Here’s a quick recap of which home espresso machines use capsules, and which capsules they use.
Nespresso Espresso Maker:
Capsules: Uses Nespresso Capsules exclusively. Available in a variety of flavors and grinds.
What it makes: Only espresso, which you can use to make all kinds of coffee drinks.
CBTL Kaldi S04 Single-Serve Beverage Center:
What it Makes: Espresso, coffee, hot chocolate and tea. All available from Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.
Francis Francis X7.1 For illy:
Capsules: Uses illy’s IperEspresso Capsules exclusively. Available in different roasts. No flavored coffee.
What it Makes: Espresso only. The machine features a steam wand that you can use for milk frothing.
Gaggia Plus for Illy:
Capsules: Uses Illy’s IperEspresso capsules exclusively.
What it Makes: Espresso. Machine includes a steam wand for easy milk frothing.
Keurig Rivo 500:
Capsules: Uses Lavazza capsules exclusively. Available in 4 different blends.
What it Makes: Espresso, Cappuccino and Lattes. Includes a built-in automatic milk frother.
Do you feel like adding a futuristic and modern touch to your kitchen while getting a European style cup of espresso with a touch of a button? If you answered yes, then you shouldn’t look at further than the Francis Francis Y1.1 Espresso machine for Illy. Looking at it for the first time, you wouldn’t guess that it’s an espresso machine… however, as you get to see how it works, you’ll absolutely love it. See how it works in the video below:
As you can see from the video, the machine features intuitive touch-screen controls. It uses Illy’s iperEspresso capsules exclusively, so you know you’ll be getting delicious European espresso quality. The tempered glass works to hold your cups, and it’s a warming-tray as well that keeps your cups warm and ready all the time.
The Francis Francis Y1.1 is the perfect choice for anyone who wants a quick cup of espresso at a touch of a button. If you’d like to create more coffee drinks, you’ll want to bundle this machine with a milk frother (you can see our recommendations here). If you prefer a machine that has a built-in milk frother, you can check out the Francis Francis X7.1 which has a more traditional look, but works as a modern single-serve espresso machine, or the Gaggia machine for illy.
Learn more about the Francis Francis Y1.1 on amazon.com.
Few days ago, we’ve included the Keurig Vue V700 as one of the best new single-serve brewers available on market. We’ve also established that the Vue system is a totally different thing from Keurig’s K-Cups. So, what is the difference? and which is a better choice for you?
Difference Between Keurig Vue and Keurig K-Cups:
In a nutshell:
Is a Vue pod different from a regular Keurig Pod (K-Cup)?
Yes, it’s different and they’re not used with the same machines.
Can I Use a Different Coffee Pod in a Vue?
You can only use Vue coffee pods, which are available from different coffee brands, just like K-Cups. But only VUE capsules can be used with a VUE machine.
The Vue system is the next generation brewer from Keurig. The difference between it and the K-Cups is how programmable and customizable it is. With Vue, you can control the temperature, the strength of the coffee, you have a choice of eight different cup sizes, and it’s all controllable via an easy to use color touch screen. Just like K-Cups, Vue can brew coffee, tea, cappuccino, latte, hot chocolate and many more drink. However, the capsules (or pods) are not the same. Vue uses coffee pods made specially for it, and they do NOT brew K-Cups – but you’ll find most of the same drinks available for Vue.
So simply put, with Vue, your drinks are %100 customized to your liking: from size (starting at 4 oz and up to 18oz) to temperature. The control is as easy as possible with the colored touch screen. The one thing missing from the Keurig Vue system – yet – is a MyK-cup style pod that you can use to fill with your own coffee ground. But I’m sure this will be available soon enough.
Which Keurig Vue System is Best to Buy?
So far, there are three different Vue Systems available. One is made for the home user, and the other two are more targeted towards office use. As a website dedicated to great coffee/espresso at home, we wholeheartedly recommend the Keurig Vue V700 System, which is the latest one in the Vue line for home users:
- Touchscreen control.
- 74oz removable water tank.
- Temperature and size control. Fully programmable.
- adjustable drip tray to accommodate different cup sizes.
