Modern: 12 Best Single Serve Coffee Makers

Does it feel like you never have enough time in your day? Are you someone who needs a lot of time to get moving and motivated in the morning? With our lives always running on high, technology seems to be always keeping up with us, or are we running to keep up with them? Faster, better, stronger, more time, less fuss – our products and appliances need to keep pace with our hectic lives, and us to their ever-changing pace.

One of the conveniences from technology is the single serving coffee maker. These are nothing new on the market, since they have been around for many years, but they certainly have come a long way over the past 20 years, or more.

The ability to program them and the advancement of the pods or single servings of a filtered pouch are great for those with not only limited time, but who only want the one cup in the morning, or the ability to have one cup and then fill your coffee mug with a fresh brewed cup of coffee for the commute to work or school.


Nespresso VertuoLine Evoluo DeluxeNespresso VertuoLine Evoluo Deluxe

This Nespresso model uses capsules, and they are available with regular grounds and espresso. This machine can easily brew both regular coffee and espresso ground beans with one simple touch of a button to switch over, and it has the Aeroccino Plus milk frother. It only takes one touch of the button for hot or cold milk froth.

It features a large water tank – 54 ounces allows user to get plenty of coffee before needing to refill. It has two different capsule sizes, large for regular coffee and the smaller size for espresso.

The capsules are easy to put in and take out, but are only suitable for this particular machine. There are multiple varieties of flavors and roasts for the coffee capsules.

The unit will go into automatic off setting after 9 minutes of the last brew, and the machine has a very fast heat up time of only 15 seconds.

Another bonus is the auto clean option. It has a space for the used coffee capsules – holding 17 before you need to remove them. The milk frother can be removed and put right in the dishwasher.

This unit is on the higher end of the price range for single serve coffee makers.


Keurig K55/K-Classic Coffee MakerKeurig K55/K-Classic Coffee Maker

The Keurig name is no stranger to the coffee maker game, and they are in the forefront in the development of the single serve coffee maker. These very popular machines use the pod called the K-Cup in their machines, and this Classic model can use the 6, 8, or 10 ounce pods.

There is a good sized water tank of 48 ounces to get in 6 good cups before you need to refill and it is removable, making it easy to refill or to clean and maintain.

An auto-off feature can be programmed to turn off your coffee maker after it has been idle for two hours. You can use the tea or hot chocolate pods with this machine, and it has a removable drip tray to accommodate your travel mug and is easy to clean.

It comes with four K-Cup pods, a water filter handle, and two water filters.


Cuisinart SS 10 Premium Single Serve BrewerCuisinart SS 10 Premium Single Serve Brewer

The name Cuisinart goes hand in hand with your kitchen appliances, and for good reason. They cover the ground completely when it comes to cooking, from crockery to cutlery. It’s no surprise that they would also have their own extensive line of coffee makers.

This compact model is perfect for smaller kitchens or countertops with limited space. You can use the K-Cup pods with this machine, and you have your choice between 5 different cup sizes. It’s fully programmable and features an adjustable brew temperature. Plus, this compact unit has a big water tank, 72 ounces, and it has a reusable coffee filter.

It also has a hot water only option for tea, soup, hot chocolate, or if you just need to rinse out a few items. It has an easy clean system to rinse the unit through. This is a nice machine and won’t break the bank.


Hamilton Beach FlexBrew Single-Serve Coffee BrewerHamilton Beach FlexBrew Single-Serve Coffee Brewer

Hamilton Beach is another name widely recognized in the appliance world – from bread to waffles, they are behind you all the way.

This coffee maker model, with their brand of FlexBrew, refers to the fact that you can brew one cup of coffee or remove the cup rest and make a whole pot. This includes the ability to use their interchangeable larger brew basket or the single serve container holder.

It will use all types of pods, including the K-Cup pods, and the cup rest is adjustable, allowing for different sized mugs or to fit your travel mug. They also have their own line of flavored teas.

It’s easy to clean, and removable parts of stainless steel can be run right through the dishwasher. Unit will shut off automatically after it is finished brewing.

It comes with a one year warranty, and this is well within anyone’s budget. It’s a great, flexible machine for a great price. You can’t miss with this one.


KitchenAid Personal Brewer Coffee MakerKitchenAid Personal Brewer Coffee Maker

A popular brand name for all things kitchen appliance related, this is the perfect little coffee machine for the person who just needs that quick one cup of coffee.

