Single serve coffee makers are taking over! A 2016 poll by the National Coffee Association showed that 28% of Americans use a single cup brewer — the style made popular by Keurig.
And the market is only growing. Since 2000, coffee pod sales have grown 133,710%. No, that’s not a typo.
While Keurig is still the industry leader, they don’t have the same stranglehold on the competition they used to. In a 2017 survey of American coffee drinkers, only 29% reported their primary coffee maker is a Keurig.
Some of that is carry over from the pre-single serve era — folks who have had their coffee maker since the Cold War ended — but it also goes to show Keurig isn’t the only game in town.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Keurig Single Cup Coffee Brewer
- 2 Best Budget Single Cup Coffee Maker
- 3 Best High-End Premium Single Cup Coffee Machine
- 4 Best K-Cup Coffee Makers
- 5 Best Single Serve Espresso Machine
Best Keurig Single Cup Coffee Brewer
Keurig’s most recent model, the K-Elite brews up to 12 oz servings of either hot or iced coffee and features a redesigned user interface and massive 75 oz water reservoir.
Best Budget Single Cup Coffee Maker
If you’ve never heard of Mixpresso, make sure you give these models a look. For under $100 get access to either the Keurig of Nespresso universe, depending on which model you choose.
Best High-End Premium Single Cup Coffee Machine
The Nespresso name means quality, and this brewer is the best money can buy. Brew OriginalLine capsules, which are better than VertuoLine capsules, and it comes with an integrated frother. Put simply, this is the best pod coffee maker on the market.
Best K-Cup Coffee Makers
Depending on what you want in your single cup brewer, I’ve compiled a list of “Best by Category” to help you get straight to the coffee machine that fits your needs.
Best Big K-Cup Coffee Maker
High volume pod-style coffee makers that brew more than just a single cup
1. Keurig K575 Check Amazon Price
I’m not the biggest fan of Keurig machines, but this model impresses me. Capable of brewing both single serve K-Cups and full 4 cup carafes, the K575 is a highly versatile coffee maker.
I love the massive 80 oz water reservoir, which only needs to be filled every couple of days even for the most voluminous coffee consumers, and it’s K-Carafe pod compatible for large, strong brews. I also love the color display, which is both visually appealing and easy to use.
2. Keurig K475 Check Amazon Price
The K475 is a quality carafe-size brewer except it doesn’t come with the carafe.
This model compares closely with the K575 sitting in the top spot on my “Best Big K-Cup Coffee Maker” list. It adds in the temperature setting selector, which is a great feature, but has a slightly smaller LCD display panel and water reservoir.
3. Keurig K250 Check Amazon Price
Yup, another Keurig. The Keurig K250 has the same brewing system as the K575 and K475 above — it’s just smaller. Really, that’s the only difference.
Best Budget K-Cup Coffee Maker
K-Cup coffee makers that you can buy for about a Benjamin
1. Mixpresso Single Cup Brewer Check Amazon Price
Complete flexibility brewing unlicensed, Keurig 1.0, Keurig 2.0, and reusable K-Cups, the Mixpresso Single Cup Brewer is my top choice for budget K-cup coffee maker.
Does it brew good coffee? Yeah, I’d say it does. I’m more of a “keep pouring…keep pouring…why aren’t you still pouring?” coffee drinker — I can never get enough — and found the Mixpresso brewed a little weak on the larger sizes. For convenience this unit does have programmable sizes, so you can set to whatever size and strength you like. The 45 oz water reservoir is mid-range size for single serve brewers.
In this price range you’re compromising somewhere, but the Mixpresso Single Cup Brewer provides the best bang for your buck in the bargain brewer category.
2. Hamilton Beach 49970 Personal Single Cup Brewer Check Amazon Price
Ranking the best bargain brewers is an interesting exercise. In some cases, like the Mixpresso above, it’s about finding a reasonably priced machine that performs well for the price. In other cases, like with the Hamilton Beach 49970, it’s about finding a dirt cheap unit that gets the job done.
This brewer only works with soft coffee pods, such as the Melitta brand pods, which means no K-Cup compatibility.
