In search of the best single cup coffee maker? It’s a crowded market out there with a rich range of prices, models and features. With such a raft of great deals available, how do you choose your dream machine? We’ve got you covered.
If you’re new to single cup brewers, we’ve prepared a thorough guide to get you up to speed fast. Modern appliances can be complex so we demystify those important features you need to know about. Plus we’ve picked out the best one-cup coffee makers on the market and presented them for your convenience in the reviews below.
Our comprehensive buyer guide will let you zero in on the right one cup brewer for your needs and join those savvy coffee aficionados who do things with style.
Snagging the Best One-Cup Coffee Maker
Single-serve coffee brewers come in a sweeping variety of styles, sizes and features which makes it hard to choose your ideal unit. But by the time you’ve finished reading our comprehensive buyer’s guide, finding your top-rated single cup coffee maker will be a breeze.
First, we’ll examine why a single brewer is such a smart buy. Then we’ll look at those key features that you need to look out for. Finally, we clue you in on those factors that let you make an informed, low-stress buying decision.
Fresh Coffee Every Day with Convenience
Imagine strolling into your kitchen each morning, slipping a pod into your coffee maker, adding water, pushing a button and within seconds, enjoying the delightful aroma of fresh coffee. Soon you’ll be sipping a reviving brew and starting your day in style. That’s the promise of today’s leading-edge single cup coffee makers – a fragrant cup of joe in your hand in less than a minute.
It tastes great too. Many of today’s premier models churn out brews that rival or excel those sold in your pricey gourmet coffee shop. And they’re not just for homes. If your workplace serves up coffee that tastes like mud, just setup your own single cup unit and your favorite tipple is just seconds away.
Why Invest in a Single Server Coffee Brewer?
If you’ve drunk coffee that’s been sitting around on a hot plate for any length of time, you’ll appreciate the ability to brew up fresh cup quickly whenever you want. You also won’t feel the urge to drink that leftover coffee just because it’s sitting there in the jug
Drinking coffee should be an enjoyable experience whether in a cafe or at home. Using a single cup brewer ensures you get a hot, fresh cup whenever you want without fuss or waste. In short, using a one cup brewer puts you in charge of your day and ensures you get a great cup of joe whenever you want it.
If you’re in a cramped studio or dorm room or your kitchen’s short on space, you’ll love the sleek, elegant forms of today’s coffee makers. And even if your kitchen is spacious enough, there’s no need to take up space unnecessarily.
Using modern single serve pods means you can offer everyone their own choice of brew. Instead of everyone having to drink whatever’s in the jug, now each person gets the drink he wants whether espresso, cappuccino, latte or even tea or hot chocolate. In short, everyone’s happy.
Now you know the benefits of owning one of these beauties, let’s take a broad survey of the market to see what’s on offer.
Types of Single Serve Coffee Makers
The coffee maker industry has undergone a remarkable transformation in recent years. What was once a messy business with grounds and filters to be disposed of is now a simple flick-of-a-switch procedure. And thanks to digital technology, you’re assured of a perfect brew every time.
Most of today’s single cup brewers take pre-packaged modules such as K-cups (from Keurig) or Vues and Pods (from Nespresso). These can also take refillable pods so you can add in your own ground coffee.
On the other hand, you may be old school and enjoy the process of spooning out ground coffee and waiting for the hot water to drip through. If so, you’ll find one-cup old-style drip coffee makers to suit your needs.
As pre-packaged pods are the items of choice for most today, we’ll look at them first.
If you need a speedy no-frills brew-up in the morning, pod machines are a blessing. Pop in a pod, fill the water reservoir, push a button, and steaming coffee will be bubbling into your cup in well under a minute. Pre-packaged individual coffee packs are sealed for perfect freshness so you’re assured of a fragrant brew.
Pods easy to clean up, too. No grounds or paper filters to dump. Just empty the spent pod container every so often and give the machine a quick wipe down and you’re done.
These pods make for a very versatile coffee drinking experience. You can buy pods in a huge range of flavors to suit varying moods or times of day. Choose a stiff espresso to get you going in the morning and a cappuccino after lunch, for example. You’ll also find pods for other beverages such as hot chocolate and green tea available.
