The Best Single Serve Coffee Makers Are Actually Affordable
When all you need is a quick and easy way to get your caffeine fix, you’ll want a single serve coffee maker that brews one cup at a time. Here are the most personal reviews of the best options for the money.
FYI, Prices and ratings are accurate as of time of writing.
1. Keurig K-Mini Coffee Maker
Top-rated: 59,848 ratings
Highlight: Less than 5 inches wide; perfect for small spaces.
Helpful review: "I was one of those very early buyers of one of the first Keurig K-Cup machines before they got to be such a common kitchen accessory. I’ve stuck with them when their machines went from well built to essentially throw away junk, and when they tried – and failed – to lock users in to only using their own brand of pods using a dubious lockout scheme.
Over time to get the quality I wanted I moved from their plasticky home brewers to their commercial products and at this point own a K-150 which I think is one of their best ever products. So point number one, I am not new to the Keurig ecosystem and point number two is I really didn’t absolutely need another brewer. At least I didn’t think I did.
ORIGIN OF THE MINI
However, as I travel I note that many of the hotels I’ve stayed in have the original Keurig single serve compact brewer so I always travel with a few coffee, tea and sometimes hot chocolate pods so I can brew a quick cup in my room. That hotel room version is (was) nice but poorly designed and not really suitable for home use. When I first saw this new upgraded K-Mini model I got really interested. I hoped it could be a viable choice to take with me when traveling due to its small size, to use at our cabin or vacation properties or even something even more special, something near and dear to my needs - as a single cup hot shot hot water dispenser for use with tea bags or other instant beverages.
THE HOT WATER MAGIC TRICK
You see, the world is in desperate need of a good single serve very fast hot water dispenser, but no one knows that. There is one very cheap model that’s been around forever that has more flaws than benefits, and a few models from Japan that are overpriced and also very flawed in design. Then there was one perfect model that was around for a couple of months that I should have bought a dozen of for fear that they would stop making it. They did stop and the one I bought still works but is now showing signs of slowly wearing out. I hoped this new Keurig could help me fill the void for something that I could use to make a boiling cup of water for a fast late night cup of tea or cocoa. And yes, this is it.
AS A COFFEE MAKER
As a single cup coffee brewer the mini does what you would hope and expect so I won’t dwell too much on that. You put a single pod into the familiar snap down receptacle and pour a cup of water into the permanently attached reservoir and push a single button and a couple of minutes later out pours your coffee. The good news is that if you don’t put a pod into it everything else happens the same way except what comes out is hot clean water that you can use for tea or anything else. And what’s nice is that you can choose anywhere between about 6 and 12 ounces of water depending on how much you pour in. Most other similar units parcel out a measured amount of water, usually exactly 8 ounces. This one pours back the same as you put in to it so you can make your tea, soup or cocoa as strong as you like..
WHY I LOVE IT
I typically reserve 5 stars for superstar products, the best of the best, and I have to tell you that this little gem has me very excited. It feels well made and not plasticky and the overall design is a lesson in simplicity yet perfection. The first thing I noticed is that there is a small cutout on the back to store some or all of the power cord in – and by the way it has a 3-prong grounded commercial grade plug. If you have it on your kitchen counter you can pull out only as much cord as you need to reach the outlet and if you travel with it you can easily stow the entire cord safely away. You literally don’t need any instructions, although they are well written, have large color illustrations, and are super easy to understand. After you plug it in you lift a hinged door on the top of the unit and pour water in, and you’re not limited to a fixed amount, you can fill it with anywhere between 6 and 12 ounces to suit your coffee strength taste or to fill a travel mug, and yes it will fill a full size auto mug with ease. After you put the water in you lift the handle, which automatically turns the power on, and insert a K-cup and press the handle back down and then press the very large brew button on top. When you do that the light surrounding the button stops flashing, the water heats up, and brews your coffee. 40 seconds after that, if you don’t do anything else like make another cup, the power turns itself off. I timed it from button press to filled cup and it took just under 1 minute and 18 seconds. And the water is super hot, cup after cup, unlike most similar brewers that get increasingly cooler for each cup.
One thing that interested me is that no water is wasted in the process, when I put exactly one cup into it exactly one cup comes out of it. Most coffee makers don’t do that. AND you don't have to clean it because there is no holding tank like full-size coffee makers, the water you pour in gets pulled right through, heated, and dispensed. No water sits inside to get moldy.
