It’s only when you add a pod coffee maker to your kitchen, you realize just how time-saving this gadget can be for every coffee lover.
Pod coffee machines eliminate the task of grinding coffee beans, cleaning messy filters, or any other problems that regular coffee machines might have. Just put your pod in place, and your coffee will be right in front of you – no extra mess or fuss!
Check out our list of the best pod coffee makers you can get your hands on below:
- 1 What are the Different Types of Coffee Pods?
- 2 The Truth About K-Cups: Are They Good or Bad?
- 3 Nespresso vs. Keurig: Which Pod is Better?
- 4 How can You Select the Best Coffee Pod According to the Blend?
- 5 Should You Buy an Electric or Gravity-Powered Single-Serve Coffee Maker?
- 6 What is the Difference Between Pods and Capsules?
- 7 Things to Consider When Buying a Pod Coffee Machine
- 8 Reviewing the Best Pod Coffee Makers of 2020
- 9 The Bottom Line: What is the Pod Coffee Maker to Buy?
What are the Different Types of Coffee Pods?
You’ll find different varieties of coffee pods in the market today. Hence, it’s important to classify them according to the kind of coffee machines they‘re designed for.
The following are some of the leading coffee capsule brands:
Keurig K-cups are the pioneers in the field of single-cup coffee pods.
The biggest advantage of these pods is the assortment of flavors and choices available. Also, you‘ll find blends from some of the most popular companies like Green Mountain and Newman’s coffee that are of the Keurig K-cup variety.
Categorized into four varieties that have distinct flavors, Nespresso has 16 coffee capsules in their name. These include Lungo capsules, Pure Origine, Espresso, and Decaffeinato.
Nespresso pods can also be used on Nespresso single-serve machines, which is a plus if you own the company’s coffee maker.
Mellita Coffee Pods
These pods are known to have a higher percentage of coffee in comparison to other brands.
While their counterparts have only 7 g, Mellita’s package contains 9.5 g and 9.7 g of coffee. You can choose from four categories of these pods.
Moreover, Mellita pods are designed especially for their own brewing pot system, but you can use it on other machines like Senseo as well.
Lucaffe ESE Espresso Pods
Lucaffe is an Italy-based company that has been a favorite among coffee lovers who like their coffee strong. Out of the 15 varieties of coffee that they offer, they have only 10 pods – some of these and also flavored.
The Lucaffe ESE espresso pods can work with brewing machines that have an ESE adapter.
The Truth About K-Cups: Are They Good or Bad?
The introduction of K-cups single-handedly transformed the way single-serve coffee makers were used. And the effects were both positive and negative.
Focusing on the advantages, these provide you consistent brewing with minimum to no errors. K-cups also have a wide range of flavors including hot cocoa and tea.
But, all this comes at a cost.
The overall quality of coffee provided by K-cups isn’t very high. Another disadvantage of using these is the higher cost.
In comparison to whole coffee beans or coffee grounds, the total expense in the case of K-cups is much higher. If you buy a pack of 24 K-cups, it would cost you anywhere around $15-$16 with each pod containing 11 g of coffee. To put things to a perspective, you pay $27.5 per pound!
Besides this, they have a large negative environmental impact. Thankfully, many coffee brands are researching to overcome these problems, and several companies have already launched recyclable capsules.
Nespresso vs. Keurig: Which Pod is Better?
Coffee pods that come from brands like Nespresso and Keurig are famous for giving you an authentic and delicious taste despite pod brewing.
But, when it comes to picking between these two coffee powerhouses which one should you choose?
To make the decision easier for you, we’ve decided to compare the key points of both the brands to help you reach a decision.
Nespresso produces capsules in four different varieties that are high-quality but have limited flavor options. Generally, they have aluminum bodies that are recyclable, yes. Still, you need to dispose of them properly to minimize waste.
Keurig pods let you choose from a plethora of brands and flavors. In fact, it doesn’t only provide options for coffee, but you can find a pod for any hot beverage you prefer as well. These have a plastic body with an aluminum top and paper filter.
