Ninja Coffee Bar with Glass Carafe

I had a Cuisinart Coffee maker I had been using for almost three years. The review on that can be found here . I really liked that coffee maker. A lot! At almost three years, the machine itself started leaking water. The coffee maker still worked, but the side where it made hot water sprung a leak. I tried taking it apart to see where it was coming from and I found the parts I would need just wasn’t worth it to fix. Enter the Ninja Coffee Bar with Glass Carafe!

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This is the Ninja Coffee Bar with Glass Carafe!

I looked at a few dozen types of coffee pot machines and after careful thought, I decided on this Ninja. It didn’t hurt that it was on sale at Target! I believe I picked it up for less than half the price. Winning! 🙂

Ninja’s words…”Ninja has a patent-pending brewing technology designed to deliver better, richer- tasting coffee with variable richness levels that are never bitter. Only the Ninja Coffee Bar® brewer has Thermal Flavor Extraction, which truly unlocks the full flavor potential of your coffee using automated controls for Temperature Calibration, Pre-infusion & Coffee Saturation.”

The settings brews four types of coffee; classic, rich, over-ice, specialty. I have used them all. It’s stepped up my coffee game! Classic Brew is what I’d call a regular brew, a nice perfectly brewed coffee. I like this setting when I drink it black. The Rich Brew is a bolder flavor. And by bold I don’t mean bitter. Just a nice stronger flavor. If you use milks or creams, I find you don’t lose out on that coffee flavor. Using the Over Ice Brew makes the coffee even richer so as not to lose any coffee flavor when pouring over ice. No watered down taste! The Specialty Brew is even more concentrated coffee, making the coffee flavor just right when making any type of “fancy” concoctions. It comes with a recipe booklet too. Tweaking the recipes to my tastes is a lot of fun. WE have coffee bar nights where we pick a recipe to try! A great “party” theme.

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 Their trademarked Ninja Easy Frother™ is such a simple design that does the job very well! I’ve had other frothers, yet there’s something about this one that sets it apart. To me, it froths the milk much faster and the consistency of the froth is much thicker.

This coffee pot doesn’t have a filter. It wasn’t a deal breaker for me as I use filtered water anyway, though I  had to “get over” not having my coffee double filtered, hahaha! As it turns out, it’s good in the way that I don’t have to remember to change the filter (and the cost savings of buying them) and have to deal with another compartment to keep clean. And speaking of keeping it clean, this pot is very easy to clean. The machine comes apart easily. Nothing tricky about it. Seriously easy!

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The reservoir is a neat feature. Ninja’s Auto-iQ™ One Touch Intelligence feature sends out the right amount of water you need depending on what size you want. Super cool! I keep it full of filtered water, so making a cup, half a pot, or full pot is quick and easy. You can remove the water container to fill it or you can pour water into it from another pitcher or other vessel (which is what I do most of the time).

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See that silver round piece? It flips down and that is where you set your cup for that single serving cup. Flipping it back up allows you to make a travel sized mug full of coffee, or of course, a half pot or full pot.

What I like about this feature is you can make that single serving or travel mug size without using those “pods”. I have yet to meet a pod that made a decent cup of coffee or tea for that matter. By the way… I’ve used this machine to make yerba mate tea! It does a fantastic job at brewing it just right! How does it know? 😉

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My only “con” about this set up…the mouth of the carafe is small. You can’t fit your hand inside to clean it. So, you need a bottle brush or something like that to clean it effectively. This is not a complete deal breaker, however, if I were looking at two coffee makers, both being equal, but one had the traditional carafe opening, I would buy the wider opening. Ninja does sell a soft sponge brush for $5.95. See the video I made below to so see how I clean my carafe! 

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Apple Spiced Infused Tea

I baked an Upside-Down Apple Cake last night.  Part of the directions was to boil water and then add the sliced apples, cloves, and cinnamon stick, turn it down and simmer for five minutes…then discard the cloves, cinnamon stick, and water.  Well if you know me, you know I don’t like to waste, as well as I LOVE getting more than one “thing” out of something.  So instead of dumping out this amazing apple/clove/cinnamon infused water, I made tea!

I remembered a tea that http://hariqhuang.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/apple-cinnamon-tea/ Hari made and it sparked my brain, “Brilliant I know what I can do with this apple spiced infused water”!  Oh my! It was so good, that I am doing this every time I make this cake. In fact perfect compliment to it.  When I was a kid and not feeling well, i’d add sliced ginger to this concoction.  Ginger is very soothing for the tummy!

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Apple Spiced Infused Tea

Now even if you are not making this Upside-Down Apple Cake you can still make this infused tea.

Boil 6 cups of water.  While water is boiling…

Peel, core, and slice two apples.  I used granny smith. I like the tartness to them.

After the water comes to a boil…

Add the apple slices

Add 8 cloves

One stick of cinnamon

Simmer for 8-10 min.

Strain out the solids.  Enjoy!

Makes 4 nice mugs full of apple spiced tea!

FYI: If you want you can grate the apple like (Hari) did.  Or, you can slice the apple, then chop up the sliced apples, to expose more of the apple for a deeper infusion. I found just slicing them and simmering them for the 10 minutes did the trick. No real right or wrong.

The flavors will depend on the types of apples used, but if you are an apple lover, then any type of apple will make for a nice tea.

An herbal infusion is a tea that is steeped longer than a couple of minutes and usually more than one herb is used in a larger amount.  By steeping it longer you get the maximum amount of essential nutrients from that particular herb/flower/etc.

Herbal tea is really any “tea” that is non-caffeinated made from an infusion process using any herb, flower, or spice. 

True teas come from the tea bush (Camellia sinensis), which is where we get our green, black, oolong, etc. teas from). 

By the way…The upside -down apple cake was a hit.  Family had it for dessert, then the next morning with half and half poured over top!

This was a happy cake.  We all couldn’t help smiling while eating it.

Here’s to you all having a happy day, no matter what kind of cake your are eating!❀