Best Single-Serve Coffee Maker: Top Picks [with and without pods] Reviewed

Best single-serve coffee maker: top Picks and Reviews.
Most coffee consumers need a simple and reliable machine to easily make one cup of Joe at home whenever they feel like it.

To help you choose the top brewing device for your personal needs, I decided to gather a list of the best single-serve coffee makers.

In this post, you will find reviews of affordable, sturdy, and easy-to-use coffee makers. What’s worth noting is that most individuals associate single-cup machines with pod coffee makers such as Keurig and Nespresso.

Even though these industry leaders offer great units, there are other single-serve coffee makers without pods that are worthy of attention. We will go over such alternatives that are both eco- and budget-friendly. Furthermore, with the coffee makers I’ve included, you can prepare one of the best-tasting cups you’ve ever had.

So without further ado, let’s dive in!

What are the best single-serve coffee makers?

If you’re in a hurry, you can check out the top picks in the table below, and click on the name of the single-serve coffee maker that has grabbed your attention. This way you will jump to its review.

Name: Type: Price Bracket:
1. AeroPress Manual single-serve coffee maker without pods. $
2. Nespresso Essenza Mini Single-cup pod coffee maker, produces a cup with intense flavor and a nice foam layer. $$$
3. Keurig K-Elite Coffee maker with pods, works with k-cups, produces a cup with lighter body compared to Nespresso. $$$
4. Hario V60 01 Manual single-serve pour-over coffee maker. It’s a dripper with paper filters that produces a cup with a light body. You have more control over the brewing variables to produce the best-tasting cup. $
5. Secura Insulated Stainless Steel French Press Single-serve full-immersion manual brewing device (no pods). Using it results in a cup with a fuller body and more intense flavor compared to pour-over drippers, such as the Hario V60. $
6. Wacaco Minipresso NS Manual single-serve coffee maker that works with Nespresso pods. $
7. Cuisinart Premium One-cup coffee maker that works with both k-cups and ground coffee. It comes with a pod holder and a filter basket – you can use one or the other. $$$
8. Breville Bambino Plus Home-grade espresso machine for making an intense shot with a foamy cream layer on top. Has a steam wand for frothing milk. $$$$
9. Grosche Milano One Cup Moka Pot Stovetop single-serve coffee maker that produces a strong cup with bold flavor. $
10. Breville Barista Express Espresso coffee maker with a built-in grinder. $$$$$$

In the following reviews, I’ve included all types of coffee-making units. From pod coffee makers to espresso machines, pour-over drippers, and other manual one-cup brewing devices. I’ll present all the options you have.

You will find cheap, but reliable products that will last for years, as well as more expensive high-quality machines with built-in grinders. The best makers in all categories are cherry-picked for your convenience.

Therefore here virtually anyone can find the most suitable maker for preparing a single cup of coffee at home.

By going through the reviews you’ll also get to find out whether a certain single-serve device matches your requirements in terms of flavor. After all, we’re all expecting the finest taste in our morning beverage, aren’t we?

So here are the top single-serve coffee makers and their reviews:

1. AeroPress Coffee Maker

Aeropress single cup coffee maker without pods.
Click here to check out the price and more photos on Amazon.

The AeroPress is the best single-serve coffee maker for those who are looking for an affordable and long-lasting unit. Furthermore, with this coffee brewing device, you can easily make a cup without compromising on taste. On top of that, unlike other single-serve machines, the AeroPress is significantly more eco-friendly because it uses no pods or capsules.

Therefore you will be generating less waste.

After preparing a cup with your AeroPress you will only need to throw away or compost the spent coffee grounds and the round paper filter.

You can even get a reusable stainless steel disk that you can utilize instead of paper AeroPress filters.

Related Post: Best AeroPress filters and Alternatives.

The AeroPress is made of durable plastic, so it’s virtually unbreakable. It will last for many years. The plastic is BPA and phthalate free, so you shouldn’t be worried about toxic compounds leaking into your coffee.

One of the main advantages of the AeroPress single-serve coffee maker is that it’s extremely easy to make great coffee with a balanced taste with it. In the following picture, you can see how to use the device.
Original AeroPress Recipe
You can follow the directions above, or explore other AeroPress recipes to improve the flavor of your coffee.

