The Ninja CE251 12-Cup Coffee Maker is a newer version of the popular CE201 machine. It has the same small-batch function and programmability. Has Ninja/Shark made any great strides with this newer model or should we simply judge it on its own merits? How much different can an automatic coffee maker get?
Ninja Kitchen has a big reputation for designing functional and extremely efficient appliances. We’re wondering if this CE251 coffee maker lives up to the brand’s reputation.
Let’s take a closer look at what this coffee maker has to offer.
Features of the Ninja CE251 12-Cup Coffee Maker
Let’s get a run-down of this coffee maker’s features so we can get a better understanding of how it would perform for us on a daily basis.
Type of Coffee Maker: Automatic Drip
The Ninja CE251 works as a standard, automatic drip coffee maker. A full carafe takes between 12 and 15 minutes to brew. The shower head water dispenser ensures the grounds are saturated evenly.
Ninja/Shark is also showcasing a “hotter boiler”, giving you a hotter cup of coffee right out of the carafe.
Type of Coffee Used: Ground beans.
You’re going to be using your favorite ground bean coffee with this coffee maker.
Type of Filter Used: Mesh permanent filter
Another basic quality is the use of a permanent filter. As with most permanent filters, some of the coffee grounds can escape through the mesh which results in sediment at the bottom of your cup. Since this is a standard filter, it can be lined with paper to prevent sludge and to filter out oils that can lead to bitterness. If you decide to go the paper route, Ninja recommends a #4 cone paper filter.
The reservoir of the Ninja CE251 Coffee Maker has a 60 ounce capacity. It’s completely removable from the unit, allowing for easily filling with the water of your choice. It’s quite refreshing to have control over the reservoir like we do over a Keurig machine. It’s easier to fill and certainly easier to keep clean since you don’t have to wonder how dry it is at the bottom of a dark coffee maker.
The glass carafe holds 12 cups for a total of 60 ounces. The carafe is stylish with a silver-tone handle and black lid and it does have a unique feature.
It’s fitted with a “flavor straw” that attaches to the lid. This essentially cycles the coffee throughout the carafe during the brew cycle. The result: when you grab your mid-cycle cup, it has a much more robust taste than you would normally find in an auto-pause feature.
Number of Cups It Can Brew at Once: 1-12 cups at 5 ounces each.
This coffee maker includes a “small-batch” feature which allows for brewing 1 – 4 cups. This prevents your coffee from being diluted. Most units that lack this feature produce smaller batches of coffee where the beans are under saturated, producing weak small quantities of coffee. The usual “fix” for this is to simply make larger pots of coffee and either discard the rest or use it cold or as ice cubes. Truth be told, how many coffee ice cubes do you need every day? The small-batch feature gives you great tasting coffee while it eliminates the waste.
The warming plate has an adjustable temperature that can keep the carafe warm for up to 4 hours.
You don’t need to push buttons. You simply remove the carafe and the brewing cycle will pause.
Automatic Shut-off: Yes.
The warming plate and unit will automatically shut off after 2 hours. A red light indicates when the warming plate is on.
While it doesn’t take pods of any kind, the small batch feature allows you to brew a single cup of coffee without sacrificing strength or flavor.
Brew Strength Options: Two
Classic and Rich brew strengths are available. Classic is like what you’d be served at your favorite diner. Rich is what you’d be served at your local coffee shop by your favorite barista.
These flavor profiles are definitely a highlight of the Ninja CE251 Coffee Maker. When all you want is a cup of coffee, at this price point, it had better be more than just decent tasting cup. The flavor of the coffee being brewed in this machine is exceptional. Everyone we met who has tasted a cup of coffee from this machine has an eyebrow raising moment.
Color: Stainless Steel and Black
We love the color and style of this coffee maker. NinjaFood always has a certain kind of “power look” to their appliances. The Ninja CE251 Coffee Maker is no different. It commands your attention in the kitchen but it doesn’t look out of place.
How Easy is the Ninja CE251 Coffee Maker to Clean?
The reservoir is removable so that’s easy enough. The carafe, lid, water reservoir and permanent filter are all top rack dishwasher safe. Simply wipe down the base unit after it has cooled down.
Descaling should be done when the coffee brew cycle starts to take longer than 15 minutes. You can use either a vinegar/water solution or a dedicated descaling solution (which usually has a base of citric acid) for cleaning. The instructions are in the booklet.
Other Features to Note
The Ninja integrated scoop is equivalent to one tablespoon. It’s called integrated because there’s a nook on the side of the machine where it snaps into place when not in use. People who constantly misplace their coffee scoop will appreciate this thoughtful design feature first thing in the morning.
On the backside of the machine, there’s a storage spot for the power cord. It’s a 120-volt machine, designed for US households.
