If you find yourself among the many who enjoy a specialty beverage to start your morning — think flat whites, iced lattes and cappuccinos — it may seem impossible to create barista-quality brews at home. But that isn't the case. There are kitchen gadgets and simple tips and tricks that will help you create the perfect cup of Joe without leaving the house.
The easiest way to create specialty beverages at home is with two steps: Source the best tasting beans and then invest in a machine that will do the bulk of the prep work for you. Once you've got your beans in order, you'll want a device that can give you a quality brew for a relatively affordable price tag.
A product that ticks both of these boxes is the Ninja Coffee Bar System ($99.99, originally $179.99; walmart.com). The device is best known for its ability to create a number of coffee concoctions, with settings for a variety of specialty coffees, a standard drip pour and over ice brews. And from August 19 through August 20, it's available for just under $100 at Walmart.
It features a milk frother attachment that will help you create the perfect cappuccino, latte or flat white. Fitted with smart technology, the gadget will measure the right ratio of water to beans to help cut any guesswork on your part.
To keep things into perspective, let's compare this price with the average cappuccino that runs $3.51.
Ninja's cappuccino drink calls for 4 tablespoons of ground coffee. If you were to use a customer-favorite bag of beans like the Lavazza Super Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend ($21.74; amazon.com) you'd be able to make about 33 cappuccinos (about 1 pound of coffee is equivalent to about 60 heaping tablespoons). That means if you're a daily coffee drinker and go through about 365 cappuccinos in one year, the device plus beans will run you about $394. That's a fraction compared with 365 drinks from your typical coffee house, which would have you dishing out around $1,281.
As far as functionality goes, the Ninja Coffee Bar System is one of the most affordable multipurpose coffee makers on the market, but there are espresso-only coffee appliances, like De'Longhi's Bar Pump and Espresso Maker ($97.95; amazon.com) that are cheaper. We will note though, that it is rated lower in terms of customer satisfaction and will limit the variety of drinks you can make.
The Ninja has 4- to 5-star ratings across multiple retailers, including Amazon, Target and Best Buy, and many customers have noted it's been their go-to switch from a classic pod brewing machine. The coffee maker gives you more control over the taste of your drinks, the strength of your coffee and beverage options that rival your local coffeehouse.
We'll drink to that.
Note: The prices above reflect the listed retailer's price on the date this article was published.