Are you a slave to your single serve coffee maker but sick to the back teeth of pod coffee?
Perhaps, you have tried everything that Nespresso and K Cup have created and to be honest, you just want to try something different?
Or, is it the cost of a new set of capsules which is grinding you down?
Whatever your reasons, you will be pleased to know that there are some top quality alternatives for you to look at.
Single serve coffee makers that make great coffee just using ground coffee.
Without a coffee capsule in sight.
Before I take you through my top 10, let’s go through a few definitions…
So, what is a single-serve coffee maker?
In short it is any machine that allows you to brew a single serving of coffee (anywhere from a small cup to a travel mug), saving you the waste, time and headache of an entire pot.
And how do they work?
The overwhelming majority of these machines use coffee pods or capsules. These are plastic containers that contain enough ground coffee (or tea or hot chocolate) for a single drink.
The two most famous varieties are Nespresso and K- Cups.
The capsules are placed in the single serve coffee maker which combines them with hot water to produce a great cup of coffee.
But as this post will go onto explain in more detail, there are alternative coffee makers out there that use ground coffee and not capsules.
Why do I need a Single-Serve machine?
This method of brewing coffee is for anyone who does not need an entire pot of coffee and could benefit from the saved time.
Whether that time is used to help ease your busy schedule or to enjoy a little personal time… or if you live alone and just need a friend!
The single-serve method will soon become your best friend.
The main benefits to a single-serve machine over a conventional, pot-style brewers are:
- Fresh coffee every time: Especially with the pod-less option, you can choose your favourite bean type, adjust the strength and have a fresh cup every time.
- Not wasting coffee: Besides the fact that no one wants to drink the sludge at the bottom of the pot, you don’t waste coffee by pouring it down the drain.
- Less cleanup: Save time, energy and sanity by avoiding cleaning out a large pot every morning.
The Pros and Cons of Coffee Makers Without Pods
So, why would you use a podless machine instead of a coffee maker that requires K Cups or Nespresso capsules?
Podless coffee makers offer a variety of advantages, including;
- Compatibility: Any ground coffee can be used in any pod-less machine. You don’t have the compatibility issues related to coffee capsules.
- Brew Strength: Using ground coffee, you have lots more control over the strength of the coffee you make
- Greener: Ground coffee is more planet friendly because there is no plastic involved.
- Cost: Ground coffee is far, far cheaper than using coffee pods.
- Fresh: You can use freshly grounded coffee in a podless machine. Do you really know how fresh the coffee is in that K Cup?
Yes, I can’t lie.
There are some disadvantages to podless coffee makers and here they are.
Not So Easy: Pods are the easiest way to make coffee, bar none. You don’t have to be a trained barista to brew a great cup. Just pop in the pod and you’re all set!
Lack of Variety: With pods, you don’t have keep using the same bag of beans you don’t like or are growing bored of.
There are lots of variety packs for you to buy.
In the next section, I will explain what some of the key features are that you should look out for when hunting for your new single serve coffee maker without pods.
Brew timer: This is a great feature that allows you to set a timer for your coffee to be brewed.
A great option for someone on a strict schedule or who just likes waking up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee.
The speed: Very important, you want something that will brew the coffee correctly but efficiently as well.
Size: Depending on how much space you have, this is something important.
Water temperature: Some manufacturers will offer options, but for the most part anything from 195 – 202 degrees Fahrenheit is perfect.
Hot water option: This is great if you drink tea or hot chocolate. Having an option to brew only water is very versatile.
Hamilton Beach Single Serve Coffee Maker (The Scoop)
Although I see mixed reviews, I’ve had my Hamilton Beach Single Serve for 3-months now and I love it!
It’s a perfect machine for a grab-and-go cup of coffee in the morning with no waste.
My favourite feature is the adjustable base – a lot of these single serve machines can’t accommodate the height of a travel mug.
And being pod-less I can use freshly ground beans without wasting half the pot (that no one in my family seems to drink).
It’s a great alternative to K-cups with the versatility to pick your own beans.
I would definitely recommend!
BUNN MCU Single Cup Multi-Use Home Coffee Brewer
First feature that caught my eye was the 2-year warranty.
A machine at this pricepoint should have a warranty of this length, so I’m happy ‘Bunn’ stands by their product.
The Bunn MCU is a great alternative to Keurig but with more versatility and less flash.
It is straight to point – and that is making a great cup of coffee.
You add the amount of water you want (4-14 oz) and that is how much coffee is made, so there is no need to worry about overflow.
It also comes with a drawer to use loose coffee grinds or tea – with a built-in metal filter – as an alternative to K-cups.
With only two buttons it doesn’t offer anything fancy, like being able to set a timer or adjust the temperature.
But I love what the Bunn MCU stands for; an easy to use, versatile and most importantly delicious way to brew your single-serve coffee.
Bella BLA14485 One Scoop One Cup Coffee Maker
I mean, for the price it’s an awesome little machine.
It’s very small, compact and easy to use – just plug it in, add water, grinds and turn on.
I use mine at work, which is perfect because I don’t need K-cups or any filters, plus, I can adjust the strength myself.
I can just add a scoop of grinds to my liking and get my mid-day jolt. I wouldn’t recommend it for an at home, every day coffee maker because it isn’t very big, takes a long-time to brew and there appears to be some issues with leakage over time.
All in-all I’m happy with it, it can be adjusted to fit a taller travel mug and does the job well enough.
Black & Decker CM618
I’ve been trying to find a decent single-serve coffee maker forever!
I personally hate the Keurig style pods.
They never seem to use all the coffee and you have no control over the strength.
After being disappointed with one expensive coffeemaker after another I opted for a lower price point alternative.
I have to say this Black + Decker (CM16) single-serve coffeemaker does the job just fine and comes with literally everything you need to get started (minus the coffee itself).
The features I love the most are:
-Turn-off feature: once the brew is completed (so you don’t have a heart attack wondering if you’ll burn the house down on your way to work)
– It comes with a metal filter and a travel mug that fits the machine perfectly
– Doesn’t take much electricity (plus it turns off when the brew is complete)
– I control the strength of brew and coffee bean type
– Has the option for soft-pod style coffee pods and you can use paper filters if you would like to use them
– The price!
Mixpresso Single Cup Coffee Maker
I recently purchased this machine because of its sleek design, uncomplicated brewing instructions and its overall compactness.
I think some people are missing the point of a single serve coffee machine. To avoid some of the issues I see other reviewers having I would first make sure to run 1 cycle with vinegar and then 1-3 cycles with water to rinse out the machine before your first use.
Like any new coffeemaker you need to clean out any chemically residue.
I did this and the coffee tastes great!
And one more word of wisdom would be to embrace the 10oz single-cup design.
This machine is made in Italy where the culture is to enjoy the taste of the coffee and not guzzle down as much as possible.
If after you have one cup, if you would like another, then make one.
It literally takes 1 minute to brew a cup; which is another feature I like.