Personally, I’d spend up for the Mixpresso above, but my coffee wants and needs may not be yours. For a bargain basement price, the Hamilton Beach 49970 is a solid option.
3. Ekobrew Universal Single Cup Brewer Check Amazon Price
Ekobrew wasn’t lying when they named this machine the Universal Single Cup Brewer — it’s compatible with every kind of single serve coffee pod known to man.
And despite its ability to brew whatever you throw at it, the beverage this machine produces is stunningly strong and hot. It’s hard for me not to keep gushing about how impressed I am with an entry-level brewer.
The only non-glowing things I have to say: The 45 oz water reservoir and max 12 oz brew size are middle-of-the-pack for single serve brewers and the Ekobrew was a little slow to brew (when compared to Keurig models) especially from a cold start.
Best High End K-Cup Coffee Maker
No holds barred, these are the best single serve coffee makers on the market
1. Nespresso VertuoLine Check Amazon Price
Nespresso produces 2 lines of single serve brewers: OriginalLine and VertoLine. What’s the difference between OriginalLine and VertuoLine brewers?
- OriginalLine machines brew single serve espresso drinks
- VertuoLine machines brew both single serve espresso and full cups of coffee
For my money Nespresso machines are the best on the market, and that’s why they top my “Best High End K-Cup Coffee Maker” list.
This premium bundle comes with everything the home barista needs to produce a great coffee beverage — either your generic cup of Joe or a refined latte — and it’s surprisingly affordable for such a high-quality model.
2. Nespresso Creatista Plus Check Amazon Price
I know this section is about the “Best High End K-Cup Coffee Maker” but you won’t find a single K-Cup in sight! Keurig just doesn’t do high end pod coffee quite like Nespresso (or Starbucks below).
This Creatista Plus is truly the Cadillac of single serve coffee maker reviews. It has a sleek, retro design and is made from some seriously durable metallic components. It also gives you the full ability to create whatever you want — hence the name — and includes a milk frother as its piece de resistance.
If you want high end, stop reading here.
3. Starbucks Verismo 600 Check Amazon Price
If you love Starbucks coffee, you want the Verismo 600.
It’s a simple 5-button system (coffee, espresso, milk, hot water, rinse) with Swiss-engineered, high-pressure brewing technology that delivers the Starbucks flavor you know and love better than any K-Cup could — even the Starbucks brand K-Cups!
With 19 bars of pressure, the Verismo system is capable of making high-quality cups of whatever you want and comes with settings for the following volumes:
- Coffee: 10 oz
- Americano: 6 oz
- Latte: 6 oz
- Espresso: 1 oz
Notable for you latte and cappuccino lovers: This machine has a weird way of dealing with milk pods. Instead of frothing the milk right in the pod holder like the Nespresso systems, the Verismo circulates the milk throughout the inside of the machine, which makes it much harder to clean (and we know what happens with old milk). Frequent rinses using the easy rinse function are advisable.
As a dual coffee/espresso maker, it doesn’t boast a huge water reservoir, checking in at just 33.8 oz, but that’s virtually the only underwhelming part of this machine. I love its performance and I love its price.
But you’ll only love the Verismo 600 if you can’t get enough Starbucks, because that’s all this machine will make.
Most Reliable K-Cup Coffee Maker
What’s function without durability?
1. Cuisinart SS-10 Check Amazon Price
The differentiator that should be mentioned in all single serve coffee maker reviews:
The SS-10 is the best pod coffee maker with a 3 year warranty.
Take a minute to re-read that.
Virtually everything else reviewed here boasts a 1 year warranty — literally, like 90% of them. The Cuisinart SS-10 has a 3 year warranty. Cuisinart believes in their product — trust me, its a good one — and they back it up.
In all honesty, I have few bad things to say about this brewer. Even the cons listed below seem a little forced. No matter what you’re looking for in a brewer, the SS-10 should be on your shortlist.
Read The Coffee Maven’s full Cuisinart SS-10 review.
2. Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker Check Amazon Price
While the SS-10 might be the more reliable single serve machine by virtue of its stellar warranty, the Nespresso Pixie might still be my overall favorite.
It’s so reliable because of its Swiss construction with aluminum side panels instead of the typical all-plastic construction of most single serve machines.
