If you’re a Roasty reader, you know we’re all about showing you how to brew the best cup of joe possible in the comfort of your kitchen.
Now, whether you’re a dedicated home barista who makes sure they have enough time to brew the best-tasting coffee every morning, one of the more casual coffee drinkers who only savors a cup of the stuff from time to time, or fall somewhere in-between, we think it’s safe to assume you’ll agree with us when we say there are times you really need a super-quick cup of coffee to kickstart your day.
Enter the old reliable drip coffee maker.
At A Glance: Our Top 5 Picks for Single Serve Drip Coffee Makers
Quick Summary: The Best Single Serve Drip Coffee Makers
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|SBOLY SINGLE SERVE COFFEE MAKER
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|NINJA SPECIALTY COFFEE MAKER
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|MIXPRESSO SINGLE CUP COFFEE MAKER
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|CUISINART SS-10P1 SINGLE-SERVE COFFEE MAKER
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|ADIRCHEF GRAB N’ GO PERSONAL COFFEE MAKER
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|BLACK+DECKER DCM18S BREW ‘N’ GO PERSONAL COFFEEMAKER
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|HAMILTON BEACH 49981A SINGLE SERVE COFFEE MAKER
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|KITCHEN SELECTIVES CM-688 1-CUP SINGLE SERVE DRIP COFFEE MAKER
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Using a regular drip coffee maker is a great way to enjoy freshly brewed coffee pretty quickly. All you have to do is add your ground coffee beans and water, and the machine does all the hard work for you! Some of the very best drip machines will even grind your beans, control the water temperature, and generate that all-important coffee bloom, too — all while keeping your coffee hot until you’re ready to drink it.
There’s just one problem: you don’t need a whole carafe of drip coffee. What’s there to do when you only need one cup? Check out a single-serve drip coffee maker, of course!
Why choose a single-serve drip coffee maker?
Single-serve drip coffee makers can be extremely useful in many circumstances.
As we’ve already mentioned, singletons living alone won’t always want a whole carafe of coffee, and in that instance, a single-serve machine means less waste than you would get if you use a multi-cup unit. Plus, most single-serve machines boast a compact design and take up less valuable counter space in a small apartment or dorm room.
And if your job takes you out on the road or you simply enjoy traveling for leisure, you’ll love that a single-serve drip machine is easily portable. Gone are the days of relying on a questionable hotel coffee machine to provide your morning pick-me-up; just bring your own brewer!
What to Look For in a Single-Serve Coffee Maker
Of course, all of the single-serve drip coffee makers we’ve picked out for you are high-quality, reliable, and will ultimately produce a delicious brew. But there are a few more specific things you should look out for when choosing a drip coffee machine.
Ideally, you want a machine that:
- Has a brew temperature between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s the perfect temperature range for maximum flavor extraction.
- Has a brew strength selector.
- Includes widely distributed water jets so the coffee grounds are evenly soaked during brewing (a pre-soak option is even better!).
- Has an auto-off function. This isn’t necessarily a must, but it keeps your brew from burning while you go about your day.
- Has an in-built water filter system. This gives you a brighter coffee flavor. If the machine you choose doesn’t have a filter system, be sure to use filtered water.
Best Single-Serve Drip Coffee Makers
Now that you know what to look for, let’s take a look at some of our favorite one-cup coffee makers currently on the market.
Sboly Single Serve Coffee Maker
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You’re looking for an easy-to-operate machine that can give you a savory cup of coffee in a matter of minutes? Allow us to introduce you to the Sboly Single-Serve Coffee Maker.
In about three minutes, you’ll be enjoying a robust cup of flavorful coffee, which is great for making the most of your precious time in the morning. And because this is a two-in-one coffee maker, you have two brewing options: use a coffee pod or a few tablespoons of ground coffee. If you forget to turn off your coffee maker after brewing, don’t worry; the Sboly shuts off automatically after brewing is complete.
You’ll be happy to know the machine is smaller in size, making it fit perfectly under a kitchen cabinet or shelf or on the corner of a desk in an office space.
Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker
Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker
Bring the coffeehouse home with the Ninja Specialty Coffee maker. Combine super-rich Coffee concentrates with hot or cold frothed milk to create delicious coffeehouse style drinks or enjoy flavorful Iced Coffee that never tastes watered down.
We’re big fans of the Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker because of its versatility. In fact, we’re willing to bet this machine could satisfy every type of coffee drinker there is.
Because this coffee maker’s got six different brew sizes ranging from a single cup to a full carafe, it’s a great fit for the coffee aficionado who has a household full of people with different drink preferences. Iced coffee lovers can rejoice, too, as the Ninja has an “Over Ice” setting!
Use the machine to brew classic joe or a rich coffee concentrate for making specialty drinks, like lattes, macchiatos, and cappuccinos. There’s even a built-in milk frother for when you want to try your hand at recreating your go-to coffee shop order.
