Choosing A Single Cup Coffee Maker: Buying Guide
When purchasing a single cup coffee maker, it can be tempting to go with whatever happens to be on sale at a local retailer. After all, one-cup coffeemakers are all about convenience! You should consider some very important factors before making your choice, however. Different manufacturers offer a variety of price points, along with various features that offer additional convenience.
Several outstanding advantages come with owning a single cup coffee maker. However, as with nearly everything you buy not all models are equal. This buying guide provides in-depth information about the most desirable features, along with some specific insights about several of the most popular single-cup coffee makers available.
Price: You Get What You Pay For
While there are economy-priced single cup coffee makers available, the old saying that “you get what you pay for” applies. Instead of thinking about your one-cup coffee maker as just another appliance, think of it as a kind of investment. If you plan to have this machine make most of your coffee and other hot beverages, it pays to budget for one that will serve all of your needs – and do a great job while it’s at it.
If you are looking to replace expensive coffees and other beverages from shops and restaurants, you will find that even the most expensive single cup coffee maker pays for itself pretty quickly. At the same time, recognize that you might not be interested in a machine with lots of bells and whistles that add to the cost. A solid, basic one-cup coffeemaker that comes in at the lower end of the price spectrum might be exactly what you need.
Coffee in a Flash
How long do you want to wait for your coffee? Most single cup coffee makers prepare the first cup in about a minute or so, and take just a little less time to dispense the second cup. If you need more than one cup of coffee in a hurry, consider a carafe-free coffee maker that makes up to twelve cups of coffee at once, allowing you to dispense as much as you like with the press of a lever. While this type of coffee maker doesn’t work with pods or K-cups, it’s a good choice for an office environment and it is also a nice option for a home where more than one coffee drinker resides. Take a look at the Cuisinart DCC-3000 programmable coffee maker if this is the type of machine you are interested in. It’s a nice alternative to a traditional drip-style machine, bridging the gap between a true single cup coffee maker and an old-fashioned unit with a carafe.
Is Space An Issue?
Most single cup coffee makers are relatively small, but it is important to keep those K-cups or pods in mind when considering the overall amount of space the unit needs. If you want to keep the amount of counter top real estate required to a minimum, look for a machine that has a top-mounted reservoir and a built in rack that allows you to keep a supply of K-cups or pods close at hand. The BUNN MCU single cup coffee maker is a great example of a machine like this. Besides having a space-saving footprint, it comes with interchangeable drawers for making coffee and tea with K-cups, pods, or loose tea leaves or coffee grounds. This all-in-one brewing system also allows you to dispense hot water for your morning oatmeal, instant soup at lunchtime, or mashed potatoes at dinner, making it a fantastic option that offers loads of utility in a compact package.
Let’s face it: Single-cup coffee makers aren’t generally all that loud, but they do make a certain amount of noise that can be distracting in a work situation. If you’re looking for the quietest coffeemaker available, consider a unit with a built-in noise reduction system. A good example of this type of coffee maker is the Bosch Tassimo T55 coffee brewer. Not only does this lovely little machine offer quiet operation, it also uses an exclusive barcode system to ensure that every cup of coffee turns out perfectly.
If you’re like many commuters, you cherish the ability to bring a tall travel cup brimming with your favorite coffee along for the morning drive. Sadly, there are some single-cup coffee makers that don’t accommodate taller cups. Luckily, there are quite a few models that are designed with tall mugs in mind; these typically have removable drip trays. Most of these can also be programmed to deliver more coffee to ensure that you get enough in your cup to take you through morning traffic smoothly. The Mr. Coffee BVMC-KG6 single cup coffee maker is an example of a machine designed to accommodate tall travel mugs.
Want to Save Money? Choose a Machine That Works With Refillable K-Cups
If you’ve owned a single-cup coffee maker in the past, you know that there’s a price to pay for the added convenience K-cups and pods offer: Cup for cup, your coffee costs a little bit more although it’s true that you’re saving quite a bit compared with coffee shop beverages. You can easily cut the cost of your coffee, stick with your favorite brew even if it’s not one that’s offered in K-cups, and cut back on waste by choosing a machine that works with refillable K-cups. The Breville BKC700XL single serve coffee maker is a great example of such a machine. It even comes with a refillable cartridge to get you started.
The Keurig K45 elite brewing system is another model that works well with refillable K-cups including the popular Brew and Save.
One of the most important steps in choosing a single cup coffee maker is to read user reviews and find out what real people have to say about the machines you are considering. Some tips for reading reviews critically follow:
- Pick a few machines to compare. Making side-by-side comparisons will provide you with a better feel for the features and options available. You may want to take a few notes as you are comparing, just to keep the details straight.
- Focus on reading reviews that discuss the machine’s features, not just general reviews that give a general opinion stating that the unit is good or bad. It’s important that you learn as much as you can about the machines on your “short list” so you can make an informed decision.
- Recognize that with all appliances, manufacturing defects are possible, and the same defects are likely to be repeated across the spectrum. Even the best single cup coffee makers sometimes fail right out of the box due to a manufacturing defect. Do not let a few bad reviews detract from the overall picture; instead, be sure to read positive and negative reviews.
Where to Buy A Single Cup Coffee Maker
While some brick and mortar stores keep a few single cup coffee maker models in stock and while some coffee shops carry one or two of their favorite brands, you are likely to find the best selection to choose from online at sites like Amazon. Remember to consider cost, features, and of course overall quality as you make your choice. After all, a single serve coffee maker is a wonderful addition to your kitchen or office. The right one will meet your budget and deliver the drinks you want most.