This is one major difference between Keurig and Nespresso.
You see, Keurig won’t brew espresso, but some Nespresso machines can brew regular coffee. While the former brand did try to break into the espresso industry by launching Rico, it has discontinued the model and accompanying K-cups.
However, if you don’t care much about espresso, it would be better for you to buy a Keurig because of its wider flavor selection.
Out of the two brands, Keurig is more budget-friendly in comparison to Nespresso.
But then again, Nespresso partners with the reputable manufacturers to give you quality materials and designs that deliver on durability as well as enhance the brew quality.
Basically, Keurig is more affordable but you might need to compromise with brew quality. On the other hand, Nespresso is a more reliable machine that is consistent with its quality.
Now that we have compared the different pointers of the two brands, the verdict is easy:
If you prefer espresso and want a high-quality coffee machine, you should certainly buy a Nespresso.
If you have a tight budget and appreciate flexibility and programmability (also, you don’t care much for espresso-based drinks), opting for a Keurig would be better.
How can You Select the Best Coffee Pod According to the Blend?
We’ve already spoken about the role of coffee makers when it comes to selecting pods. As not every pod type is compatible with every machine, you need to be cautious before making a purchase.
Pod selection is also important to determine the quality of brew that you get. If the coffee pods have a proper design and packaging, it will be able to preserve its quality and give you a fresh brew on use.
In addition to this, the kinds of coffee beans and roasting methods that are used also determine the quality of powder that is enclosed in the capsule.
Here are a few tips to remember when selecting pods to find your preferred blend:
- Find out about the coffee bean powder in your pods – they can be Arabica, Robusta, or even a blend of the two. After all, it’s only possible to get a high-quality brew when the beans used to make the powder are the same.
- Before buying pods, carefully inspect the package. You need to ensure that the capsule is properly sealed and has an airtight, tamper-proof material. In its absence, oxidation can place or the pods might even be damaged.
- Best quality pods will be made from beans that have been properly roasted, pounded, and packaged – with each process being carried out in close proximity.
If the time frame between these processes is longer, the ground coffee will lose its quality and flavor. So, consider the handling process and time.
Should You Buy an Electric or Gravity-Powered Single-Serve Coffee Maker?
There are two categories of single-cup coffee brewers – electric machines and gravity-powered options.
Electric machines, as the name suggests, work with electricity. But, the gravity-powered models use air pressure or time to percolate your grounds and assist extraction.
To decide between the two, you need to consider situations, such as:
- If you want an easy machine to operate, choose electric.
- If you’re going on a camping trip or travel often, choose gravity-powered.
- If you want a more convenient machine, choose electric.
What is the Difference Between Pods and Capsules?
A common mistake that even the most dedicated coffee lovers make is to use the terms coffee pod and coffee capsule interchangeably. In reality, however, a pod and capsule are two separate coffee ground containers.
Coffee capsules are small plastic cups that are commonly used by brands Nespresso and Keurig. When you put these capsules into the machine, the machine pierces them before running hot pressurized water through the capsule.
The plus points of choosing coffee capsules are longer freshness and convenience. If you‘re frequently drinking coffee, these might be a better choice.
Pods, on the other hand, are round bags of ground coffee – just like your large tea bags. They are best for the environment as they are biodegradable, and are available in standard sizes making them compatible with a variety of machines.
However, pods are more exposed to air and contaminants which makes them lose their flavor faster, especially in comparison to capsules.
Things to Consider When Buying a Pod Coffee Machine
Before you make an actual purchase, it would be doing you well to keep in mind certain pointers that can help you get the best coffee pod maker you can.
Who likes to wait for a long time to get a cup of coffee? No one.
Luckily, there are pod coffee machines available that you can use to make beverages for a single person as well as several people at a time. So, it would do you well to buy an appliance according to your household size and needs.
Single-serve hot coffee makers are also a good buy. Some models can give you coffee within 1 to 2 minutes, while some might take 4. This is precisely why you need to find the total brewing time before adding the appliance to your cart.