When choosing your pod brewer, you’ll need to consider what kind of pods it can take. K-Cup pods from Keurig are licensed by several manufacturers while T-Discs are only for use with Tassimo coffee makers. Nespresso pods and Vues can only be used with Nespresso brewers.
If you’re a traditionalist, you’ll be pleased to know you can find single cup coffee makers that use the drips mechanism you’re used to. So if you have a favorite blend you can’t find in a pod, or you just enjoy the experience of brewing up your coffee the old fashioned way, you’ll find a range of one-cup French presses and cone pour-over systems to choose from. This type of brewer also lets you fine tune your coffee by varying the amount of coffee you add.
Here you have the best of all worlds. These come in two types – those that take both ground coffee and single-serve packs, and those that can produce a single cup or multiple cups are desired.
The former type are ideal if you want a quick cup in the morning and a more leisurely brew later in the day. It also lets you use any type of coffee. The latter allows you to make a single cup when alone and also accommodate guests or family members when needed.
If you’re taste buds are already dancing at the prospect of the rich new world of coffee waiting for you, read on to discover how you choose the single cup coffee maker of your dreams.
Single Cup Coffee Maker Buying Criteria
As with most buying decisions, your choice of single cup coffee maker should be guided by how it is to be used and by whom.
As you’d expect, most of these single cup coffee makers are quit compact in form. However if you have a compact kitchen or no kitchen at all, the size and weight is something you’ll need to consider. You’ll also have to bear in mind that these devices get hot and emit steam which influences your choice of location. Also, if you have a favorite coffee mug or cup, make sure the brewer can accommodate it.
Coffee Strength Control
As a coffee buff, you want your brew to be just as you like. To this end, choose a single cup coffee brewer which features strength controls in the form of a dials or push button. This way you be sure your coffee comes out tasting just at you like it.
Be sure to check the amount of coffee produced is enough for your regular tipple per brewing. If it only produces enough to fill an espresso cup, for example, you may need to brew up several cups which could be inconvenient.
Noise of Operation
Like regular coffee makers, single cup models tend to be very quiet while working. The only sound is the gurgling noise as the coffee is filtered which many users find quite relaxing, especially when accompanied with the aroma of freshly brewed coffee.
You’ll find these products in a wide range of prices with products from prestigious brands such as Nespresso running into the several hundred dollar range. Other than the appliance itself, you’ll have to budget for the coffee packs. These can be quite expensive ranging from $0.40 – $0.90 each depending on brand and flavor. However when compared to prices in coffee shops, they’re still a great bargain. Plus if you drink one particular blend, you can save by buying bulk.
The last thing you want is to stroll into your kitchen of a morning, load up your coffee maker, push a button and then nothing. Products from leading retailers available on amazon.com are generally finely engineered, pass rigorous quality controls, and come with solid warranties.
While single cup coffee brewers only need to hold enough water to make one cup at a time, you can get models which can hold much more. Some also keep the water hot ready for a fast brew. This means you can make several cups throughout day without the need to refill water.
This is also useful in office and other business environments where individuals can brew up cups as they wish without having to constantly fill the water tank. The downside is that such units tend to be bulkier.
Similarly, another handy feature for multi-user environments is a adjustable volume feature. This allows different users to specify the volume of the output to suit their preference and the size of their cups. Output volumes tend to range from 4 to 18 ounces to suit all sizes of cup or mug.
Best Single Serve Coffee Maker Reviews – The Cream of the Crop
To help you choose the best model for your needs, we’ve rounded up the top single serve coffee brewers on the market. Here’s all you need to know about these top-of-the-line appliances.
Keurig K55 – Editor’s Choice
The K55 takes the firm’s My K-Cup and other filters available for K-Cup brewers which come in a vast range of flavors and beverages. One neat touch is that you can also use regular ground coffee via the My K-Cup Reusable Coffee Filter.
