When you decide it's time to treat yourself to a new one-cup coffee maker, a quick look at all the available options might leave you feeling confused and overwhelmed.
How to choose a single-serve coffee maker?
What to look for? Which features to avoid?
Here’s all you need to know when you start looking for a best single-serve coffee maker.
How To Choose A Single-Serve Coffee Maker: Features To Look For
What’s the point of having a single-serve coffee maker if it takes forever to brew a cup of coffee, right? It shouldn’t take more than a minute or so.
Customizable Brew Strength
If you’re lucky to share your coffee maker with someone who has the same brew strength preferences as you do, then you don’t have to pay a lot of attention to this feature.
You must admit – the idea of having the option to change the brew strength from time to time sounds lovely.
Timer Feature (Auto-Brew)
Would you like to wake up to a freshly brewed cup of coffee already waiting for you in the kitchen instead of having to wait for it to brew once you get up – even if it does take less than a minute?
Then look for a model that will allow you to set a preferred brewing time – you'll have a cup waiting for you exactly when you need it.
Besides the auto-brew feature, another one you’ll appreciate is the auto shut-off feature. There’s no need for you to worry about shutting the coffee maker off once it’s done brewing – the unit does this for you.
If this is something you want, take a closer look at the product’s description.
Multiple Serving Sizes
Sometimes you’ll want more (or less) coffee than the coffee maker’s standard serving size. To avoid the need to make the second cup just to get the amount you want, look for a single-serve coffee maker that lets you choose a serving size before each brewing.
Just because they only brew a cup at a time doesn’t mean they can’t be flexible. While there are models that can use only pods and other that don’t accept anything other than ground coffee, you should probably look for one that offers both.
For ultimate flexibility, check if the model is also capable of dispensing a cup of pure, hot water, in case you’re in the mood for a cup of tea, cocoa, and the like.
That is important if you're not the only one using the single-serve coffee maker. The bigger the reservoir, the more cups of coffee it's capable of making before needing a refill. Keep in mind that there are also models that need to be filled before each brewing.
Ultimately, it's up to you, but in my opinion, big, transparent reservoirs are a more convenient option.
Apart from the size, it's better to get a unit with a detachable (and transparent) reservoir – those usually come at a higher price, though.
Suitable For Travel Mugs
If you like to drink your coffee on the go, you want a unit capable of accommodating taller cups, such as your standard travel mug. If there's no mention of it in the product's description, look for a removable drip tray – this usually means the coffee maker fits different cup sizes.
There's no chance of finding a silent coffee maker – there's always going to be some noise. However, some are noisier than others, so if you typically get up earlier than others in your house and you're worried it might wake them up or the noise may bother you, look for one that runs as quietly as possible.
A coffee maker is an appliance that’s used daily in most households, so they need to have their place on the kitchen counter. However, if your kitchen is already full of other appliances (blenders, toasters, and the like) you need to consider the overall size of the unit and the available space you have.
Before Choosing A Single-Serve Coffee Maker, Ask Yourself These Questions
- How much are you willing to spend on a single-serve coffee maker?
There's more than just the price of the unit itself – running costs are also a thing to consider. Regarding the value of the single-cup coffee maker, things are pretty clear – the higher the price, the better the features. And as far as the operating costs go, if you think paying up to 90 cents for each cup of coffee you drink adds up to more than you're willing to spend, a single-serve coffee maker that also uses coffee grounds might be a better choice for you.
- Do you live alone or are you planning on sharing the coffee maker with other members of the household?
That is important because finding a single-cup coffee maker that suits your needs (and only your needs) is somewhat simple. As soon as the number of people using it goes up to two or more, things get a bit complicated. That's why you need to make sure that the one you buy accommodates everyone's tastes and preferred cup sizes.
- Are you a one-cup-a-day type of person or do you drink coffee any chance you get?
Since your new coffee maker won't be able to make more than a cup at a time, you need to consider the amount of coffee you typically consume on daily bases. If all you need is your morning cup of coffee, you'll be okay with any single-serve coffee maker. However, if you find yourself reaching for another cup as soon as you're done with the first one, then you probably need a coffee maker with a large reservoir, capable of keeping the water in it hot throughout the day.
- Are you particularly picky when it comes to your coffee?
If the answer is no and pretty much anything works for you, as long as you get your daily dose of coffee, then your search for the new single-serve coffee maker might be a lot more simple than you think. When brewing methods aren't exactly an issue, you can focus on what matters to you more - convenience and cost.
- What is your definition of a full cup?
Believe it or not, this is an actual debate among one-cup coffee maker owners – what constitutes a cup of coffee? While there's no explicit definition of what a cup of coffee equates to, I would say that most single-serve coffee makers make 6 to 8 ounces per brewing. There are, however, units that allow you to change this standard cup size, so it suits your particular needs, either by making more or less coffee at a time.
- Are you prone to forgetting to turn off appliances from time to time?
Be honest with yourself – are you the type of person that often forgets about shutting the appliances off? Or you lead a lifestyle so hectic that you don't even have the time to think about this stuff? Luckily for you, technology has been kind enough to solve your problem by adding the auto shut-off feature to the list of single-serve coffee maker's capabilities. Not every model has this feature, though, so make sure to check before buying one.
To Sum It All Up
As you can see, there’s a lot to consider before you can choose a single-serve coffee maker, but hopefully, this guide helped you get a clearer picture of what you want and, most importantly, how to get it.
Take your time to consider which of the features I talked about are important to you and which are not – after all, a single-serve coffee maker is all about personal preferences.