You can check out my AeroPress brewing guide to get some helpful tips for the best taste.

Related Posts:

Even though this coffee syringe is mostly used to make a single cup of coffee, you can also prepare two servings at once.

This is known as the bypass AeroPress method. So whenever you need to brew coffee for two, this device has your back.

What’s also worth noting is that the AeroPress is easily portable. A colleague of mine would sometimes throw it in her bag and use it in the office instead of the pod coffee machine we have there. This way she uses her specialty coffee beans and enjoys better-tasting coffee at work. To get the best flavor, she’d also carry her 1Zpresso manual grinder and grind the beans right before brewing. But you don’t have to go to such an extent if you’re not that rigorous about your cup of Joe’s flavor. You can always use pre-ground coffee beans with your AeroPress.

Author’s Note: If you’re specifically looking for a single-serve coffee maker for travel, you can also check out the AeroPress Go.

It’s even more compact and it’s somewhat easier to carry it around compared to the original version.

When you purchase the budget-friendly AeroPress, you will also get a funnel, a scoop, a stirrer, 350 paper filters, and a filter holder. So there isn’t anything else that you’d need to purchase in addition in order to use this single-serve device. Except for coffee, of course.

For anything additional, you can check out my guide on the best AeroPress accessories.

In conclusion, the AeroPress is undoubtedly one of the best products for a person who’s looking for an alternative to single-serve coffee makers with pods. Apart from its other advantages, you will spend less than $50 as an initial investment.

Furthermore, the price per cup of coffee will be lower compared to using a capsule each time. So you will be saving a lot in the long run compared to using a pod coffee machine.

2. Nespresso Essenza Mini

Black Nespresso essenza mini single-serve coffee maker.
Click here to check out the price and more photos on Amazon.

The Nespresso Essenza Mini is a compact, reliable, and easy-to-use pod coffee maker. It has a straightforward design and functionality. It’s the best single-serve pod machine for anyone who’s looking for an affordable maker that can prepare coffee shots with intense flavor and a nice foam layer on top.

The Nespresso Essenza Mini can make espresso (1.35 oz./40 ml.) and lungo (3.7 oz./110 ml.) shots. Nevertheless, you can adjust the volume of the shot to match it to your personal taste.

If you’re a fan of latte and cappuccino coffee drinks, you can get an Aeroccino Milk Frother in addition.

This way you could easily make coffee shop beverages at home.

The Essenza Mini and Aeroccino combo is the less expensive alternative to getting a Nespresso Lattissima Pro or another Nespresso maker with an integrated milk frother.

You can check out my guide on the best Nespresso machines. There you’ll see a comparison between the top single-serve models by this popular brand.

Author’s Note: Nespresso coffee makers can’t actually make true espresso by the book. Nevertheless, they are capable of producing more concentrated coffee drinks with a higher intensity and richer flavor compared to Keurig coffee makers. For more information, you can check out the following articles:

There are actually two designs of the Nespresso Essenza Mini:

You can check them out on Amazon by clicking on the following links:

The only thing that sets them apart is their looks, so it’s all about your personal aesthetic preference. They’re both small and compact so this Nespresso single-serve coffee maker won’t take up much space on your kitchen counter.

Anyway, the Nespresso Essenza Mini is durable, and you can rely on it for years to come if you take proper care of it. The maintenance is easy – it’s all about occasional descaling, wiping the surfaces, and washing the 20 oz. (590 ml.) water tank.

This single-serve pod machine also has a 1-year warranty, so if you’ve been sent a faulty unit, the Nespresso customer support team will gladly take care of the issue. With that being said, consumers rarely report having trouble with their Essenza Mini.

The machine is from the Original Line and works with Original Nespresso pods. There are a lot of different blends that you can choose from, including limited-edition specialty coffee pods. They let you explore different types of high-grade coffee beans.

For all the aforementioned advantages, the Nespresso Essenza Mini is one of my top picks in the “pod” category of my list.

