Coffee makers with pods: Coffee Pod Maker : Target

12 Best Single-Serve Coffee Makers and Pod Coffee Makers of 2023

The best single-serve coffee makers are a convenient way of quickly brewing a quality cup of coffee that rivals what you can find in your local coffee shop.

Our favorite single-serve coffee maker, the Nespresso VertuoPlus by Breville
(available at Amazon for $169.95)

, has a sleek design and is simply the best at what a pod coffee maker does—brew a strong, hot cup of coffee without any fuss. Its 40-ounce water reservoir is not the largest in our roundup, but its swivel bottom handle allows you to detach the tank for storage, depending on your counter space.

If your caffeine demands also include espresso drinks and iced coffee beverages, we recommend the Keurig K-Cafe (available on Amazon), the most versatile single-serve maker we tested. And if you just can’t decide between Nespresso and Keurig brews, we’d opt for the Instant Dual Pod Plus (available on Amazon), which excels with K-cups, Nespresso capsules, and compostable pods.

Credit:
Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

The Nespresso VertuoPlus by Breville is the best pod coffee machine we’ve tested.

Best Overall

Nespresso VertuoPlus

  • Pod type: Nespresso Vertuo
  • Water reservoir capacity: 40 ounces
  • Dimensions: 16.7 x 5.6 x 12.8 inches
  • Weight: 10.1 pounds

The Nespresso VertuoPlus by Breville delivers a dense, rich, and aromatic coffee. Our coffee had a foamy crema on top, and this single-serve coffee machine also brews espresso capsules, so you can make espresso, double espresso, and regular coffee.

Coffee drinkers will love its compact design—it can live on your countertop or be easily stored if your space is limited. The motorized head opens with a light lift, and used coffee pods are ejected into a hidden container, saving you from burning your fingers.

If you’re interested in lattes, cappuccinos or steamed milk in your coffee, a milk frother is available if you opt for a bundled package. Read our full review of the Nespresso VertuoPlus by Breville.

Credit:
Credit: Reviewed / Tim Renzi

A sleek design with a small footprint earns this machine a spot on the counter.

Most Versatile

Keurig K-Café Smart

  • Pod type: K-cup
  • Water reservoir capacity: 60 ounces
  • Dimensions: 12.1 x 11 x 17.2 inches
  • Weight: 13 pounds

The latest Keurig K-Café Smart is an upgrade to any previous Keurig we’ve tested. It comes with a well-performing milk frother, and the connected app guides you through any recipe you can think of—from iced coffee to mocha lattes.

From the app, you can control the machine, adjust your brew settings, set schedules, and get reminders about cleaning. You can also shop for pods and accessories, making purchases directly through the app. In the Café Creations section, you can select a recipe for any kind of beverage you can think of, and get step-by-step directions.

We also love how convenient the machine is to use overall; the water tank is a breeze to remove and refill (thanks to the provided handle) and the design is sleek and space-saving.

Unfortunately, this machine doesn’t come with a reusable pod, so if you’re fussy about your coffee beans, you’ll have to buy one separately. We also didn’t love the espresso that came out of this machine; the shots were lacking any distinctive crema and that strong, espresso-like flavor. So if you’re fussy about espresso shots, you might better off with our Nespresso winner (or a traditional espresso machine). Read our full review of the Keurig K-Café Smart.

Pros
  • Space saving, attractive design

  • Remote-controlled through fun app

  • Large water reservoir is easy to fill

  • Milk frother works very well

Cons
  • Doesn’t come with a reusable pod

  • Espresso shots are underwhelming

  • Sub-par pods still make bad coffee

Credit:
Reviewed / Tim Renzi

We definitely recommend this machine for pod coffee loyalists.

Best Multi-Pod

Instant Dual Pod Plus

  • Pod type: K-cup, Nespresso Original, Instant Compostable, Reusable
  • Water reservoir capacity: 68 ounces
  • Dimensions: 7 x 13 x 14 inches
  • Weight: 15.5 pounds

If your household is undecided on which pod coffee maker is best (i.e. the endless debate between Keurig and Nespresso), this machine might be the answer to your prayers.

The Instant Dual Pod Plus Coffee Maker is compatible with an array of different pods: K-cups, Nespresso Original capsules, Instant compostable pods, and even a provided reusable pod (which can be filled with your go-to coffee grounds).

During testing, we found that there’s a lot to love about this machine—even beyond its obvious versatility. The coffee that we brewed in it was surprisingly rich and flavorful; we almost couldn’t believe it had come from a pod. Nespresso shots came out with a delightful layer of crema, and Instant’s compostable pods resulted in cups that were tasty and full bodied, especially when pressing the “Bold” button beforehand.

