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Best single-cup coffee maker?

I need one for my office. Less $$ is better. TIA!

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  1. Sadly, you do get what you pay for... I like the Bunn MyCafe, but it's about $150.

    Gevalia used to have one that was "free'... you might check the offers at their website.

    And finally if you "qualify" you can get a Senso for only $15 shipping: http://www.sharesenseo.com/q6/1.jsp;j...

    1 Reply
    1. re: Jennalynn

      Chemex brews a great cup of coffee and is simple and elegant.


    2. French press coffee maker. Here's a travel version:

      Bodum Travel Press Coffee & Tea Maker - $ 9.95

      1 Reply
      1. re: Antilope

        Yep, French press or if you like espresso, the Bialetti Brikka. Makes considerably better espresso than Starbucks if you have access to good beans.

      2. Unfortunately, I don't have a positive recommendation to offer; but, I tried the Melita One:One model and the coffee was, for me, undrinkable. Their teas were marginally acceptable but a water boiled and some decent bagged tea does just as well, if not better, and you're not limited to their flavor options. I'd stay away from this machine, I'm sure there are better options out there.

        1. I'm partial to nespresso.

          1. When I researched this topic a few months ago, I had concluded that at that time the Mellita one:one seemed like the best "value." It got favorable reviews, the hardware was going for something like $60 and it can allegedly accommodate any size of coffee pod. I ended up getting a Senseo after spotting one on clearance at the grocery store for $40, though. I've been happy with it.

            Of course you could also just get a filter cone that sits over your mug for $10 :-) Depends what you need and what you like.

            1. the melitta coffee cone is good. it doesn't use pods like the one:one but just uses regular cone filters and can be set on top of a mug just as easily as it is set over the pot. i use mine a lot and it was extremely inexpensive. look for one at the grocery or at a housewares store.

              2 Replies
              1. re: itsrob

                This is my choice at home for a single cup...but in an office setting, loose coffee grounds and having to be able to pour hot water can get a bit messy. I can see where a self-contained machine and a sealed pod would be pretty attractive in that case.

                1. re: itsrob

                  I also use the Melitta cone over my mug. Excellent coffee!

                2. For reviews, tips etc of the single serve coffee world.. I like this site:


                  1. We've enjoyed our Keurig for a while. We only drink about 4 cups per day - and half of that is decaf at night, so even though it's more expensive, it fits our needs. Having fresh brewed any time of the day is definitely a plus - and no messy clean-ups like presses require.

                    You can get the k-cups down to about 48 cents a cup (including s&h) if you order by the case. There is a ground coffee adapter and even an adapter that fits into that one that allows you to use "standard" pods which gives you more choices. BJ's sells the pretty basic model B50 for $130. EBay has various models for $50 on up.

                    Here's a site that sells k-cups, pods and regular coffee cheaply:

                    1. We just got a Keurig B60 and tried several k-cups, but it is very weak coffee even on the small cup setting.

                      Even the extra bold ones are not strong at all. I don't expect the Keurig to make me an espresso, but an extra bold k-cup should be at least bold on the smallest cup setting, shouldn't it? (Can't imagine what these k-cups will taste like on the big mug setting)

                      The flavored k-cups are extremely watery. Maybe for people who don't like the taste of coffee? It must be one of those cultural differences (I'm from Europe), but I have a hard time believing/understanding the reviews for the various k-cups...

                      I did get the "My K-cup" add-on so I will try my own ground coffee soon.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: dinmir

                        It could be your machine, I suppose. Have you had k-cups elsewhere, at work or by the cup at certain retail places, like grocery stores and some food shops? I was happy with the one at work, which is why I got the one for home, and I think the quality is pretty much the same. I was concerned that the home unit would simply not brew at a high enough temperature, but it does fine.

                        I like a well brewed cup, but I don't necessarily like super dark roasted (burnt) coffee. My favorites are the Timothy's Coffee Columbian Verada, and the Carribou Coffee Fair Trade. The real coffee flavors are very strong, with no burnt or bitter aftertastes. If I want a strong (concentrated flavor) coffee, I use the espresso machine. I had been using a french press for a while before getting the Keurig. Before that we made up the cold-filtered concentrate. In both of those cases, you can control the strength - either amount of coffee or concentrate per cup or the amount of contact time in the press. Although there's no doubt that there's an optimum time - leaving the beans in the water too long simply imparts more bitterness, not more taste. But some folks drink coffee for the bitterness and not for the coffee taste.