First the big con: It’s not compatible with K-anything. You’ll need to use Nespresso capsules, which run about $0.10 more per serving than K-Cups, and you’ll have to make sure to get Nespresso OriginalLine capsules and not VertuoLine capsules like are required for the top-ranked high end coffee maker above.
Overall, though, this is probably the coffee maker I’d buy if I was forced to choose one right now.
Read The Coffee Maven’s full Nespresso Pixie review.
3. Keurig K145 OfficePRO Check Amazon Price
It’s a sad state of affairs when you struggle to come up with 3 quality, reliable coffee makers. I could have taken the easy way out and gone with another Nespresso brewer — they’re that good — but I decided a Keurig had to be somewhere on this list.
So consider the K145 OfficePRO the most reliable Keurig machine.
Many Keurigs, and coffee makers in general, give out after a year of use. This machine seems to have a much lower failure rate. It also does everything you’d expect out of a basic Keurig without a ton of the extra bells and whistles, so it sounds like the definition of reliability to me.
Best Pod Coffee Maker That Uses K-Cups and Grounds
Versatility is the name of the game for these single serve brewers
1. BUNN My Cafe MCU Check Amazon Price
It’s hard to create a standout feature in the single serve coffee maker market — there are so many competitors doing so many different things — but BUNN has something here with their My Cafe MCU model.
This brewer features a removable drawer system with 4 attachments:
- K-Cup pod coffee
- Ground coffee
- Tea and soft pods
- Hot water
BUNN’s 2 year warranty isn’t earth shattering, but it’s better than just about everything else available. In fact, I almost ranked this brewer on my list of “Most Reliable K-Cup Coffee Makers” before deciding it was a better fit on this list.
The My Cafe MCU is not a fancy machine, it doesn’t have a complex user interface, and it doesn’t even have a large water reservoir. But it is compatible with almost every form of coffee or tea and has a small counter top footprint.
Read The Coffee Maven’s full BUNN My Cafe MCU review.
2. BELLA Dual Brew Check Amazon Price
Affordable versatility. No, I’m not talking about another BUNN — it’s the BELLA Dual Brew.
Similar to the My Cafe MCU above, the BELLA Dual Brew has a simplified adapter system that allows you to switch between Keurig K-Cups, non-Keurig K-Cups and your own coffee grounds
I love the brew size flexibility this machine provides, brewing 3 different sized servings from 6-15 oz, and its adjustable drip tray and impressive clearance allow you to fit (and fill) most travel mugs.
Major annoyance that comes with the lower price tag: this brewer doesn’t have a water reservoir. It will brew whatever you pour in, so you need to measure you water and coffee grounds to ensure the ideal ratio.
3. Keurig K525 Check Amazon Price
Most Keurig devices fall into the “coffee maker that brews K-Cups and grounds” category, particularly the Keurig 2.0 brewers, but I chose to highlight the K525 in this section because this section is about versatility and the K545 is extremely versatile.
Here’s a shortlist of things it brews:
- K-Cup pods: 4-12 oz
- K-Mug pods: 12-18 oz
- K-Vue pods: 12-18 oz
- K-Carafe pods: 22-30 oz
- My K-Cup pod: 4-12 oz
It also features an 80 oz side-sitting removable water reservoir, XL color touch display (with customizable wallpaper), hot water on demand, coffee strength control and some programmable settings.
In all, I like this machine. It isn’t the best Keurig out there, and I’ve ranked other Keurig models higher in other categories, so it all comes down to what you need. In the versatility category, though, it’s a strong competitor.
Best Hot and Cold Coffee Maker
Because not everyone wants a hot cup of coffee when it’s the middle of July
1. Ninja Coffee Bar System Check Amazon Price
I struggled with where to place this brewer because it belongs in a lot of different areas. It’s that versatile.
Oh wait — I’m sorry, this isn’t a brewer. This is a system, and it deserves to be called a system because this isn’t any ordinary coffee maker.