We also love that this machine has a spacious water tank with 68 ounces, so we didn’t have to refill it as often as with other machines.

It might not be the fastest brewing machine (average time for an eight-ounce cup of coffee took about 80 seconds), but it’s certainly the easiest way to make tasty coffee that’ll satisfy the whole family. Read our full review of the Instant Dual Pod Plus.

Pros
  • Streamlines pods

  • Makes tasty coffee

  • Spacious water tank

Nespresso Vertuo Next

  • Pod type: Nespresso Vertuo
  • Water reservoir capacity: 37 ounces
  • Dimensions: 5.5 x 16.8 x 12.4 inches
  • Weight: 8.8 pounds

If you love the convenience and flavor that comes with Nespresso coffee machines—but are short on counter space—the Vertuo Next is a great option.

This is the slimmest to come from Nespresso’s line of coffee machines, with a small footprint and a variety of attractive colors to match any kitchen’s palette. During testing, we loved how intuitive this machine was to use and how easy it was to upkeep. It can brew anything from a single espresso shot to a full cup of coffee and even an 18-ounce carafe.

The Vertuo Next can be paired with the Nespresso app to notify you when it’s time to fill the water tank, remove the used capsules, or run the descaling function.

Bu the app doesn’t allow for any remote functions, like brewing coffee from another room, for example. And we ran into a few other problems during testing, like the smaller-than-average water tank that calls for frequent refills. And a few long-term owners claim that the machine often develops functionality issues over time, which means that it may not be the longest-lasting option on this list. Read the full Nespresso Vertuo Next review.

Pros
  • Slim, sleek design

  • Quick brewing

  • Easy upkeep

Instant Solo Single Serve Coffee Maker

  • Pod type: K-Cup, Instant Compostable, Reusable
  • Water reservoir capacity: 40 ounces
  • Dimensions: 11. 8 x 5.3 x 12.6 inches
  • Weight: 2.5 pounds

If you’re looking for a simple single-serve pod coffee maker that won’t take up a lot counter space but will deliver consistent results, the Instant Solo is for you. With an exceedingly straightforward control panel on the top, and easy-to-fill water reservoir, using this single-serve coffee maker is seamless.

You can brew with traditional K-cups as well as Instant’s own compostable pods. Best of all, the machine comes with an easy-to-use refillable pod so you can grind your own coffee for a premium experience. The control pad gives you the option to brew eight, 10, or 12 ounces, and if you prefer a stronger coffee, there’s also a “bold” button to intensify the brew strength.

Our only complaint is that the way this machine communicates is solely through a series of beeps. The tones to alert when brewing is complete are easy enough to recognize, but other trills, such as those for low water or cleaning needed, are a bit harder to decipher.

Moccamaster Cup-One by Technivorm

  • Pod type: Non-pod, paper filters required
  • Water reservoir capacity: 10 ounces
  • Dimensions: 11.75 x 10.25 x 6.50 inches
  • Weight: 3.9 pounds

The Moccamaster Cup-One by Technivorm lives somewhere between automatic drip coffee machine and pour-over coffee maker. You fill it with your choice of coffee; it sports the ease of a drip machine, but with the technique and taste of a pour-over brew.

When you switch on the Cup-One, it draws the water down to heat it then the wand releases an initial burst of 205°F water to bloom the grounds, just like pour-over. It then releases a steady stream of water with some steam bursts to agitate the grounds while brewing.

Due to this significantly different brewing method, the Moccamaster Cup-One takes longer than typical single-serve pod coffee makers, but we can excuse the lengthy brew time of four to five minutes—at least that’s five minutes we can go do something else rather than standing over the Chemex with a gooseneck kettle in hand.


The only thing we didn’t like about the Cup-One is having to keep track of a very tiny cleaning brush that is absolutely necessary to keep the drip running smoothly. If you don’t ensure that the tiny hole at the base of the brew basket is clear before brewing, it could clog and prevent water from draining, creating a potentially messy situation.

While the Cup-One isn’t zero-waste, the paper filters can go in the compost bin, which is better than endless plastic pods going to landfills.

Keurig K-Café

  • Pod type: K-Cup
  • Water reservoir capacity: 60 ounces
  • Dimensions: 12.5 x 15.3 x 11.7 inches
  • Weight: 10 pounds

If you’re not ready to shell out hundreds of dollars on an Italian-made espresso machine but still crave the ability to make cappuccinos, lattes, and macchiatos, this machine might be right for you.

The control pad of this K-cup coffee maker gives you the option to brew espresso shots or six ounces to 12 ounces of regular coffee. If you like your coffee more intense, there’s also a “strong” button to intensify the brew strength.

