One Cup Coffee Makers – Great Coffee One Cup at a Time

Long ago, I happened upon a true find at a yard sale – a manual one-cup coffee brewer that was just the right size to sit on top of the cup. It was ideal for brewing coffee the way that I drink it at home – one cup at a time. Just grind the coffee, fill the basket and pour boiling water over the ground coffee.

Well, it wasn’t quite that simple. Like the Melitta one cup drip coffee cap that I bought a few years later, using it meant standing there for several minutes and pouring in enough water to replace the tiny amount that dripped through so very slowly. It did make wonderful coffee, thanks to that very slow drip, but the time consumed standing there and waiting made it just as quick to make a full pot and dump it into a carafe so it didn’t burn on the heater.

These days, everyone has caught on to the trick of brewing up just the amount of coffee you want to drink right now. Since coffee’s flavor is at its best within minutes of brewing, one cup coffee makers are ideal for any time that you’re not serving coffee to a small army – or your whole family. Today’s one cup systems make it simple to get consistently good coffee, every time out of the gate, with premeasured coffee pods or cups. Here’s a quick overview of the several one-cup coffee systems that are available.

Keurig One Cup Coffee Systems
Keurig makes the Keurig K-cup coffee brewing system, in use for several years as a commercial brewing system before Keurig introduced its machines for home use. The K-cup system is one of the better systems in the single-serve brewer market. The proprietary cup design was created to keep the coffee inside as fresh as possible, and it does a passable job of it. Coffee brewed in a Keurig one cup system is generally judged as ‘drinkable’ by some of the biggest coffee snobs on the net, which is saying a great deal. In addition, because of its commercial history, Keurig already had an enormous variety of K-cup ‘partnerships’ with some very well known coffee roasters, including New England based Green Mountain. The biggest drawback to the Keurig system is cost – a B-50 Keurig one cup coffee maker will set you back about $90 – but the real cost is in the coffee. There’s no substitute for K-cups, and they’ll run you about fifty cents per cup – or around $21 a pound for coffee you can buy in the bag at about $8.50.

Senseo One Cup Coffee Brewing System
The Senseo was one of the first one-cup systems on the market. It’s a pod-based system, where the coffee is enclosed in a filter pod and inserted into the machine. You fill the coffee reservoir with water, pop a pod into the pod compartment (one or two pods), press a button, and it makes the coffee. The earliest reviews of the Senseo were extremely negative, to put it bluntly. Experts and connoisseurs all over the coffee world decried the weak, bitter and poor tasting coffee. One of the biggest drawbacks to the Senseo was the lack of coffee pods available for use with the machine. As of last year, that situation changed when Vinnci introduced the electric Perfect Pod Maker, capable of producing 40 coffee pods sized for the Senseo and a number of other brands of pod brewing systems in just 15 minutes. This removed the biggest limitation to the Senseo system – the small selection of quality coffees that could be used in it.

These are the two major brands of single serve coffee makers on the market. Others – the Tassimo, the Mellita, the Black and Decker and other name brands – are either pod coffee makers or cup coffee makers. Many of the cup coffee makers are specifically designed to use K-cups, which gives you access to the wide variety of coffee blends available for Keurig machines.


  1. Are there any other single serve coffee makers other than the Cuisinart SS-1 with which you can use ground coffee as well as pods.

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