The K55 offers three cup volumes – 6, 8 and ten ounces to handle the most popular sizes. Just push a button on the top to choose. And with its 48-ounce reservoir, you can brew up all day without needing a refill. The reservoir is removable so you can fill it up at the tap. An integrated carbon water filter purifies the water to ensure a fresh, clean taste.
Operation is a snap with a single touch function and programmable auto-off. Indicator lights keep you in the loop about the brewing process.
The drip tray is removal for cleaning and to allow the unit to accommodate larger cups or mugs.
Verdict: A chic and versatile unit that will stand the test of time. Might lack some of the bells and whistles of the latest models.
A hybrid coffee maker offering great versatility, the Hamilton Beach 49980A lets you brew up a single cup, a travel mug sized serving, or a full carafe as you need. It does this via an extra single serve reservoir.
Crafted from hardy stainless steel, it’s a stylish unit that comes with a raft of neat features. These include a handy control pane with clock and timer that keeps you in control. Another versatile option is the Brew Strength Selector that lets you choose between regular and bold brew.
One neat touch is the ability to set the brewing time up to 24 hours in advance. This means you can program it in the evening before bed and wake up to find your hot coffee waiting in the morning.
Together with the flexible brewing options, the Hamilton Beach 49980A Single Serve Coffee Brewer and Full Pot Coffee Maker also offers the choice of several types of coffee. The mesh filter and basket lets you use any type of regular ground coffee. Or for maximum convenience, simple insert a Senseo Pod and push a button.
Verdict: One of the most versatile single serve brewing options on the market, the The Hamilton Beach 49980A is a solid performer designed to make your coffee making experience as convenient and flexible as possible. It’s really like having two coffee makers in one. However as a hybrid, it’s much bulkier than plain one cup brewers so make sure your have room for it in your kitchen.
Join George Clooney and other luminaries in a sophisticated imbibing experience with this svelte coffee and espresso maker from Nespresso. It’s stylish enough to swoon over, and graced with an elegant simplicity that lets it fit perfectly into any contemporary kitchen.
The unit takes hermetically sealed and recyclable aluminum capsules but only of VertuoLine items. It does not accept Nespresso’s Original Line pods. Capsules can be ordered online via the Nespresso Club or in the boutiques located in major cities. To help you quickly identify your dream brew, you receive a welcome set of a dozen variegated blends to try out, 8 of the larger coffees and 4 espresso size.
Pods for the Nespresso VertuoLine come in two sizes, a larger for an 8 ounce regular coffee and smaller for a 1.35 ounce espresso. This is ideal for users who enjoy a latte or cappuccino for breakfast and a few quick shots of espresso during the day.
The VertuoLine features Centrifusion extraction technology which spins the capsule at up to 7000 rotations per minute for high efficiency blending. The result is a super creamy (Crema) coffee.
Operation is a snap. Just insert the capsule and push a button. A bar code reader determines the blend and adjusts settings automatically for optimal results. After brewing, the unit automatically ejects the used capsule to a capacious container for later removal. The machine’s then ready for your next brew.
With the Nespresso VertuoLine, you’ve got a wide range of coffee options. The units features the Aeroccino Plus Milk Frother to whip up stunning items topped with hot or cold milk. The unit features an adjustable cup support to handle various cup sizes as needed.
One of the drawbacks of the simple hands-off brewing process is that you are unable to customize the process. Another issue is that the pods aren’t available in your corner shop so you’ll have to ensure a regular supply from amazon or Nespresso.
This unit drew a bunch of rave reviews on amazon.com. However, some users complained the coffee wasn’t hot enough for their liking. Owners are generally thrilled with the quality and style of this unit but some noted it was noisier than other models. This is due to the fast spinning of the centrifusion. It’s a small price to pay for getting a great cup of coffee in 15 seconds.
Verdict: A solid keeper with style, effortless functionality, and a stunning range of blends on tap. However the pods aren’t cheap.
Versatility is the buzzword for this workhorse which is distinguished by the massive 80-ounce removable water reservoir. This allows users to brew up 10 standard cups before a refill is needed. One handy touch is the rinse function that flushes out residual flavors between sessions.