You can make the coffee right in the travel mug that comes with the machine, or you can use your own. Maybe you want to drink one cup while your travel mug fills for the commute ahead. Perfect for that.

This machine comes with a reusable Gold Tone coffee filter and the 18-ounce thermal travel coffee mug. This machine comes available in assorted colors. This compact and sleek model is perfect for the small counter space and has a removable water tank to refill or clean.

It’s really easy to use and maintain, has a one touch start, auto shut off, and the cord can be tucked away. If small and steady wins the race, this is the machine for you. It’s reasonably priced. The reusable coffee filter means no waste.


Keurig HOT 2.0 K475 Plus Series Brewing SystemKeurig HOT 2.0 K475 Plus Series Brewing System

The Keurig family of coffee makers has much to offer with their extensive line of single serve coffee makers, and this model offers a lot of great features for a decent price.

It has an adjustable brew strength for those who prefer a stronger cup in the morning or a bolder taste. It has 10 brew sizes from 4 to 30 ounces, from just a small mug to their carafe size. It has a setting for other beverages such as tea, iced drinks, and specialty coffees. It uses the K-Cup pods and has a large, 70-ounce water tank so it is easy to refill and clean up.

It offers a removable drip tray to fit other sized mugs or the carafe or travel mug. The programmable clock is to set times to start and shut off. It also has maintenance alerts for cleaning and 5 different temperature choices.

You also have your choice of 3 different languages – English, French, and Spanish. There are loads of features and it is in the mid range for pricing.


Starbucks Verismo V BrewerStarbucks Verismo V Brewer

Love them or hate them, it’s hard to have a conversation about coffee without Starbucks sticking their filter in. They have several machines available and also have some compatible with the K-Cup.

Not surprising, it makes a great cup of coffee for you at home, and also not surprising is their machine is priced like their coffee, high. Their coffee pods for using in this coffee maker are also expensive.

The machine can make regular coffee and espresso, and for added coffee pleasure, they have a milk frothing machine available for cappuccino and lattes. The milk frother is sold separately.

The large 77-ounce water tank can be removed to easily fill up or for regular cleanings. It can brew up to an 8-ounce cup of coffee. It also features an automatic shut off, push button easy to use functions, and easy to make espresso types of drinks due to the high pressure capability.

If you love Starbucks, it may be the perfect machine to enjoy their beverages at your own home. It is pricier than some and doesn’t offer as many features as many units well below their selling price. This is for the Starbucks lover, for sure.


Keurig K15 Mini Plus Brewing SystemKeurig K15 Mini Plus Brewing System

This compact personal coffee maker is the ultimate in single cup coffee makers. Its size makes it perfect for those with small kitchens or limited counter space. It’s also great in your holiday camper, dorm room, or personal office space.

Don’t let the size fool you, this machine can put out. It has a removable drip tray to fit your travel mugs, and also features an automatic shut-off .

You can use all the available 500 brands and varieties of K-Cup pods, with tea, hot chocolate, and specialty coffees, and you can also use their own reusable coffee filter.


Nespresso by Breville Essenza Mini Espresso MakerNespresso by Breville Essenza Mini Espresso Maker

This compact, sleek model of coffee maker is small, but big on coffee. It’s perfect for the tiny kitchen counter or easy storage, and can be used in your own personal office space or dorm room.

It has fast, reliable brew under a minute, and you can get an espresso in a single or double shot. It heats up very quickly, within 25 seconds, and has 2 settings of auto shutdown, low energy after 3 minutes, and a complete shut down after only 9 minutes.

The water tank is removable for easy refills or cleaning, and the machine will automatically spit the used pods out, faster than a toddler with a bite of a brussel sprout.

With a one touch button system, it’s a nice little machine that won’t break the bank for those espresso lovers out there.


Touch Choice Single Serve Coffee BrewerTouch Choice Single Serve Coffee Brewer

There are several coffee makers in the Touch Choice line. This one has a large 90- ounce water tank that is removable to refill or for cleaning.

Three choices of brew strength include mild, medium, and bold, to suit all the tastes in the household or just your moods. You have a choice of 5 different cup sizes, from 5 to 14 ounces, and the the drip trap can be removed or adjusted for cup size and travel mugs.

This unit can be used with with all K-Cup pods. It brews it super hot, up to 200°F, and it’s super fast, as well. Their own Rapid Brew Technology gets you brewing in under 20 seconds. The automatic shut off kicks in when it is not in use, and it has a brushed silver finish to mix and match with all your other appliances.

