Best Single Serve Coffee Maker

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In today’s fast-paced world, convenience often reigns supreme and has led many to embrace the convenience of single-serve coffee makers. These compact brewing machines have revolutionized the way we enjoy our daily dose of caffeine, offering quick, simple, and consistent brewing.

While the likes of Keurig and Nespresso machines may immediately spring to mind when picturing single-serve coffee makers, they represent just a fraction of the options available. A huge range of brewers like the Aeropress, French press, and pour-over brewers are capable of crafting a single cup of coffee, and so fall into this category.

In this guide to the best single-serve coffee makers, we highlight some of the most popular picks for 2024, so you can find the best coffee machine to meet your needs.

Our Pick: Nespresso VertuoPlus

We recommend that the Nespresso VertuoPlus is the best single-serve coffee maker for most people. It is affordable, simple to use, and can brew either drip or espresso-style coffee.

Nespresso Vertuo Plus

What Is A Single-Serve Coffee Maker?

So what is a single-serve coffee maker? In this guide, we will define a single-serve coffee maker as any coffee maker that can brew a single cup of coffee. However, within this definition, these coffee brewers fall into one of two categories; automatic or manual. 

Automatic single-serve coffee makers can brew coffee at the push of a button, usually using some form of pods or capsules. These brewers are for people who love convenience. The real advantage of automatic coffee makers is that they are quick and simple to use. You simply turn on the machine, insert the pod, push the button and the machine will do the rest. These coffee machines require no skill and produce consistent coffee.

The other advantage of these coffee machines is that they are a package deal. With an automatic coffee maker you don’t need a grinder, scales, or a fancy kettle, all you need is the machine itself. This is great for both bench space, cleanliness, and affordability. 

The downside of these machines is that the flavor of the coffee tends to be relatively generic (with some key exceptions!) and there is little scope for experimenting or growing in your brewing skills. They also aren’t particularly portable. 

Manual single-serve coffee makers, like the Aeropress or v60 pour-over, are designed to brew a single cup of coffee. These brewers are for people who love quality coffee. These brewers are in many ways the flip opposite of the automatic brewers. They are very hands-on, often require some level of skill, and work better when paired with additional equipment like a grinder. While they require more skill to use, manual coffee makers produce higher-quality coffee and are often portable. So if specialty coffee is your thing and you love single origins and being involved in the brewing process then a manual brewer may be for you.

Different flavours of nespresso pods

Types Of Single-Serve Coffee Makers 

Capsule Machines

The most popular single-serve coffee makers tend to use capsules. These are small plastic or aluminum cups that are filled with pre-ground coffee which the machine pierces and runs hot water through to brew the coffee. In particular, both the Nespresso and Keurig ranges use capsules. The advantage of capsules is that because they are airtight they tend to keep the coffee fresher for longer. Also, there have been some exciting beginnings of third-wave or specialty coffee roasters dipping into the world of capsules. The downside is that while there are ways around it, these tend to have a very negative environmental impact. Similarly, capsules tend to be fairly expensive in comparison to buying whole coffee beans.

Pod Machines

While the terms pod and capsule are often used interchangeably, they are actually different. Where capsules are plastic cups, pods are round bags of ground coffee that look similar to tea bags. Pods are usually used to produce espresso-style coffee and brew coffee through hot water being pushed through the pod at a high pressure. The most well-known pods are the Easy Serving Espresso (ESE) pods which were created by Illy in the 1970s. These can often be used either in some single-serve coffee machines or in some espresso machines with special baskets.

Drip Machines 

Finally, some single-serve coffee makers basically brew the coffee as a drip coffee machine. These machines use pre-ground coffee instead of any form of pod or capsule and extract the flavour by allowing the water to pass through the grinds. The advantage of this is that the options for which coffee you use are almost unlimited. Similarly, because you are buying your coffee either whole bean or pre-ground rather than in a pod/capsule they tend to be cheaper in the long run. The downside for some is that obviously, these machines cannot produce espresso-style coffee. 

Finally, it is worth mentioning that a number of single-serve machines now have the flexibility to use either K-Cups, other capsules, pods, or ground coffee. 

The Best Single-Serve Coffee Makers 2024


Nespresso VertuoPlus- Best Nespresso

Nespresso Vertuo Plus
  • Brew Sizes: 1.35 oz (espresso), 2.7 oz (double espresso), 5 oz (gran lungo), 7.7 oz (coffee)
  • Water Reservoir: 60 oz

The Nespresso VertuoPlus is the best single-serve coffee maker for MOST people. This machine is one of the latest Nespresso models and is capable of producing both espresso and filter coffee. The Nespresso VertuoPlus is a stylish and compact single-serve coffee maker that impresses with its modern design and premium build quality. It comes with an adjustable 60oz water tank that can be positioned to suit your bench layout. 

