Find our single serve coffee maker reviews, comparison charts and buying guides to help you buy the best single serve coffee maker for quick yet flavorsome coffee.
Nespresso Vertuo: The Nespresso brand is synonymous with quality and service and this Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine is no exception. It’s the best coffee machine in the roundup and worth every penny. The hermetically sealed aluminum pods ensure freshness and the intelligent extraction system uses ‘Centrifusion technology’ for optimum taste.
Keurig K55: For those on a tight budget, the K55 K-Classic is the best alternative for the ideal early morning cup of joe. Although it’s a low-cost pod-based machine, it will always deliver a consistent brew. Also, it’s easy to use and yet a capable coffee maker.
Are you looking to buy a coffee machine to sate your early morning cravings and get your day started in the best way possible? In this roundup, we take a look at the best available machines aimed at coffee lovers who want to make an informed choice among the large crop and variety of models available.
With just about any of these coffee makers you’ll be making quality espressos, americanos, even teas, hot cider, cocoa… that will cost you a fraction of what you’d be paying at a cafe or restaurant and in the comfort of your own home or office.
We´ll concentrate on automatic, pod and capsule-based machines and not on the simple steam-powered or drip models that make watery, tasteless brews or the more high-end, but pricey, cumbersome automatic or lever espresso machines.
Nespresso is a quality manufacturer of both coffee machines and pods. It’s our top pick in this roundup mainly because it’s incredibly convenient to use and includes features you’d only get in a much higher-end espresso machine, for a much more affordable price. Besides making excellent espresso-type coffee in a variety of sizes, this Nespresso Vertuo model has an Aeroccino cream/milk frother which prepares finely textured coffee latte or with crema.
The Nespresso’ intelligent extraction system uses ‘Centrifusion technology’. With a single touch of a button, the machine’s laser reader will recognize a pod’s barcode, adjusting and optimizing extraction parameters to spin capsules up to 7,000 RPM and up to 19 bars of pressure. There is no need to fiddle around and adjust settings yourself.
There are dozens of varieties of VertuoLine pods to choose from, and the machine will accept sizes and adjust parameters accordingly, with three serving cup sizes: 14 oz alto, 8 oz coffee, and 1.35 oz.
You’ll get optimal freshness from each aluminum-sealed single portion of fine roast ground coffee. The entire coffee making process is really fast, taking less than 15 seconds from spinning up to a ready-to-drink cup of coffee.
This machine is probably the easiest to use of all the coffee makers in this roundup, with its 1-touch button functionality, automated parameter settings, ease of cleaning, and auto-eject pod, it’s a snap. We should also remark on the good selection of espresso and other coffee types available and on Nespresso’s outstanding customer service, which includes free shipping, repairs, and a loan machine during the one year warranty period.
Keurig is a well-respected maker of pod-based coffee machines and the inventors of the K-Cup pod/capsule. The K575 is the top-of-line Keurig brewer and as such is full of features that guarantee the perfect cup of finely brewed coffee. It also comes with settings for specialty beverages like mocha, chai, hot cocoa, and even chilled beverages. With this quality coffee maker, you have total control over your brews, like customizable settings, strength and temperature control, brew size options and hot water on demand.
The K575 has a large color touch-screen to make it easy to see what’s going on at a glance. It gives you clear information about the brewing process and makes it easy to modify settings in accordance with your particular tastes.
After inserting any of the wide assortment of capsules available, the machine’s interactive technology will recognize the pod and automatically customize and optimize settings for the particular beverage type.
Included is a large 80 oz water reservoir, that means you can brew 10+ cups before having to refill, so you’ll be saving time and effort. The reservoir is removable and can be moved to your tap to fill it up at any time without having to lug the machine around. It holds a variety of different K-Cup pod brew sizes, for 4,6,10 and 12 oz, and carafe sizes, for 22,26 or 30 oz, although you’ll have to buy the carafe separately.
The K575’s strength control setting lets you regulate the boldness of your cup’s taste and with five temperature settings, you can have your brew as hot, or warm, as you desire. If you’re in the mood for just some hot water, you can select a brew size and dispense whatever amount you need.
You’ll get a finished cup of coffee, any hot beverage or water in under one minute, plus its programmability lets you automatically set the machine to turn on or off at set times. It’ll also automatically turn off when not in use to conserve energy.
Of all of Keurig’s coffee maker line, the K55 is undoubtedly the best value for money proposition and we could go as far as including all other pod-based models in that assertion. This is our preferred budget model and you would definitely not go wrong by choosing this easy to use, yet capable coffee brewing appliance.
It comes with simple push-button controlled brewing operation and accepts a variety of industry standard K-Cup sizes to ensure that you get a perfect cup of coffee every time, whether it be mild, strong, decaffeinated or flavored, even cocoa and tea.