Classic and bold brewed hot coffee, cold beverages, specialty beverages — the Ninja Coffee Bar does it all. And it does it all with 4 different brew sizes:
- Travel mug
- Half carafe
- Full carafe
So how does that cold beverage brew function work exactly? Well, the Ninja isn’t going to dispense cold liquid. Instead, when you select the “over ice” setting it brews a much more concentrated hot coffee that you can add to whatever volume of ice you want. The ice will melt and dilute the concentrated coffee to the proper richness, and boom — iced coffee.
How does the “over ice” setting differ from the “specialty” setting? Specialty is even richer, almost espresso-like for your coffeehouse favorites.
The Ninja Coffee Bar System has 5 models in total, which you can read about here, but they all feature the cold and specialty brew settings that led me to list it as the number 1 hot and cold coffee maker.
Read one of the best Ninja Coffee Bar reviews ever.
2. DeLonghi America Nescafe Dolce Gusto Esperta EDG657T Check Amazon Price
A luxury brewer that does more than push water into a pod and squirt out coffee water, the DeLonghi America Nescafe Dolce Gusto Esperta EDG657T is as impressive as its name is long.
It brews 30 different types of both hot and cold coffee beverages, ranging from basic coffee and espresso to cappuccinos, lattes and iced beverages.
However, you’ll have to buy Nescafe brand pods, which are about the same price as Keurig K-Cups.
My preference is the Ninja Coffee Bar System above, but the Ninja isn’t a pod system. If you prefer a pod system that can brew iced beverages, the DeLonghi Esperta is worthy of your consideration.
3. DeLonghi Nescafe Dolce Gusto Piccolo Plus Check Amazon Price
Whattaya know, another DeLonghi! The Piccolo Plus is a lot like the Esperta above, except it’s much more piccolo (that’s smaller for you non-Italian speakers…like me).
Instead of the Esperta’s 60 oz water reservoir, the Piccolo Plus only holds 21 oz.
The rest? It’s all pretty much the same.
If you like what you read above about the DeLonghi Esperta but want something smaller in both tabletop footprint and impact to your wallet, then the Piccolo Plus may be for you.
Best Single Cup Iced Coffee Maker
In Massachusetts they drink Dunks even when it’s -2ºF
1. Keurig K-Elite Check Amazon Price
Keurig went big with the Keurig 2.0 product line, unveiling models K200-K575 that featured larger water reservoirs and big 32 oz K-Carafe servings.
With the Keurig K-Elite they got back to basics. While it still boasts an impressive 75 oz water reservoir — just 5 oz away from the K575’s best-in-class 80 oz tank — the max brew size with the K-Elite is just 12 oz.
Why did Keurig take the step back?
Mainly, the wanted to focus on quality coffee and simplifying their product line. There are no more K-Vue and K-Mug pods. It’s just the K-Cups. That’s easier for the company to maintain and ensures they keep products fresh and maintenance costs low.
Plus, with the K-Elite Keurig unveiled an iced coffee functionality! Note that it doesn’t actually produce cold coffee. Instead, it produces a very concentrated coffee which you brew over a glass of ice. When the hot coffee concentrate melts the ice and reaches its optimal temperature, it’s watered down to the proper coffee concentration.
In the single serve world, that’s how all of these best single cup iced coffee maker machines work.
2. DeLonghi Dolce Gusto Genio Check Amazon Price
Choosing the best single cup iced coffee maker is challenging, because a lot of the best models that fit in this category really are cold brew coffee makers. You know, that lengthy process of letting coffee steep at room temperature for 12-24 hours?
Face it — it’s hard to get rich iced coffee on demand.
DeLonghi has a good product for iced beverages because of their concentrated brew technology, so they’ll continue to pepper my iced beverage related lists.
Tired of my ramblings and want to read about the Genio? Here are some pros and cons.
3. Hamilton Beach Iced Coffee Maker Check Amazon Price
I get a huge kick out of the cheesiness of some Amazon listings. Take the listing for this iced coffee maker:
Hamilton Beach Iced Coffee Makers make it easy to brew iced coffee right into a serving pitcher or your glass. Simply add your favorite ground coffee, fill the water reservoir, and turn it on. Nothing could be simpler!
Nothing could be simpler? Bold claim, Hamilton Beach, and you made it with such gusto!