3. Keurig K-Elite

Keurig K-Elite k-cup machine.
Click here to check out the price and more photos on Amazon.
The Keurig K-Elite has all the essential features a single-serve coffee maker needs. Furthermore, it provides flexibility in terms of serving sizes. You can make 4-, 6-, 8-, 10-, and 12-ounce servings with it.

For better taste, you can adjust the strength of your coffee drink and enjoy a cup with a higher intensity.

The K-Elite also gives you the option to adjust the brew temperature within a range of 187°F and 192°F (86°C – 89°C).

Considering all these features, and the fact that this single-serve k-cup model is sturdy and reliable, the Keurig K-Elite is undoubtedly one of the best single-serve coffee makers for the money. So if you’re looking for a budget-friendly pod coffee machine that will last for years, this model is your top choice.

The Keurig K-Elite also has an auto-on feature, which lets you set a time at which the coffee maker will turn on and pre-heat the water.

Many consumers take advantage of this attribute, as it lets them get their morning caffeine fix even faster.

Just keep in mind that if you use the “strong brew” button, the machine will take slightly longer to brew your cup.

The water container of this coffee maker is quite large – 75 oz. (2220 ml.). Therefore you won’t really need to refill too often.

The only disadvantage is that the removable water tank doesn’t have a handle. This is a bit inconvenient, but most consumers get used to handling the refilling process quite fast.

You can find a more detailed review of the Keurig K-Elite in my guide on the best Keurig coffee machines.

If you’re looking for a pod coffee maker, you will find some other reliable alternatives to this k-cup single-serve model.

One such alternative is the Keurig k-1500 Commercial coffee maker. In my opinion, it’s the best one-serving k-cup maker for office use. Nevertheless, many consumers opt for it for home use as well.

With that being said, the K-Elite is undoubtedly one of the best coffee machines for one cup that you can choose. It rarely causes issues and serves its owners for years. That’s why it’s the go-to model for many Keurig fans.

4. Hario V60 01

Hario V60 pour-over dripper and carafe.
Click here to check out the price and more photos on Amazon.
The Hario V60 is one of the most popular pour-over brewing devices among specialty coffee lovers who want to extract the best flavors out of their beans.

The 01 V60 dripper, used in combination with size 01 paper filters, is perfect for making a single cup of delicious coffee at home.

Coffee connoisseurs who are strict when it comes to extraction and brewing technique would also get a grinder that’s suitable for pour-over brewing and a gooseneck kettle.

Nevertheless, if you aren’t that precise, you can easily use your Hario V60 with pre-ground coffee.

Even if you don’t pay that much attention to the brewing variables (grind size, water temperature, pouring technique, drawdown duration, etc.) you will still get a nice cup of Joe by using this pour-over dripper. This makes the Hario V60 an ideal alternative to pod coffee makers for those who are looking for an affordable and eco-friendly brewing device for home use.

You can get a ceramic 01 dripper, or a plastic one, such as the one in the photo below.
Red Hario V60 01 plastic dripper.

The advantage of the plastic dripper is that it’s virtually unbreakable and most importantly – it’s better at heat retention.

The higher brewing temperature in the cone will improve extraction and pull more flavors out of your coffee beans.

For beginner’s and advanced instructions on how to use the Hario V60 pour-over brewer, you can check out this guide.

In addition to this dripper, you can get a glass carafe. However, you can easily rest the cone onto your coffee mug, place the filter, add the coffee grounds, and pour over hot water to prepare a cup. So the additional investment in a decanter is not a true necessity.

Considering its price, the Hario V60 01 is one of the top picks for those who are looking for a simple coffee maker for home use that requires no pods. Most importantly – you can make the best-tasting coffee with it. Especially if you decide that you want to spend some time improving your brewing technique and using high-quality coffee beans.

5. Secura Stainless Steel French Press

Secura insulated stainless steel French press.
Click here to check out the price and more photos on Amazon.
The 12 oz. (350 ml.) Secura French Press is one of the best and easiest-to-use brewing devices for making one cup of flavorful coffee at home. Since it’s made of high-quality stainless steel, it’s quite durable and virtually unbreakable. Furthermore, it’s insulated, so it keeps the coffee warm for much longer compared to glass French Press coffee makers.

