Accessories

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Pros and Cons of the Shark Ninja Coffee Bar

Pros:

  • Brews any kind of coffee, hot or icy, plus tea
  • Non-drip feature
  • You can remove the permanent coffee filter and replace it with a paper filter
  • Hot plate safe with plastic mugs as it only works with carafes
  • Programmable
  • Easy cleaning

Cons:

  • You have to heat the milk separately in a microwave

Watch this useful YouTube Video of an expert examining the Shark Ninja Coffee Bar -

Consumer Ratings for the Shark Ninja Coffee Bar

The Shark Ninja Coffee Bar has an average score of nearly 4 from over 1,460 Amazon reviewers at the time or writing (May 2019). Nearly three in every five of them have awarded the full five stars.

Particularly popular are the foaming arm and the drip stop. Most users love the iced coffee facility. They also appreciate the speed of the machine, the variety of brew sizes, the perfect temperature of the coffee, the ease of cleaning, and choice of richness level.

Many users are former Keurig fans, and especially like the fresher flavor that the grounds produce, as opposed to K-Cups. Not to mention not having to buy K-Cups or Nespresso pods any more!

Less popular are the need to heat your milk in the microwave before frothing. Some have found that on their machine a "full" pot is a couple of inches shy of the top. Most users, however, don't seem to have this problem, or deem it unimportant.

Overall, this coffee maker is a huge hit.

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Summary

The Shark Ninja Coffee Bar is a proven appliance with thousands of very happy users. With just a few presses of the buttons on the control panel you can choose which brew you want, and the size of it. And when you want it ready for. The milk frother is a pleasure to use, and cleaning the machine and all its component parts is easy.

All the hard work is done for you. And as for the Over Ice Brew, well what more can I say?

Only that you can purchase the Shark Ninja Coffee Bar with full confidence that you'll enjoy some of the finest coffee from it that you've ever tasted.

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'Coffee Lover'

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Author: Coffee Lover

This review site for coffee makers and espresso machines is run by Philip Gegan, a qualified lawyer and a copywriter who now writes extensively for the internet. He is married with two grown up children.