Taking the plunge into the single serve coffee world can be very intimidating. There is such a wide range of coffee makers available that it can be quite difficult to even know where to start. But, never fear, you have come to the right place. We are here to lay out all of the best features of the top selling one cup coffee makers. After reading this article you will be chock full of coffee knowledge that will lead you to a confident, informed purchasing decision.
There are six main players in the one cup coffee brewing market place today. Let's start with the big guys...
Keurig Kcup coffee brewers are by far the most popular (and my personal favorite).
Average price= $99.- $139.
- A huge variety of flavors and roasts (over 200) are available in grocery stores, retail and online.
- High-quality gourmet coffee.
- Brews a variety of sizes from 6oz-12oz.
- It is possible to brew specialty iced beverages including, teas, coffee, and lemonade.
- Clean up is a breeze.
- The Keurig 2.0 model offers the capability of brewing a 4 cup carafe in addition to the 1 cup size.
- Not equipped to make cappuccinos or lattes.
- Kcups are not easily recyclable.
- The brewing process is a bit noisy.
- The Kcups have a hole in the bottom of them after brewing. This is a potential leak and burn hazard. You must turn them sideways when making your way to the garbage can.
Keurig brewers are an excellent choice for families that have opposing coffee preferences. Everyone can choose and enjoy their favorite Kcup. If you are a single person that could not possibly finish an entire pot of coffee, Keurig is right up your alley. However, if you have your heart set on milk-based coffees, this is not the unit for you.
Nespresso is (as you might guess) all about espresso. Nespresso brewers can be thought of as the Keurig of the espresso world.
Average price = $129.
- Size. I own the Nespresso Pixie and I am quite thrilled that it takes up very little counter space.
- Appearance. It is simply adorable.
- Clean up. Using a Nespresso to pull a shot of espresso is so much cleaner than the standard way. I have prepared many o' cups of espresso in my day and I had to clean up grinds Every.Single.Time.
- Taste. The Nespresso makes an excellent tasting gourmet espresso with a beautiful crema.
- The coffee capsules are quite small as well, they take up very little cupboard space.
- Speed. It heats water incredibly fast. As in so fast, I don't know how it is possible. Sometimes I turn mine on and it's ready to go in what seems like seconds!
- Automatic capsule disposal.
- Finding the coffee. Nespresso coffee pods can be quite difficult to find. They are only sold in specialty boutiques. Even ordering on the Nespresso website can be a challenge- you have to join their coffee club. However, Nespresso recently opened up the monopoly they held on their pods by allowing copycat products. They are generally much cheaper, easier to find, and taste just as good.
- The brewing process can be a bit noisy.
- There is no steaming wand attached to the unit. You have to buy a separate milk frother to prepare cappuccinos and lattes.
- There are only 2 up sizes to choose from but, when it comes to espresso that is about all you really need.
- You can not brew a traditional cup of coffee or tea with this unit.
Average price = $175.
- Compact in size.
- Automatic capsule disposal.
- 6 cup sizes.
- Versatile. This coffee maker is capable of brewing both espresso and traditional coffee.
- High-quality gourmet coffee.
- Lack of variety. There are only a few dozen roasts available and most of them are strong.
- Hard to find. CBTL coffee pods used to be readily available in retail stores. Now from what I can tell the only true option is to order them online (at least in my area of the country).
- You will need a separate milk frother to prepare the cappuccino and latte.
Average price = $75.
- Versatility. The Tassimo coffee maker can brew both regular coffees and teas as well as cappuccinos and lattes.
- The T Disks come with a coffee-specific bar code printed on them. This allows the brewer to determine the optimal brewing settings for that particular roast.
- Cleaning is automatic.
- Small in size.
- You can not use this brewer as a hot water dispenser, it must have a T Disk inserted to operate. This means no oatmeal or instant ramen : (
- Although cleaning is automatic, you must have a special cleaning disk that comes with the brewer. The disk is about 3 inches in diameter and I don't know about you but, that will get lost in about 5 seconds in my household.
- The coffee is hard to find. Again, it seems as if T Disks are pretty much only available online.