- Over 50 variation of Vue packs available from coffee, tea and other beverages, from the world’s top brands.
With a big range of single serve coffee makers available on the market, it’s great to know that you don’t have to spend a fortune to buy one. In fact, we’ve set a budget of under $100 for this post. However, please note that prices are correct as of the time of writing this guide and are subject to change by vendors selling those coffee makers. We try to be as accurate as possible, but do check the price before your purchase.
Types of Single Serve Coffee Makers:
There are two types of single serve coffee makers you can buy:
- One that uses coffee pods/capsules
- Another that uses coffee ground, just like a regular coffee maker.
The first type is the most convenient and most popular. It allows you to brew a cup of coffee, or other hot beverages with a push of a button and without any clean up afterwards. The second type, which doesn’t use pods, require you to load up the filter with your favorite coffee ground and clean it up after usage. It’s certainly not the hardest job in the world, but it does take more time that using a pod.
Single serve coffee makers also vary in size and capabilities. So in this guide, we’ll try to break it down as specific as possible to help you get the best choice for your need.
Best Single Serve Coffee Maker For Home Under $100:
If you need a single serve brewer for home use, that’s going to be used by more than a single person, then you’ll want a coffee maker with an adequate water reservoir and multiple brewing sizes. This will allow a number of brews before needing to refill the machine and will offer more options for brewing to meet different tastes.
The Keurig K-Classic (K55) is a great choice for a family with a budget under $100. With this machine you get:
- Multiple brewing sizes: 6, 8, 10 oz.
- A 48 oz water reservoir with a water filter. Allows you to brew more than 6 cups before refilling.
- Easy controls, dedicated button for each brew size.
- Light indicators for descaling, heating, auto off and add water reminder.
- Compatible with all K-Cup pod including generic pods and refillable pods.
- Can accommodated travel mugs up to 7″ high.
- Included in the box: 4 K-Cup sampler, 2 water filter and filter handle.
- Available in black or red.
For less than a hundred bucks, you get the most essential features from a Keurig brewer for delicious coffee in under a minute.
Hamilton Beach Single Serve Coffee Maker is a versatile option for someone who wants to brew pods and coffee ground using the same machine:
- It is compatible with all K-Cup pods but also includes a filter for coffee ground brewing.
- 40 oz water reservoir.
- Choose from three serving sizes: 8 and 10 oz for K-Cup pods, or up to 14 oz for coffee ground.
- Adjustable drip tray allows you to fit a travel mug or a short mug.
- Brewing options, choose from regular brew or bold brew.
Best Single Serve Coffee Maker for a Small Space/Dorm Under $100:
If you don’t have enough space to accommodate a large coffee maker, there are still options available for you. The only thing you’ll have to give up is a water reservoir, and instead, pick a machine with a tank that fills up at every brew cycle.
Another great pick from Hamilton Beach, this single serve coffee maker using coffee ground only to brew a cup. It brews a multiple cup sizes, up to 14 oz for a large mug or a travel mug. You can also select from regular or bold brew. It includes a coffee scoop and a steel mesh filter, so there’s no need for paper filter. This is a great option if all you want is to brew coffee, because unlike brewers that use pods, you won’t be able to brew other beverages like tea, hot chocolate or any beverage available as a K-Cup pod.
If you prefer using pods, this Chulux brewer is compact in size and is compatible with all K-Cup pods. It is also compatible with refillable k-cup filters, so you still have the option of using your own coffee ground. The machine can brew cup sizes 4, 6, 8 and 10 oz. It has a gradient water tank that makes it easy to fill up to your desired brew size.
Best Single Serve Coffee Maker Without Pods for Under $100:
We already named a few coffee makers that can actually be used without pods, or at least using coffee ground with a refillable filter. But here’s one more option:
The KitchenAid is compact in design and very user friendly. You can brew multiple sizes up to 18 oz, and it includes a travel mug of that size, too. The KitchenAid brewer cannot brew any type pods, but brews coffee ground only using the included gold-tone filter. The famous retro design of KitchenAid makes this brewer a nice addition to any kitchen. It’s also available in different colors.