WHAT REALLY SOLD ME
You can tell I am impressed and excited about this thing. When I saw it I thought it would be nice to have but had no idea I would ever use it at home instead of my big fancy commercial grade brewer. I was so wrong. I actually have the two sitting side by side now and use the mini every time I need a cup of hot water for tea, soup, hot chocolate or anything else. But what I didn’t anticipate is that I would be using the mini for those times when I want to make one single K-cup of coffee during the day and I don’t want to have to wait for the entire tank of water in my full size brewer to heat up or I certainly don’t want to make a pot of traditional coffee. With the mini the entire process of making one cup takes about two minutes and there is zero cleanup or leftover water that can develop a bad taste. Despite some reviewers who didn't understand what this thing is, in reality it is the FASTEST way to make a cup of coffee from scratch in my kitchen. That means I’m using this thing two or three times every day now and it has become something I can’t be without. You know what that means, I better buy several of them now just in case they ever get discontinued.
BUY OR NOT
Nowhere is it claimed that this is a full sized and full featured coffee brewer. I mention that because of a couple of disappointed users who didn't understand that posted negative comments about the size of the water tank or that it isn't meant to be used with those fussy adapters that have to be manually filled with ground coffee. I have never seen the value in spending a half hour filling and cleaning those gadgets to save two cents - they defeat the entire purpose of the speed, convenience and zero cleanup of K-cups. And no, this doesn't even have a traditional multi-cup water tank, what you pour in gets heated and poured into your cup. That's why it's called a single serve brewer.
I’m baffled why anyone would think 2 minutes is too long to wait for a cup of coffee. The last time I was at Starbucks it took 10 minutes to get a cup of coffee, my full size Keurig takes over 10 minutes to warm up before I can make my first cup and my Bunn coffee maker also takes over 10 minutes. Most electric hot water makers take about 8 minutes to come to a boil and it takes about 5 minutes in a pot on my stove. Exactly what are they comparing it to that can boil a cup of water in less than 2 minutes?
If you compare this brewer to any other from the time you pour water into it until the time your cup of coffee is ready, at about 1 minute and 18 seconds this is the fastest I’ve ever seen. It’s a shame so many people are comparing a single-serve machine to full-size coffee makers that already have taken time to heat up an entire tank of water and all the user is doing is dispensing it. Duh, of course that’s going to be a few seconds “faster”.
The time it takes to boil a cup of water at sea level and at high altitudes is substantially different, that probably accounts for some people quoting different amounts of time for their brewer to heat up. That’s science, you can’t change it.
All Keurig brewers require that the brew button be pressed immediately after lowering the pod compartment handle. After several seconds the machine will go into standby and the handle will have to be lifted and lowered again. This likely explains those users who reported that their unit didn’t work or wouldn’t dispense water – they didn’t read the instructions.
THE FINAL WORD
Since the moment I opened the box this gadget has given me more satisfaction than anything I’ve seen so far this year. Everything about it is exactly as it should be. If you love the convenience of K-cups, like to make a quick cup of coffee, tea, cocoa or soup with zero prep time and zero cleanup, don't have a lot of counter space or need a personal brewer for a dorm room or office cubicle, or are looking for the perfect single cup hot water maker, this is what you're looking for. I recommend it." — PhotoGraphics
Get it from Amazon now: $79.99 & FREE Returns
2. Hamilton Beach FlexBrew Trio Coffee Maker with Two Single-Serve Brewing Options
Top-rated: 24,355 ratings
Highlight: This programmable coffee maker has Easy-Touch programming for wake-up ready coffee. After brewing, coffee stays warm for 2 hours and the power automatically shuts off.
Helpful review: "While I'm not a fan of another appliance on my counter, I'm a bigger fan of convenient, hot, nicely-brewed coffee. I'm now a fan of this coffee maker that serves my husband and me each morning and gives me 12 oz of an afternoon cup. Providing a 2-in-1 unit needs to be larger than the standard maker and I'm impressed that Hamilton Beach designed smartly.
Our coffee maker needs to park under upper shelves--which this one does easily at 14" tall. We've been using a "handy caddy" pull-out under our makers for a long time. (Saved our wood counter tops for years...and now provides a smooth glide forward/back on tile) Both water-well lids require open space above, so we pull our brewer forward. While forward, the Hamilton Beach needs a big footprint... approx 12" left-to-right and 22" front-to-back. The good news, is that the top of the maker doesn't get as hot and steamer as our older coffee makers, so once the coffee is brewed, I can slide it back to its parking spot under the counter.