With intuitive one-touch operation and convenient features like automatic capsule ejection and a sizable water tank, the VertuoPlus is remarkably easy to use. With a rapid 15-second heat-up time and centrifusion technology ensuring consistent extraction and a luxuriously thick crema, brewing perfection is easily achieved. Additionally, its barcode reading technology automatically adjusts temperature, pressure, brewing time, and coffee size based on the inserted capsule, simplifying the brewing process further.

In terms of the downsides, it definitely is on the expensive side of single-serve machines. The VertuoPlus is also only compatible with the Verto capsules, not third-party alternatives. Finally, it doesn’t come with an inbuilt milk frother so if you do go for it we recommend buying an Aeroccino3 Milk Frother as well. Despite these considerations, the Nespresso VertuoPlus excels in delivering premium-quality coffee with convenience and style.

Pros:

  • Brews espresso or drip coffee
  • Simple to use
  • Adjustable water tank
  • Large 40 oz reservoir and holds up to 17 used capsules
  • Heats up in 15 seconds

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Milk frother is an additional cost
  • Only compatible with Vertuo Pods

Keurig K Supreme Plus – Best Keurig

Keurig K Supreme Plus
  • Brew Sizes: 4 oz, 6 oz, 8 oz, 10 oz, 12 oz
  • Water Reservoir: 60 oz

The Keurig K-Supreme Plus is one of the higher-end Keurig models and comes with all the strengths that Keurig owners have come to appreciate. Some of its features include a slim, modern design and a large 78-oz multi-position reservoir. ​​Setting itself apart from its predecessor, the K-Classic, the K-Supreme Plus elevates brewing quality with its innovative multi-stream technology, ensuring a more even water distribution over the coffee grounds, resulting in enhanced extraction and flavor.

Being a Keurig, the coffee this machine produces is closer to drip coffee than espresso. Users have had mixed responses to the flavor of the coffee. While some dedicated coffee enthusiasts may find it lacking, many others appreciate its taste enough to make it a daily staple. The machine offers straightforward operation and provides some customization options, including strength and temperature adjustments across three settings, variable cup sizes, and even an iced coffee option. Maintenance is hassle-free with Keurig rinse pods and recommended descaling every three months. This is a great option for those who are looking for a single-serve coffee maker that is reliable, easy to use, and yet doesn’t break the bank.

Pros:

  • Multiple brew size
  • Customizable strength and temperature settings
  • Simple to use and maintain
  • Iced coffee option
  • Large, multi-position water reservoir

Cons:

  • Generic coffee flavor
  • Expensive

Ninja Speciality Coffee Maker- Best Dual Brewer

Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker
  • Brew Sizes: cup, XL< Travel Mug, Multi-Serve Travel Mug, Half Carafe, Full Carafe
  • Water Reservoir: 40 oz

The Ninja Speciality Coffee Maker is an incredibly popular and versatile single-serve coffee maker. What sets this coffee maker apart is its stylish design and ability to brew a wide variety of drinks. Unlike other brewers, the Ninja doesn’t require pods, rather it uses ground coffee. 

The Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker offers 4 brew styles; Classic, Rich, Over Ice, or Specialty concentrated coffee. It offers 6 brew sizes from a single cup to a travel mug to a full carafe to cater to the whole family. The other nice thing about the Ninja Specialty coffee maker is that it has a delay brew function, allowing you to set the machine to brew a pot of coffee at a certain time. 

Finally, the Ninja Specialty coffee maker comes with a fold-away milk frother, which does a remarkable job of creating creamy milk froth for specialty drinks like lattes and cappuccinos. The only thing to note is that the Ninja does not create espresso, but rather a strong, concentrated drip coffee. The Ninja specialty coffee maker is a versatile coffee maker that adapts effortlessly to individual servings or larger gatherings.

Pros:

  • A large number of brewing options and serving sizes
  • Uses ground coffee
  • Comes with milk frother

Cons:

  • Large footprint
  • Produces drip coffee, not espresso

L’OR Coffee Machine- Best Value

LOR Coffee Maker
  • Brew Sizes: six sizes ranging from 1.4 oz to 12 oz
  • Water Reservoir: 40 oz

Move over Nespresso… The L’OR coffee machine is a newcomer to the scene and is essentially a cheaper and more versatile Nespresso machine. Sporting sleek and elegant aesthetics reminiscent of Nespresso machines, the L’OR boasts a user-friendly design. Brewing with the L’OR is a breeze; you simply insert your chosen pod, close the lid, and select your desired size- small, medium, or large. The machine automatically detects whether it is a coffee or espresso capsule and adjusts brewing to suit. 

