The Guide to the Best Single Serve Coffee Makers

Coffee Geek Lab / The Guide to the Best Single Serve Coffee Makers
Yurii Brown

Certified Barista

April 21, 2021

You’re mad about coffee. At breakfast, you can’t do without a cup of coffee. While visiting different coffee shops is your favorite on weekends, the situation changes on workdays.

You’re pressed for time, and you want to get fresh coffee fast, so even a quick stop at Starbucks isn’t an option for you.

Here at Coffeegeeklab, we understand your pain. At first blush, getting a coffee machine for home is logical, but it’s important to switch to a device that offers the flexibility.

The solution? Find the best single serve coffee maker for home usage, and you’ll be the happiest human in the world. Moreover, I’m here to share my personal experience of using several one cup coffee makers so that you can make your choice faster.

Are you ready? Here we go!

To begin with, it’s essential to explain why the topic of choosing the right coffee maker is timely. Did you know that 79% of coffee lovers drink the beverage in-home? It is not only cheaper but also faster. However, we all know that the quality of coffee depends heavily on barista’s experience and equipment. While experience takes time and practice, finding a good coffee machine isn’t hard if you pay attention to other reviews. And to make the right choice, it’s important to find an easy-to-use device that doesn’t require maintenance. For a variety of reasons, more and more coffee lovers switch to using single serve coffee makers. Have you ever wondered why this device is getting so popular?

What is a Single Serve Coffee Maker?

To begin with, a single serve coffee maker is a machine that brews one cup at a time. As a result, it’s always fresh. These makers brew coffee fast with minimal clean-up, so many people are getting interested in this option.

In most cases, these machines are more compact in size, but it doesn’t mean sacrificing the quality of your beverage. Most single serve coffee makers offer the choice of cup size and brew strength, so even the pickiest user can get good coffee he or she craves for.

Although most single-serve machines are made for brewing coffee only, there are some devices that are perfect for making teas and iced beverages as well.

No matter where you want to drink your coffee, whether at home, office, or even camping, single serve coffee makers are a great choice. If you’re interested in learning more about these wonderful devices, keep on reading.

After analyzing the market and reading customers’ reviews, I’ve chosen 7 best one cup coffee makers. Want to know the best part? In this article, I will even give you the recommendation for the top option.

But first things first: to understand better why my choice is worth paying attention to, it’s important to read about other best single serve coffee makers I’ve been testing for a while.

How to Clean Single Serve Coffee Makers

Regular equipment cleaning andCleaning and Maintenance maintenance is a must.

It’s harsh but true: the quality of your coffee depends on the beans, water, and your coffee machine cleanliness.

If you want to drink better coffee day after day, it’s important to take care of your device and keep it clean. Moreover, it’s a proven way to make your coffee machine last longer without costly repairs.

The good news? Single serve coffee makers want low maintenance, so cleaning these machines won’t take much time or effort.

No matter what single serve coffee maker you have, the following tips can help you keep it clean.

how to clean the coffee maker

So, here’s the step-by-step guide to taking care of your coffee maker:

Switch the coffee maker off and unplug it for safety reasons.

Take off removable pieces (the water tank, K-cup holder and the tray).

Use soapy water to hand wash these elements.

Take a soft microfiber cloth to wipe the machine.

Drip dry all the elements and plug it back.

Fill the water tank with descaling kit to descale the coffee machine.

Switch the machine on and run a cycle without inserting a K cup.

Use water and run a cycle without a K cup again to get rid of the smell of vinegar.

Refill the reservoir with fresh water.

There’s no need to spend money on buying branded descaling & cleaning kits as you can take a new toothbrush for cleaning and use the vinegar and water mixture for removing hard water deposits fast.

As you can see, the cleaning process is quite simple, so it’s an easy way to take care of your coffee maker and ensure it delivers the coffee you love.

Troubleshooting Guide

No matter how expensive your coffee maker is, something can go wrong with it spontaneously. Yes, even best single serve coffee makers can stop working without any reason.

Is there something wrong with your single serve coffee maker? Don’t hasten to call for help – read the user’s manual and find solutions to common problems with your device you can solve manually.

Top 3 common problems that prevent your device from working properly:

Benefits of Single Serve Coffee Makers

If you’re a coffee lover, you must want to have a possibility to brew fresh and flavorful coffee at home. Thus, many users start looking for home coffee makers, sooner or later. However, the variety of coffee machines is so big that it’s important to understand why single serve coffee makers may meet your needs better.