Common Questions About Single Serve Coffee Makers:
Are Single Serve Coffee Makers Worth It?
Some people see single serve coffee makers as the best way to make your favorite coffee with a push of a button and without the regular clean up a traditional coffee maker requires. Using a single serve, you have your pod measured and ready to go, all you have to do is press a button and toss the pod out after use. And you’ve got a delicious cup of coffee in no time. The downside of a single serve coffee maker used to be that you needed to buy the pods continuously, but this isn’t the case anymore. Now you can buy a single serve that uses pods, no pods or both at the same time, so you’ve got lots of options that can work out for any requirements and any budget.
How Long Does It Take a Single Serve Coffee Maker To Brew a Cup?
This will depend on the machine and its power. Some brew in under minute, while others could take up to 3 minutes. It rarely takes longer than that. So overall, they brew fairly quickly.
How Do I Choose Between a Single Serve with Pods or Without Pods?
If you pick a brewer that uses pods:
- You’ll be able to brew coffee pods, tea, hot chocolate, hot apple cider and many more beverages available as pods.
- You can also brew your ow coffee ground using a refillable filters.
Using a no-pod brewer, all you can use your machine for is brewing coffee and nothing else. If that’s what you’re looking for, then great, go for it! But you’re looking for the most versatile option, go for a pod coffee maker.
Keurig has been known for it’s K-Cups single serve coffee machines that give you a nice cup of brewed coffee with a touch of a button. This time, Keurig has upped its game and joined the Espresso machine market and has partnered up with a rather reputable name in the world of Espresso, Lavazza, to bring you the perfect shots of espresso at a touch of a button.
The Keurig Rivo 500 Cappuccino & Latte System uses espresso capsules prepared by Lavazza to make espresso, cappuccino or latte with a simple touch of a button. The built-in frother heats and froths your milk to perfection.
The Keurig Rivo 500 features a dedicated button for each drink: espresso, cappuccino and latte. This measures the needed amount of espresso for your selected drink automatically, so you end up with delicious coffee every single time.
Unlike K Cups, the Rive 500/Lavazza capsules are only available in 4 varieties. These are pure espresso capsules, and not pre-made coffee drinks full of artificial flavors. So Lavazza gives you your choice of espresso roast: Classico and Delicato – both medium roast – Intenso (dark roast) and Decaf (also medium roast). Click here to see the Lavazza pods on Amazon.
If you prefer a wide choice of espresso pods, then a Nespresso machine would be a perfect choice as Nespresso offers at least 16 or more espresso varieties. Otherwise, if you prefer a solid, and authentic Italian espresso flavor at a push of a button, you’ll absolutely love the Keurig Rivo 500.
Is There a Difference Between Rivo and Nespresso?
Yes, there is a lot of difference actually. The only thing they have in common is the fact that both are single-serve espresso makers. But each of them uses totally different coffee capsules. Nespresso machines use their own capsules exclusively which are made by Nespresso themselves. On the other hand, Keurig’s Rivo uses capsules made for them by Lavazza, which also only work with the Rivo System.
You can learn more about Nespresso and their machines here.
What’s The Difference Between Keurig Rivo and K-Cups?
There two are entirely different as well. Totally different capsules and coffee:
- The Keurig Rivo is an espresso, cappuccino and latte system. It brews espresso made by Lavazza, froths milk automatically and makes you your favorite coffee drinks with a push of a button. You can ONLY use Lavazza Rivo Capsules with this machine.
- The K-Cup system is another thing. K-Cup brewers are made by Keurig as well as other brands like Cuisinart or Breville. The K-Cups themselves are also made by many other brands, like Green Mountain, Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, Tully’s… and many more. With K-Cups, you can get many different drinks like coffee, tea, hot chocolate and more.
What Is The Difference Between Rivo and Keurig Vue?
- The same difference between Rivo and K-Cups, the Vue is another coffee pod system with its own pods.
- Rivo makes espresso and espresso based drinks, the Vue system is a coffee maker that brews regular coffee as well as few other drinks.
Can I Make Regular Coffee In Keurig Rivo?