It has a large 48 oz reservoir, that’ll hold 6+ worth of cups of water between refills, something that’s appreciated in a budget single-serve machine, and there is a variety of serving sizes as well: 6, 8, and 10 oz.
The machine allows you to choose from hundreds of K-cup varieties, both from Keurig and from compatible brands. They’re available in a wide variety of flavors and brands as well as prices (some being very affordable).
Among the most popular brands are great flavors from Starbucks, Green Mountain, Folgers, Laughing Man, Donut Shop, Lipton, and a lot more. You can also grind and brew your own beans with the Keurig Classic Series My K-Cup Reusable Coffee Filter. And, importantly, the flavors don’t blend from one cup to the next.
The K55 K-Classic is a low maintenance machine. Its simple and easy to clean by wiping it down with a damp rag and you can wash it with soapy water. Its descaling cleaning feature helps remove calcium deposits, which build up inside a coffee maker over time.
It has an auto-off feature that will turn off the machine after two hours of idleness, which will minimize wear and tear and save energy. The machine also includes a charcoal water filter cartridge kit and two charcoal pod filters, which practically guarantees excellent coffee even if your tap water isn’t quite up to par.
This affordable single cup coffee maker is rugged and very easy to use. It’s reliable in its ability to quickly and consistently brew an excellent cup of coffee with just a push of a button. It has a small footprint and is cleverly designed to be able to use industry standard K-Cup pods as well as fresh ground beans.
Getting coffee made with the Bunn MyCafe MCU is a matter of about two minutes from first turning it on and less than one minute for any subsequent cups. It has a retro brushed steel industrial design that hearkens back to urban diners of more than three decades ago.
Its features are up to date though, with an innovative set of drawers, or detachable brewing heads that slide in and out of the coffee maker. With the four interchangeable drawers, it can handle K-Cups, ground coffee, soft coffee and tea pods, loose tea, tea bags and hot water.
The minimalist design includes just two buttons and one LED which will change from red to green when it starts heating up. There is a brew and a pulse button, the latter slowing down the brew of your beverage and increases its flavor and strength, which is easy to regulate this way. The amount of water stored corresponds the exact of coffee you’ll brew at one go, so there’s no reservoir involved.
The Bunn does not have automatic an on/off button. Once you plug it in it’s always on, but automatically resets after six hours of idle time. After twenty-six hours it goes into sleep mode. It wakes up and heats right up when you need to use it again.
Nespresso’s coffee makers are superb in their ability to create delicious freshly brewed coffee and espresso at the touch of a button, and the Vertuo Evoluo model by De’Longhi is no exception.
It’s more affordable than our top pick Vertuo by Breville model but doesn’t skimp on functionality and features. It also offers fast and delicious capsule-based intelligent extraction with Centrifusion technology, two cup sizes, two capsule sizes, short heating time, automatic capsule extraction and automatic shutoff.
With the Nespresso’ intelligent extraction system’s Centrifusion technology and a single touch of a button, the machine’s laser reader recognizes a pod’s barcode, adjusting and optimizing extraction parameters to spin capsules to up to 7,000 RPM and 19 bars of pressure. So there’s no need to fiddle around and adjust settings yourself.
There are many dozens of varieties of VertuoLine pods you can choose from, and the machine will accept sizes and adjust parameters accordingly, with two serving cup sizes: 7.7 oz coffee and 1.35 oz espresso.
Optimal freshness is guaranteed from each aluminum-sealed single portion of fine roast ground coffee. The entire coffee making process is really fast, taking 15-20 seconds from spinning up to a ready-to-drink cup of coffee.
This coffee machine is a snap to use to use, with its 1-touch button functionality, automated parameter settings, ease of cleaning, and auto-eject pod. As with all Nespresso machines, we should also mention the good selection of espresso and other coffee types available and on Nespresso’s outstanding customer service.
The Nespresso Vertuo Evoluo Coffee and Espresso Machine by De’Longhi ships with 12 VertuoLine capsules showing off unique aroma profiles. It also has an extra large 54 oz water tank and a container that’ll fit 17 used capsules.
The K40 elite is one of Keurig’s budget line coffee machines, and for a modest price, you’ll be getting some fine brews from a wide selection of K-Cup pod varieties. Brewing times are quick, at less than 40 seconds, and the machine has a big removable 48 oz water reservoir.
It also comes with features typically found in higher-end models like indicator lights, an auto-off feature, a removable drip tray that can take on travel mugs, all of which result in hot and consistent coffee, tea and cocoa blends.
When you turn the K40 on and have it filled with water, it takes about 4 minutes for a one-time setup process, which heats the water reservoir, illuminating the light marked ‘Heating’ on the LED control panel.