5) Dulce Gusto
Dulce Gusto is a little-known name but, seems to be making some headway as of recent years with their celebrity-laden tv commercials. This unit is best known for producing coffee house-type treats such as cappuccino and latte.
Average price = $110.
- Versatility. The Dulce Gusto single-serve coffee brewer easily prepares classic coffee, espresso, cappuccinos, lattes, and iced beverages.
- Treats. This brewing method is a coffee shop lover's best friend. Not only can you prepare the standard cappuccinos and lattes but, you can also brew a macchiato (caramel or vanilla) and cafe mocha.
- Produces a true, authentic espresso with an amazing crema.
- No preheating of the machine is required.
- Again, the coffee is hard to find. Aside from Bed, Bath, and Beyond (I think they still carry it), you can really only rely on buying Dulce Gusto pods online.
- You must prime the machine before each use, this simply involves running a bit of water through the unit before you brew.
- Some units are not automatic, you determine the amount of water used by pouring that amount into the unit. These tend to be the lower-priced options.
- This coffee brewer is really geared towards espresso and milk-based drinks. If you prefer a traditional cup of java, this is not the unit for you.
This cost is absurd. Unfortunately, the machines are no longer made in the US. Since they left the states, the price skyrocketed. I would highly recommend looking into alternatives such as Hamilton Beach, I own one that I purchased for under $20 and love it!
- Price. Coffee pods are extremely economical making them the perfect solution for those who desire single-serve coffee but are on a tight budget.
- There is very little waste. The coffee pods consist of an outer package and basically what appears to be a coffee filter shaped into a disk and filled with coffee grinds. All of these items are recyclable and biodegradable.
- Variety. There is a huge selection of coffee pods available in the marketplace. You can find a minimal amount in retail stores, the rest are for sale online.
- Cost of the brewer.
- Clean up can be a bit messy. Don't get me wrong it is still much easier than a traditional drip-style coffee maker but, the pods are sopping wet when it comes time to toss them causing drips and potential burns.
- Poor quality coffee. You have to be very careful to avoid really bad coffee in pods. Marketers know that the pod user is generally a cost conscience consumer so they try to put out a low-cost coffee. Which means three things burnt, bitter, and stale. I highly recommend going with a brand that you know and trust and maybe even spend a little more to get the better quality.
Verisimo is a newcomer to the one cup coffee world. This beautiful machine is brought to us by none other than Starbucks.
Average price = $119.- $149.
- Starbucks coffee at home- duh.
- Able to brew both traditional coffee and espresso.
- Availability. Starbucks is on every street corner so you should not have any trouble finding coffee for your Verismo brewer. The pods are of course available online as well.
- No milk frother is needed. Starbucks has made a specialty milk pod that allows the machine to prepare your favorite milk-based coffees at the push of a button.
- Price of the brewer. I was pleasantly surprised about the moderate price of Verismo.
- Quality. This is a high-quality, gourmet coffee.
- Try before you buy. Since Verisimo brews Starbucks coffee, you have the ability to try the roasts before you buy an entire box.
- Only brews Starbucks coffee. Yes, believe it or not, there are people out there that don't love Starbucks.
- Variety. There is a limited lineup of coffees available.
- Price of the coffee. I was slightly shocked to see that most of the coffees are nearly $1.00 per cup but, that is a far cry from what you would spend at Starbucks.
I know that this is a lot of information to digest. My number one suggestion would be to start by determining if you would like a genuine espresso from your single-serve brewer. If the answer is yes, you have already narrowed it down to Nespresso, CBTL, Dulce Gusto, Tassimo, and Verismo (of those my top picks are Nespresso and Verismo).
If you don't care for espresso then you will want to look at Keurig, CBTL, Tassimo, Senseo, and Verismo (of those Keurig is a clear winner and Verismo is a close second in my book).
That first determination will at least get you started in the single-serve coffee brewer buying process!
- Click here to learn how to use a traditional Italian Moka Pot.
- Click here to learn how to make a cappuccino using a Keurig brewer.
- Click here to learn how to use a French Press.