The Best One-Cup Coffee Maker Of 2021
Brewing a steaming pot of java to sip slowly throughout a lazy Sunday is one of life’s great pleasures. But downing a quick cup to start a hectic workday morning is an equally vital activity.
We’ve compiled a list of ten best single cup coffee makers so you can get that caffeine in your bloodstream swiftly and efficiently, without sacrificing great coffee.
Keep reading to see which one suits your particular needs.
Our Top Picks:
10 Best Single Cup Coffee Makers
We’re here to help you choose the best of the best one cup coffee makers. So read carefully, and soon you’ll be sipping your favourite cup of joe.
| ||Nespresso Pixie|
| ||Nespresso Essenza Mini|
| ||Tassimo TAS3102GB Bosch Suny|
| ||Russell Hobbs 22630 Brew And Go|
| ||Aeropress Coffee Maker|
| ||Wacaco Nanopresso|
| ||Coffee Gator Single Cup|
| ||Primula Single Serve Coffee Brew BUddy|
| ||Salter EK2408|
| ||Breville All-In-One Coffee House|
The Nespresso Pixie is a higher-end single serve model that produces a barista-style result thanks to a high-pressure pump that fully extracts the flavour of the coffee beans. This is a great little espresso maker. It even made our list of the top Nespresso models.
What else do you get for the extra investment? A single serve machine that can be programmed to dispense just the strength and volume of coffee you want – if you can’t make it to your local barista and you’re willing to compromise for a fast, simple alternative, this is your best bet.
Read our review of the Nespresso Pixie here.
For a quick, easy, and tasty espresso, you can’t argue with a Nespresso capsule. The Essenza Mini is one of the fastest and tiniest Nespresso machines. Whether you need a morning hit to get you moving or a quick pick-me-up at the office in the afternoon, this brewer is up to the task.
In fact, at just 8.4 cm wide and weighing only 2.3 kg, you could easily travel with it from home to office.
With the thermoblock heater, it takes less than 30 seconds to heat to temperature. You can choose one of two drinks, either a 40 mL shot of espresso or a 110 mL lungo, neither of which take more than a minute to brew.
When it’s done, it automatically enters a power-saver mode after 3 minutes; after 9 minutes, it shuts down. And thanks to the capsule system, there isn’t even any clean up. Talk about a time saver!
For a cafe-style drink at home, there’s nothing more convenient than a Tassimo’s T-Disc pod. No need to worry about brewing espresso, frothing milk, or measuring spices and syrups. You can get something as complicated as a chai latte at just the press of a button — or something as simple as a black coffee or tea.
The Suny has a compact and futuristic design. It wouldn’t look out of place on a sci-fi show, especially the all-black special edition. And the way it operates is pretty futuristic too.
Each T-Disc is barcoded, so the brewer recognizes it and brews it perfectly with no input from you. This is called IntelliBrew technology, and it’s also a great energy saver because it only heats exactly as much water as you need.
Then there’s the Smart Start operation. Just press your mug against the brewer. It will automatically turn on, heat in mere seconds, and brew your drink. When it’s done, it purges with steam to clean the system and then powers down. You don’t even need to press a button!
The best time for a single serve coffee machine? Those early mornings on the way to the office when you just want a quick and easy coffee to go. Sure, you could stop at a coffee shop, but with the Russell Hobbs Brew and Go, you can make better coffee at home — and save time and money doing it. Your commute is about to get a lot more delicious!
This versatile brewer works with ground coffee or coffee pods. And it uses a reusable mesh filter, so you never have to deal with messy, expensive and wasteful paper filters.
One of the best features is that you can programme it on a 24-hour timer. So your coffee will be ready when you are, whether that’s first thing in the morning or as you walk in the door at the end of a long day. After brewing, it shuts off automatically, giving you one less thing to think about.
With the height-adjustable drip tray, you can accommodate any size of mug. A dishwasher safe 400 mL travel mug is included with the brewer, which makes its low price an even better value.
The introduction of the Aeropress brewing system took the coffee world by storm in 2005, thanks to the remarkable quality and flavour of coffee being extracted. It was designed by the head of a frisbee company who wanted to engineer the perfect cup of joe (no, really!). Its simple design belies the complex nuances of flavour achieved.
It operates much like a French press. Pour hot water over grounds and then push the coffee through a microfilter. Unlike a French press, however, the microfilter ensures there are no gritty remnants in your cup, or in the press. You can also use it as an espresso maker with a little creativity. Clean up is quick and easy.
