They’re basically the simpler brethren of regular coffee machines. Made for people who need one cup at a time, you can enjoy some very good espresso. Finding the best single serve coffee maker, though, isn’t an easy task. There are many things to look out for, especially in today’s market. The sheer number of options and competitors for the title of “best single serve coffee maker” is astonishing. There are some of the best Keurig coffee makers, as well as a Cuisinart single serve coffee maker as well up there with the best.
If you’re looking for the best espresso machines and not simply single-serve coffee makers, check out this article.
You’ll need to have your requirements sorted out before you commit to buying, but choosing one should be easy afterwards. The first thing to sort out is how much you can spend on a coffee maker single serve machine. Once you have the budget out of the way, you can start looking at some of the options. To help you, we have found quite a few for you. Below is a list of some of the best single serve coffee maker machines you can get today. They vary in price, and they vary in functionality, so there’s something for everyone. Nobody will leave this article unsatisfied, as long as you know what you’re here for. Let’s kick things off.
- 1 1. Keurig K55 – an absolute favorite, and incredible value
- 2 2. Ninja Coffee Bar – A great runner up with a few minor issues
- 3 3. Hamilton Beach FlexBrew – A very versatile programmable brewer
- 4 4. Keurig K575 – One of the best K Cup coffee makers today, but not quite there yet
- 5 5. Cuisinart SS-10 – A well made K-Cup compatible brewer which actually doesn’t come from Keurig!
- 6 6. Orenda Coffee Maker – a smart coffee system which allows for greater control
- 7 7. Keurig K-Compact – A decent compact option
- 8 8. Keurig K15 – Another compact, budget competitor, but it doesn’t quite cut it
- 9 9. Keurig K250C – The base 2.0 model is actually not that bad
- 10 So, which one is the absolute best single serve coffee maker?
- 11 A buyers’ guide – what to keep an eye out for with a single serve coffee maker?
1. Keurig K55 – an absolute favorite, and incredible value
A+, $, 5 stars
As you’ll see from our Keurig K55 review, this may very well be the best Keurig machine today. There are many reasons for that, so let’s take a better look at this Keurig single cup wonder. It’s one of those coffee makers that make use of the Keurig K-Cup system, but it also works with the My K-Cup, making it a fairly versatile option.
This is a fairly basic single cup Keurig coffee maker. It doesn’t offer too much in terms of functionality. However, it does the basics, and it does them very well, all at an affordable price. You don’t have a touchscreen, but instead, you have a single power button, and three buttons that let you choose cup sizes. With a 48-ounce removable reservoir, you can have 5 coffees done before you need a refill. And refills are easy – just remove the reservoir. Or, lift the lid, and fill it up. Speaking of removal, if you want to fill travel mugs, you can remove the drip tray.
Using it is also incredibly easy. The first coffee you make will require around 4 minutes of preheat once you press the Power button. Afterwards, you can make a few cups one after the other. Once the heating is done, you will see the heating light (red) turn off. The brewer is now ready. Get a K-Cup of your choice, and lift the handle to find the slot for it. Insert it, and close. Choose what your preferred cup size is (6, 8 or 10 ounces), and press the appropriate button. For the medium size, it usually takes around 60 seconds to make it, which is actually pretty good.
How does the coffee taste, and what about maintenance?
As you would expect from any Keurig coffee maker, the taste is good. K-Cups have been around for a while now, and their taste is somewhat perfected by now. One less thing to worry about. Maintenance is also pretty easy, and you only need to clean the brewer and descale every three to six months. This is actually minimal maintenance, and is perfect for just about anyone. And, you’ll need to change the water filter after every 60 refills.
All things considered, the Keurig K55 could be the best single cup coffee maker for you. Especially if you’re someone who appreciates simplicity and doesn’t want to throw away their money. Easy operation, reliably good coffee and little to no maintenance – what else could you be looking for?
