Last updated: September 5, 2021

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It's important to start the day off on the right foot if you want to make the most of it. For many people, this means having a good breakfast. It should include carbohidrates, such as cereals, and protein, such as white cheese. And don't forget fruits and their much-needed vitamins. Naturally, the majority of us also like to enjoy coffee, and single-serve makers are perfect for this.

This kitchen appliance will allow you to brew your favorite coffee in a matter of seconds. It's a quick and easy way to enjoy this delicious beverage, be it at breakfast or any other time of the day. Single-serve coffee makers are a great alternative to other coffee machines. In the following guide, we'll teach you all there is to know about this wonderful appliance.




Key Facts

  • There is a wide range of different single-serve coffee makers on the market, each of which offers different features. One of their perks is that most models allow you to use single doses or ground coffee.
  • Some of these models even let you prepare cappuccinos as well as espressos. Choosing one of these options will give you greater variety when the time comes to brew one up.
  • Most single-serve coffee machines sold on the market are fairly compact. This makes them ideal for even the smallest of kitchens. That way, you won't feel like your coffee maker is taking up the whole space on your countertop. You can even find car-specific models to be charged with the battery and placed in the cupholder.

Our selection: The best single-serve coffee makers

One of the best ways to learn more about the characteristics of single-serve coffee makers is to discover the most popular models out there. In the following section, you can read our selection of the best products on the market. We've based our ranking on customer ratings and reviews. Pay attention to the different characteristics and functions of each model to make the best purchase depending on your needs.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about single-serve coffee makers

We're ready to bet that you've already learned a great deal about single-serve coffee makers and their features by reading our selection above. Now that you know more about the best models available on the market, let's look at other factors to make the right decision. We'll also tell you how these appliances work, and what types of coffee you can brew with them.

Coffee machines come in a great variety of designs, and you can choose the one that best fits your style.
(Source: Marina Troshenkova: 112077487/ 123rf.com)

What is a single-serve coffee maker exactly?

This compact appliance is a simple way to brew up a cup of coffee. It features a water tank from which the liquid travels to the compartment in which you place a single dose. Some models also include an accessory to allow you to prepare the single dose with your favorite ground coffee. once the water and coffee are ready, all you have to do is press a button.

Is a single-serve machine the same as a pod coffee maker?

Some people think that a single-serve coffee maker is the same as a capsule coffee machine. This mistake isn't helped by websites that sell these appliances under the very same name. In reality, these two products simply aren't the same. By definition, a pod coffee maker uses pods or capsules, while the other uses single doses. Make sure you know the difference in order to purchase the coffee machine you want.

T.H. Chan School of Public HealthHarvard University, Massachusetts
"While water is always the best choice for quenching your thirst, coffee can count towards your daily fluid goals. Although caffeine has a mild diuretic effect, it is offset by the total amount of fluid from the coffee."

What types of coffee machines are there on the market?

As we mentioned in the previous section, many are still confused with the wide range of coffee makers available on the market. We want you to feel confident with this, so we've prepared a list to give you the main characteristics of each coffee machine. Note that we've selected the models that are most frequently used in homes.

  • Drip coffee makers. Also called filter machines, they are among the best-selling types. They feature a water tank and a metal filter in which you place a paper filter. The water goes through the filter and extracts the coffee to make a cup.
  • Moka pots. These Italian coffee makers prepare full-bodied coffee with intense flavor. They consist of two coiled compartments separated by a filter in which the coffee is placed. Put in the lower section, the water raises when boiling. It passes through the coffee filter before reaching the upper part, and your coffee is ready.
  • French presses. They are also called coffee plungers. These models are generally made of glass, allowing you to see the whole brewing process. Coffee and boiling water are directly joined in the brewer. Let it sit for three to five minutes, then lower the metal filter to the bottom of the coffee maker. This method separates the coffee from the grounds, the latter of which is trapped under the filter.
  • Combo coffee makers. These appliances allow you to brew different types of coffee. They are similar to those you find in bars and cafés, but are more compact. They feature tanks for water and milk, while the coffee is placed in a filter, through which the water passes. The milk is incorporated hot, or in the form of foam, directly into your cup.
  • Capsule coffee machines. Similar to drip coffee makers mentioned above, they use capsules instead of a filter. These may contain different varieties of coffee. The water passes through the capsules before dripping into the cup. You can now find products with milk, hot chocolate, infusions or even broths.
  • Single-serve coffee makers. Very similar to the product above, they use single-dose pods or pads. Certain models can directly work with ground coffee.

What are the different parts of these coffee makers?