To make a delicious cup of Joe, you need to add 22 grams or around 2 tablespoons of medium-coarse ground coffee to the brewing chamber. Then you have to pour hot water and let the grounds steep for 3 to 4 minutes. Afterward, you just need to press the plunger to separate the coffee grounds from the brew, pour the coffee into your mug, and enjoy it.

For a more detailed brewing guide, you can check out my French press step-by-step recipe here.

You can also use your stainless steel Secura cafetière to steep loose-leaf tea, or make cold brew.

Related Post: Best French Press Coffee Makers

It’s also worth noting that using a single-serve pod coffee maker such as Keurig or Nespresso isn’t the best option in terms of environmental sustainability. Even if you recycle your Nespresso capsules, or use compostable k-cups, these machines are far from eco-friendly. Furthermore, utilizing a refillable Nespresso capsule or a My K-cup reusable pod, strips away the main advantage of these single-serve coffee makers. You won’t have the convenience of making coffee easily and fast without messy preparation.

So if you’re trying to put in effort in the aspect of waste management and an eco-friendly way of living, the Secura French Press is undoubtedly one of the best choices you can make.

After brewing a cup you will only need to throw away the spent coffee grounds, or reuse them for a different purpose.

When it comes to flavor and mouthfeel, keep in mind that French Press coffee is a bit more intense, with a fuller body, compared to drip coffee. Nevertheless, its mouthfeel is less heavy compared to espresso and moka pot coffee.

By using a French Press you may get a bit of coffee sediment in your cup, especially if you’ve used a grind that’s too fine.

To achieve the best results in terms of flavor, I recommend using a grinder right before brewing. You can check out my post on the best grinders for French press and see the reviews of my top picks.

Your second best option would be to go to your favorite coffee shop or a local roaster and buy freshly ground coffee beans for French press.

Using a bag of pre-ground coffee from the supermarket is also a good-enough alternative if the previous two don’t work for you. Just make sure you buy medium-coarse grind, not fine.

It’s important to mention that the Secura stainless steel French Press is impressively affordable, especially considering how durable it is. Furthermore, you can easily make delicious coffee with this non-expensive single-serve brewer, and its cleaning and maintenance are pretty straightforward.

The Secura insulated cafetière is even dishwasher-safe. I wouldn’t throw it in the dishwasher though, just in case.

Furthermore, you can carry it around when you travel, since it doesn’t take up much space and it won’t break if you throw it in your bag.

All being said, if you’re looking for the best single-serve coffee maker, consider getting the 12 oz. Secura French press. You won’t regret it.

6. Wacaco MiniPresso NS

Wacaco Minipresso NS
Click here to check out the price and more photos on Amazon.
The Wacaco MiniPresso NS is a small, easily portable, and affordable single-serve coffee maker that works with Nespresso Original capsules. To use it, you should:

  1. Insert the capsule in the capsule holder.
  2. Pierce the pod by screwing the portafilter on.
  3. Add boiling water to the water tank and screw it back on.
  4. Press the pump to extract the coffee.

A person making coffee with Wacaco Minipresso NS.
The result is a cup with a nice intensity and a satisfying foam layer on top.

In terms of mouthfeel and strength, Wacaco coffee is pretty similar to the one, prepared with a Nespresso machine.

Author’s Note: Keep in mind that the Wacaco Minipresso can’t make high-quality espresso shots like those from a coffee shop.

If you don’t want to use pods with your home single-serve brewer, you can get the Wacaco Minipresso GR (click the link to check it out on Amazon).

It uses ground coffee instead of capsules.

I prefer the GR version better since it gives me more flexibility to play around with the brewing variables.

I’ve used it with freshly ground coffee beans from Costa Rica, and the result was surprisingly satisfying.

The shot that I got to pull with the Wacaco was balanced, with a nice texture and a foamy crema layer on top.

I experimented with tamping and grind size, as well as brew temperature to achieve the best results.

As an SCA-certified barista, I can assure you – this device is capable of producing some great shots.

That’s why I included this unusual single-serve coffee maker in my list of the top single-serve brewing devices.