– Amazing bang for your buck
– K-Cup compatibility makes it incredibly simple to use
– Auto-off function saves you electricity in case you forget it
– Not extremely fast
– Purists may not like that it only works with K-Cups and My K-Cups
2. Ninja Coffee Bar – A great runner up with a few minor issues
A+, $$, 4.5 stars
In your quest for the best one cup coffee maker, you’ll undoubtedly find a Ninja Coffee Bar review or two. The Ninja Coffee Bar brewer is a very versatile single cup coffee drip maker. It’s had a hard time having to compete with the Keurigs and Nespressos of the world, but it came out as the ultimate alternative if you aren’t into the aforementioned solutions. You can use the Coffee Bar system to make around 100 different styles of drinks, which is impressive. Having that much variety at home is incredible.
You get a fairly modern design with the Coffee Bar. Size wise, it’s around 10” wide, which should fit comfortably in a variety of kitchens. That design also lets everyone, from an amateur to an expert, make a great cup of coffee. Regardless of whether you want to set up a delayed brew, or turn of that carafe warming plate, the learning curve is astonishingly easy. At the right side you have the water tank. The walls are made of clear plastic, and you’ll find handholds and horizontal ridges, making the reservoir easy to grip. Just twist the tank counterclockwise, and you’ll release it from the machine. For even easier filling, you have a half-circle lid that reveals a wide mouth.
About that versatility
As mentioned, this Coffee Bar single serve machine offers you a lot of options. You can make a cup of coffee that exactly suits your tastes, such as a “classic brew”, which is a basic drip, or something more complicated. A “rich brew” will make a smooth, yet richer brew. The thought behind this is to make coffee that can stand up to sugar, milk and other additives. You can also opt for a “specialty brew”, which gives you a concentrated coffee. This is then used for cappuccinos, lattes etc., together with the frother accessory.
The best thing about the Ninja Coffee Bar system? Regardless of your coffee choice, you’ll get an amazing cup. It tastes great, and it’s consistent, which is crucial. If that’s your thing, this is the best single serve coffee maker no pods. Versatile, affordable, and coffee truly tastes good!
– A number of choices in terms of coffees
– Easy to use and easy learning curve for amateurs
– Capable of both single cup, or travel mug size
– Sometimes you’ll find that the filter let coffee grounds through
– Even after it signals it’s done, it happens that the coffee continues to drip
3. Hamilton Beach FlexBrew – A very versatile programmable brewer
B, $, 4 stars
Building on the success of their Two-Way Brewer, Hamilton Beach introduce the Flex Brew single-serve coffee maker. It’s an upgraded and (yes, it’s possible) even more versatile Two-Way. However, not everything is an improvement, as you’ll see in our Hamilton Beach Flex Brew review, so read on and see whether the Flex Brew is worth your money.
We’ll start things off with the basics, and probably why you’re here for. The single serve part of the Hamilton Beach Flex Brew is actually fairly good. You have K-cup compatibility, and as you’ll see, this is a contender for a spot in the top 3 best K-cup coffee maker options. The coffee tastes as you would expect it to. What should be noted is that with some machines, users report plastic tasting coffee, even after a while.
The looks are actually great. You have a modern combination of black and silver. This means you won’t have any issues fitting it in almost any kitchen décor. Being around 10” both wide and deep, it doesn’t take up that much space. At the front, you get a display. This is used for the mode you’ve chosen, as well as the clock.
This is where the versatility comes in. The FlexBrew’s name actually has a meaning – you get the flexibility of choosing between a single cup of coffee, or get yourself a Flex Brew carafe full of coffee. And you also have the choice between using K-Cups, or ground coffee.
The process of making coffee, and its taste
Yes, I know I mentioned it tastes great a bit earlier. However, that was for the K-Cups, and not the ground coffee. Fortunately, there is not much of a difference in quality itself. If you choose good coffee, you’ll get a good tasting coffee out of he Flex Brew, without much fuss. That’s actually great.
Making the coffee is also very simple, which is great for people who don’t really have that much of an experience. All you have to do is fill the water tank, choose whether you want a cup or carafe, and press “Brew now”. Once it’s done making your coffee, you’ll hear a pleasant beep.
