Like to brew only a single cup of coffee instead of an entire pot? Then the single-serve coffee maker will serve you well. These makers are designed to brew just one cup of coffee—sized anything from 3-oz to 12-oz depending on the maker—with the coffee pods you feed into them. You place your coffee pod into the maker’s slot, add water to its reservoir, push a button, and voila, your coffee is ready. It can’t get anymore simple than that, and that’s why it’s so beloved the world over.
Besides brewing coffee pods, single-serve coffee makers can also, more often than not, brew ground coffee, teabags, and K-Cups, which are Keurig’s containers comprising a precise amount of coffee, tea, or cocoa grounds. According to Wikipedia, there are over 400 different varieties and over 60 brands of coffee by Keurig—making it possible to get any flavor imaginable under the sun. Think raspberry chocolate truffle, glazed donut, or even vanilla biscotti? Yes, it’s quite possible they exist.
I don’t know about you, but these unique Keurig coffee flavors sure have got me feeling a little thirsty, and I think it is only fitting that they have an excellent maker that can get the best of them.
Best Pod Single Serve Coffee Maker — Keurig Vue V700
It’s quite impossible to talk about single-serve coffee makers without mentioning Keurig. After all, it’s the great people behind this company who are credited for coming up with the K-Cups. The K-Cup technology has expired since 2012, but in its place is the Vue pack which has been reported to make a better-tasting cup. Best of all, it’s made out of No. 5 plastic, meaning it’s recyclable.
Without question, almost every maker from Keurig is of certain standard, and the Vue V700 is no exception. With its touch screen interface that makes it easy to operate the maker, it’s clear that the Vue V700 is designed around you.
Brewing a cup with the maker is as straightforward as can be. You select your beverage on the touch screen, place your Vue pack into the designated slot, and then hit the Brew button. In less than a minute, minus heating the water reservoir which takes about three minutes, you’ll have your delicious java ready for consumption.
Should you prefer not to wait for the reservoir to heat up, you can program the maker to take care of that for you, too. Simply set a timer for when you want it activated, and the maker will start without your intervention. It’s after all in the Vue V700’s ability to put you in control. In this regard, you can also easily customize the brew temperature, strength, and size, again, all from the maker’s interface.
The only thing that the Vue V700 can do better is its design. Bulky, hefty, and largely made out of plastic, it sure takes up a lot of counter space, and it may not be the most handsome kid on the block.
You can get this maker here
Best Speedy Single Serve Coffee Maker — Keurig K55
While the Keurig Vue V700 is designed to brew Vue Packs, the Keurig K55 is designed to brew K-Cups. The difference lies primarily in variety and price.
Since K-Cup brewing technology has been around longer, it has more variety offered by more brands. In addition, it’s also cheaper than Vue Packs, as it’s made of special heat-resistant plastic, which is not recyclable, as opposed to no.5 plastic.
But what makes the K55 highly regarded is due to its fast brewing time. Many consumers have reported that it only took from 3 to 4 minutes to heat up its removable water reservoir that can hold up to 48 ounces of water. After that, a quality cup of coffee can be dispensed in a matter of seconds, at your own convenience.
Consumer Reports has also reviewed the maker, giving it both an Excellent and Good rating for temperature consistency and taste and brewing range respectively. Subsequently it has also given the maker an Excellent rating for convenience. To this end, the maker offers an auto-off mode that gets activated after being idle for two hours, indicator lights that guide you through the brew process, and simple button controls that let you program the auto-off function.
Because the K55, again, is designed to brew K-Cups, this also means you can brew tea, hot cocoa, and iced beverages with it. Only negative reviews received have been related to the maker’s durability; therefore, it’s best if you are a little more gentle with it.
Get the K55 here
Best Value Single Serve Coffee Maker — Bunn My Cafe MCU
My Cafe is a maker that is more than meets the eye. It may look dear, but it’s affordable, and it may seem rigid, but it’s versatile. Incidentally, it’s also these qualities that make it very attractive.
Providing not one but four “drawers”, which are Bunn’s term for detachable brewing heads, My Cafe is equipped to brew just about anything you have at hand. There is a drawer for K-Cups, another for coffee pods, another for tea bags, and finally for dispensing hot-water.
