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If you’re the only coffee drinker in your household, a single-serve coffee maker makes a lot of sense!
Even if you have more than one cup of caffeine per day, we are sure you won’t want to drink every single cup all at the same time.
As the name suggests, a single-serve coffee machine simply produces a single cup of espresso or drip coffee at a time. They are often smaller in size as well, taking up less counter space.
But with so many on the market today, you may not know where to begin. So, I took on the hard work for you. Let’s take a look at my personally tested lineup of the best single serve coffee makers available today.
What is the Best Single-Serve Coffee Maker?
Whether you prefer a single cup drip brewer or have a preference for or a Kuerig k cup, there’s a great pick for you. Espresso drinker? Yup, I’ve got a recommendation for you too!
The Top Five Single-Serve Coffee Makers
What is a Single-Serve Coffee Maker?
A single-serve coffee maker has been designed to simply provide one cup of coffee at a time, instead of a carafe or multiple cups of coffee.
You can get different types of single-serve coffee machines, including manual coffee makers, single-serve drip brewers, and pod machines. These coffee machines come with a whole host of different features, just like any other coffee maker.
The only certainty is that only one cup of coffee will be produced at a time.
What are the Benefits of a Single-Serve Coffee Maker?
When you compare both regular and single-serve coffee makers, there are a few distinct benefits that are associated with single-serve coffee makers:
1. A quicker brew time
As only one cup of coffee is being made, you can expect a quicker brew time. Some of these machines will have a cup of coffee ready for you within 30 seconds.
2. They take up less counter space
Single-serve coffee makers also tend to have a smaller footprint when compared with regular coffee machines, so they will take up less space on your counter. So, if you have a small kitchen, it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on great coffee.
3. A convenient cup of coffee
If you opt for a single-serve pod machine, you won’t need to measure or grind your coffee, so it can be a lot more convenient.
4. Enjoy the freshest coffee
Finally, in contrast to drip coffee machines, the coffee brewed is not going to sit on a hot plate for extended periods of time, ensuring you can enjoy the freshest coffee possible.
What are the Cons of a Single Cup Coffee Maker?
While there are some great benefits associated with single-serve coffee makers, there are also some drawbacks that you need to know about as well.
1. They can be more expensive in the long-run
While single-serve coffee makers may be cheaper to purchase, they can be more expensive in the long run if you opt for a pod machine. This is because coffee capsules tend to be more costly than ground coffee.
2. You’re restricted in the amount of coffee you can make
The brewing capacity of a single-serve coffee maker is very limited. As we have made clear by now, it’s one cup of coffee at a time!
3. Limited coffee options if you choose a pod machine
If you do choose a single-serve coffee pod machine, you are going to be limited in terms of the coffee you can enjoy because you can only purchase coffee pods that fit your machine.
How to Choose a Single-Serve Coffee Maker
Before we reveal more about the best coffee makers on the market today, let’s take a look at the factors that really matter when making your buying decision.
Ground coffee or pods?
There are three main ways that you can brew coffee:
- grinding your own coffee beans
- using pre-ground coffee
- using coffee pods
The latter is the quickest option, yet there are some limitations with pod machines, as discussed in the previous section.
Grinding your own coffee beans is the freshest approach, yet requires more effort on your behalf. A lot of people consequently find ground coffee to be a good middle ground.
However, it all depends on what is right for you. Your own personal preference will be the main dictating factor here, as well as money, time, and convenience. Brewing fresh ground coffee will take a few added minutes in order to get the freshest possible taste, yet simply pushing a button and getting a brew cannot be beaten when we’re talking about speed and convenience.
With regard to price, you can expect to pay a premium for pods. You pay more money for the convenience and extra packaging. Ground coffee is more valuable in the long run.
While there are more and more coffee pods being released onto the market, you are ultimately more limited if you go down this route because you can only use pods that have been created for your machine.
How to Choose Based on Your Preference:
- The Cuisinart SS-10 is the best choice if you like the option to choose your preference – ground or pod.
- If you only drink your java with ground beans, our preference is still the Cuisinart SS-10, however, the The Hamilton Beach personal coffee maker is designed specifically for the pre ground coffee purist.
- Nespresso guy or gal? The Nespresso Pixie is a great choice.
- For those that prefer a Keurig k cup, the Keurig K-Elite is your go-to. The added benefits of varying brew sizes and the option for a cold brew is just icing on the cake.
Next, you need to consider the machine’s versatility. Some of the machines available today give you the ability to make a wide range of other drinks.
With pod machines, for example, you may be able to find pods for tea or hot chocolate. You can also brew drinks over a glass of ice as well, such as cold lemonade, iced tea, and iced coffee.
Of course, it all depends on whether or not you want to try out all of these fancy drinks or whether you’re happy with your warm, tasty coffee.
How to Choose Based on Your Preference:
Of course, your main priority is going to be a coffee that tastes amazing.
However, the coffee makers on the market today come with so many unique and exciting features. Some of the features you can benefit from include:
- an LCD display
- pre-programmed settings
- adjustable temperature control
- automatic shutoff
- rinsing between uses
Ultimately, only you can decide whether or not you care about these sorts of extras!
How to Choose Based on Your Preference:
What are the Best Single-Serve Coffee Machines on the Market?
Best Overall: Cuisinart SS-10
There is only one place to begin, and this is with the Cuisinart SS-10!
This brand has a great reputation when it comes to making reliable, affordable, and innovative kitchen appliances. This appliance, in particular, has been designed to rival the Keurig machines (and we’ve got one of those coming up later in the post!). Not only can you use the SS-10 with K-Cups but also ground coffee.
