In this guide, we’ll look at some of the best single serve coffee makers we’ve found online. Having spent a decent amount of time researching and testing these products, we’ve come up with the most reliable options confirmed and vouched for by most of the consumers. We’ll see what types are there available, and, of course, review the TOP 5 Best Single Serve Coffee Makers that made it to our list.

When I worked in the office, I used to commute for around an hour and a half both ways, making it a total of three long hours. Thankfully, most of the commute was underground, with no traffic jams and congestions, but only occasional and inconvenient contact with sweaty people, which I desperately tried to avoid by getting up with the sunrise and sneaking my way in the subway before rush hour. A steady diet of long commutes for years taught me to use the time traveling as productively as possible. I would sink into a subway seat, open Ham on Rye or The Sun Also Rises or anything else for that matter, take my Starbucks travel mug with hot and dark filtered coffee and just enjoy the ride.

The coffee aromas would escape the cup and flow around the subway car making other passengers jealous and resentful of not having thought about that simple appliance to relieve their morning grudges and lack of sleep. Nobody wants to be that unlucky passenger, do they? Coffee is a lifesaver in many circumstances, be it a long morning commute, desperately bad hangover, a night before an exam, or general lack of sleep. You don’t have to invest in a big machine, if you live alone, to reap all the benefits of a good cup of Joe; you don’t have to spend a fortune on fancy cappuccinos or double espressos from coffee shops either. Lucky for you, there are single serve coffee makers with travel mugs, with and without pods, to suit everyone tastes and needs.

What’s a single serve coffee maker and how it works?

A single serve coffee maker is a kitchen appliance that primarily serves a role of making coffee for a single person, as its name implies. Although some of the machines are capable of brewing or serving coffee for more than one person, they are, nevertheless, still called “single” because of their extreme compactness and portability. There are several form factors and types of machines that would differentiate them from their counterparts in how they work and what type of coffee they serve, but more on that in a moment.

Read also: TOP 9 Best Cold Brew Coffee Makers.

Types of single serve coffee makers

Coffee makers with filters for ground coffee tend to be very compact and seldom come with an additional add-on like a thermos-like travel mug. They don’t have bean grinders or space for pods; they are also easy to operate but tend to require a little more maintenance than those using pods. All you’re expected to do is plug the machine in, slide your travel mug under the drip, fill the top with ground coffee and water, and switch to start brewing.

Pod-coffee makers are those that neither grind nor filter coffee, but rather extract it from specially designed pods or coffee capsules that need to be purchased separately. These machines are also very compact and easy to use: they pack all the mess into a single disposable pod that is just as convenient as a tea bag.

TOP 5 Best Single Serve Coffee Makers

Forthwith, we’ll talk about the best single serve coffee makers that made it to the consumer top charts. We’ll cover both portable coffee makers with and without pods; with prices ranging from 30 dollars for the simplest models and up to 200 for the most sophisticated options.

Grab N' Go Personal Coffee Maker | AdirChef - budget travel mug & single serve coffee maker without pods

Grab N' Go Personal Coffee Maker: photo

AdirChef coffee maker is equipped with an environmentally-friendly permanent filter that saves you money on paper filters and eliminates unnecessary waste. The appliance is beautifully and universally designed: the travel mug will fit into almost any cup holder or drink vessel, and fit in smugly and cozily into any travel bag or luggage. The plastic mug is well insulated to prevent heat from escaping for hot coffee or oozing its way through if you’re a cold coffee drinker. The coffee brews directly into the 15-ounces travel mug and once the brewing is completed the machine automatically shuts off. Besides, the appliance is equipped with the comfort grip band to prevent accidental burns and to make it easier to hold.

Customers were pleased with the coffee maker, saying it was the best value for the money, praising the quality of construction and materials, the simplicity and ease of use. Among the concerns raised by respondents were the insufficient temperature of water (being of 190 degrees), and a twinge of a plastic taste in coffee it brewed.