The LED then turns off and the ‘Small mug’ button starts flashing, meaning you can press the button for the cleansing brew, which you’ll have to get rid of in the sink. Then you hit the button again and your brew will be ready in about fifteen more seconds. Then another push and fifteen more seconds for a second brew, and so on.
The machine has a programmable auto on/off feature and can produce up to six cups before needing to refill the 48 oz water tank. You can brew three different cup sizes with a range of 6-10 oz. and can brew coffee as well as tea cocoa, and iced and specialty beverages. It’s easy to clean and maintain thanks to the removable drip tray.
Like the other two Keurig model we review in this roundup, the K40 lets you choose from hundreds of K-cup varieties, both from Keurig and from compatible brands. You can get them in a wide variety of flavors and brands as well as prices, including some being very affordable ones. Among the most popular brands are flavors from such well-known manufacturers as Starbucks, Green Mountain, Folgers, Laughing Man, Donut Shop, Lipton, and a lot more. You can use your own ground beans and brew them with this machine.
The Cuisinart SS-10 is an excellent pod-based coffee machine choice with a lot of customization possibilities. You can choose from a variety of serving sizes, a wide temperature range, and from brewing options for making tea soup or cocoa, as well as coffee.
It uses industry-standard K-Cup capsules, so you can also choose from hundreds of coffee varieties, flavors, and brands, including using your own ground beans in reusable filter cups.
The machine’s drip tray pulls out and lets you use different size travel mugs, with five cup sizes between 4 and 12 oz, and its 72 oz water reservoir means you won’t be constantly refilling the tank. The SS-10 has a number of interesting features commonly found in higher end machines, like a blue, backlit LCD which includes a programmable clock.
A hot water button is ideal for concocting hot beverages and its rinse feature makes it easy to clean the inside of the brew chamber. It also has a charcoal water filter, so you can use regular tap water and not have to worry about its quality.
Before we start showing you our picks of single serve coffee machines, we should first take a look at the different types available. The kind of machine that will best suit your needs will depend on a number of factors, like: ease of use, including cleaning and maintenance required, effort needed to prepare your coffee (some machines require multiple steps to operate them), whether you’re comfortable with high-tech functionality and automated operation, the amount of space you have available on your counter, and of course your overall budget, as high-end machines can be very expensive.
The prices of the pod or capsule-based coffee makers in this roundup are in the $75-$180 range, so you won’t be spending a fortune to enjoy good coffee. These machines use a brewing pump, just like the higher-end bean-to-cup machines that typically retail for more than $400, and you can typically use third party capsules that are convenient to store and available in any supermarket, and not worry about finding coffee beans with their shorter shelf lives (some of them actually use a centrifuge instead of a pump, which is conceptually very similar and also results in a quality brew).
To use one of these machines, you just insert any of the dozens of available types of capsules, which are pre-filled with ground coffee, press a button, and in some cases make other adjustments, and after a short time, you’ll get a cup-full of authentic, tasty coffee.
You’ll have to make sure there’s water in the reservoir before starting, taking into account that some models will store enough water for making several cups of coffee, while others just hold one cup’s worth and you’ll be refilling every time you brew. Then, you turn the power on and wait a few minutes for the machine to warm up, place the pitcher or cup under the brewing head, stick in a capsule or pod, hit the brew button, and wait for your cup to be filled.
There are two basic types of capsules that will fit the models we cover in our roundup. Nespresso coffee machines use a proprietary capsule, called VertuoLine Pod. They’re single serve pods that come in three different sizes: espresso (1.35 oz), lungo (3.70 oz) and long coffee (up to 17 oz).
Their retail cost is $0.90-1.25 and they use a barcode scanning technology that lets the machine know the optimum parameters for brewing using its ‘intelligent extraction system’, which is based on centrifugal force, instead of on a pump.
A large variety of coffee types, intensities and flavor varieties of pods are available, with colorful Italian names: Intenso, Stormo, Odacio, Melozio, Hazelino, Caramelizio, Decaffeinato… You can also get reusable pods, which will result in a cheaper cost per cup and let you use any ground coffee you want.
The other alternative is the K-Cup pods, which are also single cup containers, and were originally manufactured by Keurig, a competing coffee machine manufacturer, which we also review here. They have become an industry standard and are used by the other coffee machines on the roundup (except Nespresso).
You can buy K-Cup pods anywhere and in a very wide variety of types and flavors. Pods can be purchased for as little as 28 cents per cup, which is comparable to what you’d pay if you grind the beans yourself (you can put ground beans into reusable K-Cup pods), although you’ll typically be paying much higher prices for quality coffee blends.