Another highlight is the dishwasher safe milk frother positioned directly on the side of the machine. To make a latte, you only need to fill the frother with skim, whole, nut, or lactose-free milk and press a button.

We love this machine’s hands-free design and intuitive control panel. A stainless steel drip tray makes it easy to clean.

Pros
  • Brews coffee, latte, and cappuccino

  • Large water reservoir

  • Features milk frother

Keurig K-Elite

  • Pod type: K-cup
  • Water reservoir capacity: 75 ounces
  • Dimensions: 9.9 x 12.7 x 13.1 inches
  • Weight: 6. 6 pounds

The K-Elite boasts a large 75-ounce reservoir that allows you to brew more cups of coffee at once than any other model in this roundup.

It brews five different cup sizes and comes with a button to adjust the brew strength of each cup. The K-Elite also features an iced coffee option, but it is not to be confused with brewing ice-cold coffee. It just makes the coffee more concentrated so ice won’t dilute the flavor.

The drip tray can be removed to accommodate most travel mugs.

Nespresso VertuoLine Evoluo

  • Pod type: Nespresso Vertuo
  • Water reservoir capacity: 54 ounces
  • Dimensions: 12.22 x 8.97 x 12.33 inches
  • Weight: 10.96 pounds

The Nespresso VertuoLine Evoluo by De’Longhi is an excellent choice for people who want the convenience that comes with a pod brewer, but aren’t willing to compromise on flavor.

The Evoluo is capable of creating both espresso and regular coffee, but it can’t make cocoa or iced coffee. In our tests, it brewed better tasting coffee than anything made by a K-cup brewer, and it puts a nice crema in your cup.

The Evoluo is constructed from high-quality materials and sports a one-touch brewing system. It also is considerably more expensive than many single-serve options, and its pods also are priced higher and can be more difficult to find.

Nespresso Vertuo

  • Pod type: Nespresso Vertuo
  • Water reservoir capacity: 40 ounces
  • Dimensions: 11.91 x 8.3 x 11.9 inches
  • Weight: 10.85 pounds

The design of this Nespresso Vertuo is almost identical to its De’Longhi model. However, we noticed extremely loud noises during brewing tests and that knocked this model down the roundup a couple of spots.

As with other VertuoLine machines, it automatically reads the barcode on the capsules to determine the brew time, size, and temperature. Also like other machines in this line, it has a one-touch brewing system. Its 40-ounce reservoir can make about five cups of coffee before it needs to be refilled.

Keurig K-Select

  • Pod type: K-cup
  • Water reservoir capacity: 52 ounces
  • Dimensions: 11.6 x 9.2 x 12.5 inches
  • Weight: 7.35 pounds

The K-Select is bulky, but without the brewing functionality of its high-end sibling, the K-Elite. It works fine if you’re a big Keurig fan, and you’re expecting a standard cup of brew every time you hit the button. It also features a strong brew button designed to increase the strength of your coffee.

The 52-ounce water tank can make up to seven cups of coffee, and the drip tray can be removed to accommodate most travel mugs. The machine also features an auto-off programmable button if you’re worried about your appliances zapping energy. The maintenance reminder will also alert you when it’s time for descaling.

Cons
  • Bulky design

Keurig K-Classic

  • Pod type: K-cup
  • Water reservoir capacity: 48 ounces
  • Dimensions: 13. 2 x 10.1 x 13.3 inches
  • Weight: 9 pounds

The K-Classic, which has three brewing sizes, doesn’t have any special features, and its price point makes it much less appealing than other Keurigs that do more.

Also, let’s talk about the noise. The loud machine brews average-at-best coffee—but is it really worth enduring a soul-killing sound? My answer is no.

Like the K-Select, you can program the machine to automatically shut itself off to save energy. It doesn’t feature a carafe option for filling a large mug, but the drip tray is removable for larger travel cups.

How We Tested Pod Coffee Makers

Credit:
Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

We tested nine single serve coffee makers to find the best one.

The Tester

I’m Valerie Li, Reviewed’s cooking and kitchen staff writer—and I’m an avid coffee and tea drinker. For me, a day officially starts when I take my shot of espresso, brewed by my beloved De’Longhi machine. From moseying to 7-Eleven for a quick caffeine fix to traveling to Blue Mountain plantation in Jamaica, I’ve sampled coffee of many different origins and varieties.

The Tests

We set up top-rated single-serve pod coffee makers and brewed at least 10 cups of coffee in each, assessing how long they took to brew, how easy their reservoirs were to fill, and how versatile they were for brewing tea, iced coffee, and hot chocolate.

We repeated this process with all machines over a week, also analyzing how simple each unit was to descale, how comfortable they were to use, how portable and well-built they were, and how effortless they were to store. We also took note of safety concerns and special features.