Preparing coffee by either option is simple, straight-forward, and effective. There's ample room in both for pouring and I haven't dribbled/spilled trying to navigate a too-small space. Very pleased by this positive feature for me.
I am in a lot of homes who have higher end coffee makers--lots of Keurigs. It's a large piece of counter-top gear too and I wouldn't trade this 2-option Hamilton Beach for a Keurig. For me, it feels wasteful to whip through the K-cups and I've yet to find the right ratio for my ground coffee in the "do it yourself pod". But, for an afternoon mug, I easily justify one K-cup in my favorite dark roast.
Carafe Side: The buttons over the carafe are clear and simple. The carafe slides in and out smoothly (no tugging or tipping to pull out or return). The coffee is very hot (a plus). The ground basket lifts out easily and the water well is ample for me to pour water without spilling/dripping/dribbling.
Individual cup Side: A step-stool design to (a) store do it yourself pods or a k-cup doubles as a cup rest for your cup of coffee. This riser easily lifts out if (a) you want to retrieve/replace or (b) you have a tall travel mug. Mine is 7 3/4" tall -- I do have to slightly angle it under the dispenser, but I found that smooth.
The finish is done in a black matte which better camouflages finger prints (than shiny). The back (black) cord is (approx) 21" long, so... probably like most coffee makers, it needs to be nearer an outlet (to provide for pulling it out to pour water if under upper cabinets).
What impressed me a lot, about the single-cup, is how much better tasting and stronger my usual K-cup brand came out (12 oz amount)...and hotter... than the Keurigs I have used. (I know the temperature can be adjusted on the Keurig and even then... this H-Beach without adjusting the temperature...was hotter). The carafe side also puts out a smooth and hot(ter) cup of coffee than our former HB coffee maker.
This brewer does not beep when done (which I have no worries that I'll forget to check)--I prefer "no beep"
For a 10 cup carafe; 9minutes 38 seconds.
For a 12 oz travel mug; 3 minutes.
The carafe side "noise" seems standard--with a lean to more quiet than many past makers.
The K-Cup side is louder, which is expected--but this isn't an issue for me--short cycle to heat and dispense.
Each side has its own exterior-viewing water-level gauge
Two-hour keep warm cycle
Programmable (which I don't use)
The only "con" I have witnessed is that there are a few (3) drips when the individual "K cup" is "done". (an easy wipe up for me)
I am VERY happy with this Hamilton Beach!" — Heather LaRee
Get it from Amazon now: $104.99 & FREE Returns
3. Keurig K-Classic Coffee Maker
Top-rated: 79,906 ratings
Highlight: Automatic descaling (an important part of cleaning your Keurig brewer) removes calcium deposits, or scale, that can build up inside a coffee maker over time.
Helpful review: "Up until recently, I had never been much of a coffee drinker except for the occasional seasonal flavored latte drinks but I was having trouble keeping up with my very active twin toddlers. We already had a standard coffee maker but I didn't want to brew a whole pot of coffee at once and single-serve coffee makers seem to be very popular so I figured it couldn't hurt to give it a try. I had seen several different Keurig's from the basic ones to very fancy ones but wanted to purchase one that both fulfilled my needs to brew a single cup of coffee and wasn't too expensive so I opted to buy the Keurig K55 Coffee Maker in black.
When the Keurig arrived, I eagerly opened up the box to get it set up and start using it! I found it fairly simple to set up since there is a Use and Care Guide included and it's easy to follow the step-by-step instructions. I'd say the setup only takes a few minutes and then you are ready to brew your first cup of coffee. There are lights on the brewer that illuminate and walk you through the brewing process but once you are used to it, it becomes second nature and now, I don't even have to think about it, which is good in the early morning when I'm not thinking straight and need my coffee!
Brewing: To brew a cup of coffee is very simple. You'll need to turn on the brewer by pushing the power button. The power button and heating lights will illuminate and the Keurig will make some noises while it heats up. When the three cup sizes illuminate in blue, you know it's time to brew your coffee. Set your coffee mug on top of the drip tray and lift the handle for the K-cup pod holder. Place a K-cup pod in the holder and lower the handle completely until the three cup sizes are blinking. The three sizes are: small cup (5.25 ounces), small mug (7.25 ounces) and large mug (9.25 ounces). Select your size and the coffee will be ready in about a minute. If the water reservoir is low on water, the "add water" light will illuminate and the process won't continue until you've filled the reservoir. Once it's stopped dripping, you may remove your mug and enjoy your coffee! If someone else wants to brew a cup of coffee right after yours is done, all they have to do is remove your K-cup pod since they are single-use pods, add theirs and repeat the process.