                        All automatic coffee makers remove some control from you while increasing convenience. The trick is to get an automatic that meets your basic need for proper brewing. My Keurig works fine for us.

                        Don't expect too much from the my k-cup. It takes away all the convenience aspects, and is certainly no better than other brewing methods. You're brewing a cup at a time, but that's the same as most presses and single-cup paper filter cones. That's a very expensive water heater if you're not using it for the convenience.

                        1. re: applehome

                          You're right about the 'my k-cup' inconvenience.

                          I'll just have to experiment with the different k-cup brands to find the ones with a full-body flavor. 'Green Mountain Sumatran Reserve Extra Bold' is the best so far.

                          From reading some more reviews I learned that I'm not the only one who thinks K-cups make weak coffee (especially the flavored coffees).

                          I've always been used to European coffee, which is definitely more flavorful than what you get served here in restaurants and coffee shops.

                          I think in Europe they just use darker roasts and like stronger coffee as opposed to Americans who seem to often prefer light roasts and weaker coffee (in enormous cups/mugs).

                          I guess it's just a matter of what you're used to... I'll spend some more time experimenting with my Keurig B60 before looking further.

                          1. re: dinmir

                            I bought a Perfect Pod Holster recently on eBay:


                            This is an inexpensive item that allows you to use the pre-made coffee pods (Senseo, Tassimo, Mellita, etc.) instead of the k-cups. It works ok - not an improvement over the k-cups, but not worse - it makes a decent cup of coffee. The good news is that pods are about 1/2 the price of k-cups, and have no plastic. There is also a much greater selection of pods available. It is easy to use, unlike the my k-cup. The only negative is that because the k-cup machine punches a hole in the pod, there is a very small amount of coffee ground that ends up coming through. It is not anywhere near what comes through a French-Press, and did not bother me at all.

                      2. I have used a single cup swissgold coffee filter for years now, and prefer it over all of my previously owned methods. It's inexpensive, doesn't require paper filters, allows the oils to pass through, and one can heat the water with whatever is convenient at the time. It also doesn't take long to make a cup.

                        In the past I've used stovetop coffee makers, espresso machines, french presses, etc. This little baby makes good coffe with simplified process and cleanup.

                        I prefer to use espresso beans to make coffee as I like it rich.


                        24 Replies
                        1. re: dishchrista

                          What are espresso beans? I always thought espresso was a method of brewing.

                          1. re: chipman

                            In the US espresso refers to both the roast [and finer texture] and the method of preparing espresso vs coffee beans. Dark, flavorful roast. Think really strong coffee but weaker than espresso when made in a coffee maker. I also use a bit more than recommended for coffee.

                            1. re: dishchrista

                              Just reread this: I meant weaker than espresso made in an espresso machine. It's at least as strong as that made in a coffee maker, if not more so.

                            2. re: chipman

                              Espresso IS a method of brewing, not a type of bean or a specific level of roast. That said, many coffees (both whole bean and ground) are named/labeled as "Espresso." As to why, you'd have to ask the coffee company.

                              1. re: zin1953

                                I don't follow your logic. For the past twenty years I have purchased "espresso beans"... from a local roaster, from a local espresso bar, from chain grocery stores. It's a dark roast, finely ground [if ground]. You're suggesting that although espresso beans are sold everywhere, they aren't?

                                1. re: dishchrista

                                  The previous poster was correct. There is no such thing as an espresso bean or espresso roast... it is simply the preparation method. Espresso can be made with robusta or arabica beans from any country of origin. Degree of roast is a personal preference. For example, espresso in northern Italy is made from light roasted beans vs. dark roasted beans in southern Italy.

                                  The term "Espresso Beans" is really just a marketing term that usually refers to a dark roast that most people in North America associate with espresso.

                                  1. re: arossphoto

                                    Look, it may not be pc, but the fact is that it exists. It's like saying watermelon flavored candy doesn't exist because it isn't really made from watermelons.

                                    1. re: dishchrista

                                      it exists but it's a misomer. Espresso is a method of brewing. Not a bean and not a roast.

                                      "The term "Espresso Beans" is really just a marketing term that usually refers to a dark roast that most people in North America associate with espresso."

                                      This is a correct statement.