Other qualities we looked for included the taste of the coffee and other beverages, the speed (all options we tested averaged one cup per minute), the temperature of the brew, how easy it was to disassemble parts for cleaning, and how easy it was to recycle the pods.

What to Know About Pod Coffee Makers

Credit:
Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

It’s easy to insert pods into the Keurig pod coffee makers.

The launch of in-home Keurig machines in 2004 quickly shook up the entire coffee world and changed Americans’ daily caffeine habits.

Scientifically speaking, the mechanism behind Keurigs is similar to drip coffee makers, but much faster: Pour hot water over coffee beans and pressurize it to extract juices in under one minute.

After the K-cup technology patent expired, many more pod coffee manufacturers jumped into the game to break Keurig’s short-lived monopoly. Nestle’s Nespresso soon unveiled its more advanced VertuoLine of single-serve coffee makers with centrifusion technology, which can improve the taste tenfold.

Now, the two companies are the biggest players in the pod coffee industry.

A pod coffee maker is undeniably the most convenient alternative to fiddling with a French press or waiting for a drip coffee maker. Here are some things to consider when looking for a single-serve coffee maker.

Pods vs. Reusable Filters

The convenience of single-serve coffee makers comes at a price, especially once you factor in the cost of pods. Before purchasing any single-serve coffee maker, you should also consider the long-term cost of pods.

K-cup pods are widely available and don’t cost as much as pods for Nespresso machines. However, K-pods can be difficult to recycle. In contrast, Nespresso pods cost more and there are fewer flavors of coffee available. Nespresso pods are recyclable if mailed back to the company with pre-paid shipping labels, or delivered to a collection site.

Another option is reusable filters. They are more eco-friendly and can be purchased in brick-and-mortar stores and online, including on Amazon. There are a variety of types available, including silicone. If you choose a reusable mesh filter, be aware that it may be more difficult to clean.

Water Reservoir

The water reservoir capacity for pod coffee makers can vary greatly. The capacity of brewers we reviewed for the roundup ranged from 40 ounces to 75 ounces. Smaller machines can brew just a few cups, but take up less space on your countertop.

However, if you drink a number of cups of coffee each day, you likely want a machine that has a larger reservoir so you aren’t refilling it as frequently.

Size

Like the water reservoir, the size of pod coffee makers can vary greatly. Since the larger machines will most likely live on your countertop, you should make sure you have enough space. Smaller machines can be more easily stored and can still deliver a great cup of coffee.

How to Clean a Single-Serve Coffee Maker

No matter which coffee pod brand you decide to purchase, it is important to properly care for your single-serve coffee maker.

Credit:
Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

Descaling your coffee maker regularly will keep your coffee tasting fresh.

Aside from routine cleaning, such as wiping and rinsing, you should descale your machine once every six months. Why is descaling important?

Water we use to brew coffee contains minerals, commonly calcium and magnesium. Minerals can build up over time and gradually accumulate as limescale. This can affect the brewing temperature and taste of your coffee. Eventually, it could cause your machine to malfunction.

More Articles You Might Enjoy

  • The Best Cold Brew Coffee Makers
  • The Best Pour-Over Coffee Makers
  • The Best Electric Coffee Grinders
  • The Best Travel Mugs
  • Is coffee healthy or not? Here’s how much you should drink

Meet the testers

Valerie Li Stack

Senior Staff Writer

@

Valerie Li Stack is a senior staff writer for Kitchen & Cooking. She is an experienced home cook with a passion for experimenting with the cuisines of countries she’s visited. Driven by an interest in food science, Valerie approaches the culinary scene with a firm grasp of cooking processes and extensive knowledge of ingredients. She believes food speaks to all people regardless of language and cultural background.

See all of Valerie Li Stack’s reviews

Monica Petrucci

Editor, Kitchen & Cooking

@monicatpetrucci

Monica is Reviewed’s Kitchen & Cooking editor and an avid home cook; she’s been testing a wide range of kitchen products at Reviewed for over a year. Previously the Digital Editor at Culture Cheese Magazine (and a former barista), she’s also had her work published in The Boston Globe, Modern Luxury, Boston Magazine, and more.

See all of Monica Petrucci’s reviews

Danielle DeSiato

Managing Editor, Kitchen & Appliances

@kissthecake

Managing Editor, Kitchen & Appliances. Danielle has a B.S. from Syracuse University and a AAS in Culinary Arts from Newbury College. Previously, Danielle was a Test Cook and Associate Editor at America’s Test Kitchen, as well as a freelance recipe developer and food writer. She’s the mom of two boys and loves making pizza on Friday nights.

