Hamilton Beach 49981 Single Serve Coffee Maker – Full Review




If you’re looking for an affordable one cup coffee maker, you may have met your match in the Hamilton Beach Single Serve Scoop Coffee Maker. This fuss-free machine has a slim profile and a sleek, attractive appearance, making it the ideal addition to your home or office. With no extra equipment or high-tech buttons to worry about, it offers one-touch convenience.

Despite the simple design, this coffee maker offers the quality and performance Hamilton Beach is so well known for. It is designed to deliver coffee that’s hotter, better tasting, and even faster than some of the more expensive single-serve coffeemakers on the market.

If you’ve been resisting single-serve convenience because you don’t want to pay for K-cups, this fantastic little machine offers an innovative and inexpensive solution. The scoop is designed to be filled with your favorite loose ground coffee. Not only does this cut back on expense, it also eliminates waste. Whatever your preference – decaf, flavored coffee, boutique brands like Starbucks or Gevalia – you can enjoy it with this coffeemaker, and without paying a premium for fancy packaging.

A built-in adjustable stand lets you use your favorite coffee cup or travel mug, and two brew options let you choose how much coffee you want to make per cycle. A drip tray on the base helps keep your kitchen tidy, and an automatic shutoff feature assures that you’ll never spend your commute worrying about whether you’ve remembered to turn off the coffee maker.

Like many higher-priced machines, the Hamilton Beach Single Serve Scoop Coffee Maker gives you the option of brewing strong or mild-tasting beverages. Unlike machines without reusable K-cup options, it lets you grind your beans fresh and use them right away.

It would be nice if there were a grinder attached, as that would make the unit even better, however that would increase its size and price, eliminating two of the features I (along with some other reviewers) like most about it. Read on to learn more about what’s great and possibly not so great about the Hamilton Beach Single Serve Scoop Coffee Maker.



Coffee Costs Pennies per Cup


Like many, I appreciate the convenience single serve coffee makers offer. I love the variety of coffee flavors available, but I dislike the cost of K-cups. With this fantastic machine from Hamilton Beach, you use the same coffee you’d use in a larger drip machine, spending just pennies per cup in comparison with the cost of competitors’ single serve packs. If saving money is a primary concern, then this machine lets you use whatever coffee you want, from bargain brands to rich gourmet brews, and save money in the process.

You might be wondering what advantage – besides convenience and freshness – this coffee maker offers over larger drip models. If you’re at all like me, there are times when you make an entire pot of coffee but don’t drink all of it. Because this machine lets you make coffee one cup at a time, as you want it, you never end up wasting grounds by not using them.


No Paper Filters to Throw Away


The state of the environment is of great concern now more than ever, and Hamilton Beach has taken a green step by including a permanent steel mesh filter rather than requiring users to purchase paper filters. This helps save trees, eliminates waste, and ultimately helps you save a little more money on your daily coffee fix.


Attractive Space-Saving Design


Take one look at this little coffee maker and you’ll be hooked. It’s got a sleek, stainless steel exterior that works in kitchens and looks nice in offices. The housing is easy to keep sparkling clean with a bit of glass cleaner and a soft cloth, and the streamlined shape is easy on the eyes. With a minuscule footprint of 9.8” x 7.6” and a height of just 13.5 inches, it is sized just right for small galleys such as those found in RVs, boats, and studio apartments.


Great Tasting Coffee

Some coffee machines look nice and have interesting features, but the coffee they make is unremarkable. Because this Hamilton Beach coffee maker brews at a higher temperature than inferior units do, it extracts deep, rich flavor from the coffee grounds. The brewing cycle is timed to assure maximum contact between the hot water and the grounds, ensuring the best taste possible.


Custom Settings


While the Hamilton Beach Scoop coffee maker is easy to use, it does offer custom settings so that you can make your coffee just the way you like it. The process begins with proper measuring proportions for small and large cups of coffee, which are determined by measuring lines inside the scoop filter. Next, choose the flavor setting you prefer. The regular setting provides a quick cup of coffee that tastes like your favorite automatic drip; the bold setting is ideal for getting the most out of premium brands and fine grinds. I find that I prefer the flavors of some coffees better with the regular setting and others with the bold setting; this is one thing you may have to fiddle with to determine what pleases your palate best.