All of the plastics used to manufacture this machine are BPA free. You would think that all coffee makers would be built with this standard in mind but that’s simply not the case. Ninja did right by their customers again.
There’ss a clock so you can program a delay brew up to 24 hours advance. You also set the brew strength. The display is gray light on a black background. It’s large enough and easy enough to read without shining like a lighthouse at night.
Check out the video below to see how easy it is to program.
How Much Counter Space Does it Use?
It measures 10 inches wide x 10.6 deep x 14.61 inches tall. It weighs 6.48 lbs.
The carafe is under 7 inches tall.
What the Comments Say
The praises for this machine are surprisingly positive, especially for a simply coffee maker.
Praises From Reviewers:
Brew Strength. People definitely notice and appreciate the difference between the Classic and Rich brew strengths. Some have even compared the Rich setting to what you get from a pour over cup of coffee. If that’s the case, you are getting a pour over cup of coffee for little money and much less work.
Small-Batch Feature. There are some people who rarely brew a full pot of coffee and are only concerned with one cup a day. The Small-Batch feature is adored for its ability to brew a small amount of coffee without sacrificing anything.
Carafe. The rave reviews usually include something about the carafe. The carafe, with its flow straw lid, gains high praise for the way it feels in your hand to the way it pours without dripping. Buyers are extremely impressed with how reliable and clean this carafe handles coffee from the hot plate to the mug and back.
Removable Reservoir. There’s always been a bit of a hassle when you have to measure out the amount of water you need in your carafe and then getting that exact amount into the reservoir without spilling it onto the grounds or onto your counter. Ninja solved this problem by taking a cue from the Keurig machines: Keep the reservoir on the outside and measure the water for the consumer.
More coffee makers should go this route.
Drawbacks to Consider
Beyond the fact that there will be flaws in every machine, there are two complaints that stood out from the others.
Steam. There’s a lot of steam coming out of this coffee maker. Enough, in fact, for people to put the question to the Amazon community after they had purchased it. They were worried the steam would affect their cabinets. In short, the steam can be a problem if you leave the machine under cabinets that don’t have a lot of clearance space between it and the top of the coffee maker.
Permanent Filter. Some buyers were disappointed that the gold-tone mesh filter allowed coffee grounds to seep into the carafe and into their mugs. While the #4 paper filter is the option recommended by SharkNinja, the consumers were upset that they had to go to a disposable option.
It should be noted that across Coffee Nation, the Gold-tone mesh filter has always had a problem with allowing sediment to pass through its tiny holes. The problem of dealing with sledge while using the permanent filter is not unique to this machine. It’s one of the things you must be willing to tolerate if your goal is lowering the amount of disposable waste you produce.
Here’s an unbiased review of the 200 series which is very similar, if not identical, to the 251.
When it comes to automatic drip coffee makers, The Ninja CE251 Coffee Maker comes about as close as you’re going to get to brewing a perfect cup of coffee at home. It does one thing and it does it quite well.
Sometimes, it’s the things that go unnoticed that are the true stand out features. While others love the taste of the coffee, we also appreciated a substantial rise in the base temperature we were getting out of this machine. No one complained about their coffee being too hot or too cold. We think Ninja hit the Goldilocks temperature here although we have yet to test it with our meter.
This coffee maker couldn’t get any easier to clean. The carafe, lid, filter, filter basket and reservoir are all dishwasher safe when placed on the top rack. That reservoir may not fit on your top rack but at least you can give it a good wash and dry in your sink which is more than you can say for most automatic drip coffee makers since most multi-cup machines have reservoirs that are built into the base unit.
It’s a basic programmable coffee maker that, when it comes to do rises to the occasion. Not only that, you’ll never have to lose your coffee scoop again.
If all you want is a great tasting cup of medium roasted coffee, we highly recommend this coffee maker.
Cleaning the Ninja CE251 Coffee Maker
There are some basic things you can do to keep your coffee maker running smoothly every day.
How to Descale the Ninja CE251 Coffee Maker
Before you start, make sure the carafe is empty and the small batch button is off. The cleaning cycle takes between 20 and 25 minutes to complete.
You can choose one of two solutions for descaling your coffee maker:
a) Fill the carafe with 16 ounces (2 measured cups) of white vinegar and then fill the carafe up to the 12-cup line.
b) You can use a dedicated descaling solution, following the directions included with your solution and filling the carafe up to the 12 cup indicator.
After filling the reservoir with one of the 60 ounce options above and ensuring your carafe is empty and on the warming plate, push the CLEAN button. If you need to stop the cycle for any reason, either press the CLEAN button a second time or simply press the power button.
There is an audible beep when the cycle has finished. Empty the carafe, fill the reservoir with clean water up to the 12-cup line again and run the brew cycle on the CLASSIC setting.
Allow to dry.