Best Single Serve Coffee maker

Leo Voisine

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5,831
Location
East Freeetown, Massachusetts
1) I like FRESH coffee.
2) I do NOT like coffee that is left on the warming pad.
3) I have a keurig coffee maker now
4) I can search the internet
5) I want users - youz guyz - to tell me what you use and like
6) Not really interested in fancy stuff - just coffee.

SINGLE SERVE coffee maker
 
I'm by no means a coffee connoisseur*, but we're happy with our Keurig here and have had no desire to look elsewhere.


*I only like coffee if it has enough chocolate, vanilla, milk, and sugar in it to hide the coffee flavor.
 
1) I like FRESH coffee.
2) I do NOT like coffee that is left on the warming pad.
3) I have a keurig coffee maker now
4) I can search the internet
5) I want users - youz guyz - to tell me what you use and like
6) Not really interested in fancy stuff - just coffee.

SINGLE SERVE coffee maker
I have a Rancilio Rocky grinder and a Bonavita Metropolitan coffee maker. The coffee grinder may be too rich for your blood. And that is only a middle of road grinders. I would look at the reviews at Seattle Coffee Gear to get a less expensive and yet still good grinder. Without a decent grinder it is hard to get a really good cup of coffee. Of course anything would be better than a Keurig! I would prefer to make coffee out of Chester the deer's droppings than drink anything coming out of a Keurig. 😄
 
Keurig might be ok with the refillable or discount pods.. but the price/pod on the standard stuff isn't compelling to me for what is imho mediocre coffee (it would add about $400-500/yr over our current coffee expenditure).

I guess if I had one already, I'd consider getting one of the refillable pod setups and a grinder and some decent fresh roasted coffee and see how you felt about the result.

We mostly roast our own ($6-$7/lb from sweetmarias.com, mostly buying 3 or 4 bags at 20lbs every 6mo-year - the green coffee keeps quite well unroasted). Our primary roasting machine is a fresh roast sr800 (switched from a baymore after I repaired it for the 3rd time). The fresh roast does require a wee bit of hand holding but we can roast 1.5lbs every week in about 1/.2 hr.. which is pleasant enough on the back deck. If there was a decent local roaster who didn't charge like $30-40/lb.. I'd probably just buy there haha.

For non-esspresso a mid-range burr grinder is fine - one of the cheaper ones from this list would work well for most purposes: https://www.seriouseats.com/the-best-coffee-grinders. I have a semi-commercial grinder that came out of a business kitchen... Our previous one was in the $100 range. I also have a manual (https://www.sweetmarias.com/hario-slim-mill.html) for a backup plan when the power is out, it's.. not terrible for single cup grind.. but also really not great (grind is fine, it's just awkward to hold and tedious to use, some of the other manual grinders are imho a lot nicer.. but also not enough nicer to buy another...).

Grinding fresh makes a big difference especially with lighter roasted coffee (once you get into dark roast it's less of an issue because the darker roasts have more of the oil cooked out so it doesn't go rancid the same way, lighter roast more oils, more rancid if kept for a long time or ground to far in advance).

For brewing.. 99% of the time we just use a stainless french press (which isn't this one.. but looks a lot like it.. https://www.amazon.com/Secura-Stainless-French-Coffee-Screen/dp/B00JE36GLQ?th=1), we switch to stainless after I dropped the glass one to many times. We do a three step brew... pour some hot water (electric kettle) on to bloom, wait 1m, stir, fill & cap, wait 1m, press.

For Single serve the aeropress does a really fantastic job as well (https://www.amazon.com/AeroPress-Coffee-Espresso-Maker-Bitterness/dp/B0047BIWSK/) albeit with a smidge more fussing.. but it's not bad and the coffee quality is really good.

If I want *really good* coffee I'll either do a pour over (through a cone) or bust out our 1930's sunbeam (
) which makes a FANTASTIC brew because of the highly accurate temperature control.. but I kinda need a cup of coffee before I can operate the thing.
 
