Odd name for a coffee machine, Ninja. We didn’t quite know what to expect, would it be delivered normally or just silently appear in the corner of the office when our backs were turned?

Shark Ninja is in fact the brand name and comes possibly from their early days making kitchen chopping devices. Blades, you see. Ninjas. Get it?

Having just been very disappointed testing a big brand’bean to cup’ machine that cost £900, we were a bit sceptical about a machine costing considerably less.

As it turned out though, we found the Ninja to be a very good machine; nice looking, easy to operate and with some cool features.

They call it a’revolutionary coffee brewer’. It’s not a coffee machine but a complete Coffee Bar. This is because it can make a large variety of coffee based drinks. A bit like your local independent coffee shop but without the tattooed Kiwi showing off.

You choose the size of your brew – from mug to travel cup, to half or full carafe – as well as the preferred strength. Then you press a button and rely on what they call Auto-iQ technology to do the work for you. Bit like the Kiwi, only possibly smarter.

The technology combines Pre Infusion, temperature calibration and’controlled coffee saturation’ to create the coffee. Using the HOT, COLD, BOLD Inspiration guide included in the box you can, in theory, make 40 recipes including Brew Over Ice.

Basically though it’s a standard coffee machine that drips hot water through coffee into a jug and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a tried and tested system that works every time. We liked the fact the fine mesh steel filter that means you don’t need paper filters, although using one does help with the cleaning up, and we liked the steel insulated jug option that keeps the coffee warm.

The supplied milk frother needs to be loaded with hot milk; we used the microwave, and then pumped by hand to get it ready to pour on top for a proper professional look. Well not so much of the’we’ really, school leaver/intern/dogsbody Max was tasked with coffee making for the office and took to it like a duck to water, mastering the machine and possessively growling if anyone else tried to use it.

At around £160 it is rather expensive of course, but it’s a solidly built, good looking piece of kit and gives the impression it will last a long while and, as Max pointed out, saves a fortune for us on take-out coffees from the usual suspects.

It can be ordered here

Max liked:

  • The simple quantity setting – full or half carafe.
  • The cup settings – regular coffee cup or mug, and a setting for those sad people who get on the train with a travel mug.
  • The machine can be set to make the coffee before you wake up. How good is that?
  • The warming plate that changes temperature as needed.
  • The three strength options – they need a bit of trial and error depending on the coffee you buy, but you soon find the strength you prefer.
  • The ability to make an espresso-like coffee concentrate. Not a real espresso of course, but not a bad substitute by any means.
  • The over-ice option. Who doesn’t like a Frappacino?
  • Expresso Martinis. Who doesn’t like a caffeine buzz mixed with alcohol?