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Best Single Cup Coffee Makers for the Perfect Brew Every Time, Anywhere
Last updated: 14 Sep 2021
Some mornings there just isn’t time to brew a whole pot of coffee before leaving the house. At the same time, you’d probably rather get your third warning for being late than miss out on your sunrise caffeine kick. The good news is, you can get the best of both worlds. Single cup coffee makers are superb for brewing a quick cup of the real good stuff without having to stare painstakingly at little droplets filling an entire pot one by one before getting your fix. Single serve coffee makers are fantastic for the office, traveling, and even camping. If you’re a coffee lover you’ll definitely want to check out our list of the best single cup coffee makers in 2021. From electric or gravity-powered to pod or capsule options, you’ll certainly find a coffee-making piece of magic for your next morning brew.
Includes a removable drip tray for mess-free coffee making
Accommodates travel mugs that are up to 7.4 inches tall
Keurig’s K-Select coffee maker has exceptional features for a single-serve coffee machine. The machine brews in multiple cup sizes with strength control and hot water on demand. The quiet brew technology minimizes noise and the vintage red color takes the machine from a functional product to a stylish kitchen feature. The machine has a removable 52 oz water reservoir. This allows you to brew five cups of coffee before needing to refill. Button controls make it simple to use. All you need to do is insert the capsule and select your cup size. No matter how sleepy you are, you should be able to manage your morning coffee brew quite easily.
The machine purchase includes a pod holder and grounds basket
Features an adjustable cup rest to accommodate different size mugs
Easy to clean since the pod-piercing needle is removable to prevent clogging
No capsules? No problem. This smart coffee maker gives you the option of using K-cups for a 10 oz brew or using your own coffee grounds for a 14 oz brew in a travel mug. The simple functioning mechanisms make this machine a breeze to use. Place your capsule or grounds in the appropriate holder, lower the lid, and start. The machine will automatically switch off after brewing. Not only does the energy-saving FlexBrew only heat water when you are ready, but your coffee will be made in well under 3 minutes.
Includes a reusable filter for use with coffee grounds or loose-leaf tea
The compact machine can be stored easily in small kitchens, dorms, and offices
Chefman offers a one year warranty
This versatile coffee machine is compatible with K-cups, coffee grounds, and loose leaf tea. It features a sleek and slender design and will have your coffee ready with a brewing time of only 30 seconds. The compact 950-watt machine features a one-touch operation making it really simple to brew up to 14 oz of coffee. Avoid mineral build up in your machine by using the handy self-cleaning feature.
Removable 72-ounce water reservoir with a charcoal water filter
Easy to clean with a special rinse feature that cleans inside the brew chamber
This super stylish silver single cup brewer is compatible with any brand of single cup capsules and features a large 72-ounce removable water reservoir. In addition, it is fully programmable with auto on/off, cup size, and temperature control features. The machine has a screen display and 3 buttons to brew, dispense hot water, or rinse the machine. The hot water button lets you instantly add hot water to a cup of soup, tea, or hot chocolate.
The purchase includes the coffee maker base, a 14 oz stainless steel interior and exterior insulated travel mug, lid, and reusable filter
Brews coffee in under 60 seconds
Auto-shutoff and thermal reset switch to avoid overheating
Easy to clean and dishwasher safe (excluding the base)
This compact coffee maker features a one-touch operation for the easiest cup of real coffee you’ve ever made. The machine is compatible with coffee grounds and has a reusable filter so no more plastic or paper filters are needed. It comes with a tall thermal travel mug, perfect for mornings on the go. The compact and lightweight design of the Elite Gourmet Maxi-Matic is ideal for use on vacations, in dorm rooms, offices, or small kitchens. When it’s tea time, you can also use loose-leaf tea instead of coffee grounds in the machine.
Choosing the best single cup coffee maker sounds pretty simple. If it can brew a hot cup in good time, what more do you really want? Well, there is a lot to consider when buying a quality single cup coffee maker. Not only will you need to choose between an electric or gravity-powered model, but consider whether it uses pods, or capsules, additional features, the size, portability, and the price. If all you wanted was a cup of coffee, don’t worry, we’ve broken down everything you need to consider when buying your portable coffee machine to help you make the best choice.
How to Choose The Best Single Serve Coffee Maker?