I have had Keurig for many years. I am on my 3rd or 4th Keurig coffee maker. I have tried a number of pods - some from Keurig some from other places.

Years ago I had a coffee grinder and I ground my own coffee.

I like the Keurig, but I am well aware that there is other stuff out there.

Just exploring - that's all
 
We mostly roast our own ($6-$7/lb from sweetmarias.com, mostly buying 3 or 4 bags at 20lbs every 6mo-year - the green coffee keeps quite well unroasted). Our primary roasting machine is a fresh roast sr800 (switched from a baymore after I repaired it for the 3rd time).

Hmm... Years ago I was looking at a Hottop but it was just a too expensive start to coffee roasting. A Fresh Roast may be a good way to start roasting. We will see. I am just so busy now, it would be hard to fit in the time and we have a good local roaster in town, Blue Star Coffee. Besides I have been transitioning all my construction tools (toys?) to battery operated (Milwaukee platform) and that has been eating up all my available tool (toy?) funding. Unless I can somehow convince the wife that the roaster is needed for house projects, it would be a tough sell.
 
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A Fresh Roast may be a good way to start roasting.
It’s basically a hot rodded (much more air, better heat control) hot air popcorn popper with a clear glass cylinder. We actually started with a $5 hot air popper from good will, I cut the top off and extended the inside with a tin can with both ends cut out. It could only roast about 3oz and you had to stir the beans with a stick at the beginning to get an even roast. My effective sister in law uses a hot plate with a stir style popcorn popper with also works well for playing with small amounts. I’ve also roasted in a cast iron pan just stirring it manually.

All of these are good ways to play with the idea and try roasting small amounts to get some experience trying different roast profiles (which is kind of fun if you’re into such things). My main advice is just to do it outside cause all of the methods put out a fair bit of smoke/fumes and throw a fair bit of chaff.
 
I have several co-workers that use the Aeropress, others use the pour-over cones, like the Melitta. My wife and I each go through a couple of cups a day now, so Mr. Coffee is our current maker. When we were driving to the office each day I just used the expresso machine there, so my wife used the Keurig at home.
 
First a disclaimer . . . we use a Keurig. The ease of use and lack of mess just works too well for our lifestyle. That being said, Keurig coffee is to coffee what individually wrapped American cheese-food is to cheese. Fresh, properly stored beans ground in a decent grinder and prepared in a press or a drip system will get you a really good cup of coffee. I have not run into anything that comes close. I am also in the camp that believes if you put anything in your coffee, it isn't really coffee anymore. It is like paying for top shelf whisky and then adding Diet Coke; why bother? I will continue to use my Keurig for the convenience at home and really enjoy the times I have a real cup of coffee when I am out and about. :)
 
...I am also in the camp that believes if you put anything in your coffee, it isn't really coffee anymore. It is like paying for top shelf whisky and then adding Diet Coke; why bother?...
LOL, I'm pretty much the antithesis to this, although the French Vanilla coffee pods I get for the Keurig are not top shelf...they're Walmart's house brand. 🤣 But I agree on the Diet Coke thing. I'd only use real Coke with my Crown Royal back when I was drinking such things, lol.
 
I'm not at a Ryan level of coffee, but I do grind my beans every day in a burr grinder. It does make a difference I think.
 
I use a MoccaMaster KBGT drip into a carafe - makes three mugs. I grind my own beans every morning using a Nutri-Bullet.
 
It is QUICKLY becomming apparent to me that a great cup of coffee is outside my reach.

I think the OXO grinder is there.

On the coffee maker there are some "intriguing" alternatives to Keurig, even to use the pods. Certainly worth looking into. That was an eye opener for me. Though the Keurig Elite is what I have and it gets decent reviews. I think it is good to very good.

The other day I was at a friends house and he had a drip maker that he found in the dump. Real story!! He said he had some coffee from Costco. I don't think he had a grinder so it was pre-ground.

