Select is independent of editing. Our editor chose these offers and products because we think you will enjoy them at these prices. If you buy something through our link, we may earn a commission. As of the time of publication, pricing and availability are accurate.
When it comes to single-cup coffee machines, shoppers are usually attracted by its convenience. These machines allow you to brew a cup of joe in a few seconds-if you rush out the door while working at home or in between meetings, they are a quick and easy way to fix your caffeine. Many people use them at home, but smaller machines are also useful on desks in dormitories or offices.
In recent years, single-cup coffee machines have become more and more popular. This fall, the National Coffee Association of the United States conducted a survey of 1,526 coffee drinkers 18 years of age and older. Among those who had drunk coffee in the past day, 23% said they used a single-cup coffee machine , Up from 15% in January 2013.
Learn more about what is a single cup coffee machine
"In recent years, single-cup coffee machines have become more and more popular, which has also led to the emergence of more types of coffee machines on the market," Jessica Rodriguez, certified project manager for the Specialty Coffee Association, a non-profit coffee trade organization (Jessica Rodriguez) said. "The manufacturer's innovations and new technologies have enabled the machine to have a variety of single-serving options, from espresso to hot coffee, to iced coffee, and even tea."
We discussed with the experts the advantages and disadvantages of the single-cup coffee machine and the features that should be considered when buying. Using their suggestions as filters, we also collected highly rated options from brands such as Keurig, Nespresso, Hamilton Beach, etc.
We do not test coffee machines, so we rely on expert guidance on how to shop to help us find products to recommend. Experts we interviewed said that before buying, you should consider whether you prefer a pod machine or a coffee machine with a reusable brewing basket. The following single-cup coffee machines meet the expert guidance we received and have been highly rated by major retailers.
Keurig’s newly released K-Supreme Plus is the brand’s first Wi-Fi-enabled machine-you can control it with a companion app and schedule the brewing time in advance so that you can enjoy coffee when you wake up in the morning. The coffee machine is equipped with a branded BrewID to detect the type of K-Cup coffee pod you are using and adjust the brew settings accordingly. You can also manually change the brewing settings, choosing between five cup sizes, five intensity settings, and six temperature settings. The 78-ounce water reservoir is the brand’s largest water reservoir to date. It uses multi-stream technology—five needles, while other models have only one needle—to moisten more coffee beds and extract more flavor.
I invested in Keurig's K-Mini coffee machine because of its compact size and more affordable price compared to some other machines of the brand. It is less than 5 inches wide and allows you to brew 6 or 12 ounces of coffee with the K-Cup Pod. You must add water to the water tank every time you brew, and you can plug the machine's power cord into the back when not in use. The drip tray of the coffee machine is detachable, so you can place up to a 7-inch high travel mug, and it will automatically close after 90 seconds of your last brew. The machine is available in black, gray rose, poppy red and studio gray.
Nespresso Vertuo Plus is equipped with Nespresso Vertuo coffee and espresso capsules, and automatically adjusts the size, temperature, pressure and brewing time of the coffee by reading the barcode on the capsule you inserted. You can change the position of the machine's 40 oz water tank or remove it completely when you need to refill it. The coffee machine has a built-in capsule storage container that can heat up within 15 seconds and automatically shuts off after 9 minutes of inactivity. You can buy colors such as red, gray, jet black and LE black matte.
The Hamilton Beach coffee machine does not use pods, but uses a mesh filter basket, which doubles as a spoon, ensuring that you always measure the correct amount of coffee grounds. It has a built-in 40-ounce water tank, which you can remove and refill. You can brew 8 ounces or 14 ounces of coffee, and the upside-down stand can be adjusted to a variety of heights to suit different mugs and travel mugs. The machine also provides bold brew settings to make a stronger cup of coffee.
Cuisinart's single-cup coffee machines are compatible with Keurig K-Cup Pods, and you can choose from five different beverage sizes: 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 ounces. It has a 72-ounce water tank with a charcoal water filter inside, so you can adjust the brewing temperature. In addition to brewing coffee, hot chocolate or tea with pods, you can also brew hot water or press the "rinse" button to clean the machine. It comes in silver, Robbins egg blue, matte black and cream colors.
Smeg's fully automatic coffee machine allows you to make a single serving of six different beverages, including coffee, espresso and ristretto, and brew hot water. It is made of a stainless steel cone-shaped burr grinder, so you only need to load coffee beans into the machine, and every time you make a drink, it will grind fresh coffee powder. The brewer is equipped with a stainless steel steam wand, which can be used to froth milk and an adjustable cup holder.
