The single serve coffee maker is easily one of the greatest inventions to have ever graced the world of coffee. It delivers convenience, speed, versatility, and efficiency in a single machine that often takes but a small fraction of your counter space. Don't get me wrong, there are many of coffee connoisseurs who appreciate the time and effort it takes to manually brew a perfect cup of pour over coffee while focusing on every detail. But for the rest of the coffee-loving world, we simply don't have the time to do it. So what are the best single serve coffee makers out there and what should a responsible consumer be looking for?
As is the case with all things, not all single serve coffee makers are created equal.
Before jumping right into our list of best single serve coffee makers, let's go over a few things. A single serve coffee maker, as it's name suggests, is a coffee maker that brews coffee in single servings. Single serve coffee makers simplify the brewing process by often using portable coffee pods, K-Cup Pods, capsules, or pouches. These packaged portions eliminate the need to measure out exact amounts of coffee and help in ensuring a consistent brew. Some single serve machines don't require pods and instead, just need standard ground coffee. In the end, these inventions which have become household items across the world drastically reduce the time it takes to brew your morning coffee.
Over the years, there've been concerns that the mass usage of K-Cups and Coffee Pods have left a large carbon and environmental footprint. Fortunately, many coffee brands now offer eco-friendly and fully recyclable coffee pods.
Quick Top Picks
Keurig Elite K Cup Brewer
Cuisinart SS-10 Brewer
Simpresso Portable Espresso maker
Jura E8 with Built-in Grinder
Benefits of a Single Serve Coffee Maker
- Convenience – Save time by not having to measure out coffee and go through a manual brewing process. Single serve coffee makers make life easier by brewing your coffee at the optimum temperature each time, every time.
- Cost Savings – Coffee pods and K-Cups will vary in price but regardless will certainly be cheaper than going to the coffee shop each day. A $3.00+ cup of coffee at the coffeehouse definitely adds up. Also, because you're only making one cup at a time and not a full pot, you'll be conserving coffee usage.
- Variety – There are literally tens of thousands of coffee flavors to choose from.
- Compact – Single serve coffee machines come in all shapes and sizes. However, most of them take up minimal counter space and can fit in virtually any kitchen.
- Easy to Clean – You can easily clean the small and removable parts of your machine in the dishwasher. An easy way of cleaning the interior of your coffee maker is by pouring in white vinegar and water into it. This is known as descaling. Some machines like the Cuisinart SS-10 have self-cleaning features for added convenience.
Best Single Serve Coffee Makers
Keurig K Elite – K Cup Machine (Best K Cup Machine Overall)
We've tried our share of the best single serve coffee makers, and in our opinion, the Keurig K-Elite easily takes the number one spot on this list. Brews made with this machine were both consistent and robust. The user interface is incredibly easy to operate and is perfect for those looking for a no-hassle brew. It's 75 ounce reservoir is impressively large and can hold about 9 cups of coffee. This perfect for times when you're hosting guests or just want more than one cup of coffee for yourself. This machine takes about 90 seconds to heat each morning which is quite speedy. After making over 500 cups of coffee in this machine, I can confidently say this is easily one of the best single serve coffee makers on the market in terms of pure value and performance. For more information on the Keurig K-Elite, check out our full review.
What we like about the Keurig K Elite
- Huge water 75 ounce water reservoir
- Very easy to use
- Produces consistently robust cup of coffee
- Versatile (5 different sizes along with a hot water only option)
Cuisinart SS-10 Single Serve Coffee Maker
This attractively priced single serve coffee maker by Cuisinart is perfect for both the new coffee lover and the seasoned veteran. The Cuisinart SS-10 is a K-Cup compatible brewer features a 72 ounce water reservoir (slightly less that the Keurig K Elite) and has an impressive warm up time of around 90 seconds. Although this machine comes with a wealth of customization options, its well-designed interface and LED-lit control panel make brewing coffee fairly quick and easy. Coffee produced by the Cuisinart SS-10 is consistently flavorful and balanced. One of our favorite features of this machine is its a self-cleaning rinse feature which allows you to easily clean the inside of the brew chamber. Lastly, the machine also comes with a reusable filter that fits conveniently in a hidden compartment along the right side of the machine.
What we like about the Cuisinart SS-10
- Large water 72 ounce water reservoir
- Many customization options
- Comes with reusable filter so you don't have to use K-Cups and Coffee Pods if you don't want to
- Produces coffee that's very full-flavored and robust
Simpresso (Best Portable Espresso Maker)
The Simpresso, as it's name suggests, is all about making espresso simply. We've had our hands on this impressive portable espresso maker for some years now and it continues to deliver a robust espresso with rich crema to boot. It's compatible with Simpresso Smart Capsules (8-9 grams Capacity) and Nespresso®* Original capsules. Boasting up to 19 bars of pressure, this practical device is not only able to deliver a deliciously rich cup of espresso while on the go, but it's also incredibly durable and made from 100% BPA materials. Read our full Simpresso review for more details.
What we like about the Simpresso
- Durable and easy to use
- Simpresso smart capsules allow you to use your favorite espresso brand
- 19 bars of pressure
- Transparent vessel allows you to easily see volume
Best Single Serve Coffee Maker with Built in Grinder – Jura E8
Jura needs no introduction when it comes to high end coffee and espresso makers. The Jura E8 makes this esteemed list for a number of reasons and is ideal for those who are working with a larger budget. First, as a fully automatic coffee machine, this masterpiece of an espresso machine offers a wealth of luxurious bells and whistles for the connoisseur. The first is a one-touch Cappucino function that allows you to make specialties such as latte macchiato, flat white and cappuccinos at the single touch of a button. The Jura E8 delivers 12 different coffee options with an option to add milk and foam. The Pulse Extraction Process (P.E.P.©) on the Jura E8 one-touch espresso machine is the only process of its kind in the world and helps set it apart from its competitors. Finally, the Jura E8 comes with an incredibly quiet and efficient built-in AromaG3 grinder that offers 6 different grind settings. The convenient double spout allows you to brew two single servings at once.
What we like about the Jura E8
- Fully automatic espresso maker for the ultimate convenience
- Very impressive grinder with 6 grind settings
- Convenient user interface
- Delivers incredibly good coffeehouse-quality espresso using PEP technology
If you're looking for a Nespresso machine that produces a deeply foamy and smooth crema, look no further. With the touch of a single button, you can brew a variety of different brews to fill 5 different cup sizes. For added convenience, capsules are automatically ejected after brewing. Another impressive feature of this machine is its intelligent extraction system that recognizes each coffee blend. Using a barcode placed on the rim of each capsule, the machine is able to read and follow the brewing parameters for that particular flavor and deliver optimal results. As you may have guessed, this machine takes Nespresso capsules. For some this is limiting. However, it's also worth noting that Nespresso capsules come in almost 30 different flavors giving you a wide selection to choose from. If you're ok with sticking with Nespresso Pods, you won't go wrong with the Breville Vertuo.
What we like about the Breville Vertuo Nespresso Machine
- Single touch brewing makes for a very convenient coffee / espresso experience
- Intelligent extraction system means the machine will know the flavor of your coffee beforehand and set optimal brewing parameters
- 5 cups sizes
- Super frothy and smooth foam