– Extremely budget oriented
– Doesn’t take up too much space
– Versatile, you get to choose between K-Cup and ground coffee, and between a cup and a carafe
– Users report that the coffee might taste plasticky due to the machine. We didn’t have this happen, but you should know about it
– Build quality isn’t that good, even for a machine at this price
4. Keurig K575 – One of the best K Cup coffee makers today, but not quite there yet
A+, $$, 4.5 stars
Keurig are a well known name in the coffee world. And in our Keurig K575 review, you’ll see why this is a great option. Well, if you’re into K-Cups at least. It’s a fairly large coffee maker so it doesn’t really fit in just about any kitchen. If you have limited space options, you might want to reconsider. However, it has the Keurig 2.0 Brewing Technology. This is actually an upgrade of just about anything in their regular coffee makers. And it doesn’t end there – almost everything it has is bigger, or better, than the 2.0 models.
You’ll find a color touch screen in any 2.0 model. With the Keurig K575, it’s bigger than any other. This makes operation much easier. If you think that the more or less standard water tank size of 40 oz just doesn’t cut it, here you have an 80 oz tank. Over 10 coffees with a single filling? Yes, please. That size is actually more than usable here. You can use Keurig K Cups from the standard pods, to the mug pods, and even carafe pods, which make around 22 to 30 oz of coffee. Regardless of the amount of coffee you’re expecting to make, you’re covered. This makes it one of the most versatile single serve coffee makers, and the best Keurig coffee machine if you aren’t limited in size, and would rather get some versatility.
Making coffee is incredibly simple. That touchscreen gives you plenty of options. To be specific, you get more than 500 varieties of more than 75 brands. Not really much you could complain about. The sheer variety makes this the most flexible of all Keurig models. And there’s a vast number of Keurig coffee maker reviews that would gladly agree with this.
Coffee tastes as you’d expect, a definite plus with the K575
K-Cup compatibility more or less guarantees consistent coffee every time. You don’t have to worry about the ground being different in any way. Unless you change the parameters somehow, the cup of coffee will be absolutely identical.
There’s a huge advantage in terms of preparation, though. You have an automatic timer, an understated feature that, if you ask us, all single serve coffee makers that use K Cups should have. For example, I know plenty of us that hate the process of making their morning coffee. Well, we actually hate any process we need done before that morning coffee. The Keurig K575 brewer solves this. All you need to do is set it up the night before, to make you a coffee at 6:30 AM. Wake up next morning, and you’ll find your coffee made. Absolutely lovely.
– Unparalleled versatility in terms of K-Cup options
– Automatic timer will make your coffee for you, even a day or two after you set it up
– Touch screen operation is easy and intuitive
– Even though there are options, it’s only limited to K-Cups, which is often an issue for purists
– It’s not the smallest coffee brewer, meaning it doesn’t fit cramped kitchen spaces
5. Cuisinart SS-10 – A well made K-Cup compatible brewer which actually doesn’t come from Keurig!
B, $$, 4 stars
When you hear K-Cups, the first name that springs to mind is Keurig, and vice versa. However, as you’ll see in our Cuisinart SS-10 review, this Cuisinart single serve coffee maker works just as well with K-Cups, and it doesn’t come from the folks at Keurig. But, is that a good thing, or a bad thing? Let’s take a closer look at it and find out.
The first thing you’ll notice is that it’s actually more expensive than many of Keurig’s competitive offerings. That is nothing to be surprised about, they’re most likely paying for a license to use the K-Cups system. However, there’s also the build quality. Yes, it’s made of plastic, but it looks and feels much more premium to the touch than what you would get from Keurig. There are a few stainless steel parts here and there, and it’s just as sturdy as it’s 60% heavier predecessor, the Cuisinart SS-700.
You will also get a backlit LCD control panel, where things get a bit interesting. Similarly to the Keurig K575, the Cuisinart SS10 is has an automation features. You can program the clock (up to 24 hours in advance) to brew your coffee when you know you’ll need it. You can also program it to turn itself on, or off, at pre-set times.