Here is everything you need to consider when choosing a model that will best suit your needs.
Electric or Gravity-Powered
Single-serve coffee makers are available in two categories namely electric coffee makers, and gravity-powered models. Electric machines need to be plugged in at a power socket to function and generally heat the water for you. They are effortless to use.
Gravity-powered machines work without electricity by using air pressure to percolate the grounds and aid extraction. The machine does however not heat the water for you, so you will need a way to do this separately. Although it may seem like a bit of extra work, these gadgets are ideal for camping where you can keep a backup flask with hot water.
Coffee capsules, also known as K-cups offer consistent brewing in a perfect single serving size. Not only can you be assured of an error-free, no-mess brew, but you can change up the flavor with every single serve. The downside to using the capsules is that coffee quality can be poor and they are pricey. Capsules generally work out a lot more expensive than the same quantity of coffee grounds or beans. Capsules have a negative impact on the environment, however, many companies are starting to produce recyclable varieties.
An alternative to K-cups are refillable inserts which essentially allow you to fill your capsule with the coffee of your choice. Refillable inserts are friendly to the environment and much cheaper, plus you can choose the grind you prefer which can impact the strength of the brew.
Soft Pods Vs. Capsules
Although the terms are often used interchangeably, coffee pods and capsules are not the same. As discussed above, capsules are the small plastic cups favored by the likes of Nespresso and similar machine brands. The capsules perfectly fit into a capsule slot where the machine pierces the foil lining before passing hot pressurized water through to extract the flavor.
Since they are well sealed, capsules stay fresh for longer periods than whole or ground beans that are kept in a bag or container. Exposure to light, heat, moisture and air all affect the quality of coffee over time.
Soft pods are round bags of ground coffee. They look very similar to tea bags and are generally biodegradable. Unlike coffee capsules, pods are available in a standard size that can be used with various machines. Since pods are exposed to air and light they may lose their aroma and flavor faster than capsule coffee. It is best to store pods in a sealed bag or airtight container in a cool dark place in your pantry or kitchen cupboard.
Always check that the machine is compatible with the method of brewing or the type of capsule you buy.
If you are planning to travel with the coffee machine, pack it into a backpack or use it between home and the office, make sure the design is easily portable and not too bulky to carry around. Some single-serve coffee machines can be heavy and are made to stand sturdy on a countertop and remain there. These usually have a few additional features. Other coffee makers are lightweight and can easily fit into a camping or hiking bag.
If you are brewing two or more servings of coffee a day, you may benefit from a large water reservoir so you don’t have to refill it after every brew. Some water reservoirs are removable with handles, while others are permanently attached to the machine. Travel or camping coffee makers usually lack a water reservoir altogether.
Single-serve coffee makers come with a variety of brewing options. Although some brew only one size cup, slightly larger or more expensive models offer options ranging from single espresso shots to 16-ounce brews. There are also settings for varying brew strengths, and to make cappuccinos or lattes on models that include milk frothing attachments.
While models that require you to measure and add your own hot water can take some effort, other machines have a powerful heating mechanism that brews a hot cup of java in under a minute.
Single Cup Coffee Maker FAQs
Are single cup coffee makers worth it?
Whether single-serve coffee makers are worth buying depends on your preferences. If you like the convenience and are often in a hurry, this type of coffee maker is perfect for you. It brews fast, makes just enough coffee for your daily needs, and leaves no mess.
Do you need to clean a coffee maker?
Yes, to keep your machine in a good condition, give it a clean by running a water-vinegar mixture through. This will remove bacteria and mold build-up on the inside. The machine's user manual should give you cleaning instructions. If not, fill the water reservoir with equal parts water and vinegar. Run a brew cycle without inserting a capsule. Once you’ve run one cycle with the solution, run a few more with water only to get rid of any residual vinegar before using the machine again. The cleaning frequency will depend on how often you use your machine. If you use the machine daily, clean it with a vinegar solution once a month.
Can soft pods be used in a regular coffee machine?
Yes, the bags can usually be used in a regular coffee maker and can even be used without a machine, like a teabag.
Jordyn loves working on various art projects in her free time and hence understands the passion behind every line, every brushstroke, and every new idea. She shares her advice with other new artists, hoping to create a community of supportive, successful people in the arts.