I can’t escape the fact that I’m an Aeropress evangelist. This little device is just a piece of engineering genius.
The Aeropress can be used in a multitude of ways. It can brew small espresso-like shots or subtle and nuanced filter-style black coffee. You can even bring it on a camping trip.
Regarding size, it’s definitely a single cup coffee maker. The regular Aeropress coffee is usually around 7-8 oz.
The main issue with the Aeropress is that it can take a little practice to get the technique right. The more time and money you invest in good coffee and the right preparation, the more you’ll be rewarded.
Another bonus to remember regarding this device is that cleaning is a breeze.
This is the Rolls Royce of 1 cup coffee makers. Do you know the regular versions of the Moccamaster? Well, this basically does the same it’s just way smaller.
Technivorm is a Dutch company that is famous for producing top-notch drip coffee makers. They come with a 5-year warranty, and that shows you that they mean serious business.
This particular model has pre-infusion which lets your coffee grounds bloom and get ready for the brewing process. It takes about 4 minutes to produce one cup, but according to many happy users, it’s more than worth waiting for.
Technivorm makes quality products that can last for decades. They are also known for having one of the best heating elements in the coffee maker biz. Brewing around 200 F/93 C ensures a proper extraction every time.
This device should make a lot of small coffee makers superfluous. If you’re just brewing one or two cups at home, and you already own an electric kettle, then this single serve coffee maker is an excellent addition to your coffee arsenal.
The Clever Coffee Dripper is simple to use and clean, it’s damn cheap, and it brews tasty coffee (that is if you use quality beans).
I love the fact that you can both use Hario style cone-shaped filters, as well as the more common Melitta filter.
I have brought the Clever Coffee Dripper with me on vacation several times, and the device always does a great job.
The Delonghi Retro Bar32 was one of my first espresso machines — unfortunately it went out of production and was replaced by this model instead; the EC155. It’s not exactly the world’s most advanced device, but it does have a couple of strong points going for it.
First of all: The price! It’s hard to find anything comparable at this price point.
Second of all, it takes ESE pods. This type of pod makes real espresso with both crema and flavor.
The last point I want to mention is that it’s capable of steaming milk.
For just a tiny amount of time, effort, and money, you’ll be able to make a decent espresso or cappuccino at home. That should be reason enough to consider this little pod coffee maker from Delonghi.
You can also use regular ground coffee for your espresso if you want.
These pre-mades are a bit like the coffee world’s version of the frozen pizza. In spite of their flaws, however, they still have some pros worth mentioning.
A system like Nespresso requires no barista skills nor coffee knowledge. Still, you can get a decent cup of coffee in less than a minute. That’s pretty neat.
With a manual device, you will usually have to measure and grind the coffee beans by yourself. It’s not much effort if you ask me, but I do know a lot of people who don’t want to through all that. Instead of obsessing over coffee all the time, these people reserve their mental faculties for annoying stuff like work and social life. If those are your priorities, I’m not gonna judge you.
Pods are great for: People who don’t care about the small details of coffee brewing. Or people who are extremely busy.
Different kinds of pod coffee makers?
Pods can be many different things when we’re talking coffee. In general, I’d put all the different versions of pre-ground and prepackaged coffee into this category.
That being said, pods usually aren’t interchangeable. Many corporations are behind the most famous and widely available pods, so it’s worth buying into the right ‘ecosystem’.
These are the most famous ones:
Nespresso. Back in the days, you could only get Nespresso pods made by Nestle but back in 2010 and 2011 other companies started producing Nespresso compatible capsules. Nestle took these companies to court but ended up losing in many cases. Today a vast range of coffee companies (even third wave roasters) produce Nespresso compatible pods (or capsules as they are often referred to). There’s a wide range of coffee types available, but predominantly the focus is on espresso-like coffee.
K Cups are made for particular coffee makers from Keurig. This brand is well-known in the US, but in Europe and Asia, other systems dominate. Today, you can get a wide range of K-Cups made by companies such as Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, and Barista Prima. Honestly, I don’t think you should expect amazing flavors from any K Cup, but it’s convenient.
Senseo: Philips and Douwe Egberts invented this system; both companies hailing from the Netherlands. The coffee is more like black coffee rather than espresso style.
The system had momentum in Europe for a few years in the noughties, but it seems that they have been taken over by the other options by now. You could probably call Senseo the Nokia of pod coffee without offending anybody.
The Easy Serving Espresso Pod (ESE) is the best pod coffee maker system if you ask me. It’s espresso style like Nespresso, but way closer to the real deal. ESE pods work with regular espresso machines that have a unique basket to insert in the portafilter. Illy invented the system in the 1970s, but today a bunch of roasters offer this kind of pod. However, these roasters tend to be Italian and often you’ll have to buy the pods online.
Should you get a manual 1 cup coffee maker?
So which option should you go for when shopping for the best single serve coffee maker? Let’s take a moment for an honest self-assessment.
Do you already own a grinder? Do you love to brew coffee? In that case, I’d 100% recommend that you go manual. To me it just offers way more flexibility, not to mention vastly superior coffee.
On the other hand, if you aren’t grinding your own coffee at home, and find it cumbersome even to measure beans and water, then you’d likely be a lot happier getting a convenient system that only requires you to push a button.
Yes, the coffee will not win any barista competitions, but it will probably be just as good as the to-go you’d get at Dunkin Donuts.
One cup coffee maker & the environment
Besides, the convenience, another great reason to opt for single-serve is because of the environment. Every day so much coffee goes to waste because people brew large batches that go stale by just sitting on the heating plate for hours. Brew and drink right away is a good mantra to follow if you want to give the planet a rest.
Having said that, you should be aware that there are some environmental concerns with both Keurig’s and Nestlé’s proprietary models.
Keurig plans to go fully recyclable in 2020, but there’s still some time. Are we just going to pollute the earth for the next couple of years until that happens?
In the same vein, Nespresso has been criticized for using aluminum in their products. The company has attempted to organize better ways to collect and recycle the used capsules, but at this moment I’m not really sure if it has much of an effect.
Lack of customizability
As a true coffee lover, I would also quickly grow bored with the lack of customizability that you get with the pod or capsule system. Sure, you might be able to change brands to get a new flavor, but you will never be able to experience the full potential of the coffee bean using these devices.
A third concern is that coffee makers with many electronic parts tend to have a pretty short shelf life. If something goes wrong with your electric coffee maker after the warranty has expired, chances are that the machine will end at the dump site, whereas something elementary and well-engineered such as the Aeropress is easy to get replacement parts for – should the accident occur (they almost never do).
Top Featured Image: Bex Walton | Flickr CC – Source
Hello, and welcome! I'm the editor & founder of this site. I have been a coffee geek since I started home roasting more than a decade ago. Since then, coffee has taken me on countless adventures: From ancient coffee ceremonies in Ethiopia to the volcanos of Sumatra. My background is in journalism, and today I'm also a licensed Q Grader under the Coffee Quality Institute.
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