See all of Danielle DeSiato’s reviews

Checking our work.

Our team is here for one purpose: to help you buy the best stuff and love what you own. Our writers, editors, and lab technicians obsess over the products we cover to make sure you’re confident and satisfied. Have a different opinion about something we recommend? Email us and we’ll compare notes.

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The Best Coffee Pod Machines for Single Serve Brews

We all love coffee, but it can sometimes be a pain to prepare. Whether we’re in a hurry or are just feeling lazy, sometimes we don’t want to take the time to brew the perfect pour-over or practice our latte art on freshly pulled espresso. Sometimes it’s easier to just toss a capsule into a coffee pod machine, press a button and have a piping hot (or cold, if you want iced coffee) cup of Joe ready in a few seconds.

But not all pod-based coffee machines are created equal. Years and years of watery single-serve cups of coffee extracted from cheap coffee pod machines has sullied the reputation of coffee pods, but the market is actually full of some great machines that might just have you questioning your morning Chemex or Breville routine. Truthfully, the single-serve coffee machine industry has never been hotter, so we went hands-on with the top coffee pod machines on the market to find the best.

  • Best Overall Coffee Pod Machine

    Bruvi Brewer

    $348 AT BRUVI.COM

    Read More

    $348 AT BRUVI.COM

  • Best Nespresso Coffee Pod Machine

    Nespresso Vertuo Plus by De’Longhi

    $159 AT AMAZON

    Read More

    $159 AT AMAZON

  • Best Keurig Coffee Pod Machine

    Keurig K-Café SMART Single Serve Coffee Maker

    $125 AT KEURIG. COM

    Read More

    $125 AT KEURIG.COM

  • Best Coffee Pod Machine for Tiny Living

    Instant Dual Pod Plus 3-in-1 Coffee Maker

    $175 AT AMAZON

    Read More

    $175 AT AMAZON

  • Best Coffee Pod Machine for Espresso Junkies

    L’OR Barista System

    $129 AT LORCOFFEE.COM

    Read More

    $129 AT LORCOFFEE.COM

  • Best Coffee Pod Machine for a Crowd

    Hamilton Beach FlexBrew Trio Coffee Maker

    $120 AT AMAZON

    Read More

    $120 AT AMAZON

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Types of Coffee Pod Machines

K-Cup

K-Cup is the name given to Keurig’s pods, and they easily offer the widest variety on the market, with brands ranging from grocery store staples like Folgers, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and Café Bustelo, to nationwide coffee shop chains such as Starbucks, Dunkin’ and Peet’s. They also offer also plenty of non-coffee options like tea and hot chocolate, so whatever your preferred beverage or brand, you’ll likely be able to find it in K-Cup form. K-Cups aren’t exclusive to Keurig, either, as many third-party coffee pod machines also accept the capsules (sometimes exclusively). K-Cups are made of plastic, with an aluminum lid and inner paper filter. The plastic K-Cups use is recyclable (this wasn’t always the case prior to 2020), but you’ll have to disassemble and clean out the cups first.

Nespresso

Nespresso is the original capsule-based coffee machine brand, having debuted in the 1980s as a quick and convenient way to make espresso — crema and all. And while the brand has been ubiquitous in Europe for decades, it’s only gained a foothold in the US in more recent years (thanks, George Clooney!). Nespresso makes use of two different types of pods. There are the Original Espresso Capsules, which look similar to K-Cups, are made of recyclable plastic and exclusively make espresso drinks.

Then there are the newer Vertuo Pods, which are aluminum, half-sphere-shaped and are capable of making a wider range of drinks, from espresso to large cups of crema-topped coffee and even iced coffee. The Original Capsules and Vertuo Pods are not interchangeable and require two different types of Nespresso machines. Vertuo Pods and machines are generally more expensive and are marketed as a more premium product. They’re also exclusive to Nespresso, while third-party manufacturers can sell machines that use Nespresso’s Original Capsules, similar to third-party K-Cup machines. Unlike K-Cups, Nespresso’s pods and capsules no longer need to be cleaned out prior to being recycled. You simply pack them up in a provided bag from the brand and send them through the mail (or drop them off at a pick-up point), where Nespresso then disassembles them, recycling the aluminum and composting the coffee grounds.

Proprietary

For decades, Nespresso and Keurig dominated the coffee pod machine market, but lately, some new competitors using their own technology have appeared to challenge the throne. The two most notable are Bruvi and L’OR.

Bruvi calls their capsules B-Pods, and they’re unique in that they can be thrown away to quickly break down in a landfill without leaving behind any microplastics — there’s nothing to disassemble, clean or recycle. The pods can only be used in Bruvi’s own brewer and can make a wide variety of beverages, from regular coffee to espresso to, in a pod-based machine first, cold brew coffee.