Water Reservoir: The reservoir holds 48 ounces of water so you don't have to fill it up every time you want to brew a new cup of coffee, which is one of the reasons I selected this model. I make about two cups of coffee every day so I end up refilling the reservoir every few days. There are filters to use with the water but I purchase bottled water so I haven't used the filters at this point. When the reservoir needs to be filled, I remove the reservoir, take off the lid, fill it up with water, place the reservoir back in the Keurig and replace the top.
Cleaning: I feel this Keurig is fairly simple to clean. The drip tray is removable and I usually wipe it down with a damp paper towel a couple times a week and wash it in water, soapy water occasionally. I also like to wipe down the exterior since the front part of the Keurig gets splatters of coffee on it. You can also clean the pod holder, funnel, needles and water reservoir and lid. Be careful as the two needles used to puncture holes in the K-cup pods are very sharp.
Coffee Pods (the best part!): The Keurig K55 Coffee Maker uses the K-cup pods, which you can purchase nearly everywhere and there are many brands and flavors to choose from. You don't need to buy any specific brand with this coffee maker. As long as they are K-cups, they should work and I haven't come across any pods that don't work. I've been having a lot of fun purchasing different flavors and brands since I have several friends and family members who also have Keurigs so it's a lot of fun to swap coffees! I prefer flavored coffees and there are so many out there to try but my favorites are the Green Mountain flavors in Caramel Vanilla Creme and Wild Mountain Blueberry. There are K-cup pods in different price ranges and it's nice to have that option since everyone has a different budget. The nice thing with this brewer is that the flavors don't tend to blend from one cup to the next. For instance, my mom and I have brewed cups of coffee one right after the other (different flavors) and neither of us have noticed the other flavor in our respective cups. I've only brewed one cup of apple cider with this and haven't noticed the previous coffee flavor in the apple cider or the apple cider in my next cup of coffee. In this brewer, you can use all kinds of coffee flavors from flavored to medium and dark roasts to hot chocolate to apple cider. I typically choose the small mug (7.25 ounces) setting since I like the flavor. It isn't too strong or too watered-down for me but others may prefer other settings.
Programmable Auto Off Timer: You can set the brewer to turn off two hours after the last cup of coffee has brewed (included in the instructions). I just turn the Keurig on and off as I need it but it's nice to have that option.
Noise: Some people have stated that this brewer is noisy. I've found it's the noisiest when it's taking water from the reservoir and it sounds like a loud hum. It's not too loud when it's brewing the cup of coffee. I occasionally get up earlier than my husband and kids and brew a cup of coffee and no one has woken up (I'd say there is about 30 feet between the kitchen and bedrooms with the doors closed). When we have guests and they brew coffee before I wake up, I can't hear it at all.
This Keurig is made in China and mine had a packaging date of August 2016, a month before I purchased it. I've been using it for two months and haven't had any problems with it at all. It measures about 12 inches deep (from front to back), nine inches wide (side to side) and 13 1/2 inches tall. I've had several family members use it and my parents and in-laws have found it fairly simple to use after I show them how to brew the coffee since we all have different models. Ever since I started drinking coffee, I've had better success with staying more alert and awake to take care of my twins and buying this Keurig has been well-worth every penny we spent on it! I have no regrets buying it and have been having a lot of fun finding different flavors to try. As with all of my reviews and especially any appliances and electronics reviews, I will periodically update this review, add in any new information I discover and adjust my thoughts and star rating, if needed. If you, or someone you know, is interested in a Keurig, I highly recommend this one. It's a great model that is nice on your wallet and will brew a great cup of coffee as often as you'd like!
***Update: I've had this Keurig now for almost eight months and it's still working great for us! I typically brew four cups of coffee a day now to keep up with my kids and I've had no trouble with using this Keurig. When we have guests and are switching pods a lot, I never notice a strange taste at all (since we all like different flavors). I clean out the drip tray and wipe the whole machine down at least once a week to keep it looking nice. We only use bottled water in it so I've never had to use the filter. When we go away for a few days, I always wipe everything down and empty the water reservoir so it can air out and dry. I still highly recommend this Keurig if you want a good single-cup brewer that isn't incredibly expensive!" — Kristin B.