What sets the L’OR apart is its remarkable versatility, akin to the Vertuo range. It can seamlessly produce both espresso and drip coffee, offering flexibility to suit various preferences. Notably, the L’OR has twin spouts, enabling users to make a double shot of espresso using L’OR’s specialized capsules. Moreover, the machine isn’t limited to L’OR pods alone; it also accommodates Nespresso OriginaLine pods and third-party options like Starbucks and Lavazza. While lacking an included milk frother, there is the option of bundling one with the machine which is recommended for those wanting to create specialty coffee drinks.  

The L’OR coffee machine is worth considering if you are looking for a cheaper, but quality alternative to a Nespresso machine. 

Pros:

  • Brews both espresso and coffee
  • Use a wide range of pods including L’OR proprietary double-shot espresso pods
  • Affordable price

Cons:

  • Large footprint
  • Pay extra for milk frother

Bodum Chambord- Best French Press

Bodum Chambord
  • Brew Sizes: 12 oz
  • Water Reservoir: 12 oz

The Chambord is the iconic French press and often the first choice for those seeking to brew French Press coffee. There is a lot to love about the Bodum Chambord; it is made of heat-resistant borosilicate glass, comes in a wide range of sizes, has a stainless steel mesh filter, is easy to use, and best of all is amazingly affordable.

We own and use a Chambord and have been very happy with it. It is reliable, deals well with regular use, and can make a delicious French press coffee. The downside of course is that being made of glass it is breakable and requires more care than some other French press coffee makers. In summary, the Bodum Chambord is an excellent choice for those seeking a straightforward and budget-friendly means to brew single-serve coffee without compromising on quality. 

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Reliable build that lasts
  • Easy to brew coffee with

Cons:

  • Lets some grit into the cup
  • The filter does not press to the bottom

Clever Coffee Dripper- Best Pour Over

Clever coffee dripper
  • Brew Size: 1-2 cups

The Clever Coffee Dripper is often described as being a hybrid between a French press and a pour-over that retains the best of both worlds. Basically, the way that it works is that you put in your paper filter, add your ground coffee, fill the cone with water, and let it ‘steep’ for some time. Then release the valve to let the coffee drain into the cup or server below.

What really distinguishes the Clever Coffee Dripper is its unique valve. This feature allows you to brew a range of styles, from heavier, richer coffee reminiscent of French press to lighter, cleaner brews associated with pour-over methods. With the valve open, it functions akin to a pour-over, while closing the valve allows for full immersion and a full-bodied, rich brew.

Another great thing about the Clever Coffee Dripper is that it is great for both beginners and more advanced brewers, and doesn’t require the purchase of additional equipment. So if you are just starting you will be able to make some delicious brews with this, and it can also cater to the more demanding needs of the experienced brewer.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Doesn’t require additional equipment
  • Can make superb coffee
  • Produces consistent results

Cons:

  • Not very aesthetically pleasing 

Aeropress- Best For Travel

Classic Aeropress
  • Brew Sizes: 1.35 oz (espresso), 2.7 oz (double espresso), 5 oz (gran lungo), 7.7 oz (coffee)
  • Water Reservoir: 60 oz

The Aeropress has been around for several years now and has acquired something of a cult following. The reason is that it can make superb-tasting coffee, is remarkably enjoyable to use, and is additionally light and durable enough for travel or hiking. There really isn’t much not to love about the Aeropress.

The AeroPress looks like a giant syringe and is very easy to use. Finely ground coffee is placed in the brewing chamber, hot water is added for a period of time and then the plunger is gently pushed down forcing the hot water through the coffee grinds and paper filter into a cup or carafe. The coffee is extracted via a mixture of steeping time and pressure and produces a brew somewhere between espresso and French press. 

The nice thing about the AeroPress is that it is durable, light, and packs up very small making it ideal for travel. It is also worth noting that the AeroPress is a single-serve coffee maker, so if you are wanting to brew coffee for more than one person you might want to consider the AeroPress XL. Finally, the Aeropress is remarkably affordable and requires no extra equipment to start brewing. 

If you travel a lot or just want to play around with a different way of brewing single serves of coffee the Aeropress is an excellent option that is fun to use and makes great-tasting coffee.

Pros:

  • Easy to use and clean
  • Portable and Durable
  • Makes great coffee
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Hands-on brewing
  • Only single serve
  • Lots of pieces

Bialetti Moka Pot- Best Stovetop 

Best Moka Pot
  • Brew size: 6 oz

The Bialetti Moka Pot is a beloved classic in the world of coffee brewing, renowned for its ability to produce rich and flavorful coffee with a distinctively Italian flair. This stovetop espresso maker has been a staple in many households for decades, celebrated for its simple yet effective design and reliable performance. The Moka Pot consists of a bottom chamber for water, a middle chamber for coffee grounds, and a top chamber to collect the brewed coffee.