But in their defense, this iced coffee maker is ridiculously simple. It takes about 10 minutes and makes moderately cold iced coffee, to which you can add some ice cubes without a lot of dilution.
Better yet, you’re not going to break the bank on this bargain basement brewer.
Best Single Cup Tea Maker
For those who prefer leaves over beans
1. Gourmia Electric Square Tea Maker Check Amazon Price
I love this tea maker. The Gourmia Electric Square Tea Maker has a great, simple design and is incredibly easy to use. It allows you to brew 3 different strengths — light, medium and strong — for up to 4 cups of tea.
With glass and stainless steel components and an extra fine strainer, you get a pure tasting cup of tea, and Gourmia’s temperature control system ensures the optimal temperature for the best extraction. It also comes with a “refresh” setting to hydrate your tea before brewing.
You don’t need to worry about anything.
Compatible with all types of loose leaf tea, the Gourmia Electric Square Tea Maker is a do-it-all single and multiple serving tea maker that’s worth every penny.
2. Sharp Tea-Cere Matcha Tea Maker Check Amazon Price
A dedicated matcha tea maker, the Sharp Tea-Cere Matcha Tea Maker is a fantastic product. Featuring hot, warm and cold tea settings and the capacity to brew up to 4 cups of tea, the Tea-Cere preserves the traditional Japanese process of making matcha tea to give you a great, authentic cup.
The secret is the ceramic grinder, which Sharp developed in conjunction with tea experts to recreate an automated means of making a very manually-intensive beverage. The tea leaves are ground into an extremely fine powder, which is the secret to great matcha tea.
Matcha tea isn’t for everyone and is more complex than just steeping tea leaves in hot water, but even if you’re a matcha purist you’ll be very happy with the Tea-Cera Matcha Tea Maker.
Click here to learn more about how traditional matcha tea is produced. It’s a great resource and well worth your time.
3. Airtight Cold Brew Coffee and Tea Infuser Check Amazon Price
Though it has “cold brew coffee” in the name, the Airtight Infuser is a fully-functioning iced tea maker as well. It even works with hot coffee and tea.
This unit has a simple design that brings me back to my high school chemistry days, but simple is all you need when steeping tea or cold brew coffee. Simplicity and a little bit of patience, that is.
Brew up to 1 liter tea or coffee in a dishwasher safe carafe with a removable stainless steel infuser. Thick glass and a durable silicon seal allow you to brew and stash in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks without worry of oxidation or spoiling — it’ll be nearly as fresh as the day you brewed it.
It’s not my go-to for hot tea because handling the carafe can be a little tricky with hot water inside, but for iced beverages I really like the performance and convenience of the Airtight Infuser.
Best Single Serve Espresso Machine
Keurig brewers aren’t going to give you a classic espresso — with a notable exception below! — but other single serve coffee manufacturers have built affordable home machines that can brew you a rich espresso, complete with hearty crema, from a convenient pod.
A few of these manufacturers made their way into the “Best High End Coffee Maker” list above — Nespresso and Starbucks, specifically — but let’s give the espresso makers some dedicated space too, shall we?
And speaking of dedicated space, I want to highlight my favorite single serve manufacturer: Nespresso.
Best Nespresso Single Serve Coffee Makers
Yes, Nespresso is my favorite single serve manufacturer. I have owned many of their models and used almost all of the rest, and they all performed famously. If you read some of my other content here on The Coffee Maven, you’ll repeatedly hear me harp upon how much I love a big, tall cup of coffee — but I’ll do just fine with a couple Americanos and the timely 2pm espresso.
Yes, there are definitely some much more expensive and premium espresso makers, but Nespresso has never let me down and I’ll continue to rave about them until they do.
