2nd gen Ninja Coffee Bar system
One year into ownership & active use, I can defimitively say this 2nd-gen 10 cup Ninja Coffee Bar is the BEST drip brewer of all that I've owned over the course of 40+ years. Better and more versatile and ecomomical than all of the prestige, legacy name brand players, at any price.
First, be very clear that the NCB system is NOT an "espresso" machine. It is an atmospheric pressure drip brewer, capable of making anywhere from variously sized single cups to 10 cups per single brew cycle.
Second, it can brew strong to very strong drip coffee, without burning the oils in the coffee grounds. Very smooth, strong brews, rivaling "Clover" machine brews and perfectly suited for making iced and other mixed coffee concoctions. All brews result from strict 205°F drip temperature and variable drip flow control.
As for some of the reports of operational malfunctions, the only time I overflowed a 12 oz cup was when I inattentively & accidentally dialed for an 18oz cup, instead. The free spinning brew-size selector should ALWAYS be double-checked for correctness before walking away from a brew.
The NCB system uses a lot of hidden contact micro-switches. If those switches are DoA, the unit will have problems with safety and interrupting brews in progress.
Fully test all features of the unit (while you are running your first two out-of-the-box water cleaning passes) to detect defective internal contact switches. If interrupted brews fail to hold the drip, if brewing can be started before the brew basket is fully seated & in place, then you have a LEMON to exchange. Also check for reservoir seal leaks.
Any foreign object, like stray styrofoam packing particles, in the reservoir receiver can result in leaks, even with good rubber seals.
Also, be aware that too finely ground coffee can cause brew basket overflow problems, that will not occur with standard drip grinds available in retail.
If you opt to very finely grind your beans, then you must be prepared to experiment with how, much LESS you should fill the brew basket. Espresso-ground coffee can also compact at the bottom of the brew basket to the point of stopping the normal outflow. STANDARD DRIP GRIND is what the NCB system is designed to work with. Never had a single brew basket overflow using standard drip grind, and the recommended scoops, or when pausing a brew in-progress.
I wash the basket (& carafe, if used) after each major round of brews (several cups in a row or a 1/2 or full carafe), simply by soaking them in a non-toxic restaurant coffee brewer cleaning solution (bought in bulk at steep discount, properly soak-diluted with hot tap water) for 20 minutes, rinsing thoroughly & drip drying. No coffee staining even under UV light, which means no burned coffee residue build-up over time. Try keeping one of those "x-cup" brewing machines as clean one year down the road.
Decalcification, using the same solution, whenever the NCB signals for it, is also very important maintenance. The NCB will prompt for this long before you notice any reduction in drip flow/rate, but taking all the guess work out of needed decalcifying.
You may also use white vinegar for cleaning/decalcifying(, but I personally dislike the in-process aroma.)
I really like NCB Strong Brewed cups of Sumatra & Verona dark roasted beans. As I said, these rival filterless "Clover" brewed cups.
I also use Japanese-sourced brown paper filters that impart no foreign flavors/aromas, are sustainably made and reasonably priced. (Do you really believe no plastic residues are imparted to the coffee using "x-cups," even if you don't taste/smell them?)
I prefer the glass carafe for ease of cleaning. When I brew a full carafe for later use, I pour it into an air-tight glass mason jar & store at room temp. This is vastly superior to holding over heat and/or in a steel thermal carafe for taste over time. (Steel carafes are harder to keep pristinely clean over time, too.) But, I find that I'm typically brewing more cups (in series) than carafes with the NCB.
I also own an espresso machine, which is why I can say that the NCB DOES NOT MAKE ESPRESSO. When I make espresso, I drink it neat, or with lemon or orange zest, akin to Japanese tea ceremony, bamboo-brush-whisked Matcha green tea. There are no true espresso shots coming from the NCB.
Nevertheless, NCB Specialty & Cafe Forte brews are well-suited to replace espresso shots in iced and mixed coffee drinks. In those situations, the coffee flavor is deliberately taking a backseat and there is no resulting loss in the final presentation.
At one year, plus, I am not looking for anything better than the 2nd gen Ninja Coffee Bar system. If/when this unit finally putzes, I will be looking for another NCB. Perhaps, gen 3?