Mixpresso Single Cup Coffee Maker
The Mixpresso Single-Cup Coffee Maker’s compact size makes it an excellent choice for someone who can’t function without their morning coffee but has limited kitchen counter space to spare for a regular coffee maker. The petite little machine fits right into a corner or can easily be tucked away in a cabinet until you’re ready to use it.
The single-cup machine is pod-compatible, but if you’d rather use freshly ground coffee beans, just pour them into the reusable mesh filter, make sure the water reservoir is filled and hit the brew button. In a hurry? The Mixpresso machine comes with a 14-ounce travel mug that fits right underneath the spout so you can even enjoy fresh coffee on your commute.
Cuisinart SS-10P1 Single-Serve Coffee Maker
And since we’re on the topic of brewing hot coffee from either a pod or ground beans, it’s about time for you to meet Cuisinart’s SS-10P1 single-serve brewer.
If you need to have your coffee ready before you can even think about starting your day, you’ll appreciate this Cuisinart coffee maker’s auto-start feature. It allows you to schedule your cup of joe up to 24 hours in advance, and that function is especially helpful for those of us who need the promise of a great-tasting cup to lure us out of bed.
Other impressive features of this sleek brewer include a 72-ounce removable water reservoir (great for spill-free refills), a removable drip tray, and five brew sizes ranging from four to 12 ounces to choose from. It even comes with a reusable filter cup so you can brew your favorite gourmet coffee!
Plus, the charcoal water filter guarantees that whatever’s in your cup — joe, tea, hot chocolate, whatever — is nothing short of delicious.
AdirChef Grab N’ Go Personal Coffee Maker
We think AdirChef’s single-serve coffee maker represents brilliant value for its ludicrously reasonable price. Here’s more good news for your budget: the machine has a permanent filter, allowing you to brew a more eco-friendly cup and save some cash from not having to purchase single-use paper filters.
The 15-ounce stainless steel coffee mug that comes with the machine is well-insulated to keep your brew nice and hot, and it also fits comfortably into most car cup holders. The machine shuts off automatically once the fill level on the cup is reached.
The appliance is lightweight, small, and easily portable. Plus, for ease of cleaning, all the components are dishwasher safe.
And if you’re passionate about finding a brewer that matches your kitchen décor or travel gear if you plan to take this brewer with you on the road, choose from a wide range of colors, including bright blue, lime green, ruby red, true red, orange, or black.
BLACK+DECKER DCM18S Brew ‘n’ Go Personal Coffeemaker
Black + Decker is a world-renowned maker of reliable small kitchen appliances, and the brand’s single-serve drip coffee maker is no exception. Much like the brewer before, we think this unit represents excellent value.
You can use the machine with your favorite grounds or soft coffee pods. Delicious coffee flows right from the single-serve coffee maker and into the included travel mug, and thanks to the unit’s metal permanent filter, there’s no need to buy paper ones. Just get rid of the used coffee grounds and rinse the filter, and you’re ready to brew again.
The space-saving design of this machine is compact, making it perfect for dorm rooms, apartments, and small kitchens. And for your peace of mind, the unit has an auto-shutoff feature.
Hamilton Beach (49981A) Single Serve Coffee Maker
We’d be surprised if you’ve never heard of Hamilton Beach before, as the brand is a highly-respected manufacturer of contemporary kitchen and homewares.
The company’s versatile, single-serve drip coffee maker brews an eight-ounce cup of coffee in less than 90 seconds. There’s also a single-serve scoop filter to ensure that your coffee is proportioned exactly to ensure consistency of strength and a perfect brew every time.
This award-winning machine features an integral, adjustable stand that takes both standard-sized cups and taller travel mugs. Now, that’s a great idea, as it means you’re not restricted to brewing a single-size cup or mug. Choose from automatic drip coffee for your usual morning drip coffee or select the “Bold” setting for finer grinds, decaf, or premium brands such as Starbucks. For bold coffee, the water passes over the grounds at a slower rate for maximum flavor extraction.
The unit has a steel mesh filter, so you won’t need to buy filter papers. There’s an automatic shutoff function that ensures the machine turns itself off once brewing is complete, and in case of spills, there’s a wide drip tray and spill-resistant drain.
Kitchen Selectives CM-688 1-Cup Single Serve Drip Coffee Maker
Last but certainly not least is a single-serve drip coffee maker from Kitchen Selectives. The CM-688 is a neat, compact single-serve drip coffee maker that comes in a selection of funky, contemporary colors, including black, turquoise, green, and red.
The unit comes with a 12-ounce mug. Note that this is a plain, white coffee mug, not the insulated travel mug you get with some of the other machines we’ve looked at. Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, though; if you don’t like to drink on the go, it’s always helpful to have an extra porcelain mug lying around.