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4. CHULUX Coffee Brewer for Single Cup Capsules
Top-rated: 34,100 ratings
Highlight: The compact size is perfect for narrow countertops and travel.
Helpful review: "I've had my "CHULUX Single Serve Coffee Maker Brewer for K Cups" for a year and a few months. Over that time, I've regularly made about 6 cups of perfect coffee with very few issues. I was a former owner of at least 6 Keurig brand coffee makers that worked, but failed after about 8 months.. YES.. all of them lasted ONLY about 8 months. Tried everything on YouTube to get them to work again... but nothing. So, I got fed up with their POOR quality and decided to try the CHULUX. This little thing is built like a "tank". It just keeps going! Coming from the BIG BULKY Keruig's to this small thing was a bit of a surprise.. but I now love it's smaller size and foot print.
The Keurig tank and water handling system design is flawed. The whole system constantly holds water in the internal tubes. I found this IS a breeding ground for mold (after taking a few of mine apart trying to diagnose issues) that you cannot see (without disassembly) and cannot get rid of. Flushing with vinegar or their brand of cleaner only "kills" the mold. This leaves "dead slime" from the mold that gets hung up in the system. The Keurig water pumps are definitely inferior (longevity wise) to the CHULUX. They just will not hold up to 6 cups a day for more than about 8 months.
As to those that have had the water overflow problem, the issue (CHULUX's) is there is a small particle strainer at the bottom of the "throat" where you pour the water in and it passes through the strainer into the tank. The holes are just too small and too few. Unless you slowly pour the water into the tank.. you will occasionally get a back flow. I feel this is a design flow on their part. What I have done is to remove this strainer (easily done with one finger) and use it without it. I've not had any issues with the tank getting foreign matter accumulated or in the machines operation.
As to those with the grounds coming lose from the pods and getting into the coffee or on the machine itself or counter top. I've not had this issue. It could be the pods themselves have a defect or poorly made. It could be how you are putting the lid down on the pod and latching it shut. The motion should be swift once you start to the closure process. I make one swift movement and latch it immediately.
As for the heat up time of the water. When I first received my CHULUX, my last old Keurig was still working. So, I timed how long each took from "start brewing button push" until coffee started flowing. The CHULUX was maybe 5 seconds slower than the Keurig.
The improvements I would like to see would be a faster brew time ( I would pay more for this feature or such a model) and bigger holes in the water strainer." — Doubting Thomas
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5. Nespresso Vertuo Next Espresso Machine with Aeroccino by Breville
Top-rated: 6,273 ratings
Highlight: This is the only Nespresso Vertuo machine that brews 5 sizes: coffee (5 oz. and 8 oz.), Espresso (single and double), and New pour-over style caraffe (18 oz).
Helpful review: "Okay, where do I start? I remember the old coffee makers and how I loved them and then the Keurig came out and I loved that and made the switch. I thought the Keurig was the best thing going until I tried this Breville-Nespresso brewing machine. Here are some pros and cons so far.
1. Can I say AWESOME enough times here? This Breville-Nespresso is AWESOME!
2. It is super simple to use. It is literally put in the capsule and push a button.
3. It has 4 different size cups from Espresso, Double Espresso, Gran Lungo, and Alto. AMAZINGLY ENOUGH, each capsule also has bar codes on the bottom of the capsules that automatically let the machine know what size cup it will be brewing. This is so cool!
4. I saw people talk about the capsules being a bit more expensive than those K-cups and other coffee makers, but if you dial down to the dollar, buying these breaks down to about a $1 a capsule. For me that is much better than the $3.29 a cup from the store and I can make it at home.
5. I have (had) a Keurig and I would have to wait a couple of minutes for that to start up before I stared brewing a cup BUT WITH THIS Nespresso, I truly put my cup in and have a cup ready to drink in less than 1 minute.
6. There is no pushing buttons and setting up timers with this machine. I literally throw a capsule in and that's it. It has an automatic shut off after 2 minutes.
7. When done brewing you espresso or coffee, simply lift the lid and it automatically dispenses the empty capsule right into a removable bin and the bin holds any spilled water or coffee and is super easy to take out and dump.