The Aeropress requires no electricity and brews a cup in only a minute.
It’s great for travel, and has found a particular fanbase among campers and backpackers as it packs down smaller than a travel mug, and is durable enough to survive being crammed in the bottom of a backpack. To see what it looks like in action, check out our video guide on Aeropress brewing:
Read our Aeropress review to find out more about this portable single-serve coffee maker. It is also worth noting that there is a newer, supposedly more travel-friendly, version of the Aeropress out now called the Aeropress Go. You can read our full Aeropress Go review to help you decide which version is right for you.
Looking for an entire coffee brewing and serving system you can carry around in your pocket? Look no further than the all-in-one Nanopresso portable espresso maker from Wacaco. This clever design is an Amazon Pick for a good reason.
There are many portable espresso makers on the market, but few really deliver what they promise. The Nanopresso is the rare exception. It makes great espresso, is durable and reliable, and it’s ultra-tiny, weighing just 336 g.
All you need is finely ground coffee and a means of boiling water, which could be as simple as a can and a campfire. The Nanopresso is hand powered, no need for batteries or electricity. In the newest model, the innovative pumping system hits 18 bars of pressure with 15% less effort, making it that much easier to pull a rich, crema-topped shot of espresso.
The latest update also holds more water, up to 80 mL, and of course includes a built-in espresso cup for serving. This is truly an all-in-one, go-anywhere coffee maker.
If the Oomph is a portable coffee brewer that hints at a pour over, the Coffee Gator single cup coffee maker takes it all the way. This single serve coffee maker is a coffee mug and brewer in one – take off the lid, throw on the pour over filter, and you’re brewing. The filter is stainless steel mesh, so there’s no need for any paper waste, and it makes a great, clean cup of coffee.
If you need pour over on the road, we’d recommend grabbing the Coffee Gator – it’s a sturdy, all-in-one system. Pour over coffee makers like these are great single serve options that provide amazing coffee fast.
The cheapest, smallest, lightest, and easiest pod coffee maker on this list is Primula’s Brew Buddy. Essentially a pour-over method with a reusable filter, the Brew Buddy is an eco-friendly single serve coffee maker for the travelling coffee fanatic.
It’s small enough to fit in your pocket and will never break. Its near-universal design means it works with almost any coffee cup. Its simplicity allows for limitless flexibility in choice of beans, size of grind, and quantity of water so you can have your coffee just how you like it.
If you’re after simple, affordable, and fresh drip coffee, then the Salter EK2408 is the single serve brewer for you. Sure, the capsule-based coffee makers are convenient, but freshly ground coffee, and the ritual of brewing it, can be pretty special too. And you shouldn’t need to brew a whole carafe to enjoy a cup. Of course, if convenience is what you’re after, the EK2408 is compatible with soft coffee pods too!
This compact drip coffee machine has a base of just 13 x 17.5 cm, so it can fit anywhere in your kitchen or office. It makes a single cup of up to 420 mL, and you can brew it into your favourite mug or use the included 420 mL stainless steel travel mug.
It’s very speedy, taking under 4 minutes to brew a full mug. That’s definitely faster than brewing a whole carafe or stopping at a local coffee shop.
For the ultimate in versatility, you can’t beat the Breville All-In-One Coffee House. The name says it all. Whether you want a mug of coffee, a shot of espresso, or a full carafe, this brewer has you covered. Want a latte? It can do that too. Prefer ground coffee or coffee pods? It works with both! This truly is a little coffee house for your kitchen.
For espresso lovers, the 15 bar pump is powerful enough for proper extraction, and the integrated steam wand yields barista-quality microfoam you can even use for latte art. Or just make a quick and easy latte using a Dolce Gusto pod.
If coffee is more your speed, you can brew a full carafe using the included 10 cup stainless steel thermal carafe, which is always a welcome upgrade from a glass carafe. Or you can brew a single mug of coffee. This brewer uses the same coffee blooming feature found in the best coffee machines to guarantee the most flavourful cup.
But what’s most impressive about this brewer is how seamlessly it transitions between modes. It automatically detects how you plan to brew and adjusts its features accordingly. And the drip tray is height-adjustable to accommodate everything from a travel mug to a demitasse cup.