L’OR is a French coffee brand that launched its own brewing system, dubbed Barista, in the US in 2022. L’OR’s machine is a high-pressure system, similar to Nespresso machines, and the brand produces two types of capsules. L’OR Espressso Capsules are nigh-indistinguishable from Nespresso’s Original Espresso Capsules to the point where they’re actually interchangeable — you can use L’OR Capsules in Nespresso machines and vice versa. L’OR Coffee Capsules, however, are larger and can only be used in L’OR’s own machine. These capsules produce larger cups of non-espresso coffee topped with crema, similar to what you might get from a Nespresso Vertuo machine.

What to Look for in a Coffee Pod Machine

Types of beverages offered: Are you looking to make regular coffee or espresso? What about both? How about iced coffee, or even cold brew? What if you prefer something like tea or hot chocolate? Think about what types of drinks you’ll want to make with your single-serve coffee machine and be sure to choose a model that has the capability to make them.

Ease of use: All coffee pod machines are pretty easy to use — if they weren’t, they wouldn’t last very long on the market. Still, you’ll want to take into consideration just how simple they are to operate. Some offer single-button operation, while others are equipped with touchscreens and WiFi connectivity that gives you more options when it comes to your brew.

Pod disposal: Finally, you’ll need to take into consideration what to do with the pods once you’re done with them. Coffee pods can only be used once before they need to be thrown away or recycled, and you’ll want to be realistic about the time it will take you to properly dispose of your spent capsules without being wasteful or harming the planet.

How We Tested

Gear Patrol Staff

In order to get the widest possible view of the market, we called in the best machines from industry leaders Nespresso and Keurig, along with the best-reviewed third-party machines and the industry’s newest coffee pod brands. From there, our testers spent several months with these machines in their own homes, using them as their regular coffee machines to get a realistic look at what life with one of these coffee pod machines is like. Here’s what we discovered.

The Best Coffee Pod Machines

Bruvi

  • Compatible Pods: Bruvi B-Pods
  • Coffee Styles: Regular coffee, iced coffee, espresso, cold brew

    The newest entry in the single-serve coffee wars is Bruvi, and it’s wasted no time in putting the industry on notice. Released in 2022, the self-titled smart coffee maker spent four years in development, with the goal of making pod-based coffee taste better while also being less wasteful. After using the machine for a couple of months, I’m happy to report that they’ve mostly succeeded. Bruvi’s brews are robust and full-bodied and taste closer to cups I’ve had from a coffee shop or my Chemex than from a K-Cup. And, once the coffee’s done (or rather, once the interior receptacle is full), I simply throw my spent pods in the trash, knowing they’ll be kind to the earth.

    Bruvi is a smart brewer, complete with WiFi connectivity, its own app and a large touchscreen for personalizing my cup. It can make everything from regular hot coffee to espresso and even cold brew, the latter two the result of the machine’s 15-bar pressure pump. And while the espresso and cold brew are passable, they don’t quite possess the “wow” factor of Bruvi’s regular cups o’ Joe — the espresso lacks crema and the cold brew is a little weak. Another knock against Bruvi is that it can be a bit messy due to lots of backsplash when brewing, though adjusting the height of the drip tray alleviates some of this. I’d also like to see more options for B-Pods, but since Bruvi is just getting started, I’m sure they’re on the way.

    But overall, Bruvi is an experience that’s head and shoulders above the competition. No other coffee pod machine out there offers its combination of versatility, ease of use, and customization — not to mention it’s great looks. Sure, it’s pricey, but if you’re looking for the best, this is it. — Johnny Brayson, Associate Editor

    For an in-depth look, read our full Bruvi review.

    Nespresso Vertuo Plus by De’Longhi

    Courtesy

    • Compatible Pods: Nespresso Vertuo
    • Coffee Styles: Regular coffee, iced coffee, espresso

      This Nespresso is a great starter machine for somebody who wants the ease of a pod-based coffee maker that can make single and double shots of espresso, coffee and even iced coffee. With just one button and a lever to open the top of the machine, it’s virtually impossible to mess up your brew. Plus, I loved that the Vertuo Plus has an internal receptacle that houses used pods — the machine even puts them there for you when you open it up to place a new pod. I also found that the water tank is very easy to fill, replace and clean. It’s super easy to get a cup of Joe going in the morning and requires very little maintenance, even with regular use.