No, it doesn’t make your traditional cup of drip coffee. However, this can be substituted with an Americano, which is a shot of Espresso diluted by hot water. But if you’re looking for regular coffee, Rivo won’t make it.
Are There Refillable Pods for the Keurig Rivo?
No there isn’t. You can only buy the Rivo Lavazza packs and use them with the Rivo system. So when you buy a Rivo, you’ll be pretty much committed to the Lavazza pods, which you can buy from some local stores and are available online easily.
Gaggia has always been a trusted brand in the world of Espresso machines. One of the best pump machines we featured on this site (and a best seller as well!) is the Gaggia 14101 Pump machine. But for someone who is looking for a more quick and convenient way to prepare espresso at home, a single-serve capsule machine is the perfect choice, and this Gaggia for illy machine combines two coffee giants: Gaggia and illy Coffee, one of the best Italian coffee brand in the world.
This Gaggia machine was created to work with illy’s iperEspresso capsules. A simple to use and very convenient, it gives you Italian style, aromatic espresso with thick crema from a single touch of a button.
Features of Gaggia Plus illy espresso machine:
- Single-serve espresso machine for illy’s iperEspresso capsules.
- Dedicated control buttons for on/off, cup volume, and brew adjusting.
- Steam wand for milk frothing.
- Integrated container holds up to 12 used capsules before need to dispose.
- Mavea Water Filter – Uses a four-stage filtration process to purify tap water and reduce scale and mineral buildup.
- Hot water dispenser for making other hot beverages.
The machine is super easy to use, simply insert the capsule and press a button and the machine will brew your coffee in seconds. No fuss, no mess. When you want to create milk based coffee drinks like cappuccino or latte, you can use the steam wand to heat and froth the milk. You will easily create cafe-style coffee in no time.
The illy iperEspresso capsules are available in two strength; Medium and Dark roast. Decaf and Lungo (for higher coffee volume) as well as other South American and Ethiopian blends available. If you’ve tried illy Coffee before, you know you’ll be getting the best coffee quality there is.
The Gaggia illy Plus is in the same line as the Nespresso single-serve machine. The advantage a Nespresso machine gets over the Gaggia illy Plus is that Nespresso offers a wider variety of capsule blends. But if you’re already an illy coffee fan, then you know exactly what to expect from these capsules – the highest quality Italian coffee.
Fans of illy coffee will love nothing more than having this Espresso machine by Francis Francis made especially for illy’s convenient single-serve capsules.
If your’e not familiar with illy’s coffee, it’s an Italian coffee brand that is usually served at the best European and high-end cafes, so you know the stuff is top-notch! Personally, it is one of my favorite coffee brands ever.
The Francis Francis espresso machine has the classic looks of a manual espresso machine – absolutely gorgeous design – but it works in the most push-button convenient style. It works with illy’s iperEspresso capsules to create the perfect shot of Espresso with a single touch of a button, and with a variety of customizations and programability available, you’ll be able to create the perfect cup of espresso, cappuccino or latte that is made just for you.
Features of the Francis Francis X7.1:
- One touch brewing using illy’s iperEspresso capsules.
- Steam wand for frothing milk to create delicious coffee drinks like Cappuccino or Latte.
- Programmable volume and temperature.
- Innovative patented two-stage brewing process to create the most aromatic, full bodied espresso.
- Minimal clean up required. The coffee extraction takes place inside the capsule and does not come in contact with the machine at all.
illy offers a range of coffee blends to choose from, you’ll be able to choose from: dark roast, medium roast, decaf and lungo – which is basically a medium roast but prepared to create coffee with more volume like an Americano. These are only the basic blends available, other delicious blends like Brazilian, Ethiopian and Guatemala are available as well. The capsules are usually sealed in a metal container – unlike the usual boxed capsules – which keep the capsules safe for the longest time.
So, if you’re ready to make the best European style coffee drinks at home, and have a strikingly beautiful appliance at home, the Francis Francis X7.1 is the machine for you. It is available in Red or Black, so choose the one that goes with your decor the best.
The De’Longhi EN720.M Lattissima espresso and cappuccino maker with Capsules system is powered by Nespresso’s leading and powerful capsules system. This machines makes it super easy to create delicious gourmet coffee drinks with a touch of a button.