8. Before I get too far in, this makes THE BEST COFFEE I've had in a long time.
9. You also get a variety 12 pack of capsules with this machine. As you can see in the picture, I've had a couple and I have already purchased more. They came same day too! I bought the 40 pack of double shots and a variety 50 pack.
10. It also comes with a frother that has hot and cold. WHAT! Shut the front door! The frother is so cool! My wife is addicted to the frother and even made a post on her IG to tell people about it and how good it works and makes her coffee taste. We are both so hooked.
11. On top of the great-tasting coffee this brews, it's super sleek and stylish! We had friends over and they praised this machine on the taste and how cool it looked. I wouldn't be surprised if some of my friends buy one.
As far as cons, I have absolutely ZERO! I tried to find at least one thing negative and just couldn't. The only thing I couldn't figure out was how to hook up the Bluetooth.
Overall, this Breville-Nespresso brewing machine gets a definite 5***** rating. It is so good that my wife and I have decided to get rid of our Kuerig machine effective immediately. Now that we have ordered more capsules, she is now looking at stands and holders for this machine and is even creating a "Coffee Corner" in the kitchen. If you like espresso, double espresso, and other size coffees, then IS A MUST HAVE MACHINE! I don't guarantee much, but I will guarantee that you will love this Breville-Nespresso brewing machine and won't be disappointed." — Onda Wire
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6. ADIRchef Single Serve Mini Coffee Maker with Travel Mug
Top-rated: 10,926 ratings
Highlight: This personal coffee maker comes complete with a travel mug, lid, internal filter, and holding basket. All you need to do is set it up, plug it in, and begin brewing your personal cup of coffee any time you want. Ccomponents are dishwasher safe for added convenience, making clean up as easy as set up.
Helpful review: "This little coffee maker is perfect for me...years ago my brother gave me a Kuerig...I wasn't comfortable with there being water left inside a container where I couldn't see or know if anything was growing inside. I'm the only one drinking coffee and someday I would only have a cup or two but still had to constantly add more water. I have cleaned it with water and vinegar through the system a couple of times but how do you really know if it's clean if it's hidden from view and I shouldn't have to disassemble it to make sure. I live in an older house and I'm sure mold and mildew are in hidden places and I didn't want it in my coffee.
So when I researched the single serve coffee makers, read the reviews and decided on the AdirChef Grab N' Go... I love the blue color and it took no time to get here. In the reviews a few people said the water wasn't as hot as the more expensive brand name Kuerig. My coffee from AdirChef is hotter than I've ever had and I use filtered cold water from the fridge...the cup is great, the perfect amount and I leave the top off till the coffee cools off some and then when I use it the coffee stays the perfect temperature. It's so easy, use your own coffee blend to the provided reusable filter, no expensive pods to buy, you make it stronger or weaker depending on how much coffee you use. I add cold filtered water to the cup, pour it in, set the cup under the pour spout, push the button once and right away you hear it heating up...I wait till the light goes off and there's no more water pouring into the cup.
I always put a spare cup in its place so it'll catch any little drips...no big deal. The coffee is hot and delicious, just the way I like it. When I'm done, and the unit has cooled, I open the lid to let it dry on its own. Take the filter and it's holder, dump the coffee grounds in the trash, rinse or wash and let it air dry. Now I'm positive all I had was a great cup of coffee with no invisible slimy water. So if your not comfortable with the water coming out of your machine and want something were you are positive you're only getting clean water every time and you notice how much better the coffee tastes... the AdirChef is what you want." — M. Mitchell
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7. Hamilton Beach FlexBrew Single-Serve Coffee Maker Compatible with Pod Packs and Grounds
Top-rated: 14,007 ratings
Highlight: Whether it’s a single-serve pod or your own fresh grounds, just place them in the holder, lower the lid and press brew. The coffee maker automatically shuts off when brewing is complete.
Helpful review: "I purchased this when my trusty old Keurig finally bit the dust. I’m particular about my coffee, usually using freshly ground beans with a pour-over filter and pitcher. But I occasionally used a Keurig pod when I just wanted a just a bit and didn’t feel like making a big production out of it. I bought the Hamilton Beach unit as a replacement, because it was about $20 less expensive than the basic Keurig model. It worked fine with Keurig pods, although I noticed that after every second or third cup it is necessary to clean out the outflow orifice at the bottom of the pod holder and the hole in the steel pod-puncturing unit to prevent the coffeemaker from stopping up and turning off. It takes less that 30 seconds to accomplish this using a partly straightened paper clip.