      I like the sleek all-black look of the machine, but the matte finish tends to show dust and fingerprints. Its shape is also a little impractical. While some Nespresso models house the water tank directly behind the machine, this one has its water tank awkwardly jutting out to the side, giving it a larger footprint on my countertop. The rounded front also makes it so my mug can’t sit flush with the machine, so it feels like the coffee might easily not make it into the cup. Additionally, the drip tray, while nice, is pretty small, so it won’t accommodate larger mugs. — Grace Cooper, Commerce Writer

      Keurig K-Café SMART Single Serve Coffee Maker

      Courtesy

      • Compatible Pods: K-Cup
      • Coffee Styles: Regular coffee, iced coffee, cappuccinos/lattes

        The smart features are the most notable part of this Keurig. The setup process is done almost entirely in the app, where they also have drink recipes and instructional videos as well. But once it is ready to go, most of the settings (brew size, type, temperature and balance) can also be accessed directly on the machine. You can even choose to brew a shot instead of a full cup of coffee, although it is important to note that you shouldn’t expect the taste of a true espresso drink, as it is still regular coffee.

        The function I was most excited about was the scheduled brew time, but I came to find out that you have to approve the push notification on your phone to confirm there is a cup in place to catch your coffee. This is a catch-22 in that it is not 100% automatic, but I can imagine it is easy to forget to put a cup under the drip and have a messy situation.

        I always get nervous when there are a lot of moving parts on a machine like this because it just offers more opportunities for plastic pieces to break. But that being said, I have found it to be sturdy, and it looks pretty dang good on my counter. The milk frother and cylinder water reservoir are visually pleasing but not easy to clean. The frother is not dishwasher safe, so you have to hand wash it after each use because no matter what milk or dairy substitute you put in there, it will need a solid cleaning. — Mary Singler, Editorial Production Assistant

        Instant Dual Pod Plus 3-in-1 Coffee Maker

        Courtesy

        • Compatible Pods: K-Cup, Nespresso Original, refillable pod
        • Coffee Styles: Regular coffee, espresso

          Setting up the Instant Dual Pod Plus was fairly simple. It’s important to read the instructions carefully before brewing your first cup; there are some specific cleaning tasks that need to be completed before you can enjoy your first cup of Joe. After I completed the cleaning cycles, I set about brewing my first “instant” cup of coffee. I liked this particular pod-based machine because it’s compatible with not only K-Cups, but also Nespresso Original Espresso Capsules, and it comes with a reusable coffee pod if you prefer to use your own grounds (and cut down on waste).

          My first cup, and all the others after, was both tasty and fresh. I’m typically a cold brew person, but after using Instant’s Multi-Function Coffee Pod Maker, I can see myself being swayed by the convenience (and the warmth on particularly frigid mornings). The aspect of the coffee maker that I liked the most, besides the speedy brewing and pod compatibility, was its unobtrusive size. I live in small quarters, so the slim profile of the Instant coffee maker was a major plus for me. — Hayley Helms, Associate Editor

          L’OR Barista System

          Courtesy

          • Compatible Pods: L’OR Espresso, L’OR Coffee, Nespresso Original
          • Coffee Styles: Regular coffee, espresso

            The L’Or Barista machine is certainly easy to use — like, Jitterbug phone easy. There’s an on button and three different buttons for small, medium or large beverages; it automatically determines whether you want an espresso or a coffee based on the size of the pod. Being able to do espresso shots so seamlessly is a delight, as it greatly opens up the types of drinks you can make. Emptying out the used capsules is a cinch, too.

            The machine itself is fairly compact, which is nice; my kitchen is extremely short on counter space, but I was still able to find a spot for it. Also, it’s quite good-looking, which makes it easier to live with. — Will Sabel Courtney, Senior Editor

            Hamilton Beach FlexBrew Trio Coffee Maker

            Courtesy

            • Compatible Pods: K-Cup, refillable pod, doubles as a drip coffee maker
            • Coffee Styles: Regular coffee

              The best part of Hamilton Beach’s FlexBrew Trio is that it is utterly easy to use whether you’re brewing an entire pot or you just want a single cup. There aren’t a ton of confusing controls or a hefty manual you need to open whenever you want to use it … you just … use it. The downside, however, is that it seems as budget-friendly as it is, utilizing plastic parts that give it an overall look and feeling of cheapness. It also takes up a lot of counter space, but that’s standard fare for this type of device, since it’s really two coffee machines in one: a pod-based brewer and a traditional automatic drip coffee maker.

