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Coffee lovers worldwide are unified by the daily grind of getting that first cup of morning coffee. Grind the beans, fill the coffee maker, pour coffee in the filter, make a mess, and wait for the coffee to brew – all this just to pour out most of the coffee you made because you can’t finish it all.
You could switch to instant coffee, if you like your coffee tasting like dirt. But there is another option. Single-serve coffee machines make only as much coffee as you will drink. And the process is as easy as you could hope. Simply fill the reservoir, pop in a coffee pod, push a button, and you have ready coffee in less time than it takes to brush your teeth.
If this sounds appealing, we’ve put together the best single-serve coffee makers on the market, and even created a buyers’ guide to help you choose the best make and model for your home or office.
1. Best Overall: Jura E8 Automatic Coffee Maker With Glass Carafe
2. Second-Place: Breville-Nespresso VertuoPlus
3. Third-Place: Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker With Glass Carafe
4. Honorable Mention: Keurig K-Mini Coffee Maker
5. Honorable Mention: Hamilton Beach FlexBrew
If you can overlook the high price-tag, the Jura E8 Automatic Coffee Machine is the closest thing to having a barista in your house. The single-serve coffee machine is beautifully designed, sleek-looking, and makes the perfect cup of European coffee every time.
You can use it with coffee beans or ground coffee. You retain the aromas and flavors of your favorite brew while enjoying the benefits of a single-serve coffee maker. We recommend this for coffee lovers willing to pay a premium price for the best single-serve coffee machine.
The Jura E8 is a coffee-lovers dream. You can make black coffee, ristretto, espresso, and cappuccino. Moreover, you can also make decaf with this unit. You can switch between the options with the push of a button.
This is a feature-packed coffee maker. The most notable is the lever that dispenses plain hot milk or milk foam, depending on its position. You can also adjust the thickness of the foam from feather-light to maximum froth depending on your coffee. You can also set the strength of your coffee and how much coffee you want.
This model’s tank capacity is adequate for home use, so you won’t need to refill it too often. A premium coffee maker like this one should ideally be able to handle commercial use. However, the tank is too small to use in your business.
The Jura features premium commercial-quality construction, and it should last a long time. You also get a manufacturers’ warranty with this model.
Jura E8 comes with cleaning tablets and automatic cleaning. You will need to empty and rinse the unit often, mostly if you use it with whole beans.
This is a costly single-serve coffee maker, but it is worth every dollar. The running cost can be a little high too. The appliance only comes with two cleaning tablets. Overall, it is worth the money if you want a premium coffee maker that is just as good as having a personal barista. And, you have $2,000 with nothing else to spend it on.
If you can’t justify spending $2000 on a coffee maker, the Breville-Nespresso is the right choice. It measures 13.19 “L x 9.13 “W x 12.8 “H, so it doesn’t take up much counter space. The capsule spins at 7,000 rotations per minute during brewing, giving you a generous layer of crema.
This single cup coffee maker has 4 cup sizes, including 1.35oz espresso, 5oz Gran Lungo, 8oz Mug, and 14oz Alto. You can make the perfect cup of coffee with a single touch of a button. I’ve used this coffee maker many times, and it’s a great option if you like a darker roast (espresso) instead of a standard K-Cup coffee.
This machine uses pods to make drip coffee and espresso-style coffee. The coffee maker only accepts Nespresso round pods, which can be restrictive if you like variety. You get 16 sample capsules with your coffee maker to get you started.
The one-touch brewing is convenient since you don’t have to change any setting. The machine also reads the barcode on the pod and adjusts brewing automatically for the type of coffee. Breville-Nespresso Vertuo Plus shuts off automatically after brewing.
This appliance has a generous 60oz tank, perfect for a medium to large household.
Breville-Nespresso is made from rigid ABS plastic, which is durable enough. There have been one-off leaking reports, but this is generally covered under warranty.
Cleaning this machine is quick and straightforward; simply run the system without a coffee pod at least once a month.
This model is excellent value for money. The only complaint is the Nespresso coffee pods cost a little more than other options on the market. You have no choice but to use their brand of pods, which can raise the cost of operating the machine. Otherwise, this machine is well-priced for its features and functionality.
The Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker is just a traditional coffee maker that allows you to make different cup sizes, including a single cup. You get six cup sizes in total, including a half or full carafe. This flexibility allows you to make just enough coffee for whoever is around.
This Ninja uses coffee grounds rather than pods or capsules and comes with a frother. You can use the frother with real milk (instead of powdered milk), whether hot or cold.
