Single serve coffee makers have really taken off in recent years as an easy way to brew quality coffee in the comfort of your home. But as with any popular product, there are so many single-cup coffee brewers on the market, that finding the best single serve coffee maker for your kitchen can be a challenging task.
The purpose of this article is to provide you with helpful buying tips and consumer information to make the most of your single cup coffee maker purchase.
What Is a Single Serve-Coffee Maker?
I figured I’d start this article with just a brief overview on what a single-serve coffee maker is (in case you didn’t know!).
A single serve coffee maker (or a single-cup coffee brewer) is machine that produces one coffee beverage at a time. Usually, you make coffee on one of these machines by inserting a “pod” or “capsule” filled with coffee into the machine’s loading chamber. Although you can only produce one cup at a time, you usually have access to a range coffee of coffee types and flavors – which is what many consumers are attracted to these days.
What Kind Of Coffee Do You Intend On Brewing?
The question of what coffee you intend on making is a simple yet often overlooked question. In their eagerness to buy a one-cup coffee brewer right away, many consumers plunge blindly into the coffee machine market without thinking about what they value most in their coffee.
However, there are so many different types of single cup coffee makers on the market, that knowing what kind of coffee you intend on making will make your purchasing decision drastically easier.
Essentially, there are two types of single serve coffee makers on the market: ones that make regular coffee and ones that make specialty beverages.
Regular coffee is pretty much what it sounds like. It is your standard filter coffee that doesn’t include frothy milk, espresso, or any of those specialty “fixings”. Although machines in this category can’t froth milk, then can produce a variety of flavored drinks as well.
For instance, the Keurig coffee machines can produce a range of beverages, including Starbucks coffee, flavored coffees (e.g. vanilla, pumpkin spice), hot chocolate or tea. If you like to mix up your coffee frequently, than the Keurig machines are the right ones for you.
On the other hand, there are single serve coffee makers that can produce both regular coffee and specialty beverages. And in case you didn’t know, a specialty beverage is any espresso based drink.
For example, machines like the Tassimo or the Dolce Gusto can produce beverages such as lattes, americanos, and cappuccinos. They also come with milk frothing capabilities,
If you’re the type that wants to produce real cappuccinos or lattes, ensure that the machine you get can both produce espresso and froth milk. If not, then regardless of what capsules you get for that machine (even if they say “cappuccino” on them), you will not be able to produce a specialty beverage.
Selecting a Machine for “Regular Coffee”
Since machines that only produce regular coffee have a far simpler coffee brewing process, selecting one of these machines is not a difficult task. Basically you want to look for three things: coffee selection, durability/functionality, and price.
When you find a particular machine you’re interested in, find out what kind of capsules it takes to make coffee. Then search around online to find out what the coffee selection is like for that machine. If you find a number of different types/flavors you might like, than that might be a good machine for you.
However, selection is only one thing to consider. You must also find out how functional or durable a machine is. Have a look at some online reviews for that machine. Try to determine if there have been any problems with that machine or if that machine has a high refund rate. The best place to find this information would be on coffee review sites or Amazon.
Finally, you have to consider price as well (obviously). One thing I have found is that there is not necessarily a strong correlation between price and quality. Some expensive machines do not work very well, while some cheaper machines were perfectly.
So determine what your budget is initially, and try to find the best machines in that price range.
Selecting a Machine for Specialty Beverages
Finding the best single serve coffee maker for specialty beverages can be a bit more involved because it requires you to determine how well a particular machine makes espresso and froths milk.
Basically, any real espresso will have a nice layer of crema on the top (an orangy layer of froth on the top of the espresso). If it doesn’t, then the machine is not producing proper espresso and should be avoided.
Next thing to consider is how well a machine froths milk. Generally, you will want machines that can froth a generous amount of “creamy” milk. Creamy milk is important here, because the best quality milk for cappuccinos and lattes does not have any large bubbles in it.
A good idea to find out this information is to check out coffee review site, Amazon, or even YouTube, to see some visual demonstrations.
If you’re looking for the best single serve coffee maker for your kitchen I highly recommend you have an idea of what you want before looking at machines. Doing so will help you to filter out single cup coffee brewers that are not ideal for your needs.
Always make sure to do a some research first so that you will make the most of your purchasing decision.