Then I tried using the Flexbrew feature with freshly ground coffee. You simply replace the pod holder with the included filter basket. It takes about three heaping teaspoons of coffee, just enough to cover the fine-screen filter in the bottom of the basket, to make a 16oz mug of medium-strength coffee. The hot water comes through the same steel tip that punctures pods, but in this instance a rubber ring seals the filter basket when the top is closed, and the coffee is made under pressure, much in the manner of an espresso machine. The coffee quality is superb, and it is so quick and easy I hardly use my pour-over method at all any more. One more hint — I recommend rinsing the grounds out of the filter basked immediately after each cup is made, as it becomes brick-like when cold and dry.
I bought this little gem of a machine thinking I would be using it only for the occasional cup of pod coffee, but it has become my number one way of making coffee all day and every day. Kudos to Hamilton Beach for coming up with a simple, versatile and inexpensive way to make coffee!" — Gary E. Mills
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8. Cuisinart Coffee-on-Demand 12-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker
Top-rated: 9,169 ratings
Highlight: 24-hour advance brew start; 1-4 cup settings; self-clean; auto shutoff.
Helpful review: "If you're still reading complaints about the "2 inch long cord" you are reading the complaint of an idiot. The cord is roughly 16-20 inches long. It's tucked inside and you simply need to pull it out. You may need to pull it a little harder than you might pull a self securing vacuum cleaner cord but I promise, it's there.
Anyway, as for the rest of it, we've been using it for about 2 months now and we really like it. We've had a $9 black Friday special since 2007 that decided to finally die last October, so thinking that maybe that brand must not be that bad since we got so much of of it, we bought the nearest thing to it. Within 6 months I noticed water on the counters, which I thought was just spilled when filling out condensation. It wasn't. Then when it failed on a Noah's ark level we had no interest in getting another piece of junk. All we wanted is a reliable cup of coffee and the ability to set a time so it's brewed and ready as my husband leaves for work. I really like that I can adjust the stay-hot time of the brew, which has been great since coffee is usually long gone within one hour and my husband lacks the ability to turn anything off when it's done.
Other pros: the non ear shattering beeping when the cycle is complete our it shuts off. The removable water reservoir is really nice, plus it's clear so I can easily read the markings or see about where the brewing cycle is. To see the markings for 3 cups or less it needs to be looked at from the side, but that's no big deal. I usually fill from a pitcher so I can just turn it a little.
The included reusable filter is great, but we prefer to filter more sediment with paper filters. But it's nice to have the backup. The light above the dispenser that turns on when you press the button was an unexpected feature, I missed that in the description.
We've been able to fill a 32 once insulated mug by moving the machine forward with the catch tray removed and the mug can be held below counter level.
I love that everything can be removed or accessed to clean. The taste has been consistent and is much better than anticipated.
The cons: it's nitpicking, but this forms a lot of condensation on the underside of the brewing lid as well as the reservoir, if I leave the lid on. The reservoir concerns me due to the potential for mildew, so I rarely put it in place. It just sits on the corner beside it. After the coffee is ready I lift the other lid to nearly vertical and shake off as much water as I can, then leave it propped open after I turn it off. Otherwise I get water dropping down the back.
The parts can be cleaned, but there are a ton of crevices and grooves that are difficult to get to. I have just used a couple drops of dishwashing detergent and a long bottle brush, which works great, but I always scratch my knuckles on some random edge. The drain feature on the heated pitcher thing is a good idea but it's not in a logical place, and you have to top it exactly right. Which never happens, so as other reviewers have said make sure you're draining it completely inside the sink.
I wish all coffee makers had a battery backup for the clock and timer. Our power flickers all the time. This has a 5-10 second delay, so most of the time is fine, but resetting this takes time and I have to refer to the manual because it isn't an intuitive process.
Another nitpicking detail is having to switch between a that brew cycle to the auto cycle. The job has to be turned for each turn the on/off pressed. It's a half second of extra time but hey, 2 months later and I still notice.
Overall I would recommend this and really like the design. If it conks out before I think we've gotten our money's worth I'll update this, but at this point I really like it." — Mistress of the Fort
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9. BLACK+DECKER Single Serve Coffeemaker
Top-rated: 8,020 ratings