7. Cuisinart Premium Single Serve Coffee Maker

Cuisinart Premium single-serve pod coffee machine.
Click here to check out the price and more photos on Amazon.
The Cuisinart Premium single-serve coffee maker is one of the best units in this product category.

It has a pod holder that accepts k-cups, but it also comes with a reusable filter which is ideal for those who want to use the ground coffee of their choice.

The Cuisinart Premium has a digital screen that shows all the adjustable settings of the machine.

You can use the buttons to pick one of five serving sizes – 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 oz. The removable drip tray lets you place a taller travel mug under the spout, which is quite convenient.

Related Post: Best Thermal Coffee Mugs for Travel

Furthermore, this single-serve coffee machine allows you to make adjustments to the brew temperature.

If you’re a fan of extra hot coffee, you won’t be disappointed with the temperature of your coffee beverage.

The Cuisinart Premium also has a reprogrammable auto-off feature, as well as a built-in cleaning cycle that makes maintenance easier.

The water tank is 72 oz. (~ 2100 ml.) and comes with a Charcoal water filter.

This single-serve machine is pretty easy to use, makes coffee fast, and doesn’t make a lot of noise.

It has both “hot water” and “brew” buttons, as well as a “rinse” button that lets you rinse the brew chamber and flush out the flavors that are left from your previous brew.

The Cuisinart Premium also has a convenient built-in drawer that holds the reusable filter or the k-cup holder.

It’s worth noting that this machine is one of the most widely spread alternatives to Keurig single-serve coffee makers in many households.

And the aforementioned characteristics of the unit, as well as its good price-to-quality ratio, make the Cuisinart premium an essential participant of my list.

8. Breville Bambino Plus

Breville Bambino Plus home-grade espresso machine
Click here to check out the price and more photos on Amazon.
The Breville Bambino Plus is a home-grade espresso machine that is perfect for those who want to enjoy homemade coffee with full flavor.

It produces a nice foam layer on the surface of your drink, it’s easy to use, forgiving, and built to last, which makes it one of the best makers for the money.

Author’s Note: Prosumer espresso machines, such as the Rancilio Silvia Pro X require more technique and aren’t that easy to use.

Machines like the Rancilio are capable of producing excellent espresso shots, just like the ones you’d get from a coffee shop.

Nevertheless, they’re significantly more expensive. Furthermore, since they use non-pressurized portafilters, they require a high-quality espresso-fine grind and more precision when it comes to dose distribution and tamping.

If you’re an espresso fan, and you’re willing to invest in a high-quality espresso machine, you’d also need to spend additional money on a grinder, such as the Rancilio Rocky.

Furthermore, you’d need to spend some time improving your barista skills to pull decent shots.

The Breville Bambino Plus is an ideal alternative to both prosumer-level espresso machines and Nespresso coffee makers.

It comes with a pressurized portafilter, which means that you can use it with pre-ground espresso coffee beans from the supermarket.

So if you love espresso, but aren’t that strict when it comes to achieving the ideal shot, the Bambino Plus is one of the best machines to make a cup of coffee at home.

It also has an integrated milk frother that you can use to make homemade lattes, cappuccinos, and delicious mochas.

Related Post: White Chocolate Mocha Recipe

Moreover, considering the quality and durability of the Breville Bambino Plus, it’s one of my top picks on this list of single-serve coffee makers. You can undoubtedly consider it a long-term investment.

The Bambino makes similar coffee to Nespresso in terms of flavor intensity and mouthfeel.

Both machines produce a shot with a pleasant foam layer.

Nevertheless, with the Bambino, you have more flexibility when it comes to the type of coffee beans you want to use.

Furthermore, by opting for this machine instead of a Nespresso single-serve maker, you won’t be supporting the coffee pod industry. So if you’re trying to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle, the Breville Bambino Plus is the better option.

Still, if you’re used to owning pod coffee makers because of their convenience, don’t hesitate to switch things up and get a machine such as this one by Breville.

The process of preparing a cup with it is pretty straightforward and you’ll quickly get used to it.

You just need to add beans to the portafilter, shake it to level the coffee bed, and lightly tamp it (a tamper comes with the machine).

Then you’d need to screw the portafilter on, and click the button.