With NutriBullet's first coffee machine, you can use K-Cup Pods to make a single serving of coffee or use a reusable filter basket to brew large glass bottles. The machine uses Brew Sense technology to automatically detect whether you have added pods or filter baskets. You can choose to use K-Cup coffee pods to make 6, 8 or 10 ounces of coffee, or make 6, 9 or 12 cups of coffee in a glass bottle. The machine is suitable for travel glasses up to 7 inches. It comes with a reusable pod and a coffee grounds spoon.
Single cup coffee machines are designed to produce small amounts of brewed coffee, usually between 5 and 12 ounces. They brew coffee in a few seconds, which is one of their main benefits, but also the source of their shortcomings.
"In any coffee brewing method, proper water temperature is essential for good extraction," Rodriguez said. “Because the time for a single brew is so short, some machines face the challenge of being able to reach the proper brewing temperature.”
For example, the taste of coffee brewed in a single-cup coffee machine may be weaker than that of a drip machine. Single-cup coffee machines usually do not allow you to customize the brew settings, which Rodriguez said may prevent you from making an espresso.
Single-cup coffee machines use pods or reusable filter baskets to brew coffee. For example, Pods used with Keurig or Nespresso machines are pre-ground coffee capsules packaged in aluminum or plastic containers. Rodriguez explained that the coffee in them is ground to a specific particle size to optimize the extraction and flow rate during brewing. On the other hand, the reusable filter basket is designed to hold the right amount of coffee powder. You must add coffee powder to the filter every time you use it.
Experts believe that one of the main factors that should be considered when shopping is to brew coffee with pods or brew coffee with reusable filter baskets. Here is what you should know about them before buying:
There are two disadvantages to using pods with a single-cup coffee machine: lack of fresh coffee grounds and waste. The pods are filled with ground coffee a few weeks or even months before you buy, so they are not fresh when you use them. Kaleena Teoh, director of education at the New York Coffee Project Academy, said this will affect the strength and taste of your brew. Using disposable pods every day or multiple times a day will generate a lot of waste.
However, the company started to catch up with demand. "[Because] the specialty coffee industry has begun to embrace the coffee capsule revolution and the demand for single-cup coffee machines. We have seen great innovations and improvements in the quality and variety of machines and capsules," Rodriguez said.
Teoh points out that one of the innovations is recyclable and compostable pods. For example, as of 2020, 100% of Keurig K-Cup Pods are recyclable. You can buy reusable pods for some disposable machines. They are like a small brewing basket. You fill them with coffee powder of your choice.
Teoh says that compared to pods, the reusable brewing basket "provides the freedom to brew with your coffee of choice and is better for the environment." Instead of buying pre-ground coffee beans, you can grind coffee every time you need to fill the filter to get fresher coffee beans.
Since the pods are filled with pre-ground coffee, Teoh says that they “will lose a lot of aromatic compounds after grinding, and there will also be a lot of surface area oxidation.” In other words, coffee starts to lose some of its smell and taste after grinding. Teoh explained that to solve this problem, the pods are often flushed with nitrogen to prevent oxidation. Therefore, using freshly ground coffee in a reusable brewing basket can eliminate any additives that may be present in the pods.
In addition to choosing between a single-cup coffee machine using pods or a reusable brewing basket, you also need to consider the size of the reservoir you need. Some single-cup coffee machines have a water tank that can only hold enough water to brew a 12-ounce cup of coffee, while other machines are equipped with a larger water tank, so you don't have to refill it every time you brew.
In addition, some machines allow you to brew a single serving of coffee and a large bottle of coffee-these are often referred to as dual coffee machines, or you may see machines marked with multiple brew settings.
A single service machine also has a series of brewing times. "If speed is the top priority, find a machine with the shortest brewing time," Rodriguez suggested. If you are interested in buying a machine that uses pods, it is also important to research the types of ground beans and their flavors to ensure that they match your coffee preferences. In addition to coffee and espresso pods, some brands also sell pods such as hot chocolate, tea, and matcha.
Catch up with Select's in-depth coverage of personal finance, technology and tools, health, etc., and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for the latest information.
© 2021 Choice | All rights reserved. Using this website means that you accept the confidentiality regulations and service conditions.