Coffee. There’s absolutely nothing in this world that can compare to the delicious aroma of coffee brewing in the morning to really get your blood going!
If you’re a fan of the dark liquid, then you share our sentiments, which would explain why you’re here, wanting to learn all that you can about a single cup coffee maker.
In this guide, we intend to do exactly that! We are going to give you so much information about single serve coffee makers, you might even be excited to get your very own!
Why Choose A One Cup Coffee Maker?
It isn’t uncommon when you tell someone that you’re going to get rid of the archaic pot coffee machine, people sometimes will look at you like you’re crazy—especially if they are die hard coffee drinkers who drink several cups of java through the course of the day.
When people do ask you why you want to choose to upgrade, you can tell them that you enjoy fresh coffee! People don’t seem to realize that when you make a pot of coffee and leave it sitting on the burner for several hours, it gets a stale flavor… Or worse, it starts to taste like it is burning! Definitely not a good flavor at all.
With a single cup coffee maker, you are guaranteeing yourself a fresh cup of coffee each and every time. If that’s not reason enough to make the switch, then we don’t know what is! Well, maybe we do!
The Benefits Of A One Cup Coffee Maker
As we go through the benefits of these machines, we want to point out that not all single serve machines are created equal. We’ll discuss the different types of machines more in depth later on. These benefits are just a generalized list of single cup coffee makers as a whole.
With that out of the way, let’s get to the benefits:
- Fast – Getting your coffee in the morning doesn’t mean you have to wait for a whole pot to brew anymore. With one of these machines, you can have your coffee in as little as 90 seconds for some machines. Moreover, if you’re using one of those pod or K-Cup brewers, you don’t have to worry about measuring out the perfect amount of coffee grinds for your brew. All you have to do is choose your cartridge, pop it in the machine, and start it.
- Quality - Depending on who you ask, they will tell you that coffee brewed from a K-cup is going to be superior than coffee brewed in a pot-style machine. Of course, taste is subjective because there are several factors that could come into play, such as: water quality, coffee brand, brew strength, and brew temperature.
- Customizable – Unlike with a pot-style coffee maker where everyone drinks the same brand and strength of coffee, a one cup coffee machine allows each coffee drinker in the house to drink their preferred brand of coffee at their preferred strength, like we previously mentioned.
- Convenience – If you need a single cup of coffee in the morning to get you going, you aren’t going to want to waste any of it by brewing a whole pot, right? With a single cup machine, you can brew the exact amount of coffee you want, which will be dispensed directly into your travel mug (depending on the size of the mug and the amount of brew the machine you choose can make at a time).
- Drink Less Coffee – If you’re like many people, when you see a whole pot of coffee, you’re probably going to drink it all so that you aren’t wasting anything. When you do that, you’re drinking a whole lot of coffee which could lead to sleeplessness, jitteriness, and even feel anxiousness. By being able to brew one cup at a time, you are greatly reducing your caffeine intake, which will help reduce those problems exponentially. Well, that is if you limit yourself to one or two cups per day.
- The Perfect Coffee Maker For The Work Place – If you work in an office where the coffee is absolutely horrible, a single cup coffee maker is a great thing to have. Not only can you have fresh coffee whenever you want, but your coworkers will call you the coffee savior because if you allow them to use your machine, they too can enjoy delicious, fresh brewed coffee of their choosing.
Types Of Single Cup Coffee Makers
When you look on the market for a single cup coffee maker, there is no short supply of them. The types of single serve makers include:
- K-Cup/Disc/Capsule Coffee Makers
- Pod Coffee Makers
- Single Brew Machines that use filters and coffee grounds that are fit for one brew
- Hybrid coffee makers
K-Cup/Disc/Capsule Coffee Makers
The K-Cup machine uses a coffee system that has been patented. The system uses coffee grounds that are placed in special packaging:
- The outer plastic casing blocks out moisture, light and air that protects your coffee for ultimate freshness until you’re ready to use the cup.
- The permeable paper filter is essential to extract the most flavor from coffee.
- The foil seal will keep the coffee air tight, thus preventing air and humidity from ruining the coffee.
The coffee is placed in the brewing chamber of your machine and once the handle has been closed over the chamber, a needle pokes a hole in the foil lid and the plastic bottom of the cup. Pressurized hot water filters through the coffee and allows the coffee to drip directly into your cup.