Based on customers’ reviews and my own experience, I’ve found several benefits of using single serve coffee makers.

So, what reasons can make single serve coffee makers a better choice for coffee lovers?

The machine doesn’t work. If you can’t switch on your device, check the following the power switches position and try to repeat the action.

The device is leaking. If you find fresh water somewhere near your brewer, it’s time to find whether your device is dripping – clean or change the filters, check the tightness of a spray head tube, ensure all elements are on their places.

The water isn’t hot enough. To brew good coffee, the water temperature should be high enough. If your coffee isn’t hot enough, check for proper voltage as it should be  120VAC/240VAC.

If you still need help, check out whether you have the warranty and find the contact information to get in touch with the customer support. Turn to professionals to make your coffee maker last longer.

benefits of coffee machines

Fast brewing. Brewing one cup at a time, you can get your fresh coffee fast. What is more, the water heats up faster due to the smaller water tank capacity, and it doesn’t take much time to get your machine start working even after unplugging.

Low maintenance and easy cleaning up. Single serve coffee makers are the easiest to clean, and taking care of it is simple – just follow the instructions to descale your machine from time to time.

Cost-effectiveness. Although coffee makers can seem to be expensive, they help to save money over the long haul. Most coffee makers come with a built-in filter so you don’t have to spend money on buying filters. Plus, there are many good capsule coffee makers under $100, which makes them ideal for a first-time investment.

Compact sizes and portability. In most cases, single-serve machines are more compact so they require less space. Plus, it’s easier to take them while traveling, camping, or working at an office.

Instant coffee. When you’re a single serve coffee maker owner, you can get your perfect cup of coffee whenever you need with a click of a few buttons.

Less waste. When you brew one cup of coffee at a time, you drink it fresh and hot. Since it’s always fresh and you brew as many cups as you need, it will never go stale. As a result, you waste less coffee and water. Moreover, a permanent filter means less waste, too.

Doubtless, there are many advantages of having a single serve coffee maker at home. I hope you’ve found reasons for getting your machine, too.

The Difference Between Pods and Capsules

While we often use the words “pod” and “capsule” as synonyms, there is actually a big difference between these two coffee-related terms.

Let’s start with capsules, as they are more common. We know them as small plastic cups that contain ground coffee. A capsule goes into a machine and gets punctured by a special brewing needle. Then hot water rushes through the capsule, extracting coffee.

As for the pods, they are a bit different. Coffee pods look almost like large round tea bags. They use paper to hold the grounds (typically, 7 grams of ground coffee per 1 pod). And while being a more eco-friendly option (as the pods are often biodegradable), they allow for air and moisture exposure, which may affect the coffee grounds and even ruin them (and, consequently, your beverages).

Are K-Cups Really Worth It?

Here’s the deal:

There’s a long debate going around the K-cups and their pros and cons.

They are favored by many coffee lovers thanks to the convenience they provide. Additionally, because these small containers are sealed, they keep the grounds fresh and intact. Using K-cups is extremely easy, and those capsules always offer consistent brewing and flavors.

It gets even better:

With such a variety of beverages, K-cups can win almost any user’s heart. You can brew regular black coffee, lattes, hot chocolate, cocoa, tea, and tons of other flavored coffee-based beverages.

But some coffee lovers think that K-cups aren’t worth it, despite all the advantages they can provide. You see, coffee capsules are rather costly. If you compare using a machine with pre-ground coffee and with K-cups, the latter would cost you more. This may concern those users who decided to start brewing coffee at home in order to cut the cost of going to coffeehouses regularly. 

Another upsetting fact about the K-cups is their negative impact on the environment. The material of the cups is not recyclable, and most of them end up in landfills. And given how much capsuled coffee people drink in the US and around the world, that poses a threat to our mother Earth.

There is an alternative for environmentally-conscious people: reusable K-cup inserts. One insert can be used with ground coffee as many times as you want (you just need to wash it in between the brewing cycles). However, keep in mind that some capsule machines don’t support reusable K-cups, so it’s better to check that information before making a purchase.

Also read: Grind Brew Coffee Makers

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How to Pick the Best Single-Serve Coffee Maker

We are lucky to have such a wide selection of top-notch single-serve coffee makers.