              All that being said, it’s quick to brew, consistent, easy to clean and maintain, and I’ve yet to run into any issues with it, really at all. For the price, there probably just isn’t anything on the market that holds up to this one, especially if you like the option of making either a lot of coffee at once or a single up. — Sean Tirman, Commerce Writer


              How to use capsule coffee – the secrets of using coffee capsules

              Why do many coffee connoisseurs switch to capsule coffee machines? The answer to this question lies in the high quality and ease of use. Preparing capsule coffee is very easy, and the brewing process is within 1 minute. The quality of the drink is due to the fact that it is created by well-known brands with a worldwide reputation. The tightness of the capsules also plays a role. It allows you to store the properties of the drink for years. Coffee raw materials do not fade, the aroma remains the same rich. In this regard, coffee capsules are much more pleasant and more profitable than ordinary coffee from cans.

              Benefits of capsule coffee

              Before using capsule coffee, you should know its benefits. Key features include:

              1. Completely sealed. Coffee is stored unchanged for up to 2 years, and even after that it retains a significant part of its qualities.
              2. Foil or plastic containers are always vacuum packed. Sometimes tightness is created by packaging with several capsules. Vacuum is an important storage condition.
              3. Automatic cooking. There is no human factor in the brewing of such a drink, and the capsule coffee machine does all the work. Therefore, the quality of the drink remains consistently high.
              4. Completely clean. Washing the coffee machine is very easy, in most cases you just need to remove the capsule and throw it away. Many machines remove the capsules themselves and place them in a separate container. The inert gas that is present in the capsule instead of air prevents the coffee raw material from oxidizing.
              5. The drink is distributed evenly, so the coffee comes out very rich and aromatic.

              Important! The advantages of capsule coffee include the fact that the machine for making it is much cheaper than a grain coffee machine. It is worth paying attention to the size. An ordinary coffee machine resembles an oven in size, while a capsule one can be compared, rather, with an electric kettle.

              Disadvantages of capsule coffee

              To understand how to use capsule coffee, you need to study its disadvantages. They are minor, but they are still there. Let’s take a look at them briefly:

              1. The coffee machine almost always uses only the capsules offered by its manufacturer. If the range of flavors is limited, then the user should not expect variety. Therefore, coffee lovers choose capsule machines from brands that produce the largest number of different types of coffee. You can brighten up this picture with toppings and syrups that go well with capsule coffee.
              2. The cost of a drink in capsules is much more expensive than regular coffee beans. This can be especially clearly seen in the example of the price of one serving. The cost is fully justified, but still coffee capsules are not suitable for people who prefer to save money.

              In principle, capsule coffee has no more disadvantages. There are myths that plastic and aluminum capsules are harmful, but these myths do not have a realistic basis. The materials are completely safe.

              Features of the use of capsules

              How to use coffee capsules? Actually, it’s quite easy. All coffee machines, regardless of the manufacturer, have the same algorithm of actions:

              • place the capsule in the brewing tank;
              • press the power key;
              • wait until the end of the process when the coffee fills the cup.

              The machine works on the same principle:

              1. The capsule is opened. Most often, a special needle is used for this, but for some manufacturers, a dense stream of air opens the capsule. There is practically no difference between these methods.
              2. Water is heated in the boiler room in seconds. It is affected by high pressure, so the drink passes through the coffee capsule very quickly. The whole brewing process takes 30-40 seconds, but at the same time it is very rich and intense.
              3. There are reusable capsules, but most often this container is used 1 time. Throw away the capsule after the first use. Many coffee machines have a feature that allows you to automatically discard used capsules.

              If you want to prepare a cappuccino, you must use a coffee machine with a cappuccino maker. As a rule, every well-known manufacturer has machines with and without a cappuccinatore. Therefore, each person can choose the device according to his needs.

              It is also possible to change the strength of the drink. To make it stronger, you need to press the power button 2 times, and then the finished coffee will pass through the capsule again.

              How to take care of the pod coffee machine?

              Caring for your pod coffee machine is a simple process. There are just a few features that you need to consider in order to maximize the life of this device.

              First, the capsule hopper needs to be flushed from time to time. The machine is practically not contaminated, but coffee microparticles can still remain in the hopper, and if they are not removed, then microbes will start in the machine. They are unlikely to affect health, but they can spoil the taste of the drink. After each brewing, the coffee machine does not need to be washed, but at least once a week is a must.

              Secondly, if the model of the coffee machine has a cappuccinatore, then its pipe also needs to be cleaned about once a week. Milk foam clogs the pipe over time and productivity decreases. Coffee takes longer to brew. This problem is solved by a simple flush.

              Thirdly, the steam nozzle also needs to be cleaned. A microfiber or similar cloth works best for this. From time to time this napkin should be washed, although visually it will remain clean.

              As you can see, caring for a capsule coffee machine is not difficult and does not require much time. Washing certain parts once a week is not difficult at all, especially if you compare it with the daily cleaning of a carob coffee maker. And the quality of coffee in a capsule machine is incomparably higher, despite the low price.

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