5 Best Single-Serve Coffeemakers, According to Food Network Kitchen

We love the convenience of a coffeemaker that brews a single portion directly into a mug in just a couple of minutes. No measuring, no waiting, no pouring, no waste just grab and go.

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July 14, 2021
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Our Top Single-Serve Coffeemaker Picks:

By Sharon Franke for the Food Network Kitchen

Let’s face it, not too many families sit down to a breakfast that includes a hot pot of coffee and multiple refills. Chances are everyone in your house is in a hurry and on a different schedule. You may be caffeinating while you’re packing kids’ lunches or driving to work while your spouse may be fueling up at the school bus stop or on the way to the gym. With a single serve coffeemaker on your countertop and a supply of pods, brewing coffee is a simple as plopping in a pod, pushing a button, and grabbing a mugful. Each family member can make a cup on their own timeline. A single serve machine is also an ideal appliance for college students or for a solo coffee drinker who don’t want to brew a carafe and find themselves pouring undrunk coffee down the drain.

What To Know About Single-Serve Coffee Machines

  • The coffee is medium strength and medium bodied. If you like an extra rich brew, you may want to look for one that gives you strength control to avoid being disappointed.
  • Most work with pods or capsules and you need to keep a supply on hand and find a place to store them. At about 60 to 80 cents each, the pods are pricier than ground coffee. You can find models that work with reusable filters that you fill with ground coffee, but that eliminates one of the advantages of these machines.
  • Models are available with all kinds of special features as well as in designs that also make a full carafe for those times when you entertain. However, as is often the case, fancier machines are more expensive, take up more countertop space, and are more complicated to operate.
  • Coffee pods are not compostable. Most are recyclable, but you will have to peel off the lid, toss or compost the coffee grounds inside, and then rinse out the pods before throwing them in your recycling bin.

How We Picked

To select the best single-serve coffeemakers, we relied on our years of experience testing them as well as drinking coffee in the office and at home. In addition, we checked online reviews to see what both other professionals and coffee drinkers had to say.

The most important factor in choosing our top picks was the quality and the temperature of the coffee they produced. But as we always do, we also considered how easy the coffeemakers were to use and what helpful extras they offered. Our picks contain a selection of single serve coffeemakers to satisfy every coffee afficionado.

$85.42

Keurig is synonymous with single-serve coffeemaking. It makes well-designed, solid machines. Aptly named the Classic, this model holds 48 ounces of water in its tank or enough to brew anywhere from about 4 to 8 cups, depending on whether you choose to make 6-, 8-, or 10-ounces of coffee. You can pull the tank out to fill it at the sink. To accommodate your favorite travel mug, you remove the drip tray. Once you turn it on in the morning, the Keurig takes about 4 minutes to heat the water up and then less than a minute to deliver your coffee. In less than another 60 seconds, you can brew a second cup. After 2 hours the machine shuts itself off so you don’t have to sit at your desk and worry that you left it on. You can have your K-Classic with a black or red casing.

A vast selection of pods called K-Cups is sold. In addition to hundreds of types of coffee, varieties of tea, cocoa, and chai are offered. K-Cups are widely available at supermarkets and mass merchants as well as by mail order.

Buy It
$80.00

Not even 5-inches wide, this little guy is as space-saving as you can get. It needs to be filled with fresh water every time it’s used, but can make anywhere from a 6- to a 12-ounce cup. Once the water’s added, it takes about 2 minutes to get hot and then less than one for the Mini to dispense the java. It turns off after 90 seconds so if your college student brews, grabs their mug, and dashes off to class, no worries that they’ll leave the machine on.

On the back of the unit there’s cord storage to reduce dorm room clutter. It comes in gray, black and red but also the dusty rose and aqua shades that are so popular with young people. Keurig says this brewer is manufactured with a reduced amount of virgin plastic, making it its most environmentally-friendly model, another feature that will appeal to students.

Buy It
$39.99

If you’re looking to spend as little as possible but still want a great cup of single serve, the Chefman is your best bet. You can use it with K-Cups but it also comes with a filter so you can use ground coffee if you prefer. It consistently brews a very hot cup of coffee and has a bold setting for a stronger cup.

Not only does it take a mere 30 seconds to brew, the Chefman is ready to deliver another cup almost instantly, so if your undergrad and her roomie are rushing off to class at the same time, waiting for their coffee to be ready won’t be the reason they’re late. Once they’re on their way, the machine shuts itself off.

Buy It
$163.91

In this sleek machine, using Nespresso capsules, you can brew a perfect cup of crema-topped espresso as well as coffee. You can opt for a single or double espresso or a 5-, 8-, or 14- ounce cup of coffee. As the reservoir holds 37 ounces, you don’t have to refill it for every cup which is perfect if you return for multiple refills throughout the morning. While the Next will shut itself off after 9 minutes, when you turn it back on, it heats the water in just 20 seconds. After brewing, it automatically ejects the capsules into an interior container that’s large enough for 10 used capsules.

Vertuo capsules are available in a large variety of single origin coffees as well as flavored blends. Each one costs from $1.10 to $1.50 which means the coffee is an indulgence as well as the machine. However, these high-quality coffees give you a rich beverage with nuanced flavor. Although Nespresso machines can be found in the homes of discerning hostesses, this model is small enough to be a very special gift for someone going off to college. But you might want to gift your graduate a steady supply of capsules along with the coffeemaker. The aluminum capsules can be recycled by mail, dropping them off at a Nespresso drop-off point, or in some areas, adding them to your recycling bin.

You may see Next machines without the DeLonghi name or with the Breville name. While they may come in different colors, they will all function exactly the same.

Buy It
$44.99

With this model, you use your own ground coffee, which makes it perfect for college students or anyone who is worried about the sustainability, not to mention the cost, of K-Cups. It comes with mesh filter basket and doesn’t require paper filters. Each time you brew, you fill the reservoir with up to 14 ounces of water and then you only have to wait about 90 seconds for your cup of joe. Once it’s finished brewing, it shuts itself off.

All of the removable parts can go in the dishwasher so you won’t have to fuss with cleaning the filter basket.

Buy It

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