This model is made from plastic with a stainless steel finish. It features a water reservoir with a 72 oz capacity, which only comes second to the Keurig K-Elite’s 75 oz capacity. It comes with an in-built storage container, a rinse function, a hot water button, and a programmable start time.
I personally love that you can switch between ground coffee and K-Cups, depending on your mood! You can also enjoy excellent versatility when brewing, including an adjustable brewing temperature for hot coffee and five different cup sizes.
In terms of the drawbacks, I would say that this is on the slower end of the personal coffee maker options. I have also noticed that a few people have experienced issues with K-Cups not puncturing properly, although I personally have not encountered this issue myself.
Best for On the Go: BLACK + DECKER Single-Serve Coffeemaker
If you are looking for one of the more affordable, basic single-serve brewers available today, Black and Decker is a good option worth considering. In fact, you won’t even have to part with $50 to get your hands on this machine. So, if you’re on a budget, keep reading!
Just because this coffee maker is low priced does not mean the quality is low. It is a compact machine that is user-friendly. If you only have a small amount of space available, this coffee maker can be conveniently placed without taking up much room.
You can expect a stainless steel travel mug, which can be placed in the dishwasher for easy cleaning and simple features that include automatic shut-off and one-touch brewing.
Considering that the coffee maker is so cheap in price, it is only natural that there are a couple of drawbacks you need to be made aware of. For instance, there is no option to adjust your brew strength or cup size. Plus, the water reservoir can only hold 16 oz, which is to be expected really when you consider the small footprint of the coffee maker.
Best for Ground Coffee: The Hamilton Beach 49981A Scoop Single-Serve Coffee Maker
You may have heard of the Hamilton Beach brand before, as they create some really great and cost-effective kitchen appliances. They have created a wide range of coffee makers over the years but this is certainly one of the best.
There are a number of great features with this Hamilton Beach 49981A Scoop Single-Serve Coffee Maker. For example, there is the option of brewing bold or regular coffee. The bold brew setting is a good choice for finer espresso-like grinds.
There is also a removable filter basket, meaning you can measure your grounds of coffee straight into the basket and then insert them into the machine.
The drip tray can be adjusted, meaning both regular cups and travel mugs can be accommodated. It is mainly made from stainless steel yet there are a few plastic parts.
If you are the type of person to quickly make yourself a cup of coffee before you leave the house for work in the morning, the 49981A model will be your best friend. The coffee maker will brew directly into your travel mug, making it easy for you to grab your coffee on the go. It takes 1.5 minutes to brew into a regular eight-ounce cup or 2.5 minutes to brew into a 14 oz travel mug.
In terms of negatives, this machine does take a little bit longer than coffee makers that use capsules. Be mindful not to overfill it either, as it can leak.
Best for Espresso: Nespresso Pixie
If you want to purchase a reliable and high-quality single-serve pod machine, you will struggle to find much better than Nespresso. This brand was the first to introduce capsules that replicate espresso-style coffees from the comfort of your own home.
They have designed and manufactured a wide range of coffee machines, yet we would select the Pixie as their top single-serve maker. It boasts a rapid brewing speed and compact design. It also comes with a 24 oz capacity water reservoir, which may not seem the biggest. However, it is sufficient to make 17 espressos before needing to refill.
This coffee maker comes with a thermoblock heating system, which delivers between 25 and 30 seconds of heat-up time and a 25-second brewing time for single shots of espresso. You can be sure of rich-tasting espresso and even a crema layer thanks to the 19-bar pump, which guarantees high-pressure extraction.
So, what are the drawbacks? Well, if you are someone who likes to customize their coffee, this probably won’t be the machine for you. The only amendment you can make is changing the preset water volume of the lungo or espresso. There is no option to have a double espresso.
Best for Iced Coffee: Keurig K-Elite
Last but not least, I cannot mention single-serve coffee machines without mentioning this offering from Keurig. The brand is well known for making single-serve machines, with their coffee makers found in around 22 percent of homes in the United States! This particular model represents an upgrade from the K7575 version.
When compared with other coffee machines from the brand, you get much more versatility with the K-Elite. You can amend the brew strength, cup size, and brew temperature.
What makes Keurig different from other pod machines available is that the K-Elite makes single cups of drip brew, rather than espresso-style coffee.
You can also make the most of a whole host of exciting features that make your morning’s caffeine-making efforts a true breeze. There is a hot water button, for example, for making hot chocolate and tea.
Aside from this, there is a water reservoir with a big capacity of 75 oz, a removable drip tray, quiet brew technology, and a maintenance reminder alert.
One thing that I would definitely recommend is using the reusable My K-Cup so you can avoid waste. I must also point out that it is one of the bigger single-serve coffee machines, so it does take up quite a bit of space on the counter.
Frequently Asked Questions About The Best Single Serve Coffee Maker
Why does my coffee maker smell like burning plastic?
If there is a crack in the carafe, it will continue to leak coffee onto the warming plate, which causes a burning smell. To resolve this problem, you should replace the carriage with a new one.
Can you use a coffee pod without a machine?
Yes, technically you can make pod coffee. Simply remove the seal on the pod and then pour the contents (coffee grounds) into a paper filter. Of course, it is much easier to use a machine but if you do not have one or yours is broken, you do not have to waste your pods.
How do you grind your own coffee?
It is advisable to use either a mortar and pestle or a hand grinder. For greater ease and convenience, though, you can get electric grinders on the market today.