The single cup option brews 1 ounce (30 ml.), and the double – 2 ounces (60 ml.). The result is an espresso coffee shot with rich flavor and a full body.

The Breville Bambino Plus espresso coffee maker is compact and has a nice design, so it will look good on your kitchen counter. For all the aforementioned reasons, I consider it one of the best single-serve coffee makers for making single and double espressos at home.

Related Post: Single vs. Double Espresso Shots

9. GROSCHE Milano 1 Cup Moka Pot

Black GROSCHE Milano one cup moka pot.
>Click here to check out the price and more photos on Amazon.
The one-cup Moka pot by GROSCHE is a traditional stovetop coffee brewing device that produces a cup with bold flavor and intense taste. With it, you can make 1.5 oz. (45 ml.) serving of strong coffee at home.

If you prefer larger serving sizes, you can go for the 5 oz. (150 ml.) 3-cup alternative.

Just keep in mind that Moka pot coffee is the second most caffeinated type of brew, espresso being the most concentrated.

Related Post: Which coffee has the most caffeine?

The type of beverage you get with this stovetop coffee maker is ideal for homemade lattes and cappuccinos. It’s the best alternative to espresso for such beverages, as it produces a cup with a bold taste that is nicely balanced out by the milk.

If you’ve never used a Moka pot, you’ll quickly get used to it.

To make a cup, you need to pour water into the bottom chamber, add ground coffee to the basket, and screw on the top compartment. Then you place the maker on the stove and wait for the coffee to start pouring into the top chamber.

For full instructions on how to use a Moka pot, you can check out this beginner-friendly guide.

The GROSCHE Moka pot is made of aluminum.

If you don’t want your hot coffee to come in contact with aluminum, you can get The Bialetti Venus 4-cup maker instead.

It’s made of stainless steel.

Even though it’s advertised as a 4-cup coffee maker, it’s worth noting that it makes around 5 oz. (150 ml.) of coffee at once. Therefore most people use it for just a serving, or a serving and a half.

Anyway, the GROSCHE coffee maker is small, easy to carry around, durable, and affordable. If you’re looking for a classic single-serve coffee maker for a strong cup with intense flavor, and you don’t want to deal with pods, this Moka pot may be your best choice.

10. Breville Barista Express

Breville Barista Express grind and brew espresso machine in brushed stainless steel color.
Click here to check out the price and more photos on Amazon.
The Breville Barista Express BES870XL is an espresso machine with a built-in grinder that you can use to make a cup of flavorful coffee at home.

It comes with both a pressurized and a non-pressurized portafilter.

The former doesn’t require that much precision and technique when it comes to dosing, distribution, and tamping.

Nevertheless, in case you decide to improve your technique and start pulling high-quality espresso shots, the non-pressurized portafilter will come into use.

This way you will get to enjoy coffee-shop-quality beverages in the comfort of your home.

The Breville Barista Express also has a stainless steel steam wand. Furthermore, it comes with a stainless steel jug. You will be able to steam and froth milk to make tasty coffee beverages.

This machine has single and double-shot preset buttons, but you can reprogram your Breville Barista Express and adjust the output according to your liking.

You can also play around with the grind size to improve the taste of your coffee if you feel like it’s necessary.

What’s most important – its grinder lets you enjoy the flavor of your coffee beans to the fullest. Using freshly ground coffee, instead of pre-ground is always a better option when it comes to taste.

So if you want a single-serve maker that grinds and brews delicious coffee, you can count on the Barista Express.

It is the most expensive coffee maker on the list, but it’s worth it, as it’s made of high-quality materials. This machine will last for years of daily use. As long as you keep up your routine maintenance, of course.

Considering its quality, built-in features, and flexibility this machine provides, the Breville Barista Express BES870XL is one of the best single-serve coffee makers for making delicious espressos at home.

You can also use it to pull two shots at a time, which is ideal for those of you who want to have this option available.

Final Words

I hope that in my guide of top products, you’ve found the single-serve coffee maker that matches your taste and needs best.

I’d love to find out in the comments below whether you went for a pod machine, or decided that it’s best to buy an alternative, such as the AeroPress.

Feel free to also ask me additional questions if anything’s left unclear!

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