Easy and Convenient to Use

You do not have to monitor this coffee maker while it does its work. Just fill up the scoop to the desired level, pop it into place, put your cup underneath, press the brew button, and go do something else for a minute or so. You’ll come back to a fresh, delicious cup of coffee. I do think it would be nice if this machine had an automatic brew setting, but that would take away from its super user-friendly design. I’ve gotten around that by setting up for my first cup of coffee in the evening and then activating the machine as I pass the kitchen on my way to let the dog out! My cup is waiting for me when we come back a couple of minutes later.

One of the nicest things about this – and other – single serve coffee makers is that you can have a fresh cup of coffee any time, day or night. If you need an afternoon pick-me-up, you can enjoy one with zero fuss, and there’s no need to make a whole pot when all you want is one cup.


Adjustable Stand Accommodates Taller Cups

Like some premium coffee and espresso makers, this one comes with an adjustable stand that positions different sized cups right under the spout so that there’s little if any splashing as the coffee streams in. You can fit a standard-height coffee mug underneath the spout with the L-shaped stand raised. Lower it and you can fit in a tall travel mug. Very large cups are also easily accommodated, as the sides of the coffee maker have an open configuration for easy access.


Drip Tray Makes Cleanup Easy

A wide drip tray on the coffee maker’s base add to ease of cleanup, protecting your countertop and letting you dump any spills right away.


Easy Iced Coffee

Even though this coffee maker is a simple one, it lets you make fresh iced coffee any time you like. Just fill a tall glass with ice while brewing the coffee into a small pitcher, then pour the coffee into the ice, along with a little milk and some vanilla extract and sweetener. You get a premium coffeeshop drink this way while using simple ingredients you already have at home, and you get even more enjoyment out of your coffee maker!


Makes Other Hot Beverages

You can easily make tea, hot cocoa, and other hot beverages such as hot cider with this machine. For tea, pop a tea bag or your favorite loose tea into the filter (be sure to wash it first, so you don’t get any coffee flavor in your tea.) Select the bold option and brew, and you’ll have tea in no time, no need to boil an entire kettle of water. If you like stronger steeped tea, put the tea bag inside the cup or use a tea ball for loose leaf tea. Just run the brew cycle for hot water and then let your tea steep as long as you like. For other hot beverages, put the mix into your cup, set the cup under the spout, and brew with nothing inside the filter. Stir your drink when it’s finished and enjoy. I have also used this technique for making instant cereal and mashed potatoes. If you try this, be sure to put just the right amount of water into the reservoir before beginning.


One-Year Warranty

In the event an issue is encountered, the Hamilton Beach Single Serve Scoop Coffee Maker comes with a one-year warranty. Be sure to read it as soon as you unbox the unit so that you understand what is covered.



question  “How large is the water reservoir?”

The reservoir holds 17 ounces of coffee, which I’ve found is a little more than enough for two good sized cups of coffee.

question  “Is it possible to make small, strong cups of coffee, say 4 ounces?”

Yes, fill the reservoir with just four ounces of water and select the bold option. Your coffee will be very strong, particularly if you use a fine grind.

question  “Does the water reservoir come off or do you pour water in the back?”

The water reservoir remains in place.

question  “Do you pack the coffee in place inside the filter, like you do with an espresso maker?”

No. To get perfect coffee, just put the coffee in loose, and be sure that you don’t overfill the filter.

question  “Is the reservoir metal or plastic?”

The water reservoir is made of plastic.

question  “Is there a filter in this machine or do I have to clean it periodically?”

There is no filter in the water tank. You will need to clean the coffee maker with white vinegar or descaler to remove mineral buildup or cut back on cleaning by using filtered water without added minerals.

question  “Can you use K-cups with this machine?”

No, not unless you open them up and pour the contents into the filter basket. The machine isn’t equipped to puncture the cups.




The Hamilton Beach Single Serve Scoop Coffee Maker is a fantastic entry level personal coffeemaker that makes fantastic coffee, one cup after another. It offers an inexpensive alternative to machines that use pre-packaged K-cups, letting you enjoy your favorite coffee brands with no worrying about how they’re packaged or whether extra plastic is going into landfills because of your daily coffee drinking habit. The machine is superbly easy to use, it looks fantastic, and it has a compact footprint that makes it the ideal solution for small spaces such as college dorms, RVs, yachts, and apartments. You can use it to make things other than plain hot coffee if you like, so you get the convenience that comes with versatility. On the downside, you do need to maintain this coffee maker just like other models, but the process of descaling is quick and easy.


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