I love coffee, and I enjoy writing about it. As a former barista, I tested various coffee preparation methods and equipment.
What Is the Best Single Serve Coffee Maker?
Single serve coffee machines comparison. Which one to choose? Pro and Cons for the major brands: Keurig, Tassimo, CBTL, Dolce Gusto, Senseo and Nespresso.
Are you looking to buy a new coffee machine? You would like to buy a single serve coffee machine and the abundance of choices is a bit too much? How to choose your coffee maker, what is the best single serve coffee maker? Hopefully this lens will help you decide.
We review the most popular single serve coffee machines. Read our side by side comparison of pod coffee makers: Tassimo, Dolce Gusto, Keurig, Senseo so you can make an easy buying decision.
NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto Esperta 2 [Espresso Coffee Machine]
A hybrid between espresso machines and capsule coffee machines, it is the most convenient while still affordable espresso maker. It has a 15 bar pump, that is exactly the pressure needed for an espresso. Easy customization of the prepared beverages. It makes various beverages with a button touch. It can brew:
- Gourmet coffee
The thermoblock heating will make preparing the coffee instant, with no waiting time.
The 15 bar pump will ensure a coffee extraction similar to an espresso brew.
Hot and cold beverages.
An attractive price.
It uses the great Dolce Gusto pods, which are among the best options on the coffee capsules market. The pods include 15 flavor varieties including "Dark Roast", "Espresso Intenso", "Lungo Decaf", "Mocha" and "Vanilla Latte Macchiato".
The Dolce Gusto pods are also smartly designed to lock in the freshnes of the coffee.
We are sorry to see the Piccolo going away, but the Esperta is a great machine too.
Single Cup Systems compared - Pros - The Strengths of Major Single Serve Coffee Machines
- Bosch - Tassimo - Best for people who like coffee beverages, cappuccino. latte, mocha, etc. It is a complex machine. You can add more water at the end of the brewing.
- Nescafe - Dolce Gusto - Coffee experts will be attracted by the high pressure pump, (15 bar), that improves the brewing by extracting exceptional aromas and a perfect body.
- Keurig - the K-Kup System - Best for coffee lovers and enthusiasts a variety of coffee types. It is a simple machine, a little more silent than others. A lot of coffee choices. You can even use your own coffee with the reusable filter.
- Phillips - Senseo - Coffee pods are cheaper than any other ones. You can make two cups at a time. You can adjust water volume. Multi-beverage system, can brew cappuccino, coffee and tea.
- Cuisinart Single Serve - Powered by Keurig Uses the same K-cups as the Keurig, very silent, BPA free, a great alternative for the well known single serve makers.
- CBTL Kaldi Single-Cup Brewer - With a high pressure pump, (15 bar), and a unique twin pressure system it can brew excellent coffee using gentle pressure or it can pull a perfect espresso using the high pressure pump. Italian design and a great assortment of coffee, espresso and tea from the renowned "The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf", makes it a great competitor.
- Nespresso - Nespresso Automatic Espresso Makers are a hybrid between single cup coffee makers and automatic espresso machines. They only do one thing, but they are doing it great, espresso, (and cafe americano). It is close to a single serve because it uses coffee pods, it is fully automated and it makes a real foamy espresso, unlike other contenders in the single serve category.
- Keurig - the VUE System - Finally a competitor for the Tassimo products. Smart pump, with different pressure for different beverages, control coffee size, strength, and temperature for a better flavor. Aided by the interactive touch screen you can brews cafÃ© type beverages, simple coffee, tea, hot cocoa, and anything else.
- Hamilton Beach Single Serve Scoop is a single cup coffee maker that doesn't use capsules. Brews a hot coffee, and allows you to use your own coffee for money saving, and absolute choice of coffee beans.
- Verismo by Starbucks is an automated, capsule based, espresso maker. The great thing about the Verismo is that you don't need a separate milk frother, the frothed milk can be obtained from a capsule, so a late is so easy to make.
Single Cup Systems compared - Cons - The Weaknesses of the Major Single Serve Coffee Makers
- Bosch - Tassimo - Little coffee choices, this might change in the future though.
- Nescafe - Dolce Gusto - It might take a little time until you get your first perfect cup of coffee. You need to manually control the water level. For some, (like me), this is a feature, for others this is really annoying and it defeats the purpose of having something done automatically.
- Keurig - the K-Kup System - Doesn't do frothed milk hence no cappuccinos. There is little control over the strength, water temperature and pressure. No espresso.
- Phillips - Senseo - can get messy, and the pods are not sealed so the ground coffee loses its flavor in time if not stored properly.
