What To Look For When Choosing A One-Cup Coffee Maker

Single-serve coffee systems and one cup coffee makers were first introduced in the late 1990s, and have become more and more popular with each passing year. If you are considering a one cup coffee maker for your house or office, there are a number of things you should consider in making your decision.

Types of Single Serve Coffee Makers

These days, a one cup coffee maker is more than a just a miniature drip coffee maker. There are many different kinds of coffee makers that only make one or two servings of coffee at a time. They include some of the oldest types of coffee makers in the world - the French press and the steam mocha pot, for instance. However, when most people refer to one-cup coffee makers today, they're talking about automatic coffee makers. These fall into two different types of machine - a drip coffee maker that serves up one cup of coffee at a time, or the so-called single-serve coffee systems that use pods, cups or some other sort of special delivery system for coffee.

The first thing to consider when deciding on a single cup coffee maker is whether you're willing to be limited in your choice of coffee. The major brands of single serve coffee makers - Senseo, Tassimo, and Keurig - all require that you use coffee that is specially packaged for their machines. If a wide selection of coffees is important to you, or if you have a specific favorite, you'll either want to be sure that the coffee maker you choose offers your favorite brand of coffee or choose a standard drip coffee maker that brews a single cup at a time.

What to look for: One-Cup Drip Coffee Makers

There are only a few considerations if you're choosing a one-cup drip coffee maker. They include:

  • Does the coffee maker require paper filters, or does it use a permanent filter?
  • Does the coffee maker dispense coffee into a regular sized mug?
  • Can the height be adjusted for a larger mug or does it come with a thermal travel mug for easy dispensing?
  • Can you make two or more cups immediately after one another?
  • Can it be set to start your coffee automatically on a timer?

What to look for: Single Serve Coffee Systems

All single serve coffee systems have a number of things in common - they all have a reservoir to hold water, a boiler or heater to heat water, and some sort of specially designed coffee-and-filter combination through which the water is either pumped or dripped to extract the coffee. The major difference between the brands is in the coffee holder/filter mechanism. Each of the major brands uses a different kind of system.

Coffee Pod Systems

Many of the single serve coffee systems use coffee 'pods' (sometimes called coffee pads in other markets). The pods are an all-in-one coffee and filter arrangement that most often look like a large, round tea bag. There are standard pod sizes for single serving, double serving and espresso pods, and the better coffee pod systems will include coffee baskets to fit each of the three sizes so that you can use the coffee maker with the widest variety of coffees. In addition, there are products on the market that allow you to create properly sized coffee pods using any brand of coffee. The results are variable and it can be time-consuming to make your own coffee pods, though, so you may want to be certain that your favorite coffee is available in pods before choosing one of the coffee pod systems.

Single-Serve Coffee Brewing Systems

In addition to the pod systems, there are several one cup coffee systems that use a patented, proprietary 'mini-brewer' that is sized to fit their machines. The most popular of these are the Keurig brewing system, the Senseo and the Tassimo brewing system. Each of them uses a very similar mechanism for making your coffee. You simply drop one of the pre-packed pre-measured coffee 'cups' or 'discs' into the coffee maker, hit a button and wait. The cup or disc contains both the coffee and the filter. The machine is designed to force water through the disposable brewer and dispense it directly into the cup. When your cup is finished brewing, you simply remove the spent brewer and toss it out - no dealing with messy grinds, and since the coffee never touches any part of the machine, you can easily make multiple cups of coffee in different flavors and roasts without worrying about crossing flavors.

The biggest thing to consider when choosing one of the coffee brewing systems is whether the coffee that you prefer is available in packages that fit your machine. Currently, Keurig's K-cups seem to come in the largest variety, with more flavors and roasts being added frequently, but each of the major brands is affiliated with one of the world's major coffee roasting houses.

One further consideration when choosing a coffee brewing system is the cost of the coffee. As a general rule, you will pay more for coffee when you're buying capsules, cups or pods for single serve machines, and in most cases, you have to order your coffee through the manufacturer. Also, few of them are sold in supermarkets or groceries.

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About The Author, Stephanie Larkin
Stephanie Larkin is a freelance writer who writes about topics pertaining to the food and beverage industry often discussing specific brands such as <a href="http://www.coffeeforless.com/sub_category.asp?id=612">Tassimo</a>