The De’Longhi Nespresso EN720.M Lattissima is truly automatic and mess-free, it features:
- A simple touch of a button system for gourmet coffee drinks.
- A detachable, patented “single touch” milk tank.
- Control panel with illuminated touch buttons. Choose from 2 coffee options and 2 milk options.
- An easy to use capsule system. Insert your favorite coffee capsule and brew your drink with a touch of a button.
- Automatic capsule ejection after the drink is brewed.
- Energy-saving and adjustable auto on/off timer.
- Adjustable drip tray that can accommodate different cup sizes.
- Cup warmer tray that keeps your Espresso cups always ready for use.
The brilliance of this machine comes in the fact that Nespresso provided its patented capsule system and De’Longhi came with its patented detachable milk container. Unlike other machines, this container is detachable so you can move it easily and store it in the fridge to save unused milk, instead of having it go to waste. This is a truly, fully automatic machine. All you’ll have to do is: place the capsule, put the milk container in place, place your cup and press the button for your preferred drink – and you’ve got yourself a delicious aromatic cup of authentic Italian coffee. After the coffee is done brewing, the machine will eject the capsule into a container that collects all used capsules before you have to dispose them. And you can move the milk tank to the fridge until you have to use it again.
For a fully automatic espresso machine, it is priced very well under $1000 (most automatic espresso machines are $1000+ – see our pick of automatic machines under $1000 here). It sets itself apart with a large 40 ounce water tank, and a removable milk tank that other De’Longhi Lattissima machines might lack. It’s capsule system makes it super easy to use and absolutely mess-free.
This machine is compatible with all of Nespresso’s OriginalLine capsules. This includes capsules from Nespresso as well as capsules from other brands. This means you can enjoy a large variety of coffee capsules without worrying that you’ll get stuck with one brand.
DeLonghi EN720 vs. EN680, Is There a Difference?
We’ve previously featured the Lattissima EN680 on our blog. It’s almost identical to the EN72o in every way, however, it is an older version of it. There are extra features in the EN720 that would make it worth the price difference:
- It has dedicated buttons for each drink. It’s all pre-set so you simply push a button and let it do everything for you.
- It features full pod drawer and empty water tank indicators.
- Illuminated control panel.
Overall, the EN720 is more advanced than the EN680, but also costs more. If you’re on a tight budget, you can let go of a few features and go for the EN680 without worrying about drink quality.
Single Serve coffee makers are increasingly popular for a reason; they’re quick, convenient and leave you no mess behind. You get your perfect cup of coffee, espresso and few other hot beverages with a simple touch of a button, and it brews in seconds! But not all single serve coffee makers are created equal, there’s a large variety of coffee machines out there and it gets really confusing when you try to compare them all. So I’m going to save you a lot of trouble and simple tell you what is the best single serve coffee machine out there, and I’ll explain to you why.
The best single-serve coffee machine is the CBTL (Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf) Kaldi S04 Single Cup Brewer. This is my chosen coffee maker at home, and I’m so in love with it, it’s the reason I get up in the morning! (Bit of a stretch? Not, for a coffee lover!)
About the machine:
The CBTL coffee maker is a complete beverage system that uses capsules to prepare single-serve hot beverages like: espresso, brewed coffee, tea, hot chocolate and hot vanilla. You will be making speciality Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf drinks that they’ve been famous for, for over 40 years, right at the comfort of your own home, with a touch of a button!
The machine is Italian built by a company called Caffitaly. And no one knows great Espresso and coffee better than Italians! It uses innovative technology for automatic proportioning that ensures the perfect consistency in taste and aroma every time.
Features of the CBTL Kaldi:
- Twin pressure system provides 15 bar pressure. That’s more than any other single-serve coffee maker offers. The results: absolutely delicious and aromatic espresso with perfect crema top.
- For brewed coffee and tea, lower pressure of 3.5 bar is used.
- 51 oz removable water tank.
- Automatic proportioning to ensure consistent taste and aroma
- Easy capsule insertion and automatic ejection. The capsules are ejected into a drawer that holds up to 10 capsules before you have to dispose.