How To Choose the Best Single Serve Coffee Maker
These single serve coffee makers are simple enough, but there are some make-or-break features that you’ll want to consider before you start considering options.
Electric Or Gravity-Powered?
Single serve coffee makers can be broadly divided into two categories: electric coffee makers, and gravity-powered options. The latter allows for time or air pressure to percolate your grounds and aid extraction whereas the former simply works with electricity.
Before deciding for one or the other, consider the following:
- For the easiest coffee makers to operate even in that early morning fog, go electric
- For travel or camping trips and with no risk of breakdown, go for gravity-powered
- For a machine that will heat the water for you, go for electric. This may seem obvious, but if you’re going with one of the gravity and pressure-powered options, you’ll need a way to heat the water.
If you’d rather take a little more time and care, check out this list of drip coffee maker reviews. It’s still a fairly quick and convenient way to make coffee! If you an option to brew more cups of coffee and if you’re torn between getting a single serve and large capacity brewer, you can check out our list of the best dual coffee makers instead.
K-Cup Pods: Yay or Nay?
The introduction of the K-Cup pod, and subsequent imitations revolutionized the single serve coffee game in both positive and negative ways (1).
In 2014, enough K-Cups were sold that if placed end-to-end, they would circle the globe 10.5 times. Almost all of them ended up in landfills.
The biggest advantages of using this coffee capsules are that they provide consistent brewing (no errors) with a variety of flavours (feel like hot chocolate today?) The biggest disadvantages of using them, however, is poor quality coffee, and they have a large negative environmental impact.
Besides this, and interestingly enough; they cost more! These coffee capsules often cost much more than the same quality of coffee as whole beans or grounds. How do we know? Math. A pack of 24 capsules costs around $16, each capsule contains an average of 11 grams of coffee. That’s 264 grams of coffee, which works out to $27.50/pound.
Coffee capsules or pods aren’t wholesome for your wallet or the environment.
A great alternative to coffee capsules or pods is a refillable insert like the My K-Cup – they allow you to fill your own capsule with the coffee and grind of your choice. Plus many of the companies producing machines that use capsules or pods are proactive about research addressing their environmental issues (2). The company has also recently introduced recyclable capsules.
If all this convinces you to choose a single serve coffee maker that works with ground coffee, there’s a world of beautiful beans waiting for you out there.
Coffee Pods Vs. Coffee Capsules
Though many reviewers and some brands use the terms pod and capsule interchangeably, they, in fact, refer to two distinct coffee ground containers. Capsules are the small plastic cups favored like Nespresso, among others. When slotted into a machine, the machine pierces them before running hot pressurized hot water through the capsule.
Capsules are convenient and they are sealed, meaning their contents stay a little fresher over long periods of time – if you are a sporadic coffee drinker, choose capsules (preferably reusable ones!).
…coffee is vulnerable to multiple elements: light, heat, moisture, and most of all, oxygen.
Pods are round bags of ground coffee that look a lot like large tea bags. They are more often biodegradable and come in a standard size that can be used with a variety of coffee makers. However, because they contain coffee grounds that are exposed to the air and contaminants, they will lose their flavour faster than capsules (3).
Whether single-serve coffee makers are worth buying depends on your preferences. If you like the convenience and are often in a hurry, this type of coffee maker is perfect for you. It brews fast, makes just enough coffee for your daily needs, and leaves no mess.
You clean a single serve coffee maker according to the cleaning instructions in the manual. Or you can simply use water and vinegar to clean the machine. Fill up the water reservoir with a 1-1 water and vinegar solution. Run a brew cycle without inserting a capsule or pod. Then, run a few more using just water to get rid of any vinegar residues.
Yes, you can usually use coffee pods in a regular coffee maker, because they’re not designed for a specific brand. You can even use them without a coffee machine – try them with a drip or pour over brew method.
- Linshi, J. (2014, June 23). Here’s What You Need to Know About the War on K-Cups. Retrieved from https://time.com/2913062/k-cups-war/
- Hunt, K. (2018, July 17). 4 Eco-Friendly K-Cups You Can Swap Into Your Keurig. Retrieved from https://www.greenmatters.com/home/2018/07/17/Zcy0TY/eco-friendly-reusable-keurig-k-cups
- Tark, S. (2019, April 17). How to Store Roasted Coffee & Prolong Its Freshness. Retrieved from https://www.perfectdailygrind.com/2019/04/how-to-store-roasted-coffee-prolong-its-freshness/