This is a nice machine – it performs well but is one of the higher priced brands.


Hamilton Beach FlexBrew 2-Way Coffee MakerHamilton Beach FlexBrew 2-Way Coffee Maker

Here is another from the Hamilton Beach line of single serve coffee makers. The two way refers to the ability to make a single cup of coffee or the whole carafe.

Cups size is available in 10 or 14 ounces, and the carafe will hold 12 cups. You can also do them both at the same time. The carafe actually comes with the coffee maker.

It is compatible with the K-Cup but you don’t have to use a K-Cup, and there is a grounds basket with a fine screen to reduce grounds in your coffee. There is an adjustable cup rest to fit tall mugs, and the pack-piercing tool removes for easy cleaning and to prevent clogging.

There are separate water reservoirs for each side. Both are easy to fill and have a water window, so you can monitor the water level in each tank. There is a choice of regular or bold brew strength on both sides, to suit all tastes.

This machine has a lot of features. The single serve and the carafe choices, as well as the adjustable and programmable options are hard to beat, as is the price. This machine can be purchased with all these features for well below the price of some machines that offer way less. It’s a great machine from a trusted name.


Cuisinart Compact Single Serve Coffee MakerCuisinart Compact Single Serve Coffee Maker

Here’s one more from the Cuisinart line of fine appliances. This particular unit is K-Cup-compatible and can make a variety of hot or cold drinks.

It has an easy push button start for 3 different cup sizes: 6, 8, and 10 ounces. The 40-ounce water tank can easily be removed for refilling or easy cleaning. There is also an automatic shut off after 30 minutes of not being used. This machine comes in brushed steel to match with your toaster and other appliances for the whole ensemble look.



Buyer’s Guide

Well, there is a good list of single serve coffee makers to help you get an idea of what is out there. Most of these machines will deliver what they promise, and most have a decent warranty to stand behind their products and their name. There are plenty of choices out there on the market, so if you are looking to buy a single serving coffee maker, here are a few helpful tips.


  • Fast. Most of these coffee makers can finish their brewing process within a minute or two. Plus, if you have several people in the house drinking coffee, you can all have the flavors you all want without compromise and without waiting. The machines heat up fast, and make the coffee fast.


  • With one simple touch of the button, the machine starts its warm up and then brewing process, all usually within a minute. On many of the models available, you can pre-program the machine to start and then shut down at a particular times, so you can have a fresh cup of coffee waiting as soon as you wake up, and not have to worry if you left the machine on later when you are at work.


  • These programmable computerized machines allow you to preset the time you want it to start, but also many of them have an automatic shut off system, to save energy and provide safety. Plus, you can get some of the newer models with more than one language, to broaden your language skills. French for French roast, nes pas?


  • Many of these units can make different sizes of coffee, and some will have the capacity for a carafe or removable drip tray to fit in a travel mug. The choice of other flavors, tea, and iced beverages is also a great feature to use the same machine for other drinks besides coffee. It’s also great if you and someone else each want a different flavor or type of coffee. You can each have your own special type of coffee without making two full pots or having to wait a long time.


  • This can be a big one, especially if you are on a tight budget. Some of these machines are upwards to well over a hundred dollars, which might be too steep for many people, when you can get a perfectly good machine for twenty dollars. The cost of buying the pods is also steeper than even some premium coffee, pound for pound. Many types of the machines come with their own brewing capsules or containers, and many are made to accommodate the K-Pods, which are pricey. Interestingly, although many brands will take the K-Cup pods, the Keurig machines are making it so theirs won’t be able to read the other cheaper brands that are available.


  • The pods aren’t recyclable: some have parts that are, but not entirely, and are rapidly becoming mountains in landfills. There are some machines that have different types of grounds receptacles, so if you are concerned about this, it might be wise to look for those types of coffee makers.


  • Not all of these machines talk to each other, so some machines don’t allow the use of all the other coffee pods or capsules. Adjusting them to fit your machine can leave your coffee too strong, or too weak, or just not working at all. Some of the sold separate features, like K-Cups or filters may not always fit each different type of coffee maker. It can get expensive, in particular if your coffee machine choice has limited flavors or has overly high priced coffee pods and accessories.