The machine has a removable drip tray for easy cleaning, an illuminated power light to show you when the machine is switched on, and a metal basket filter that will take extra grounds if you want a stronger brew. Cleaning this machine is a breeze, too, as the metal basket filter, filter housing, and removable drip tray are dishwasher-safe.
Don’t skip over this single-serve drip coffee maker just because it’s inexpensive. The neat, no-frills, functional unit will serve you well when you need to make a quick, hassle-free cup of joe.
Electric or gravity-powered?
So, there are two main ways of producing a single cup of drip coffee.
- With a drip coffee making machine
- With a cone (also called the pour-over method)
Pour-over is a really easy way to make a perfect single cup of coffee. However, a good drip coffee machine will do the same job for you automatically.
Obviously, you’ll need a power source if you opt for an automatic machine, making the gravity-powered option the best one if you’re intending to take your single-serve drip coffee maker when you go traveling or camping.
We’ve concentrated on reviewing automatic single-serve drip coffee makers in this article, but if you fancy the au-naturel, gravity-powered version, check out our article on best pour-over coffee makers.
The importance of filters…
If you want to get the purest, brightest flavor from your coffee, a good filter is essential.
Some of the very best coffee makers use a charcoal filter system. Charcoal removes any impurities from the water that could affect how it tastes. However, most built-in filters are just simple mesh. Although mesh filters do a decent job of keeping sludge from accumulating in the bottom of your cup, they don’t remove all the impurities from the water.
Some single-serve machines don’t have an integral filter at all. That needn’t be a deal-breaker; you can use a paper filter instead. Now, there’s a science to choosing the best paper filter. For more information and helpful tips, check out this article.
Of course, if possible, you should try to use filtered water regardless of how you brew your coffee. Tap water can be a nightmare both in terms of taste and because of the damage the minerals it contains can inflict on your brewing kit.
In fact, if you live in a hard water area, you should always use bottled or pre-filtered water for brewing.
To save yourself a fortune on bottled water, get yourself a water filter pitcher. All you need to do is fill the pitcher and allow the water the drain through the carbon filter inside. And presto – pure water and no nasty aftertaste in your coffee.
The filter will need changing every few months, but that’s much cheaper than buying bottled water every day.
Frequently Asked Questions
The people want to know…
How do you clean a single-serve coffee maker?
Maybe the real question you’re asking is this: is cleaning a single-serve coffee maker different than cleaning a regular drip brewer? Not really.
First, remove all of your machine’s removable pieces and wash them in warm, soapy water. Let them air dry.
Then, you’ll need to use a damp cloth to wipe down the machine, being sure to get rid of all the loose coffee grounds or dust that might have built up. Then, you’ll need to run a water and vinegar mixture (but be warned, this method doesn’t work for every machine) or descaling solution through your coffee maker to get rid of limescale build-up.
Most manufacturers recommend descaling your machine every three months, and if you’re unsure of the best way to do this, consult the instruction manual that came with your beloved brewer.
Are single-serve coffee makers worth it?
If we’re being honest, we have to admit: some will say yes, and some will say no. The answer to this question depends on your personal coffee brewing needs.
There are several factors you have to take into consideration before purchasing a single-serve coffee maker, and the first is space. How much counter space can you allot to your home brewer? If you’re working with limited space — in a small apartment or dorm room, for example — a compact single-serve brewer may be more practical than a larger machine.
You’ll also need to keep brewing capacity in mind. How much coffee will you need to brew every day? How many people in your household will you need to serve? A single-serve machine is definitely a worthwhile purchase in a single coffee drinker household, but if you’ve got a house full of caffeine lovers or need several cups of coffee to get the day started, you may want to purchase a machine that brews a full pot of coffee instead.
Are there different types of single-serve coffee makers?
Yes, there are different types of single-serve coffee makers! Though all of the products listed above can brew joe with your favorite ground coffee, some single-serve machines — like those made by Keurig or Nespresso, for example — exclusively use coffee capsules or pods.
Though we’re not the biggest fans of pod coffee makers, we know many of our readers love them, mostly because they brew coffee quickly (usually in about a minute or so), but also because they’re simple to use and pretty low-maintenance.
Some single-serve makers keep things simple by only doing the bare minimum: brewing regular coffee. Other products on the market, however, are a bit fancier and can be used to make specialty drinks like lattes and cappuccinos, an espresso shot, or iced coffee.
Wrapping it up
So, coffee fans, if you just can’t get up early enough to do the French press, Aeropress, or siphon thing, you should seriously consider investing in a single-serve drip coffee maker.
A single-serve drip coffee maker will save on waste and will provide you with that essential kick of early morning java you crave with minimal effort on your part.
Heck, why not savor a fragrant, steaming cup of high-quality coffee while you’re stuck in traffic en route to the office? Now, that’s got to be the most stress-relieving way to start your day. And it sure beats the lukewarm paper cup of Starbucks your colleagues will be sipping.