You can brew an impressive array of coffee drinks, including drip coffee, cappuccino, macchiato, latte, and iced coffee. People who prefer using coffee pods or capsules will have to look elsewhere. This model uses ground coffee.
Part of the charm of this Ninja is its simplicity. It has few features except buttons to select the kind of coffee you want to make.
The 50oz tank capacity is good enough for medium to large families.
The unit is made from a mixture of durable plastic and stainless steel finish. It is durable and comes with a one-year manufacturer warranty.
Like most machines that use coffee grounds, this Ninja can be a little messy. Fortunately, the brew-through lid and glass carafe is dishwasher safe. You can also detach the reservoir tank to clean it.
This is a very affordable single cup coffee maker for people who prefer ground coffee to coffee pods.
If you have ever wished for a personal coffee maker at the office, the Keurig K-Mini is an excellent option. This model measures 5-inches wide, which fit perfectly on any desk or counter. The appliance makes two brew sizes of 6 and 12 ounces.
Additionally, you can also hold a 7-inch tall travel cup if you take off the drip tray. This is an affordable single-serve coffee maker for anyone looking for a portable model.
You can brew coffee, tea, and hot cocoa with this machine. It is compatible with most k-cup pods, although the Keurig K-cup pods are recommended. You can also use it with K-cup universal reusable filters.
Keurig K-Mini doesn’t have many features. The appliance switches itself off automatically after brewing. It also has one-touch brewing for your convenience.
This model has a tiny tank and holds a maximum of 12oz. You have to refill the appliance after every brew. Please note that the machine brews the coffee corresponding to the amount of water in the reservoir tank. You cannot fill up the tank with 12oz to brew a 6oz cup.
This model is made of plastic. It doesn’t feel very solid, but that is not surprising given its price.
Keurig K-Mini is very easy to clean. Run the machine without the coffee pod a few times a month. You will also need to descale it every 3-6 months with a descaling solution.
This Keurig is cheap enough to buy on a whim. And with its lack of features, there’s less to break. So I’d guess this will last longer than the fancier models.
The Hamilton Beach FlexBrew is an innovative combination of a traditional glass carafe and single cup coffee maker. It also brews using coffee pods or ground coffee to cover all your tastes and preferences.
The single-cup side fits a travel mug up to 7 ¾ inches tall. We recommend this option to anyone looking for an inexpensive unit that adapts to your day-to-day preferences.
This coffee maker brews coffee using either pods or ground coffee.
There aren’t too many special features to write home about. The machine does have a 2-hour auto-shutoff. You can also choose your coffee strength between regular and strong.
Hamilton Beach FlexBrew has two separate tanks. One reservoir for the single-cup side and another for the carafe. The carafe reservoir holds up to 12 cups while the single-cup reservoir holds 14oz. The small size means you have to refill the tank often.
This appliance is made of plastic. It is not the most durable construction, but the material makes sense at this price.
You cannot remove the reservoir tank of the FlexBrew, which makes cleaning inconvenient. The machine also doesn’t have a self-cleaning feature.
This is a very affordable coffee maker for its performance and versatility. It is the perfect entry-level single cup coffee maker that retains the familiar functionality of traditional carafe appliances.
Single-serve coffee makers are relatively new in the market, and we expect the technology will only get more sophisticated. There are a couple of things worth thinking about before rushing off to get one.
A single-serve coffee maker works much like a regular coffee maker. The appliance has a reservoir tank where you pour in the water. Next, you drop in a coffee pod and close the hatch. Most of these appliances have a single button to start the brewing process.
The coffee maker has a pump that draws water from the reservoir through a flexible tube. This water passes through the heating element, usually coiled copper tubing. Once again, the pump directs the water to the top of the appliance once it reaches the ideal temperature, usually 195 – 205 degrees Fahrenheit.
The hot water passes through a narrow nozzle, into the coffee pod, and out the bottom of the pod. The pressure ensures that the hot water mixes with all the coffee in the pod.
The coffee pod usually has a filter at the top and bottom to prevent coffee grounds from mixing with the brewed coffee. Finally, the hot coffee slowly fills your cup or mug. The entire process can take as little as three minutes.
If you already own a coffee maker or looking to replace an old one, a single-serve coffee maker is worth considering. The best part is you make only the coffee that you are going to drink. No more stale coffee, reheating coffee multiple times, or wasting your expensive coffee.
Making coffee using these appliances is also quick and easy. You don’t have to measure out coffee grounds or expose your coffee to air. Simply pop in a coffee pod or capsule, push a button, and you will have ready coffee in three minutes.