- Three cup size options, with programmable cup size option.
- Hot water dispensing available.
The coffee capsules feature the handcrafted coffee quality you expect from CBTL and are manufactured by Caffitaly. No other single serve coffee maker can beat this combination really! If you’ve ever had coffee from CBTL, then you know what to expect, really delicious coffee!
There are a variety of coffee and espresso blends available, as well as tea. The blends include: French brew coffee (My personal favorite!), Italian Espresso, Premium Espresso, Viennese brew coffee, Chai tea, Moroccan Mint tea… and many more.
Like other single-serve brewers, there’s always the issue the capsule compatibility. What capsules are compatible with the CBTL Kaldi? Well, there’s the capsules you can buy from CBTL which is blended by them, and you can get any capsules that are made for Caffitaly machines and they will be 100% compatible. Ecaffe capsules for example would work absolutely fine.
Pros of the CBTL Kaldi S04:
- I’ve mentioned this already but let’s say it again: absolutely DELICIOUS coffee!
- It brews coffee and espresso really quick (few seconds!)
- Generous water tank (51 oz), you won’t need to refill it many times.
- The capsules drawer is great. It holds up to 10 used capsules before you have to dispose them.
- Light and beep indicator for water tank.
- Nice size that doesn’t take much countertop space.
- Available in many colors, you can get one to match your kitchen decor.
- It can get a little messy sometimes. I’ve noticed that sometimes the coffee drips from the machine for few seconds after the brewing has finished. It’s no big deal though, it only means you should leave your cup a bit longer till the dripping stops. Or, you’ll need to wipe clean the dripping tray.
- When brewing espresso, there’s a little noise involved (not high, though). But that’s because it uses 15 bar pressure to make espresso.
- While the machine can accommodate different cup sizes, and it fits more regular mugs, it gets tricky when you want to fit in a larger cup size (I usually use a 12 oz Bodum Pavina double walled cup)… to fit it under the coffee dispenser I have to remove the drip tray. Other than that, it fits standard mugs and smaller cups perfectly.
What is the difference between a CBTL Kaldi Coffee Maker and a Nespresso Machine?
This is a question I’ve came across many times, so I thought I’d answer it here. The answer to this is: there’s no comparison between CBTL Kaldi coffee maker and Nespresso machines because they’re two different things.
- Nespresso machine is an Espresso maker. So it makes only Espresso.
- CBTL Kaldi Coffee maker is a single-serve brewing system that makes espresso as well as brewed coffee, tea and hot chocolate.
CBTL Kaldi is a less expensive option than Nespresso. It makes more beverages, cost less and the capsules cost less as well. That’s why, in my opinion, it’s the best choice.
Can I make Cappuccino, Latte and milk based gourmet coffee drinks using CBTL Kaldi?
You sure can! But you’ll need a milk frother or milk capsules for that. You can get a bundle of CBTL Kaldi with the electric CBTL milk frother, or get any milk frother you want. You can also mix in CBTL’s delicious French Vanilla or Deluxe Chocolate with your coffee to create one of their signature drinks. The milk capsules are not available by CBTL, but you can try E-Milky capsules from Ecaffe.
Recommended CBTL Capsules:
CBTL French Coffee Brew: Perfect for someone who prefer strong coffee.
CBTL Italian Espresso: Deep roasted with smoky aroma and chocolaty finish. Also a perfect choice for a strong Espresso lover. This is the best base for a cappuccino or latte.
CBTL Premium Espresso: Caramel-like aroma, earthy flavor with bittersweet finish. A slightly milder espresso blend, but still strong. Preferred to be had as plain espresso.
Caffitaly Americano Capsules: For the perfect cup of an Americano cup of coffee.
- Espresso and coffee maker combos
- Pump Espresso Machine
- Manual Espresso Machine
- Super Automatic Espresso Machine
- Espresso Pod Machines
- Espresso/Coffee Machines with Built-In Grinder
- Stovetop Espresso Makers
- Single-Serve Coffee Machines
- Coffee Pod Drawers
- Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines
- Dual Boiler Espresso Machines
- Coffee Roasters
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