We’re talking about a very versatile Cuisinart single cup coffee maker, too. When you find a product that uses a certain brand’s system, but it’s made by a different brand, chances are that the system compatibility is severely limited. However, you can use any K-Cup to brew from 4 to 12 oz of coffee. Even some Keurig products don’t offer that much range.
Coffee taste and maintenance
Even though obviously not a Keurig product, the quality of the coffee made actually doesn’t lag far behind. Yes, Keurig know their products best, and they know how to make them for best results with K-Cups. However, Cuisinart have actually made a great product here, and you can’t really complain. You can get a hot, strong coffee, just like you’d expect from any good coffee maker.
As far as cleaning and maintenance go, they’re dead simple. Any component of the brewer can be easily removed for cleaning. Some parts such as the K-Cup funnel, or the HomeBarista reusable pod, are both dishwasher safe. The water reservoir and drip tray though, are best washed in the sink, by hand.
To wrap things up, this single cup Cuisinart coffee maker is an interesting product, to say the least. You get compatibility with one of the largest simple coffee pod systems, and you get build quality and construction that match, or exceed, Keurig’s. Yes, I know that more or less everywhere, I gave you a Cuisinart Keurig comparison. But when you’re trying to get into Keurig’s system, that’s your competition. And Cuisinart give a pretty compelling alternative here.
– K-Cup compatibility (4-12 oz)
– A programable interface with an LCD display
– A 72 oz water reservoir
– Not really that fast
– Sometimes there’s an issue of splattering when you’re making coffee
6. Orenda Coffee Maker – a smart coffee system which allows for greater control
C-, $$$, 3 stars
When you start to look around you, you’ll find yourself constantly being surrounded by “smart” tech. You no longer have to go through every step of the process, or even any step for that matter. Everything is being done automatically, and all you need to do is press a single button. Sometimes even that’s not necessary. As you’ll see in our Orenda coffee maker review below, Orenda try to do just that. How much they succeed is a whole different thing, so let’s take a look.
The Orenda coffee maker takes a bit of a different approach. You don’t just input timers and delayed brewing, but it’s much more advanced. This is a single cup coffee grinder maker that claims to know what do to by itself. The first time you add beans to the reservoir, the sensors that are built in will choose the ideal settings. It doesn’t end there, because there are sensors that measure how much coffee dissolved, the temperature, the time, the grind size – just about everything. At the end, the coffee maker has details about the entire process.
Once everything is done, you have your coffee. Then you connect to the companion app, which works with the brewer via Wi-Fi. You basically give the machine feedback on the coffee, how did it taste, the texture and bitterness, as well as strength and caffeine concentration. When you’re done with this, the machine knows what it should to do improve where it failed. Your next cup of coffee should be much better suited to your preference.
That’s pretty much where the good stuff ends
In theory, this sounds like an amazing concept. Much like today’s news apps learn your preferences, and what you enjoy or not to read, the Orenda coffee maker learns how you like your coffee and attempts to make it just right. In practice, though, it doesn’t work that well. Sure, it controls everything from beans to cup, but it’s a hit or miss. It takes a good while to get things right, and even then it might miss at some point.
With many smart coffee makers coming up on the market, as well as some regular ones that have all the “smart” tech you need, Orenda have a lot of competition. They’re also, at this point, much more expensive than much of their competitors, which doesn’t really work to their advantage. They do need to work a bit on the consistency, as well as get the price down a bit if they want to have a bigger chance at success. All in all, it’s actually a difficult one to recommend at the moment.
– It touts a lot of smart features you won’t find with many devices out there
– Has an integrated coffee grinder
– Comes with Wi-Fi and a companion app for customizability
– Price is way higher than its competition
– Inconsistent coffee and smart features that often make mistakes in your taste and preferences
7. Keurig K-Compact – A decent compact option
B, $, 4 stars
It’s far from being the best K Cup coffee maker, but it’s the slimmest one with a removable reservoir. After not getting much of a success with some of their 2.0 machines, Keurig bring us the K-Compact as part of their classic series brewers. They also decided to skip some of the 2.0 features that weren’t that popular, but keep the ones that were. For example, the touchscreens sometimes failed after a while, so you have classic buttons and simple controls here. The K15 Mini’s compact size was another crowd favorite, but having to add water and wait for the machine to actually heat up before each cup is a trouble.
