Consumer Reports

Just One Cup of Coffee, Please

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Single Serve coffee makers, like Keurig machines, promise a fresh cup of coffee anytime you’re craving caffeine. Many of them look alike, but does that mean they can all brew the best cup? Consumer Reports’ tests reveal the fastest and easiest single cup for you or perhaps a coffee lover on your gift list.

Consumer Reports find for single-serve or pod coffee makers people really value consistency, speed and convenience that’s why they focus their tests on those areas. For example, testers time how fast each machine delivers that first cup of coffee. The fastest deliver that first cup in a minute. And to check for consistency, Consumer Reports measures the temperature of the coffee and the amount of coffee dispensed into each cup. Then, an expert taste tester assesses each cup of black coffee.

With single-serve coffeemakers, you do give up a little taste for all that convenience. We've tested a number of machines and most get an average rating for taste. But which machine is right for you?

For budget-minded brewers, the Chefman InstaCoffee, K-Cup Pods for $50 (not available in Canada) earns a Consumer Reports Best Buy designation. It outperforms machines that cost hundreds more, offers impressive first-cup speed, and it works with any K-cup pod.

If you like espresso and want more features – like the ability to control brew strengths for a variety of tastes – Consumer Reports recommends the Nespresso Essenza Mini Coffee Maker for $220 ($260 in Canada).

If you want the best of both worlds consider the Cuisinart Coffee Center SS-15 for $200 ($220 in Canada) which offers a traditional drip-style and a single-serve option in a single machine.

If you're concerned about throwing all those pods away, you can reuse a refillable pod. Or, recycle them! All K-cup coffee pods are now recyclable. And Nepresso offers free pod-recycling bags you can send back by mail, all pre-paid. Or you can also take your used pods to any Nespresso Boutique.

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