  • Buying a single serve coffee maker can seem like a great idea initially, but it is only great if it’s only you, or one other person. It is not convenient if you have guests who all want coffee. You need to make several cups at a time and this can be time consuming and costly. Even if it is just two people, that is a minimum of two pods per day, if not more, and that can not only add up in the cost of the pods, but by the end of the week it’s a lot of pods going in the garbage.  If you have to buy another coffee maker in order to accommodate guests, it’s another cost, and more space needed to store it.

Environmental Impact

The impact on the environment with the use of the plastic pods is nothing new in the world of a pod-using, single serve coffee machine. With the millions of people, both at home and commercially, using these types of machines, that’s a lot of waste.

You might not think you are having much of an impact, with your one or two pods a day, but now times that by several million households who only use one or two a day. Let’s also factor in all the offices who may use anywhere from 50 to 100 a day, and the cafeteria and the hospital and the corner coffee shop – now we’re talking impact.

It is because the K-Cup is made of plastic that also has a filter, coffee grounds, and plastic foil top – it isn’t very easy or convenient to try to separate each part for the purposes of recycling. With absolutely billions of these little plastic pods in the landfills every year, you need to ask yourself if that speedy cup of coffee is worth it.

Interestingly, the founder of the Keurig coffee machine doesn’t actually own one himself.  He has expressed regrets at times for conceiving it, and not because he sold his shares for a comparatively low price, but for the impact it is having on the environment.

There is also the environmental impact on making the pods to begin with, that generates waste, pollution, and so many tons of plastic that isn’t actually used and is waste product straight from the factory. The greenhouse emissions and the water used to produce the plastic cups is enormous.

There was a way around this issue where consumers could buy a different brand of reusable pods, but with the new 2.0 brewing system, that is no longer an option, which to many minds, is just greed. The ability to buy your own coffee and fill the pods each time is a smart, economically sound idea, not to mention a relief to the landfill, but the newer machines have seen that it no longer can happen.

It’s like when your phone company or computer company keeps changing the head of the charger – it really comes down to money. But for a company that has always had the environmental finger pointed at them, and have seen sales drop, it seems like the smarter thing to do would be to stay ahead of it, rather than try to simply cash in.

The separate pieces of the pods themselves can be recycled, but the task of taking everything apart and putting them in each of their proper receptacles is a daunting task for the single cup user’s, and a near impossibility for the commercial user.

The Keurig company has since introduced recyclable pods for use, and claims that all the pods will be recyclable by the year 2020. But as the small pods consists of four separate parts, so you need to separate the pod parts. The pods have of a combination of plastic pod, the aluminum cover, organic material, which is the coffee grounds, and the paper filter.

While all of these items can be easily recycled separately, these pods cannot be recycled as a whole. Each of the components need to be separated and sorted into the categories for their recycling or composting. The paper filter is heat sealed inside the plastic, so it’s not easy to remove, and there again, not convenient.

Ain’t nobody got time for that. If you have someone in the house who is artsy, or maybe there is a preschool or a kindergarten near by who could use them for making things, or maybe your own kids or neighbors can reuse the plastic pods for some art projects, or other do-it-yourself types of tasks around the home, then you could recycle the pods. Perhaps you could make something in the garden, or do a school project. There are likely favorable options all over the internet.

Well, if you do care about the earth, there are a few new gadgets that will cut the tops off of the pods to help the ease and speed up the recycling process for you. There are several out on the market and not all of them will work the same, and not all of them will be as easy to use on all the pods. Again, it’s up to you. It might just be a novelty at first, and then it gets to be tiresome, or you cut yourself, or you just start to forget and then it’s just another gadget in the junk drawer, along with the bottle topper and the pedometer.

So, here we are. Back at the landfill. We all know that the K-cup coffee and tea pods are difficult to recycle because of the four materials: a plastic cup, which is lined with a heat-sealed paper filter, and the a polyethylene-coated aluminum foil top that is for the scan. Sure, the packaging keeps coffee fresh, but the cartridges are not biodegradable.

When you look at the big picture, you need to decide if your one minute cup of coffee coming out of your 150 dollar machine is still worth the price. It’s easy to look at the convenience of it all, and your pretty, sleek machine that makes tea and lemonade and hot cocoa for the cold days but the back end of it all may not be worth it all, in the long run. It takes a minute to make the coffee and a lifetime to get rid of the evidence.