As you’ll see in our Keurig K-Compact review, this is actually the most similar to the Keurig K55 we spoke about above. The K55 was a favorite for a reason, and the K-Compact actually inherits quite a few of its features. You get a choice of three different cup sizes, 6, 8 or 10 ounces. There are the simple buttons, which don’t look as modern, but are much more reliable than a touchscreen. The reservoir is just the right size at 36 ounces. You can make around four regular cups before you need to refill it. It’s not too big, and not too small.
Let’s talk ease of use. The K-Compact needs around 4 minutes to preheat. If you think this is a bit slow, you may be right, but you only need to do this once before you start brewing. After each cup, a small pause is all you need. This is known as the Smart Start, and improves on one of the Mini’s flaws – the requirement to heat the water before each cup.
Making coffee is actually reeeeeeally simple
Once the machine is heated up, you’ll need to grab a K-Cup. The choice is pretty big, but you can’t use a K-carafe pod unfortunately. This is a small and slim machine after all. You can also opt for the My K-Cup reusable filter and use your own coffee. Then, just lift the handle, insert the K-Cup, and close. Choose how big of a cup you want, and press the button to start. Your coffee should be done in about 60 seconds for an 8 oz cup. If you want another one, just remove the empty K-Cup, and insert another one. If you happen to forget it turned on, it will automatically turn itself off after two hours.
So, how does the coffee taste? As expected, it tastes like it would from most of the single serve coffee maker K Cup options on the market. This is a good thing, especially in a package this small. When you take everything into consideration, you get a budget offering that makes a decent cup of coffee. The downside is, though, that there are no “smart” features whatsoever, and it’s actually far from being fast by anyone’s standards. At this price, can you complain? Not really, but it’d be nice if it did a few more things.
– Very compact size and great value
– K-Cup compatibility is pretty good
– Dead simple to use and clean
– No “smart” features to be found
– Brewing a cup of coffee from start to finish, including preheating, is actually fairly slow
8. Keurig K15 – Another compact, budget competitor, but it doesn’t quite cut it
C-, $, 3 stars
Again, not the best Keurig coffee maker, nor the best pods coffee machine, but it’s actually a beast if you’re limited with space. It actually has no water tank, so nothing large to take up space, and you fill it up with water after every cup. This “space saving” feature is actually its biggest downside as well, but more on that later. At 6.9” wide, it really doesn’t take up much space, and the design is pretty interesting as well.
Operation is quite easy, just like with most Keurig models. Open the plastic lid and use your mug as a measurer to fill it up. Now, when you lift the handle, you will notice that the water is draining into the brewer. You’ll need to wait for all water to drain before you put your K-Cup of choice in the K15 coffee maker. Close the handle and press the “Brew” button, which should flash blue. It may take around 90 seconds for the machine to heat up, and another 20 to make your coffee. On average, this is less than 2 minutes for your morning coffee, which isn’t a lot.
Now, the “space saving” feature we mentioned is the fact that it doesn’t have a reservoir for multiple cups. This has people dividing their opinions. Some prefer this feature because it solves one of the more common coffee maker problems – stale water. You always have fresh water, which does make a difference in your coffee. On the other hand (and we’re leaning towards this as well), it’s a major inconvenience to say the least. You have to fill it up, wait for it to heat up, and make a cup of coffee. And if you want another cup, then you need to do this all over again.
It’s good if you want a single cup of coffee, but …
This is why we mentioned the reservoir as one of the biggest downsides back in the Keurig K-Compact review. If you’re only making one cup of coffee for yourself, or maaaybe two, you may be good. You may be able to look past this issue. But let’s say you have six or seven friends coming over. Like it or not, by the time the last cup is done, the first three will most likely be below optimal drinking temperature. Let’s face it, nobody likes their coffee cold.