                                      1. re: scubadoo97

                                        Fine. I have been happily duped into purchasing dark roasted beans under the guise of "espresso." I don't drink it because of the name, I drink it because I like it. I don't care what it's called.

                                      2. re: dishchrista

                                        Actually, that's a bad analogy. Whether you believe me or not, I ask that -- at least for a moment -- you accept the fact that America is in its infancy as a coffee culture . . . certainly when compared to continental Europe, for example.

                                        Espresso is a method of producing coffee by forcing water through the grounds under pressure. This is quite unlike all other methods -- even the so-called "espresso pots" one uses on a stovetop (which forces boiling water through the grinds, the temperature of which is too high to yield a quality cup).

                                        You can make espresso from ANY kind of coffee bean, roasted to any kind of level -- from full city and cinnamon all the way to a very dark French or Italian roast.

                                        Many blends of beans used in continental Europe to produce espresso are actually blends of both arabica and robusta beans, whereas here in the U.S., we tend to favor blends that are made solely of various arabica beans . . . or they may not be blended at all, but rather from a single origin (often designated as S.O.), for example Yemen Sa'ani or Costa Rica Tarrazu (as opposed to Costa Rica Tres Rios) or Daterra from Brazil, and so on.

                                        There are a wide variety of "candies," dishchrista, not just watermelon-flavored. But at least if the watermelon flavored candy isn't made from watermelons, it will (should) say "artifdicially flavored," thereby alerting you to the fact there isn't any actual watermelon in it. (AND, there are lots of other fruit-flavored candies -- some actually containing real fruit!)

                                        Because we are, as a nation, in our infancy as a coffee culture, there ARE various companies that offer something called "Espresso Roast." It is a marketing term only -- one used by SOME, but by no means all, producers of coffee -- to denote a dark(er) roast than their "normal" level. And in that sense, it's little more than "Giant" -- as in the smallest size of detergent you can buy is called "Giant" -- or "New and Improved" -- when all they really did is change the font used for the brand name.

                                        You may want to check out:

                                        http://www.scaa.org/ and specifically http://www.scaa.org/whatis_espresso.asp

                                        http://www.terroircoffee.com/ and specifically http://www.terroircoffee.com/myths (check out #2


                                        . . . and many, many others.


                                        1. re: zin1953

                                          Agreed, but. "Espresso" is a grind setting so if you're buying beans and getting them ground you do want to use the word espresso when you're talking to the guy behind the coffee counter.

                                          I do disagree about the us being in coffee infancy. I think we're in early adolescence. America is going at coffee like fourteen-year-old boys go at girls -- all fumbling embarrassingly but with a great amount of spirit. Someday, we'll look back on this and cringe. And a few years after that, we'll give anything to get it back.

                                          1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                                            Most professional coffee grinders do not have names for grinds, but rather numbers -- sometimes 0 through 9, sometimes up into the 30's or even 60's; and many grinders are in fact "stepless," so the variations are infinite.

                                            The only grinders I know of that actually say "Espresso" on them are those in the supermarket for customers to use themselves. Professional baristas in a serious (i.e.: not Starbucks) espresso bar are constantly tweaking the size of the grind throughout the day in order to produce the very best espresso possible.

                                            As far as infancy v. adolesence, how about we split the difference and say pre-teen? ;^)

                                            1. re: zin1953

                                              "Most professional coffee grinders do not have names for grinds, but rather numbers"

                                              I'm not sure if you're basing that on experience or just making it up, but in my experience, there's always been some sort of grind indicator.

                                              For example, here's a $1500 one with grinds clearly marked:

                                              Also, it's "stepless".

                                              But still, I guess I wasn't clear in what I was trying to say. When a happy chowish coffee drinker goes to the roaster and wants some coffee to take home and make a nice mug of delicious espresso, it helps if she says "espresso" to the coffee professional so that she gets an appropriate grind. As you said, numbers vary from machine to machine but the grinder person is going to know from the word what to do.

                                              1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                                                Yes, but "espresso" is neither a precise grind -- the grind needs adjusting throughout the day, whether one uses a Mazzer (e.g.: http://www.1st-line.com/machines/home... ), a Macap (e.g.: http://www.chriscoffee.com/products/h... ), a La Marzocco Swift ( http://www.lamarzocco.it/swift.html ), a Mahlkonig (e.g.: http://www.1st-line.com/machines/comm... ), etc.