- Cuisinart Single Serve - Powered by Keurig - coffee tends to be weak if you use the default setting, the machine is rather big.
- CBTL Kaldi Single-Cup Brewer - No capsules for steamed milk, but they sell a milk frother. Some people complain that it only fits small cups, but for me this is a feature, if I need more coffee, fresh is better.
- Nespresso - It is more expensive than any of the coffee pod makers, no pods for the steamed milk, but they sell a milk frother which is way better. It only makes espresso. I am an espresso lover, I love these machines.
- Keurig - the VUE System - It doesn't have a code reader so if you are not fully awake in the morning coul mess up.
- The fact that the Hamilton Beach Single Serve Scoop doesn't use capsules makes a little less convenient to use than its competitors. It takes a bit to understand the coffee measurements and the settings, (about 10 minutes), and you need to read the instructions.
- Starbucks' Verismo is a great espresso maker. I personally, didn't like the milk from the Starbucks capsules, I thought it had an artificial taste, but many people don't mind it.
Senseo Original XL Single Serve Gourmet Coffee Machine
- The Senseo single serve doesn't have a powerful pump, hence this coffee will not be your regular espresso, however the patented frothing chamber, a Philips innovation, will inject air in the resulted brew, to create a special crema.
- The removable parts of the machine are dishwasher safe, for an easy maintenance.
- The drip tray is metallic, a nice touch that says "quality".
- A safety feature: if the water reservoir is empty, the machine will not start a brewing cycle. (The indicator light will blink rapidly).
- Includes two pod holders: a shallow holder for one cup servings, and a deeper filter that holds for two cups or an 8-ounce mug.
- The coffee from a Senseo is something you haven't tasted yet, and it is great. Witness are the great Amazon reviews, take a look.
SENSEO Original XL Coffee Pod Machine
Senseo Video Review
Hamilton Beach Single Serve Scoop Coffee Maker - Single Serve Gourmet Coffee Maker
Breville Single Cup Coffee Maker Review
The Best Coffee or the Best Espresso?
Cuisinart Premium Single Serve Brewer (SS-10) - Video Review
Cuisinart SS-10 Premium Single Serve Brewer
Cuisinart SS-10 Single Serve Brewing System
Cuisinart Single Serve Brewing System is one of the best Keurig alternatives, and many people prefer it to Keurig's brewers. Here are some of its most appealing features:
- Has a charcoal water filter that removes impurities, chlorine and bad tastes from your water for the best results.
- It uses the K-Cup, that means you can benefit of the most premium coffee brands on the market as you would with any Keurig machine.
- You can also choose to brew your own gourmet coffee as with any Keurig machine.
- Automatic on / off setting
- Fully programmable
- Backlit LCD with digital clock, auto on/off, and adjustable temperature control
- 5 cup sizes, including iced beverage setting and removable drip tray for height adjustment for tall travel mugs
- All parts in contact with water and coffee are BPA-free
- This is a great luxury alternative to the Keurig's single serve systems.
CBTL Single Serve Coffee System
Why Choose a Single Serve
Are Brew Bots Better than Drip Coffee machines?
Single serve are already a huge commercial success and there is a reason for that. They are convenient, they make a good coffee, and they are easy to use. They are good enough even for coffee snobs, such as myself. They are able to excite my avid senses of taste and smell.
Single serve coffee machines are the right choice even for small offices.
Choosing between the different manufacturers could prove a little difficult.
Most people will decide between Tassimo with its revolutionary bar-code reader and Keurig with its reusable K-cup filter.
Wait, there are other good choices on the market!
Keurig vs Nespresso vs Tassimo
There is a lot of things to compare between the three coffee machines, but this short comparison focuses on the most important ones.
The only one that makes real espresso is Nespresso, it has the adequate technology, (powerful pump), to deliver it. Tassimo makes espresso but the taste is not of genuine espresso, although the crema is decent. Keurig doesn't do espresso at all. If you like espresso buy the Nespresso coffee machine.
The best drip coffee you get it from the Keurig, the machine pushes the water with pressure through the capsule and the end result is a flavorful drip coffee.
If you like coffee based drinks, such as latte, or cappuccino, your best choice is the Tassimo, the technology behind it, the impressive assortment of pods, and the easiness in preparing make it the best choice. The end result will be exceptional, you won't know it wasn't made with real espresso.
If you want cheap, delicious coffee, the best choice is the Keurig. If you use the refillable capsules, you will be able to use your own coffee, (great savings), and use gourmet coffee.