When you take everything into consideration, it’s still the winner in a Keurig model comparison or two here and there. It might even be the best pod coffee maker for some people. However, that’s going to be a small group of people, and that’s why it’s so hard to recommend. It only works if you appreciate size over convenience, and know that you will never need to make coffee for more than two or three people. If this isn’t you, just go back to the K-Compact review – that’s very well a much better option for you.
– Very cheap when compared to any coffee maker in general
– A single-use reservoir ensures fresh water for every cup of coffee
– It takes extremely little space on your counter
– The single-use reservoir means you’ll have to wait for it to preheat before every single cup
– No buttons for cup size, you’ll need to fill up the exact amounts of water
9. Keurig K250C – The base 2.0 model is actually not that bad
B, $$, 4 stars
We did mention a 2.0 series by Keurig, and the Keurig K250 coffee maker is the base model. As you’ll find out in our Keurig K250C review, it has the same brewing technology its bigger and more expensive brethren have. It does lack some of the features, especially in a comparison such as K250 vs K575, and has advantages in a comparison such as K250 vs K55. Let’s take a better look at the last of our single serve coffee maker reviews, and see whether it’s any good.
The initial setup is quite easy. All you need to do when you first power up the K250 brewer is add water, then lift the lid and press the “brew” button. This won’t give you a cup of coffee, but instead, get the machine ready for operation. At first it does take a few minutes to preheat the water found in the reservoir. However, when you make a few cups continuously, it actually takes less than a minute for the full brewing process. If you want to prevent any calcium affecting the brew, there are filters available you can get.
Operating it is pretty easy. You have a 40 oz reservoir at the back of the Keurig K250 single serve machine, which makes it compact compared to other 2.0 models. Just make sure there’s water in it, and pop in your favorite K-Cup. The brew size and coffee strength are controlled by the touchscreen found on the machine. There is compatibility for carafes as well, but more on that later. What’s lacking here compared to the more expensive 2.0 options are the auto-brew settings and temperature controls. If you need a basic machine that just works well, though, you won’t need them anyways.
The coffee is perfect, but the machine, overall, isn’t
As with any Keurig product that makes use of their K-Cup system, the coffee will taste great. It may not be perfect for espresso aficionados, but they aren’t looking at this machine anyways. They have their high-end espresso makers and ceramic grinders, and they won’t satisfy their taste buds with K-Cups. For anyone who’s looking for a simple machine for home, which doesn’t take a lot to operate, it’s pretty good.
There is, however, one big caveat. The fact that it’s a Keurig 2.0 machine. With the classics, you could use just about any third-party K-Cup with zero issues. With the 2.0, you’ll need pods that are manufactured after January, 2014. The machine has a built-in barcode scanner which lets you know that you’re using a cup that isn’t optimized for brewing. This may be a dealbreaker for many. If it isn’t for you, and you like the 2.0 choice of cups, there’s not that much of a reason not to get it, honestly.
– Versatile in terms of sizes (from 4 oz, to a full K-Carafe)
– Coffee strength control option (light, medium, strong)
– Pretty good value if you can handle the caveats
– You’re very restricted in your coffee pod choices with the 2.0 series
– Not too many advanced brewing features such as auto-brew and temperature control
So, which one is the absolute best single serve coffee maker?
Even though this isn’t a best-to-worst list, our winner from the list above is the first choice – the Keurig K55. As you can see in the Keurig K55 review above, it’s a great all-round machine for people who don’t ask for too much. It’s one of Keurig’s all-time best sellers, and their highest rated machine.
There is a myriad of reasons for this. Sure, if you’re an aficionado, you want to grind your own coffee and make it in that expensive machine that lets you control just about everything, and then some. But if you’re a person who just wants their morning coffee without any fuss, you want to pop a K-Cup inside, and press a button. That’s how you want to get your morning coffee. And there’s no better way to get this than the K55. You won’t be paying a lot for it either. Its price was very competitive back when it first launched. Today? It’s dirt cheap, especially for what you get.