These K-Cups are typically used in Keurig single cup coffee makers, although there are Keurig alternatives that are more affordable but still work with the K-cup technology. If you don’t want to use the K-cups, you have K-cup alternatives like a refillable filter where you can use your favorite brand of coffee grinds.
You also have the Nespresso capsules which are exclusive to Nespresso machines, and you also have T-Discs which are exclusive to Tassimo coffee machines.
If you do choose to go with K-Cup, Disc, or Pod coffee makers, some of the benefits are:
- Convenience and Speed – There’s nothing easier than choosing which K-cup, pod, or disc you want to use, popping it into the machine, and pressing the brew button. Well, you could buy your coffee at a coffee place, but that gets expensive!
- Flavor – Coffee brewed this way certainly has a unique flavor. Be mindful of this. Many people prefer this flavor over the traditional way coffee is made.
- Variety – Variety is the spice of life and in terms of single pod coffee makers, there is no short supply. Many popular brands have joined the single serve revolution and you can find your favorite brand of coffee, tea, and even hot cocoa available in these pods.
- Reusable Options – There’s no denying that the single serve K-cup/pod/disc phenomena is pretty wasteful. Fortunately, you can now find a reusable K-cup filter that will work with loose grounds. Unfortunately, however, there isn’t a pod or disc option. So if being environmentally friendly is your concern, you may want to choose a machine that will allow you to use a reusable filter if you wanted to.
- No Guess Work – If you have a hard time judging how much coffee you should use to get the perfect cup of coffee, you no longer have to struggle because these pods take that guess work out of the equation.
- No Messes – Forget having to clean up grounds from the counter or the coffee maker. The coffee grinds are contained inside the K-cup and all you have to do is toss the cup away. Clean up is as simple as the brewing process.
Pod Coffee Makers
With a pod coffee maker, your coffee isn’t in a plastic cup, but instead it is in a tea-bag like sachet. You’ll put the paper pod in the designated spot and press the brew button.
While this isn’t the typical machine you’ll find in a home or office setting, you will find these coffee makers in a hotel room. The coffee you get with these machines aren’t nearly as flavorful as a K-cup machine simply because it isn’t air tight. Air, moisture, and humidity can go through the tea-bag encasement and come in contact with the coffee grinds, thus decreasing the quality of the grinds.
Single Brew Machines
These machines are pretty much exactly like a traditional pot-style coffee machine. The only difference is the machine and filter are much smaller and are intended for only a single cup of coffee to be brewed at a time. An advantage of this type of machine is that each person that will be using the machine can make their coffee as strong or as weak as they’d like.
Hybrid Coffee Makers
With these machines, you have the ability to make a single cup of coffee, but you also have the option to brew more than one cup. If you’re someone who wants some flexibility with how you consume your java, then you may like a hybrid machine.
What Is A Single Serve Espresso Machine?
A single serve espresso machine is going to give you a stronger, richer flavored beverage than your traditional coffee maker. These machines work very much like your K-cup machines, as all you have to do is insert a pod in the machine and press a button.
A nice thing about these machines is that many manufacturers have expanded their inventory to include a variety of teas, hot cocoas, and regular coffee. Also, with an Espresso machine, you can find devices that have other features like a frothing device or a steam wand, which is something you may want to consider if you’re a fan of lattes or cappuccinos.
Features To Consider When Looking For A Single Cup Coffee Maker
If you’re interested in getting a single serve coffee maker (or any coffee maker for that matter) for your home, there’s a slew of features that you’ll want to consider before making a purchase. Below, you’ll find an expansive list of the features and considerations you should be mindful of.
- Budget - When it comes to the budget, there are two things that you’ll want to look at when you’re considering a coffee maker. First is the machine and the second is the price for the coffee refills. K-cups tend to be the more affordable option when compared to Discs and Capsules—especially if you decide to use the reusable filters. The cost of the machines themselves can range between $75 to $300 (or more). Of course, you can find a Keurig style coffee maker priced below $75.
- Brewing Speed - The speed at which your coffee brews may or may not be important to you. If you’re someone who is habitually running late, you may want a faster machine. Do keep in mind that simply because it brews faster doesn’t mean it’s going to have the best tasting coffee. So, what is more important to you—fast brewing or good flavor?
- Timer Feature - If you are someone who runs late but doesn’t want to sacrifice flavor, you might want to look into a machine that has a timer feature. With this machine, you can have fresh brewed coffee waiting for you when you go into the kitchen in the morning.