© 2011 Dorian Bodnariuc
Great Black Coffee or Easy to Make Cappuccino?
ewstuck on October 25, 2014:
I received a tassimo and Dulce Gusto for Christmas. After trying both for a month I gave the tassimo away.....enough said
mariacarbonara on July 01, 2013:
I like my Tassimo. Easy to use and a good variety of drinks available
BruceBair on February 21, 2013:
I love coffee but am not a fan of these machines. I prefer to hand grind fresh beans and heat water to make a single serving. Since you did not review what I use I won't mention it here. Great lens, very thorough.
Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on February 11, 2013:
I did not realize how many brands there are now. Makes it harder to choose. Like all the ones you featured here.
WorldsBestDad on February 02, 2013:
Hey I didn't realize Breville made a single serve coffee maker, if it's as good as their juicer I'll have to check it out. Thanks. =)
myspace9 on January 23, 2013:
Beautifl and informative lens. Thanks so much for squidliking one of my lenses.
Dorian Bodnariuc (author) from Ottawa, Ontario Canada on November 05, 2012:
@zacrew7: Yeah, it feels great to have a lens ranked within the 3000. The rank comes mostly from traffic, which improved greatly as we get closer to Christmas. But the other ranking parameters are not going up...
zacrew7 on November 05, 2012:
Just noticed you're ranked 3000 with this. Hope you make it to tier 1 :)
Dorian Bodnariuc (author) from Ottawa, Ontario Canada on November 03, 2012:
@latishaalford: CBTL are pretty solid on the market, their capsules a good.
latishaalford on November 03, 2012:
I had not heard of this brand before. Thanks for sharing.
Dorian Bodnariuc (author) from Ottawa, Ontario Canada on November 01, 2012:
SJ, You can buy them on Amazon. Here is the link:cbtl capsulesI assume is CBTL...
anonymous on November 01, 2012:
I got a bctl coffee machine from my parents as a gift and haven't used it can't find that brand of singles for it does anyone know if I can use other brand of coffee inserts?
sibiana on November 01, 2012:
Love your lens, quite comprehensive.I think I need a new espresso machine
kmyangel on September 13, 2012:
Very good reviews ! Thanks for sharing!
anonymous on June 29, 2012:
I am very pleased with my Nespresso Cityz. I got it as a gift, and i am using it every day since.
Dorian Bodnariuc (author) from Ottawa, Ontario Canada on June 10, 2012:
@ara-bella: I think they are great machines.
Dorian Bodnariuc (author) from Ottawa, Ontario Canada on June 10, 2012:
@brian_pelton: That is a great combo. I take the same.
brian_pelton on June 06, 2012:
My favorite drink is a shot of espresso in Star Bucks black coffee! Mmmm
ara-bella on February 29, 2012:
I like the dolce gusto best!
rick grubb on January 26, 2012:
I own a Keurig B40 myself and love it
colleenw1 on December 11, 2011:
We have had a Keurig B60 Special Edition for about a year. Absolutely love it!! Would never go back to a regular coffee maker.. EVER!!!
Odille Rault from Gloucester on November 14, 2011:
I hadn't thought about a single serve coffee machine before. And since I work from home, alone, I thought making a full pot of coffee would be a waste (I don't drink a lot of it), but a single serve machine sounds great! :)
anonymous on November 02, 2011:
I own a DG Creativa and a CBTL. Both are great machines and I wouldn't part with either. I think of my CBTL as the serious maker; superb espresso and now a great choice of coffees. My DG makes flavorful lattes and is my fun machine.
anonymous on November 02, 2011:
I have a Dolce Gusto Creativa and a CBTL. Had Tassimo(s) but gave those a way. The CBTL is expanding and has recently offered more drinks. CBTL's espressos are superb and I really like the coffees...Butterscotch Toffee ... Yum ; ) My fav is the CBTL Costa Rica coffee. So why do I need my DG, because the lattes and caps are flavorful and fun. My CBTL is for serious coffee and my DG for those fun times.
anonymous on August 16, 2011:
Thanks for a good review of the single serve. I am buying a new one and haven't decided yet which one to pick. I am still debating this with my husband. :)
anonymous on August 15, 2011:
My Dolce Gusto is doing a great job. I am a coffee enthusiast and this little wonder is very close to an espresso machine. I am brewing myself a strong Americano every morning. I am considering the Cuisinart for my parents, since they aren't into the espresso thing.
anonymous on July 28, 2011:
Just got the dolce gusto creativa. Awesome piece of machinery. Fifteen bars of pressure. Tasty flavors. Great product IMO
Jackie Block from SE Michigan on July 14, 2011:
I have a Keurig, and I love it. As a busy mom, I have it in my bedroom, so I can start my day off with a coffee, before getting everyone else up.