                                                By the way, the Ditting you have pictured is described as follows, "The Ditting 804 Series Coffee Grinders are best used for coffee grinding in a cupping room or lab, or for restaurants." Off the top of my head, I can't think of a coffee house that uses a doserless grinder.


                                                But -- clearly -- in order to produce a decent cup of espresso, the coffee must be more finely ground than for drip, vacuum pot, or French Press. It must also be more coarsely ground than what is necessary for "Turkish" coffee.


                                                1. re: zin1953

                                                  " Off the top of my head, I can't think of a coffee house that uses a doserless grinder."

                                                  You're in Berkeley/Oakland somewhere, right?
                                                  Cole. And it has grind names on the dial.

                                                  And if you want to buy more than a single dose of coffee from the
                                                  Trieste, you'll notice that they use a doserless machine with grind
                                                  names on it.

                                                  1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                                                    I think you and zin1953 are talking apples and oranges. I'm pretty sure zin is referring to the grinders that are used for the in-house beverages, while you are talking about the grinders for customer coffee bean purchases?

                                                    As for pre-ground beans, I don't know of many serious espresso drinkers, or any serious coffee drinker for that matter that does not grind their own as it is common knowledge that beans go stale fairly soon after grinding.

                                                    1. re: chipman

                                                      Yeah probably. Sorry about that. My intended point was that if you're buying beans from a roaster, as dishchrista said she was, and you want them ground to take home to make espresso, then you're going to have to use the word "espresso" in the conversation with the roasterperson.

                                                      The other point which got a little sidetracked is that there's no harm in asking a roaster, "what's a good espresso bean?" by which he will know you to mean, "which of the many fine roasts you have here available would you recommend to me for home espresso brewing?"

                                            2. re: Chuckles the Clone

                                              espresso is not a setting but you grind fine enough to produce a correct shot of espresso with an espresso machine. This setting varies from shot to shot, freshness of beans, ambient humidity..... I know it seems picky to be debating the word espresso but there is really a very strict definitions of what espresso is and a whole lot of misuse of the word. That's why some of us seem so defensive. Making good espresso is as much art as science. Too much is passed off as espresso that isn't.

                                            3. re: zin1953

                                              It may be a marketing term, but it is one I appreciate. If it's called espresso there's a good chance I'll like it. It isn't a ploy, it gives me a fairly good idea of what to expect. I have no interest in becoming a coffee "expert." Experience tells me this would lead me to be a snob and an addict. At one point I was drinking 6 or more coffee mugs of 'proper' espresso [machine made] per day. To be satisfied with 2 cups of coffee Espresso daily is progress.

                                              1. re: dishchrista

                                                You're 6 cups of real espresso probably had less caffeine and acid than the 2 cups of "espresso" roasted and ground coffee made through a standard drip. (Unless they were duo's.)

                                                Why is knowledge so often associated with snobbery by people who insist that they don't want to take the time to learn more about a subject?

                                                1. re: applehome

                                                  >>> Why is knowledge so often associated with snobbery by people who insist that they don't want to take the time to learn more about a subject? <<<

                                                  A very good question, and probably a topic for another thread . . .

                                                  1. re: zin1953

                                                    We probably need a philosophy board.

                                                  2. re: applehome

                                                    To be clear, my comment about becoming a coffee snob wasn't a passive aggressive way of calling more knowledgeable folks snobs. I meant it as I said it: I used to be a coffee snob but it led to drinking waaay too much of the stuff, and I *was* a snob about it. My heart is much healthier, I am no longer constantly dehydrated and my ears no longer ring. I'm happy with the status quo. If others want to learn more power to them. I appreciate others' willingness to share their knowledge. I felt slightly attacked for merely stating my coffee preference.

                                                    1. re: dishchrista

                                                      This whole conversation reminded me of an "argument" I had with my boyfriend after taking a botany class. The argument was regarding the grocery store terminology/definition of fruit and vegetable. Botanically speaking, any produce that comes from a flower is a fruit...this includes tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, etc.; things that we all commonly refer to as veggies. Also, potatoes, yams, onions, garlic, etc. are all roots but we still refer to them as veggies. This terminology is commonly accepted everywhere that I know of (to the extent of having to get a textbook to prove myself) yet it is incorrect. http://vegetablegardens.suite101.com/... At the end of the day, I was right, my boyfriend has learned something new, we still love veggies, and nothing has changed in the world. Its really just terminology. (Sorry for my digression, I really enjoyed all the posts, and became more informed because of them.)