But don’t think it’s just versatile though, as My Cafe is also known for the coffee quality it produces. Many tasters agree that this maker has delivered a consistently well-brewed cup regardless of how they went about brewing it. Of particular note is the “pulse” option which creates a satisfying, strong flavor, especially for ground coffee.
In comparison with most makers, My Cafe is relatively compact in size, which helps explain why it only has two buttons: One button for brewing, and the other for strengthening coffee flavor. This also explains why this maker does not have an extra water storage like most do. Therefore, to brew, you will need to fill water in a separate container and then transfer it into the machine. Though in effect this requires more work, surprisingly many testers love it. That’s because you are forced to use a controlled amount of fresh water, instead of perhaps day-old water as you might with a maker with water reservoir.
Only drawback is that though My Cafe is a two-button machine, it has been reported that it’s not the easiest to use, and it’s pretty noisy.
You can get this maker here
Best Features Single Serve Coffee Maker — Cuisinart SS-780
If you would like a solid, durable maker that is also big in features, then the SS-780 might just be what you are looking for. Built like a tank and weighs at almost 16 pounds, this maker commands attention and inspires confidence wherever it’s seen—and rightfully so.
Almost every feature on offer by the SS-780 is well thought out for your convenience. At a touch of a “rinse” button, you can flush the internal system to rid any impurity or residue. By using the arrow buttons, you can select your brew size by way of mug size. And by using the reusable filter tucked away behind the side door of the maker, you can brew your own ground coffee.
In regard to taste, it has been reported that the SS-780 made the best K-Cup-based coffee. Many testers have found that when using the same K-Cup across different makers, the SS-780 brewed a smooth-tasting cup instead of something that was a little bit watery and lacking in depth.
A tip to further enhance your coffee’s taste is to use pre-filtered water, especially if water coming out from your pipes has substantial mineral content. However, should that be hard to come by, you can easily take advantage of the maker’s built-in filter as well as a pack of charcoal water filters that’s included with every purchase. Each pack of two filters lasts for three months, and it can be replaced for $9.99. Optionally, you can also get Cuisinart to send it to your doorstep every three months with a subscription service for $17.99 annually.
The only misstep Cuisinart made with this maker is that there is a discrepancy between the brew size setting and the K-Cup size. As K-Cups only come in one size, this means that by selecting the 4-ounce setting the maker will brew a strong, concentrated cup while the 12-ounce setting will brew a watered-down cup. To solve this, simply adjust the number of K-Cups you use along with different settings in one or more brew cycles as per your liking. More important, don’t be afraid to experiment.
You can get the SS-780 here
Best Entry Level Single Serve Coffee Maker — Hamilton Beach Single Serve Scoop
The first thing to notice about the Scoop is how sleek and attractive it is. Tall and handsome with a smooth stainless steel finish, it quite simply catches your eye in a way that other makers rarely do.
Cool to the touch and single-minded in its approach, the Scoop boldly eschews pods in favor of ground coffee. This means that it only brews loose beans, which also makes it cheaper to brew per cup. For example, if you use ground coffee of Starbucks Breakfast blend, you will be paying 33 cents per cup. By comparison, using K-Cup of the same blend will run you up to 93 cents per cup.
Cost benefit aside, the Scoop is also decidedly simple in its construction, making it more easy to use and clean. There are only three parts that come in contact with the coffee: the filter holder, filter well, and brew basket. To brew, you simply scoop your grounds with the brew basket, place it in the brew chamber, and press either the REGULAR or BOLD button. Prior to that, of course you will need to fill water in the reservoir, which holds between 8 and 14 oz of water. In this respect, the Scoop is similar to My Cafe in that it doesn’t have a second water container, therefore, whatever you put in will also be what comes out of it.
So, when should you use the regular or bold setting? The choice really depends on which grind types you use. For coarser grinds, you are advised to use the former, and for decaf or finer grinds, the latter. As more contact time is required for finer grinds, the latter will allow for a better extraction by passing water through at a slower rate.
Incidentally, it’s also this flavor output of the Scoop that gets much flak from users, as it has been reported that it brews a weak cup. That said, don’t let it deter you, as there is an easy fix. Simply tamp down your grounds with a tamper before brewing and taste the difference. It’s likely that your coffee will go from watery to delicious. Sounds perhaps a little too easy? Try it yourself after you have gotten this otherwise flawless maker.
You can get the Scoop here