To brew coffee with the Bialetti Moka Pot, water is placed in the bottom chamber, coffee grounds in the middle chamber, and the pot is then assembled and heated on a stovetop. As the water heats up, pressure builds, forcing it through the coffee grounds and into the top chamber, resulting in a rich espresso-like coffee. The Moka Pot is available in various sizes and colors to suit different brewing needs. Most users opt for the 6-cup model which is actually 1-2 cups. 

The Bialetti Moka Pot offers a simple yet effective way to brew strong coffee at home, capturing the essence of Italian coffee culture in every cup. Its timeless design, ease of use, and ability to produce strong and delicious coffee have made it a cherished favorite among coffee lovers worldwide.

Pros:

  • Great value
  • The octagonal shape helps with optimal brewing
  • Made from high-quality materials
  • Fast brew time
  • Delicious coffee

Cons:

  • Not dishwasher-safe
  • Can’t be used on induction stovetops

Buying Guide

So hopefully by now, you have seen that if you are looking to brew a single cup of coffee, the options are vast and varied. Beyond pod machines, manual brewers like the Aeropress offer the potential for even more flavorful coffee, albeit with a hands-on approach.

Brew Style

The first thing to consider is what type of coffee you prefer drinking. If you are an espresso lover it would be better to opt for a Nespresso machine or brewer like the Moka Pot which brews strong espresso-like coffee. Alternatively, if you prefer drip coffee, a Keurig or Ninja coffee maker may suit you better. 

Ease of Use

Evaluate how much convenience matters to you. This factor largely determines whether you’ll opt for a manual or automatic single-serve coffee maker. While manual brewers can produce superior coffee, they require more time, effort, and cleaning.

Coffee Taste

While any of the machines on this list can produce good coffee, the manual brewers have the potential to brew more delicious coffee, especially if you are using freshly ground coffee. 

Design

Consider your available bench space. Some brewers, like the Ninja, are sizable machines, while other manual brewers offer compact designs ideal for storage in cupboards or smaller spaces.

Quality

Assess how long you expect your coffee maker to last. Electric machines, with more components, may be more prone to breakdown over time, while manual brewers typically feature fewer parts and sturdier builds.

Features

Identify which features are important for your brewing needs. Do you desire the flexibility to brew various drink styles? Adjust brewing size, strength, or temperature? Do you need a milk frother or automatic shut-off function? These considerations will help you select the ideal single-serve coffee maker to meet your preferences and lifestyle.

FAQS

Can I make different kinds of coffee with a single-serve coffee maker?

It depends on the machine. Some machines such as the Nespresso Vertuo and the L’OR coffee maker can brew both espresso-style coffee and drip-style coffee. For these machines, the type of coffee will depend on the capsules you buy and the setting you choose. However, most single-serve machines can just do one or the other.

How fast are single-serve coffee makers?

Again this will depend on the machine but a typical automatic single-serve coffee maker brews a normal-sized cup of coffee quickly within 30 to 90 seconds.

Which is cheaper, capsules or ground coffee? 

In general ground coffee is cheaper than capsules or pods. However, this will depend on the quality of the coffee. The official capsules for Keurig machines or Nespresso are fairly expensive but you can buy the same-sized capsules from other brands for a cheaper price. Similarly, the cost of ground coffee will be more expensive if you decide to buy it from a specialty roaster rather than mass-produced.

Are single-serve coffee makers bad for the environment? 

A common charge against this style of coffee maker is that they are negatively impacting the environment. This is still largely true due to the plastic waste that capsules produce. However, single-serve producers are seeking to combat this tendency. So Keurig K-cups are fully recyclable and Nespresso has started a capsule recycling program. Also, there are various options for using reusable capsules such as the My K-Cup for Keurig. It is also worth noting that this ecological consideration is at least partially dodged in brewrs that just use ground coffee rather than coffee pods or capsules.

Can single-serve coffee makers produce other kinds of drinks? 

Yes, many single-serve coffee makers as well as coffee can produce tea, hot chocolate, or other hot drinks. This is usually done by buying special coffee pods or capsules. 

Cup of cold coffee

How is a single-serve coffee maker different from other kinds of coffee makers?

The main difference between single-serve machines and other brewers is that the process for single-serve machines is fully automated. That is, for single-serve machines all that you have to do is push a button and the machine will do the rest. For most other coffee machines the one making the coffee is more involved in the process and will have to do other aspects of the coffee brewing (with the notable exception of super-automatic machines). Single-serve coffee makers use a different and more automated process to produce either espresso or coffee. 

Best Single-Serve Coffee Maker- The Takeaway

We hope this article has helped you understand single-serve coffee makers a little better and see which might be the right one for you. 

We recommend that the Nespresso VertuoPlus is the best single-serve coffee maker. It is a reliable machine that brews both drip and espresso-style coffee.

Happy Buying!

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