Steps are being made to make the pods more environmentally friendly, but much of the damage is already done. If you are serious about closing in on your footprint, you can consider a French press type of coffee maker or the regular twenty dollar coffee makers, some that have reusable filters. It is just coffee, after all, and if you are making it at home to save money and stop buying from the fancy brand name coffee shops, there are cleaner ways to do that. It’s up to you.


If you are looking to buy one, look around, ask around and really do your homework on this one. Is the convenience of having a cup of coffee ready in under a minute really worth the 500 years or so for the earth to break down the plastic pods? Just one pod – nevermind the billions that are being used each year.

The coffee is good and there are some really nice single serve coffee makers out there, but you can get a single cup of coffee from a regular type of pot. There are plenty of regular coffee makers that make a single or two cups of coffee at a time, that have a standard filter in the maker that doesn’t even require a paper filter.

If you are seriously looking at the types of coffee makers mentioned here, you should consider the overall cost. Many of them can be very expensive, and you need to consider that when making a purchase. It might be nice for the convenience and speed of the brewing process, but if you find yourself buying more coffee elsewhere throughout the day, it can add up.

If you entertain a lot of people, and have more than one or two regular coffee drinkers in your household, the cost of the coffee containers can really add up. It adds up as a monetary cost to you, but also to the environment. If there is a need to make more than one or two cups per day, if you drink a lot of coffee, or have people in regularly for dinner or other social functions, then choose one that can also make a pot or carafe full, to save on the individual containers.

If you are choosing the type of coffee maker that can make a carafe full, try to find the type that don’t use the single container, but has a reusable filter. That way you are cutting down on the expense of the containers and not creating more waste than you need to.

There are different shapes and models – some are rather large and heavy, and others are perfect for your smaller, limited spaces. Not that these machines take up a great deal of space, but it might be a good idea to measure the area where it will go before hand, in case you have very little space or if you are buying the coffee maker for a dorm room, camper trailer, or your tiny little office cubicle.

Some of the machines have the ability to make other types of drinks, teas, iced coffee, or teas and specialty coffees. They are usually very convenient and can be done with a one touch adjustment. Plus, there may be a separate function to dispense just hot water for other things like soups, instant coffee, tea, and cold remedies.

Keep in mind that there are problems that can arise with any appliance, so check over the user manual carefully, in particular the parts about care and maintenance. Learn how to take the machine’s removable parts out and how to clean them properly and look for damage, flaws, or any kind of debris that may be attached or built up on them.

You should keep up regular maintenance on any appliance that comes in contact with your food and drink, so regular cleaning and care is important for these types of machines. Depending on what type of water you have, a good descaling solution should be used on a regular basis.

If you are making adjustment to the coffee containers themselves to fit into your brand of coffee maker, be aware that they may not always work properly, and if they cause damage of any kind, it may void your warranty. Many of the coffee grounds containers will work with other machines, so be sure to check that they will work.

There is certainly no shortage of coffee available and there is no shortage on methods of how to make that perfect cup of coffee. Technology keeps advancing and making the coffee makers faster, sleeker, and easier. But sometimes coffee doesn’t need it. Sometimes it’s just nice to linger over the sound and smells of coffee brewing and then enjoy the cup of fresh coffee in an unhurried way.

For those of you who are concerned about the world you live in, there are many different types of coffee makers available, and for way less than even a week’s purchase of the coffee pods. A regular old drip machine that uses paper filters, you can even buy recycled paper filters, is still a viable option.

Many of these types of machines come with their own reusable filter, so there is no waste except the coffee ground themselves, and those you can use on the slugs in the garden or in your house plants. The reusable filters are easily cleaned and last for years, and are easily replaced. Plus, it allows the residue to build up inside and enhance the coffee flavor.

A French type of coffee press uses no filter and makes a great cup of coffee, and you can let it brew for a long or as little as you like, and add your own special types of coffee. Bought by the pound is way less expensive than a pound of pod coffees.

There are stove top percolators where you can watch the coffee bubble up inside the glass bulb, and the smell takes over the whole kitchen. Whichever way you go, it’s always better to ask friends and family about their experiences. Ask several people, as one opinion isn’t homework. Some may love a certain brand or type of machine where someone else may have had nothing but trouble with it and it has caused endless cost and headache.

There is no shortage of single cup coffee makers on the market, so good luck with your comparison shopping, take a good look at what you need, where you need it, and how much you have in your budget for it. The first pretty one you see might look nice, but it is the most practical for your needs that you should buy.

Happy coffee brewing to you, one cup at a time.