- Water Temperature - There are some coffee makers that give you the ability to choose what temperature your coffee is brewed at. This may not be of any concern to you; however, if you’re very specific about how your coffee is brewed and its temperature, you may want to look for this feature. As a good rule of thumb, for a great tasting coffee, The National Coffee Association recommends that the water should be between 195 to 202 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Hot Water - If you don’t want coffee, but simply want hot water, you may want to find a coffee maker that allows you to simply run hot water through it without the machine making a mess.
- Brew Strength - This feature is nice to have if you like to change up the strength of your coffee from time to time. This is especially useful if you like a certain brand of coffee, but you want to adjust how strong it is. For any coffee maker to be able to adjust the brew strength, you will need a larger water reservoir so the machine can adjust how much water filters through the coffee.
- Reusable Filter Option - Right now, K-Cup machines are the only units that have a reusable filter option available.
- Size of the Machine - If you’re limited on counter space, then you’re going to want to choose a machine that is small enough to fit in the given space. Of course, if you don’t intend on leaving the machine on the counter, but store it in the cabinet instead, you’ll want to take that into consideration when choosing your device.
- Iced Coffee or Tea Capability - Although this isn’t a common feature, it is a nice option to have if you enjoy cold tea or coffee beverages from time to time.
- Water Filtration System - Another rare, but handy feature to have. If you want the purest flavored coffee, you may want to find a coffee maker that has a filtration system inside the unit. Keep in mind that with the filtration system, that is going to be another ongoing cost, as you will have to change the filter every so often.
- Style - While the look of your coffee maker isn’t going to change the way it works, it’s still nice to have a machine that will look good in your kitchen.
- Water Reservoir - As a matter of convenience, you’ll want a machine that is going to store your water so you can brew coffee whenever you want without worrying about filling it up all the time.
- Removable Water Reservoir - It’s nice to have a reservoir that you can take off of the machine and fill it up. There are some coffee makers that doesn’t give you this option, which means you will have to use a pitcher to fill the machine.
- Transparent Water Reservoir - Any machine that gives you the ability to brew more than one cup should have a transparent reservoir so you can see when you need to refill the water before it runs out mid-brew. This feature is purely for convenience.
- Cup Size - If you like larger mugs or even travel mugs, you will want to find a coffee maker that can accommodate the size of your cups.
- Noisiness - All machines are bound to make some noise while it works, but there are some coffee machines that are much noisier than others. Granted, the amount of noise the coffee maker generates isn’t going to affect the quality of the coffee, but if people are sleeping, it could be annoying.
- Coffee Selection - If you look for types of coffee to use with your device, you’ll see that many stores will carry a plethora of products in the K-cup style. You can also find coffee, tea, and hot cocoa brands available in the disc form for the Tassimo machines. However, if you choose a Nespresso capsule, your choice of products aren’t going to be nearly as expansive.
Single Cup Coffee Maker Wrap Up
There’s nothing like a great tasting cup of coffee to get you in the right frame of mind to last through the day. We’ve all been in a situation where we had an amazing weekend and when Monday comes around, you simply can’t find your mojo. While a cup of coffee may not be able to perform miracles, it can give you that little boost you need to help you through the day.
Maybe you aren’t a big coffee drinker, maybe you just prefer a small dose of caffeine you get from a strong tea. It doesn’t matter what you drink, whether you drink coffee, espresso, hot tea, or even hot cocoa, a single serve coffee maker is a small appliance that could be a great addition to your kitchen or office. These devices can give you fresh coffee with as little effort as pressing a single button.
When you’re looking at a new coffee machine, be smart and do some research on the products you’re considering. Compare the prices, the features, and the possible coffee products that can be used with it. See if there is an extended warranty available for the product, just in case your unit breaks or stops working for one reason or another. When you take the time to do these things, you’ll be able to choose the right coffee maker for your needs.
If you’re tasked with purchasing a new coffee maker for your office, you might want to think about a single serve gourmet coffee maker instead of the traditional pot-style drip makers. With the gourmet single serve coffee maker, your co-workers can enjoy their favorite coffee beverage without spending a lot of money (or company time) at the coffee shop.
For folks who are in a smaller office, you could get away with using a machine you’d buy for the home. However, if there are more than five people in your office, we recommend that you consider a commercial sized unit if you want to make sure it will last a while.