                                  2. One #2 plastic coffee filter cone, ~$3.00

                                    One box of cone filters, approximately $0.04 each:

                                    Assuming you get about 30 cups from a pound of coffee which costs $8, that works
                                    out to about $0.30 per cup, or roughly 1/5 the cost of the local starbucks.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                                      CtC is right. This makes a good cup of coffee and you can probably find this stuff at your local supermarket. You'l also need a way to heat the water.

                                    2. how do u like this coffee maker ? Just one cup coffee, no waste and energ saving.

                                      1. One of the best single serve coffee makers is an AeroPress. I have own just about every device for brewing coffee. This little coffee maker brews some of the best coffee around. I originally bought this device for travel but am using it every day.


                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: scubadoo97

                                          what grind setting do you use or specify for the aeropress? do you find it much different from the french press.

                                          1. re: chuckl

                                            I use a setting that is a little coarser than what I use for espresso. French press uses a very coarse grind. The difference from FP is that the Aeropress uses a lower temperature and very short extraction time. Temps are around 175-180* (the directions recommend 165-170) and extraction time is around 10-20 sec. This results in a strong yet non bitter brew that makes about the best americano style cup of coffee. Top it off with water to the level that suits your taste. I have been so impressed with this little gadget

                                        2. My own personal option would be for a kettle to boil water in and a French Press or single Melita filter cone, BUT . . .

                                          All those new machines that use pre-ground pods and/or "K-cups" (Senseo, Tassimo, etc.) make -- IMHO -- poor-quality coffee. The coffee is stale, thin, and rather "yucky" to my taste. ("Yucky" is one of those scientific descriptors.)

                                          If the kettle-and-Chemex/Melita model doesn't work, I have to go back to the original premise: are you the only one who drinks coffee in your office? I'd look at EITHER getting an 8-to-12 cup coffee maker (that will make as little as four cups . . . that's two reasonable mugs), and just buy it OR go to Gevalia.com, as they still give away 12-cup coffee makers and you can cancel your "subscription" to their coffee immediately after your first shipment but keep the coffee maker! Go to http://www.gevalia.com/Gevalia/contin... for details.

                                            1. re: hash_slinger

                                              If you are still looking, in addition to the 12 cup coffee makers, Gevalia is offering this 2 cup brewer. Apparently you can brew into one or both of the included travel mugs.

                                              And some other options:

                                              FWIW--I have an 8 cup carafe CM from Gevalia--they use cone filters. For the office it is decent coffee and an efficient CM.

                                              1. re: medford

                                                I went through college and a few years beyond with a freebee 4-cup Gavalia. Perfectly serviceable. I think their idea of "cup" was a bit off, since it made one, at most two mugs full. I'd consider it a "single cup' maker. I can't tell if it's still possible to get it as part of their intro deal.

                                                I stopped using for some reason I don't remember but having nothing to do with it, and started using a plastic cone. Same size, little faster to heat up the water on the stove, a little faster to clean. Never looked back.

                                            2. Vietnamese Coffee Filters! $5 dollas, don't holla! Can be found in most SoEaAsian stores/market and even online.

                                              This is what it looks like. http://www.google.com/products?hl=en&...

                                              Super easy to use. Fill with about 3 tablespoons of ground coffee(med to fine ground), place the tamper on firmly(no need to screw it down), place on mug.....pour hot water to fill. It drips through in about 5 minutes. Have it "Americano" with extra hot water, sugar and half 'n' half. Or have it Vietnamese style with condensed milk.........hot or iced.

                                              Easy to clean. Just dump and rinse. Cheap enough to have a few on hand for guests. Dishwasher safe. Makes for a nice coffee ritual.

                                              If you want to do it o.g. use coffee that has chicory in it (Cafe Du Monde for one) and get yourself a bottle of condensed milk. It's neat that Nestle condensed milk is now offered in a convenient clean-squeeze bottle that you can keep in your fridge. Look for a white bottle with a blue cap. It's good for the times you've run out of half 'n' half and sugar.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: rilkeanheart

                                                Cafe du Monde is too bitter when drunk straight (I drink most other coffee black), but the sweetened condensed milk tempers it just enough. The grind also is pretty good for this filter; just a few grains pass through. Overall a good combination.


                                              2. One word - Meliita Cone. Wait...thats two words...

                                                1 Reply