A small reminder on some of the features
The design doesn’t look ancient, and it’s made to be functional instead of beautiful. Making your first cup of coffee is, as said, extremely simple. But after you’ve made one, you can just keep on making a few more. It has a large water reservoir, and you don’t have the need to wait for the water to preheat after every cup. This is something that even today, some coffee makers lack. Not this one.
You have a simple and well thought out control panel. There are three buttons to choose your cup size, and indication lights when you need to add water, or when the machine is heating up, or descaling. The auto-off feature will switch off your K55 after two hours of not using it. Last but not least, you have the self-explanatory On/Off switch.
Cleaning it is very easy too. The outside is simple to do. The inside requires cleaning at least once every six months, and a bit more often than that if you use it more. You might think this is something complicated, and that’s where you’d be wrong. You get a built-in descaling program which gets rid of any calcium deposits in the machine. All you really need to do is change the filters every once in a while, and try to use fresh and clean water.
A buyers’ guide – what to keep an eye out for with a single serve coffee maker?
When you’re looking at the best single serve coffee makers, there are a few things that may make or break your experience. It is crucial that you are aware of them, and know which ones are more important and which ones don’t really matter that much to you. You need to know where you could make a compromise if your budget is tight, and where you just can’t. Let’s take a look at some of the features and specifications that you’ll come across, in order of importance.
There’s nothing more important than how the resulting coffee tastes. The things below are also very important, but even if they’re perfect for what you need, that doesn’t mean anything if the coffee doesn’t taste good. You can have somewhat of an impact by choosing good beans, ground coffee, or pods, but if the machine isn’t good, that won’t make the difference you actually need. There’s no way to find this out unless you make a cup of coffee, but you can see what others think and guide yourself by that.
This is, believe it or not, a major thing. With single serve coffee makers, you have a few options. You could go with one that lets you use ground coffee, one that has a grinder, and one that uses pods. If you get one that uses ground coffee, you will need to either have a separate grinder, or buy ground coffee. Many purists already have their grinders, and scoff at the idea of getting ground coffee. But it doesn’t really make a difference for most of us. Sure, you will know that there’s a better option, but are you going to shell out extra money for it? No, not really.
Getting a coffee maker that has a grinder built-in is another option, and it can either be great, or really, really bad. If you’re looking at budget options, the built-in grinder may not really exceed in terms of quality. This may result in bad ground coffee, which may even damage the machine over time. If you do want a built-in grinder, look at high-end options. With single-serve coffee makers, they aren’t that expensive, but they’re very well worth it. You will get a consistent grind, and you have customizability in terms of coarseness.
Last but not least, you can get a machine that uses pods. For people that prefer simplicity, this is the best solution. Just pop a pod in it, and let it make your coffee. Regardless of whether you’re looking at a Keurig (there are a few of them suggested here), or something like a Nespresso, there are various models, and you’ll most likely find one that suits you at some point.
Speed and capacity
Multiple factors affect speed and capacity. First of all, you’ll need to see how much time your machine needs to preheat the water. If it takes more than three to four minutes, your morning coffee ritual might take more time than you’re comfortable to spend before you go to work. Next, see if you’ll need to preheat water after every cup. This is the case with the Keurig Mini. Even though you’ll always have fresh water, it’s a major inconvenience every time you need to make more than one or two cups. And last but not least, see how much it takes for it to brew your cup of coffee. This is usually measured in seconds, so most coffee makers will have you covered here. Doesn’t hurt to check, though.
As far as capacity goes, yes, we’re talking about the water tank capacity. This is what decides how many cups you can make before you need to refill the water tank and start all over again. If you’re making cups that are 8 oz or less, anything with a, let’s say, 36 oz water tank will be enough. If you’re making larger cups, you might want to look upwards of 60 oz if you don’t want to refill after every two or three cups. There are plenty of options here, so just see exactly what you need and buy accordingly.
Wrapping things up
When you take everything into consideration, the list above has choices for just about anyone. From people who want a simple coffee maker that uses pods, to something more complex that lets you grind your own beans. There are various budget and quality options as well, so it’s up to you to just make your choice. And if you’re undecided amongst the models above, just go for the Keurig K55 – you won’t regret it!