Coffee pods also come in numerous varieties, flavors, and aromas and can open up an entirely new brewing world.
Choosing the best single-serve coffee maker needs not to be complicated. The secret lies in the appliances’ features. There are essential features that separate the best coffee makers from the rest of the bunch. We used these same criteria when selecting and ranking the appliances in this review.
If you just want a quick cup of coffee to start your day, then most models on the market will serve your purpose. However, most people like to experiment with coffee.
Some machines make different coffee types, including lattes, cappuccinos, macchiato, espresso, and even iced coffee. If you like additional hot drinks like chai, tea, or hot chocolate, make sure that the machine is compatible with pods that offer these options.
Keep in mind that single-serve coffee machines aren’t espresso machines. They don’t have nearly the amount of pressure (8-15 times atmospheric pressure) of coffee shop machines. At best, you will get espresso-style coffee. This option can still taste good, and some people may not even tell the difference.
Don’t forget the brewing process.
Another factor to consider is the brewing process. For the most part, these machines use coffee pods or coffee capsules. Other models brew ground coffee while others can grind coffee beans. Some models work with both ground coffee and coffee pods or capsules.
The best strategy is first to figure out the type of coffee you like. Then, use it to guide you in the selection process.
A final note, consider what kinds of pods the machine accepts. Some models are only compatible with coffee pods from the same manufacturer as the machine.
Each price range will have its features. More expensive models have better and more useful features. Some of the features that would be nice to have include:
Automatic Shut Off turns off your appliance automatically if you are not around. This can range between five minutes and two hours, depending on the model.
Foamer is an excellent feature if you like cappuccino and lattes. Some models allow you to pour in real milk, hot or cold. Others use milk powder to create the foam, so be sure to check what you are getting. While at it, you may want to consider a machine with a crema if you like espresso.
Temperature Control is ideal if you are very particular about how you like your coffee or making specialty brews. Most coffee makers have a standard temperature between 185 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit. Others will let you control the exact water temperature you want.
Capsule Recognition for coffee capsules with a barcode is nice to have if you like specialty coffee and rare brews. The machine reads the barcode to determine the perfect setting for the type of coffee.
Capsule Storage and Eject makes the brewing process less messy and more convenient. The machine stores used capsules, so you don’t have to empty them after every brew. The auto-eject feature eliminates the inconvenience of fishing for the used capsule with your fingers.
Strength Selection is also ideal for tailoring the coffee to your taste. If you like strong or extra strong coffee, it may be worth prioritizing this feature. It would be a shame if you spent a few hundred dollars on a machine that consistently makes weak coffee.
Coffee makers have a reservoir tank where you pour in the water to brew the coffee. Tank sizes vary from 50 to 80 ounces, although mini coffee makers will have a much smaller reservoir tank.
This feature is more for your convenience than anything else. Ideally, you don’t want to fill the reservoir every time you need to brew a coffee cup. Also, some tanks have a water filter to give you the ideal PH for making coffee.
This might be a crucial consideration for coffee enthusiasts. As a rule of thumb, if you do not drink your tap water, don’t make coffee with it.
A final thing to look out for is whether the water tank is detachable. Bonus points if it is dishwasher safe. Both these features make cleaning so much easier.
Most cheap models are made from plastic. While they’ll serve their primary function, don’t expect to keep the appliance for too long. You will usually get a one year warranty or none at all. These units might last two or three years before they start leaking or falling apart.
The upside is that some of these models are below $100 and easily replaceable. Mid-priced models are typically made from more durable ABS plastic. These can easily last five years or more, depending on how often you use your coffee maker.
Finally, stainless steel single-serve coffee makers are the most durable and are worth their higher price tag. You may sometimes chance on mid-priced coffee makers with a combination of stainless steel and plastic. These can be just as durable as the more expensive models.
One of the best selling points of single-serve coffee makers is the no-mess brewing. This might not be so true for models that use coffee grounds. Either way, a coffee maker with dishwasher safe parts is ideal.
Additionally, some models have a self-cleaning feature. You simply run the machine as usual without the coffee pods every once in a while. Single-serve coffee makers that can also brew a full pot are generally more difficult to clean.
The best way to check if you are getting a good deal is to compare features and prices. The single-serve coffee maker market is very competitive, so you can snag some excellent deals if you are patient during your selection process.
All the models we have featured in this review will give you good value for your money and are worth considering.
Overall, our favorite single-serve coffee maker is the Jura E8 Automatic. It’s sleek, high-end, and cranks out one great cup of coffee. However, the other models present great alternatives if you don’t want to spend $2,000 for the absolute best.
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