Nespresso makes several similar espresso machines in both their OriginalLine and VertuoLine models. Check out the Nespresso espresso maker model comparison table below:
|Nespresso Prodigio||OriginalLine||Espresso only||Plastic||5.1" x 10.1" x 14.7"|
|27 oz||Check Amazon Price|
|Nespresso CitiZ||OriginalLine||Espresso only||Plastic||5.1" x 10.9" x 14.6"|
|34 oz||Check Amazon Price|
|Nespresso Inissia||OriginalLine||Espresso only||Plastic||4.7" x 9" x 12.6"|
|24 oz||Check Amazon Price|
|Nespresso Lattissima Plus||OriginalLine||Espresso only||Stainless steel||6.5" x 12.6" x 13.5"|
|30 oz||Check Amazon Price|
|Nespresso Pixie||OriginalLine||Espresso only||Aluminum||4.4" x 9.3" x 12.8"|
|24 oz||Check Amazon Price|
|Nespresso U||OriginalLine||Espresso only||Plastic||4.5" x 9.8" x 14.5"|
|27 oz; swivels||Check Amazon Price|
|Nespresso VertuoPlus||VertuoLine||Espresso & coffee||Plastic||5.6" x 12.8" x 16.2"|
|40 oz||Check Amazon Price|
|Nespresso Evoluo||VertuoLine||Espresso & coffee||Aluminum||7.9" x 12.3" x 12.2"|
|40 oz||Check Amazon Price|
For value, go with the Nespresso Pixie.
For premium espresso only, go with the Nespresso CitiZ.
For premium espresso and full cup coffee, go with the Nespresso Evoluo.
Best Cappuccino and Latte Machines
All of the Espresso models above are worthy of your consideration, as is the Starbucks Verismo 600 mentioned in the “Best High End Coffee Maker” section above.
Let’s take some time to look at a few other high performers in the “Cappuccino and Latte” category.
DeLonghi Magnifica Super Automatic Espresso Machine Check Amazon Price
My top pick for best espresso maker at or around $500, the DeLonghi Magnifica truly is super automatic (and super small).
The built-in burr grinder and simple, one-touch frother are timesavers, and for its size it boasts an impressive 60 oz water reservoir. Better yet, it’s one of the few — if not only — espresso machines that are designed with convenience in mind. You can empty the spent grounds and refill the water reservoir without having to rearrange the counter and move the machine.
With all of that convenience, do you still get a great cup of espresso?
Absolutely. DeLonghi’s Magnifica espresso maker brews commercial quality espresso in the your own home for a respectable price — and the bypass doser for you to use your own pre-ground coffee is the icing on the cake.
Gaggia Brera Super Automatic Espresso Machine Check Amazon Price
Though not quite as good as the DeLonghi Magnifica, the Gaggia Brera also is one of the best espresso makers you’ll find for $500 and under.
The Brera has a pre-infusion system, which helps to get the maximum flavor out of the beans. And I can confirm from using this brewer that the taste was indeed great.
Overall I love how simple the Brera is to use and the quality of the espresso, but I do have some concerns about its ability to hold up for the long haul. Many of its components are plastic and the rest are stainless steel plated, which gives a great look and feel but doesn’t give me confidence for its long-term durability.
Tassimo T55 Check Amazon Price
Able to make espresso, cappuccinos, lattes and full serve coffee, the Tassimo T55 is a more than capable brewer.
Similar to Keurig’s 2.0 brewing system, Tassimo leverages a barcode scanning system on their T-Discs (Tassimo’s version of K-Cups or capsules) that reads the pod, pulls up the water volume and temperature for the specific disc and brews a great cup of coffee.
It’s simple and it works. In fact, Tassimo’s cappuccinos and lattes looked barista quality. I was never able to get the rich crema how I like it, though, so if you’re an espresso purist then stick with one of the Nespresso machines.
Keurig K-Cafe Cappuccino and Latte System Check Amazon Price
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a Keurig sighting!
Keurig used to have the Keurig Rivo, but that model flamed out pretty quickly. They got out of the single serve espresso game for a while and only recently re-entered with this Keurig K-Cafe.
It doesn’t quite hold up to Nespresso and Starbucks’ 19 bar machines, but it does perform as expected. It runs off of K-Cup pods but brews a concentrated espresso-like coffee for its beverages. (Just make sure you brew the 6 oz portion.)
Plus, there’s an integrated frother that isn’t half bad.
If you’re a Keurig fanboy or fangirl, you’ll probably like this machine. If you’re looking for a value espresso maker, you’ll probably like this machine. But if you want the best espresso out there, you probably want to pick something else.