For many of us, coffee is the first thing that we reach for after getting up in the morning. Quality definitely matters when it comes to that morning cup, but most of us don’t have time to grind our own beans, and we’d prefer not to wait while a whole pot brews. That is where single-cup pod coffee makers can help.
In this buyer’s guide, we cover everything you need to know about choosing the best pod coffee maker for your needs, from pricing and features to use and maintenance.
Leading our top three is the incredible Keurig K65
It offers a variety of brew-size options, with your choice of 6, 8 or 10 fluid ounces, and also boasts adjustable brewing temperature selection. It only takes a few minutes to start up, and is brilliantly simple to use, with its brewing time under one minute.
The K65 is renowned for its durability, so you know this will remain a fixture in your kitchen for some time, even if you use it often. It’s very sleek, so will not look out of place in any modern living space. And as an added bonus – especially if you’re as lazy as me – is that its completely dishwasher safe!
Delonghi Dolce Gusto Genio
In at a close second is the Delonghi Dolce Gusto.
The pressure system within the Dolve Gusto is superb, offering very good quality on all blends. As well as your standard espresso or americano, the more ‘exotic’ blends that the coffee machine offers are really special. From cappuccinos to machachinos, and even chai lattes, they really throw up some amazing blends and flavors.
It’s compact, offering you plenty of counter space, and it takes next to no time warming up, meaning that you can get your morning coffee fix in no time.
What puts it behind the Keurig? It doesn’t offer as much variety in its pods as our chosen number one, and the quality of the standard blend is good, but again doesn’t quite match that of Keurig’s. However none of this is a criticism of the machine’s performance, which is incredibly strong.
A key feature of the Bunn is its pulse mode. This brews yoru coffee at a much slower speed, which gives you a much stronger and smoother taste. Perfect for those lazy weekend mornings
This offers some great options in that it can use not just k-cups, but also tea bags and ground coffee to make to make beverages. This, as well as its pulse mode, gives you much more control over the type and quality of your brew than other models, and it’s a great change from what other coffee makers offer.
Much like the Delonghi, it’s a compact size, meaning that it doesn’t dominate your kitchen area.
Today you can find a pod coffee maker for just about any budget. In general, pricing for these single-cup brewers can range anywhere from $60 for a very basic model to more than $150 for a premium model. It is also important to remember that the price you’ll pay for the pods themselves is often quite a bit higher than what you’ll pay for buying traditional pre-ground coffee. But is it worth it?
For most people, the answer is yes. The convenience of being able to brew a single cup of your favorite premium coffee at home is well worth the price you’ll pay. It’s also far less than you’d spend making a morning run for coffee at chains like Starbucks. Not only that, but you’ll save yourself time in the morning by skipping the drive-thru wait. In general, expecting to pay around $100 for a good-quality model is about right.
When it comes to buying a pod coffee maker, convenience is key. You want to look for a brand that allows you to simply pop in the pod and hit a button. Even better is a model that works with more than one brand or type of pod, giving you more options when it comes to the coffee you brew. Cup speed is also something to consider. As a busy adult, you don’t want to be stuck waiting for a single cup of coffee to finish brewing. Try to choose a model that has received higher ratings in this area. If you plan on brewing multiple cups, check to see if the coffee maker you choose is rated differently for first-cup and subsequent cup speeds. Some brew the first cup very quickly, but slow down afterward.
Another option to look for is the ability to control the strength of your brew. Some coffee makers do not offer customization according to cup size or preferred brew strength; if these options are important to you, you will want to make sure that the coffee maker you choose includes these options. This is especially important if you’re used to coffee house coffees.
Getting the Most Out of Your Pod Coffee Maker
Pod coffee makers are incredibly convenient and easy to use. To get the most out of any model you choose, try setting up the coffee maker the night before. If possible, use your coffee maker’s timer function so that you can wake up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee. This has the added benefit of quickly freeing up the coffee maker for another cup if you choose.
Secondly, don’t be shy about trying different types and flavors of coffee. Today’s pods come in a wide variety of roasts and flavors. By limiting yourself to a single standard, you may be missing out on something wonderful. Just as you would at the coffeehouse, take your time and choose different variety on different days (or even in the same day).
Maintaining your Pod Coffee Maker
One of the most important steps in ensuring your pod coffee maker lasts as long as possible is to clean it regularly. Minerals in your water can build up inside your pod coffee maker over time, making it more difficult for the unit to properly heat the water. This build up can also affect the taste of your coffee. Once every three to six months, use a special descaler to clean the machine. A number of companies offer special “cleaning pods” specifically for this purpose.