AdirChef: Check the current price

Coffee Maker | Hamilton Beach - single serve coffee maker for grounds

Hamilton Beach - single serve coffee maker for grounds: photo

This coffee maker from Hamilton Beach is priced a little more expensive than the previously covered model. It also features stainless steel construction with a built-in stand for coffee mugs. But unlike its previously described counterpart from AdirChef, it doesn’t come with a travel mug, so you’ll have to purchase it separately.

The machine brews ground coffee with a single serve scoop filter and has two brewing modes for a regular and bold coffee. The seller warns that there’s a little caveat with this maker: drink overflows the brew basket when there’s too much coffee in the scoop or when coffee is overground. So, be careful with the settings and how much coffee you grind to prevent unnecessary spills.

The customers were relatively pleased with the coffee maker, saying it was easy to use and delivered good coffee. Some consumers recommended adding paper filters for making coffee taste a little smoother and eliminate sediment. The unhappy testers complained that the maker gradually broke down over time, or that the coffee was not hot enough.

Hamilton Beach: Check the current price

Nespresso Essenza Mini Original Espresso Machine | Breville - best single serve coffee maker for espressos

Nespresso Essenza Mini Original Espresso Machine: photo

Now, the following models will be all pretty expensive, priced above 100 dollars. Among those first that we cover is Nespresso Essenza from Breville, an industry leader in kitchen appliances.

The Nespresso coffee maker comes with 14 capsules of unique aroma coffee as part of a welcoming kit into the Breville family. Having tried one of those, you’re obviously expected to get hooked, and we bet you will.

The compact machine features a super sleek and portable design that would fit marvelously on any kitchen countertop and save valuable kitchen space. The performance of the machine is quite exceptional (something you would expect with any product Breville brands): you’ll be able to create barista-style coffee every time you push the “start” button on the machine without stepping out from the comfort of your own home. The extraction system delivers up to 19 bars of pressure, which is more for an authentic espresso, but you won’t get anything better for capsules, let’s be honest. The ideal serving temperature is delivered in less than 25 seconds, and the saving energy mode kicks in after the machine is idle for more than 9 minutes. There’re also things like adjustable cup size and two programmable settings for espresso and lungo, and options to purchase a machine with a special milk frother appliance for your favorite cappuccinos and lattes.

Breville: Check the current price

Single Serve K-Cup Pod Coffee Maker | Keurig - single serve coffee makers that use pods with reservoir

Keurig - single serve coffee makers that use pods with reservoir: photo

The last two models would be from Keurig, for those of you who are fans of K-Cups and pods. This model falls within the same price range as the previously discussed appliance from Breville. However, it’s much more spacious, being able to accommodate as much water as 80 ounces. This reservoir capacity will allow you to brew more than 10 cups of coffee before having to refill the tank, which is obviously very convenient if you drink a lot of coffee or have several coffee drinkers in your family.

The extra large color touch screen is easy to use and has a number of features. There’re several different night colors to illuminate the kitchen at night or early morning if you’re an early bird. You can also choose between several strength settings for bolder or more gentle coffee. A digital clock allows you to program brewing at set times and shut off to conserve energy. This coffee maker allows you to brew coffee from several sizes of K-pods including cup, mug, and carafe pods.

Unfortunately, though, there were a lot of issues reported by consumers, who often complained about having to disassemble the machine every time they had to clean it, or that the machine took too long to heat up, delivered poor quality coffee, and required extremely complicated and useless maintenance. Overall, this machine is not easy to recommend, taking into account some of the facts shared by testers, including the information that Keurig had discontinued the production of k-mugs and k-carafes.

Keurig Single Serve K-Cup Pod: Check the current price

K-Cafe Single-Serve K-Cup Coffee Maker | Keurig - single serve coffee maker for k cups and lattes

Keurig - single serve coffee maker for k cups and lattes: photo

The last machine from Keurig is the most expensive on our list (more than $170), but it also features some of the cool perks lacking in other less expensive items in this guide, like built-in milk frother (for comparison, a similar item from Breville will cost around $200).