It is also interesting for you to know the different elements of a single-serve coffee maker, as well as their respective functions. This will help you better understand how these kitchen appliances actually work. In the following table, we've given you a quick description of each of these parts:

Part Function
Water tank You should make sure that this removable element always has enough water to brew coffee.
External structure Made from plastic, it can present different designs and colors.
Thermoblock system This part is responsible for heating the water using the least energy possible.
Pressure pump The high-pressure pump is designed to propel the water through the single dose.
Single-dose compartment This is naturally the place where the coffee pods are set and through which the water passes to brew your coffee.
Nozzle The pressurized water comes out through the nozzle and perforates the single dose. Coffee is made and poured into your cup.

How should I use my single-serve coffee maker?

Now that we've reviewed the main components of these kitchen appliances, you probably want to know how to use your coffee machine. We've prepared another simple table to help you better understand what it consists of. In addition, you will learn the different steps needed to brew the perfect cup of coffee.

Step What you should do
Read the instructions: While single-serve coffee makers are easy to use, it's always good to read the instructions before you start.
Water:  Fill the water tank without exceeding the recommended limit. This removable element is generally located on the back of the coffee machine.
Plug the machine:  You should then plug the coffee maker into the electric current. The machine's lights should turn on instantly.
Single doses:  You can now place your pod in the appropriate compartment by following the instructions.
Brew your coffee:  Once you've completed all the steps above, all that's left to do is press the button to prepare your favorite drink!

What are the advantages and disadvantages of single-serve coffee makers?

Now that we're reaching the end of our shopping guide, you should feel confident about why you want to purchase this type of coffee machine. You've also learned how to use it properly, as well as its main features. That being said, there are still a few factors we want you to know regarding single-dose coffee makers. Before we get to that, here is a recap of their main perks and disadvantages:

Advantages
  • Making coffee with them is very easy
  • Your coffee is always perfectly brewed
  • You can use ground coffee
  • There is a wide variety of coffees available
Disadvantages
  • It can be hard to find pods
  • Some models are fairly expensive
  • Some machines can be a bit noisy

Shopping Criteria

This is the last section of our article, and we want to go over another series of aspects that you should evaluate when purchasing your single-serve coffee maker. This appliance can clearly be the perfect choice to brew your favorite coffee every morning, and we want you to choose the right model for your home. This is why we will look at the following criteria:

Maintenance

How to maintain your single-serve coffee maker is one of the most fundamental aspects to consider. Your appliance should be easy to clean. You should also check which parts of the machine are removable before purchasing it. Products with a self-cleaning mode are very useful, with some models also featuring systems to eliminate the lime building up in the machine. You are recommended to use bottled water in order to avoid this issue.

Ground coffee

As we discussed earlier on in our guide, some single-serve coffee makers not only work with pods, but also with ground coffee. This is a fantastic feature to opt for because you'll always be able to use regular coffee in case you run out of pods. In addition, ground coffee tends to be more affordable than single doses. However, some people think that coffee made from pods tastes better.

Manufacturer

You would be well advised to learn more about the coffee machine's manufacturer. Keep in mind that it can be hard to find adequate pods for lesser-known brands. If you have an issue with your coffee maker, it will also be much easier to find technical service for more prestigious manufacturers. On the other hand, value for money is an aspect you should never neglect; don't pay more simply for the brand.

Design

You will probably want to place your single-serve coffee makers on your countertop. This is why you may be interested in finding a functional model that is also esthetically pleasing with an attractive design. In reality, the vast majority of models on the market offer polished finish, so this shouldn't be an issue. Simply opt for the coffee maker that will best fit in your kitchen décor.

Coffee is very versatile and is ideal with all your meals and snacks.
(Source: Peter Bernik: 25526028/ 123rf.com)

Bar pressure

The bars of these machines determine their pressure. The higher this value is, the more intense the coffee you brew with your single-serve coffee maker will be. Most models feature between 15 and 19 bars, although 9 bars is plenty enough to prepare a good espresso. Car coffee makers with even less pressure will still brew delicious coffee.

Summary

As you can see, a single-serve coffee maker is a fantastic option to enjoy your favorite beverage. These appliances are very easy to use and to maintain. Some models will even function with ground coffee, which means that you don't even need pods to use them. Check whether the model you want to buy has this function before making your purchase.

Don't neglect the design of your single-serve coffee maker; you'll most likely want it to blend into your kitchen. The majority of these appliances are quite compact, so this shouldn't be an issue for you. If you want to avoid having problems with your coffee maker in the long run, we encourage you to opt for well-known brands. Finally, keep in mind the importance of the bars your machine offers.

(Source of featured image: Rich Townsend: 95576980/ 123rf.com)

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