The unit takes Keurig K-Cups thus offering you a choice of over 200 varieties of coffee. This also means you can use your own ground coffee with My K-Cup reusable coffee filter. The SS-700 can also be used just to boil water to make soup or hot cereal.
The Cuisinart SS-700 allows you to select from 5 cup sizes together with a setting for iced beverages. Plus it sports a removable drip tray to accommodate tall cups and mugs. Other handy features include a built-in charcoal water filter, LCD with integrated clock, automatic operation, and adjustable water temperature.
Operation is a breeze. Place your cup on the tray, open the brewing chamber and drop in the pod, close the chamber, choose your cup size, and press ‘brew’.
Verdict: A versatile and flexible coffee maker though bulkier than other models. Some users have reported issues with the pump which can be resolved by restarting the unit.
With separate drawers to handle K-Cup packs such as coffee, tea, and cocoa, along with ground coffee, loose tea and tea bags, this is one of the most flexible options on the market. It’s also fast and can churn out your favorite brew in less than a minute.
This BUNN coffee maker features a stainless steel how water tank that ensures the water is just at the right temperature for a perfect brew. The unit retains 14 ounces of water constantly and you add as much as you need for the cup you’re brewing. This means the water’s nice and hot but you do have to put in water every time you brew.
Should you wish to fill your travel mug, you’ll find the drip tray slips off. This lets you place cups of up to 6 inches in height.
Verdict: Compact in form, this is a supremely flexible model though lacking the hi-tech features of some other coffee makers. It also needs refilling every time your brew a cup.
If you love milky coffee, take a close look at the DeLonghi Silver Lattissima Plus Nespresso Capsule System. Its patented single touch hot milk system features a dedicated milk tank at the side that let you easily create authentic lattes and cappuccinos at the push of a button. And if you like it black, it’s also ideal for brewing espressos and Americanos as desired.
With a sleek design and small footprint, this unit is the heights of convenience. What could be easier than the One Touch Automatic Cappuccino System? Load a pod into the device, add milk to the container and slide into place, place your cup or glass and press a button. And it even self cleans after use. Meanwhile the used Nespresso capsule ejects itself into the used capsule tank ready for disposal.
High tech features abound on the DeLonghi Silver Lattissima Plus. You can create and save programs for your favorite drinks so they’ll be push-button ready in the future. The base configuration is for push button creation of four types of drink but you are able to customize your drinks.
It’s efficient too, with the self-priming operation that makes it ready for action in just 40 seconds. The auto power-off mode helps keep energy costs down and can be adjusted to switch off anytime from 30 minutes to eight hours from last use.
This unit features a removable 30-ounce reservoir which is good for around 5 regular cups. It takes Nespresso pods which can be expensive. However, you can also obtain refillable capsules and put in your own ground coffee.
Verdict: Chic and versatile, this is a great choice for milky drink lovers seeking convenience. However, Nespresso pods are expensive.
Another offering from the renowned Keurig corporation, the Keurig K250 2.0 Brewing System is distinguished by its roomy 40-ounce water reservoir and ease of operation via a touch-screen LCD. It comes in a range of fun colors to brighten up our kitchen.
The Keurig K250 2.0 Brewing System takes K-Cup, K-Mug, and K-Carafe pods in a range of sizes from 4 to 40 ounces to brew coffee, tea and cocoa with push button convenience. You can also brew up your favorite ground blend by using the Keurig 2.0 My K-Cup Reusable Coffee Filter. A hybrid brewer, this model also lets you prepare a 4-cup carafe. Very handy if you have guests.
The reservoir for the Keurig K250 is removable and features water level window so you always known when you need to fill it up. The reservoir is located to the rear of the unit to help save space and to produce a sleek form. It also offers a removable drip tray for ease of cleaning.
Verdict: A solid hybrid brewer as you’d expect from Keurig.
As you can see, having your own single cup brewer at home or the workplace puts you in charge of your coffee drinking and ensures you have fresh hot cup just when you want it.
And now that you’ve finished reading our comprehensive buyer’s guide, finding your best single serve coffee maker should be a cinch. Check out the best deals and we wish you many happy days of coffee drinking ahead.