To pick the best one specifically for you and your coffee preferences, consider the following aspects:

  • Size and capacity. If youWater reservoir don’t want to be bothered with constant water refills, it’s better to invest in a model with a larger water tank. However, such a coffee machine would take more counter space, which can be an issue for small apartment owners. Another option that you have is to check among the highly-rated coffee makers with a water line. These machines can be connected to your home water supply, which lets you forget about the refills for good.
  • Type. When it comes to single-serve coffee makers, you have 2 main types: electric and manual. The latter allows for unparalleled portability and can be used on the go: when hiking, fishing, camping, and so on. However, manual single-cup coffee makers are quite limited in terms of beverage options and typically brew black coffee only. With an electric model, you may have a chance to try various coffee-based beverages, plus adjust certain brewing settings if needed.
  • Price. While it’s possible to find a top-notch coffee maker for a reasonable price, you will have to pay more for bells and whistles. Such features as programmability, temperature adjustments, or brew strength controls typically make coffee machines more expensive. Simpler single-serve models can be priced starting at $50, which is a good solution for budget shoppers who aren’t too demanding.
  • Programmability. A programmable timer makes a coffee maker start brewing automatically on the time you set. This feature is quite handy, especially if you want to wake up to freshly brewed coffee. But keep in mind that it requires some preparations the night before: you need to put the capsule in, fill the water tank, and place your cup under the dispenser.
  • Brew strength controls. Some coffee machines allow users to brew their coffee stronger and bolder. Again, this feature would make a coffee machine more costly. So, consider whether you want to control the strength of your beverages or not.
  • TemperatureTemperature controls adjustments. Some people prefer their coffee boiling hot, others can drink it even lukewarm. If you want to have control over that, you may want to invest in a machine that would allow you to manually adjust the brewing temperature.
  • Pods, capsules, or reusable. You need to decide where you stand and what brewing method would be more convenient for you. If you want fresher coffee and don’t mind paying more, capsules would work the best. If you are worried about the environmental impact and want to save some money on coffee capsules, you can try a reusable K-cup insert or even coffee pods.
  • Brewing options. While simpler machines can only brew coffee, some of the best all-in-one coffee makers support various K-cup types and brands, which makes them suitable for brewing tea, hot chocolate, cocoa, and flavored coffee beverages. 
  • Brewing size. If one 6-Beverage size optionsounce cup is not usually enough for you, you should consider investing in a coffee machine that offers multiple brewing sizes. Many of them can make 6, 8, 10, and 12-ounce cups of coffee. There are also awesome dual coffee makers that are able to brew both a single cup and a full carafe. Machines like these are ideal for people who want to have multiple options when it comes to brewing sizes.
  • Maintenance. I’m sure you don’t want to spend too much time cleaning your coffee maker. Luckily, many of them have removable parts that are quite easy to clean. It’s also a good idea to consider a machine that has a self-descaling mode as it can help prevent calcium buildup and hence, prolong its lifespan.
  • Durability. Naturally, you want your new coffee machine to serve you for a long time. Therefore, it’s important to consider the materials used for the model you are planning to buy. Stainless steel and brass components are more durable than plastic ones. But if a coffee maker has only a few plastic parts, it shouldn’t be too critical. There are countless top-quality single-serve models among the Japanese coffee makers, so you might want to check those as well. But overall, pay attention to the warranty, as it often can be a good indication of a machine’s quality.

“Some of the dual coffee makers can brew a full carafe, and that’s where you have two options: glass and thermal. While glass carafes may look more aesthetically pleasing, they stand on a hotplate, which can affect the flavor of your coffee. As for thermal carafes, they don’t have to rely on a warming plate to keep your coffee fresh and hot. They use insulated stainless steel (double-walled) for that.”


Which single-serve coffee maker makes the hottest coffee?

In my experience, the Jura 13626 Ena Micro was able to provide the hottest beverages. You can also consider the Keurig K-Select, which supports the optimal brewing temperature of around 180 degrees Fahrenheit. 

How much ground coffee for a single-serve coffee maker?

Around 2 tablespoons of ground coffee for 5-6 ounces of water.

Is there a single-cup coffee-making machine that doesn’t use pods at all?

There are drip coffee makers that work with ground coffee and can brew one cup at a time. You can also check the manual Aeropress, which brews with ground coffee only.

What size of coffee cup does a regular single-serve coffee maker make?

The most common cup size for a single-serve coffee maker is 6 ounces. However, there are many machines that can brew different coffee volumes, including 8, 10, 12, and even 14 ounces.

How much power does a single-serve coffee maker use?

Most home coffee makers use from 750 to 1200 watts.

Yurii Brown

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