There’s a number of programmable settings to choose from, like four cup sizes (from 6 to 12 ounces), strong brew, or special coffee shots for super concentrated drinks. Having a milk frother (which is by the way dishwasher safe) is a fantastic advantage for those of you who like milky drinks, like cappuccino, flat white, or lattes.

Consumers were exceptionally pleased with the machine, with many commenting on its reliable quality, brewing consistency, and fantastic coffee it delivers. Others, who were a little less lucky, mainly reported maintenance issues with electrical faults.

Keurig K-Cafe Single-Serve K-Cup: Check the current price

Comparative chart of Single Serve Coffee Makers

Product Features

AdirChef

15oz travel mug w/lid
internal filter
holding basket

Hamilton Beach

stainless steel
14oz
single-serve scoop filter

Breville

2 programmable modes: espresso and lungo
19 bar high-pressure pump
gift: 14 capsules
water tank: 20.29oz

Single Serve K-Cup Pod | Keurig

water tank 80oz
strength control
digital clock, night lights
programmable settings

K-Cafe Single-Serve K-Cup | Keurig

4 cup sizes
specialty beverages
milk frother
water tank 60oz

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • A simple, easy, and fast solution for those who are always busy and on the go
  • A great option for single people
  • Makes a passable cup of coffee (meaning you won’t get a real espresso, but rather an espresso drink)

Cons

  • If you’re using pods, then your choice of coffee is very limited
  • Even if you use pre-ground coffee, it’s not going to be super fresh (unless you grind it yourself before you brew), meaning the coffee is not going to taste great either
  • Most of the simple machines are made of plastic, which can result in coffee with a slight twinge of chemical smell

FAQ

What’s the best single serve coffee makers for office?
From those covered above, I’d recommend investing in Breville Nespresso.

What’s the best for college students? For a dorm room?
Compact Design Keurig K10/K15 is specifically marketed for smaller spaces.

Please, recommend single serve coffee makers with reusable pods.
Speaking of reusable solo filter pods, such as these from iParts, then they can be used in several models: mr. Coffee kcup, keurig b50, k140, and more.

Please, suggest one without plastic.
Grind Control Breville is fully made of brushed stainless steel.

Is there a single serve coffee machine with a grinder?
Yes, there’s an option for you. Consider spending a little more than 30 dollars on this portable all-in-one coffee maker, Travel Coffee Grinder Set, where you can manually grind and brew your coffee just the way you like it. If you're looking for a less portable version, then the Grind Control machine from Breville is much more than just a coffee maker with a grinder.

Read also our article: 5 Best Manual Coffee Grinders.

Is there a single serve coffee without a machine?
Yep. Actually, there are options for you too. Look at this beautiful Pour Over Coffee Maker which is essentially a steeping&filtering appliance that looks both cool and simple enough to figure out. It features stainless steel mesh filter, beautiful glass carafe, double wall insulation, and a cork grip. Or you can buy a portable coffee maker with a grinder featured in the previous reply.

Can you recommend a single serve coffee maker with a pot?
Oh yes, we can! Although, Technivorm Moccamaster machine is not your typical “single serve”, it’s a fantastic kitchen appliance and an exceptional coffee maker, very worthy of our recommendation. In fact, Technivorm mocca is a whole system that incorporates copper boiling element and glass tube, hot plate, coffee pot, and manual settings to adjust the steeping time to your liking. Another, less expensive option to consider is Hamilton Beach FlexBrew Coffee Maker that comes with a beautiful glass carafe.

Conclusion

Coffee is such a fine product that can be brewed in millions of ways and yield almost always different results differentiating among each other in subtle nuances of flavors, aromas, oils, etc. For the best results and the best coffee, invest in a real brewing machine, rather than a single serve. However, if the budget, time, and convenience are a concern, then a single serve is a wonderful temporary solution that would make your busy mornings a little better than usual.