WOW - what a great cup of coffee that was.
Not anything fancy.
Just a great cup of coffee.

I WANT THAT!!!!!!
BUT
of there's always a BUT

I ain't workin anymore and my belt needs to get a LOT tighter.
So - what is $250 gonna get me in a coffee maker that can make a great cup of coffee?
Single Serve
JUST GROUND coffee
I don't like Expresso

ps - sorry for my weird stories.
 
This past weekend we took some coffee with us, that our son got us, and made it in the percolator on the camper stove. It was a really good cup of coffee. I was looking forward to it, but it seemed very bitter this morning on our drip maker. I've experienced this before with some duncan donuts brand grounds that wasn't good on the drip, but it was actually very good when brewed in the percolator. I think you can get the percolator in the camping section at walmart for $22. Or find one at an antique store on the cheap, but worth trying.
 
Alright so the BEST cup of coffee I think I've ever had was a decent but not ridiculously expensive store roast from an ok but not super local roaster..

It was made with a $20 electric kettle and a $15 pour over cone.

The second best (maybe.. might be first) is some of our home roast I roasted in the old popcorn popper ($5 from goodwill with a "free" tin can extension... stir stick from the yard) that I made in our old sunbeam vacuum pot ($20 at a yard sale, add $20 for a new seal). I had to tweak the bimetallic strip slightly on the sunbeam to land the "close to perfect" cup from it.. but that wasn't hard either.

We make very DECENT coffee daily with a $25 french press (and the aforementioned kettle). It's low effort and moderately fast for 2-3 cups (grind, dump, bloom with 1/4 the water for 1m, stir, fill, wait 2m, press, pour, drink).

There are basically two points of control for a drip or press style coffee:
  1. Water temperature
  2. Contact type and duration with the grounds
That's it. The details are of course endless.. but the basics.. are pretty basic. You get some variation by adjusting the grind because you either don't want fines (powdered coffee residue) and if it's to coarse it doesn't extract well (especially for drip, pour over).

Different roasts and types of coffee will be better or worse for that usage and we've found there's a flavor curve after roasting (day of is not best basically ever.. somewhere between 4 days and 3 weeks after roasting is where most hit peak awesome but the window is reasonably wide).

The other thing I'd note is that "good" is highly subjective... Not in a bad way, but people have wildly varying preferences for what they prefer. Roast is one of those things that can be hugely subjective. Lighter roasts tend to be a lot more oily and acidic.. which works well for some types of coffee and some people.. other people find the acidity acrid in almost all cases. Super dark roasts are less acidic but some of us find them to taste entirely like charcoal.. but there are some types of beans that aren't really palatable any lighter.. I prefer a lot of beans that are better as a medium roast with some honey, chocolate, nut characteristics (a lot of central american/carribean coffees land there, you can use the filter at sweetmarias to kind of get a hand wavy regional profile guess: https://www.sweetmarias.com/green-coffee.html?sm_flavor_profile=2162,2163,2164&sm_status=1).

So my vote is:

Get a decent grinder, fresh ground is better.

Pick a not-overly-expensive method.

Try a handful of different beans and see what you like or don't like, keep track of origin and roast and rate them. Sometimes making smaller batches and trying three or four at a sitting can be informative. You can do a basic cupping pretty easily - https://fellowproducts.com/blogs/learn/a-step-by-step-guide-to-cupping-coffee I don't usually wait the full 12-13m, but break the crust at 2-3m then scoop the grounds and immediately start tasting because that's closer to how we actually drink it. But it's useful if you can get samples to just run through and try to find coffee types YOU like.

Get decent at making coffee that way

Don't over stress it.

Now espresso is it's own beast and honestly not really my thing (but the basics there are basically the same as well, except pressure manages both temperature and contact to a large extent which is also gated by the density of the grounds which is managed by the pressing of the puck and the fineness and consistency of the grinds.. and.. yeah.. espresso can be annoying in the details.. but the concepts mostly carry over)
 
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