Total Footprint of Coffee Machine
It’s highly recommended to get a compact pod coffee machine that doesn’t take much counter space. While this is crucial for small kitchens, even if you have a large kitchen, compactness should be a good feature to look for.
Measure the dimensions of the space where you want to place the coffee machine. Then before buying a model, tell me the dimensions with the measurements. This will save you from wasting time because of sending returns.
Ease of Use
Different pod coffee makers have different functions to increase their appeal to customers. But, it isn’t necessary for all these functions to be organized properly and instead, can make the whole coffee brewing process complicated.
And, what good would it be to own a coffee machine that you find difficult to use?
Our suggestion would be to look for pod coffee machines that have a well-organized interface with clear labels. Also, look for appliances that have dishwasher-safe components.
It’s important to consider the power rating of coffee machines because, at the end of the day, it is an electrical device.
While it’s true that the stronger the power supply of your coffee machine, the faster its performance will be, but it might also affect your electric bill. So, don’t forget to check the power supply before making your purchase.
You need to balance your expectations with the performance of a coffee pod machine with the price you pay. In other words, the value you receive for the amount you pay will always be important.
You might have realized how we‘re focusing on value and not the price. For example, if you buy an affordable pod coffee machine, you might regret it later as the performance isn’t the best.
Start by creating a budget. This will help you understand your constraints so you don’t end up falling in love with a coffee machine only to not be able to buy it.
Reviewing the Best Pod Coffee Makers of 2020
Chulux Single Serve Coffee Maker Brewer
If your days consist of attending meetings or visiting places that leave you with little to no time to spare, we would highly recommend the Chulux Single-Serve Coffee Maker Brewer as it’s specially created for people on the go.
There’s plenty of flexibility flavor-wise too as the appliance uses K-Cup pods for brewing. In addition to this, you can also prepare tea and cider with it.
The best coffee machine which gives you convenience, Chulux has many things going in favor of it. You get a removable drip that can be easily cleaned. The reservoir has a capacity of 12 ounces that reduces refilling frequency. You can also fit your travel mug to enjoy a fresh cup of coffee that’s brewed right in your mug.
Another impressive feature is its brewing quality and the short brewing time – you’ll take two minutes at the most. If you want to be more time-efficient, try pouring hot water in the reservoir beforehand.
The Chulux Single-Serve Coffee Maker Brewer has a smaller footprint, specially designed to be small and compact. It weighs 2.3 pounds only that makes it easily transportable from your home to your office.
This single-serving coffee maker has everything that the best coffee appliance should have. Plus, a one-year manufacturer warranty reduces the risk in your investment.
Nespresso by De’Longhi ENV150GY VertuoPlus Coffee and Espresso Machine
VertuoPlus is the latest addition to Nespresso’s list of authentic coffee makers. If you want to enjoy some of the best pod coffee, you should certainly buy Nespresso by De’Longhi ENV150GY VertuoPlus Coffee and Espresso Machine.
This coffee machine can adjust all the brewing parameters to give you the perfect cup of coffee, cappuccino, latte, and of course, espresso – all at just a push of a button. Nespresso’s exclusive technology uses barcodes to give you consistent cups of authentic coffee.
Centrifusion™ is the original extraction technology of Nespresso that spins up to 7000 times per minute. It blends ground coffee with water to deliver a unique taste on every use. The system recognizes the barcode on the capsule and sets the brewing parameters accordingly.
The streamlined design and Any-Place water tank save counter space without compromising on functionality. The sleek style makes it an attractive addition to your kitchen as well. Keep in mind that you can only use VertuoPlus capsules for this appliance.
Nespresso itself has high standards when it comes to quality and taste. So, it’s no surprise that the ENV150GY VertuoPlus Coffee and Espresso Machine lives up to this and gets you a fresh cup of coffee any time you want.
Keurig K-Classic Coffee Maker
The Keurig K-Classic Coffee Maker is incredibly fast to serve you a delicious cup of coffee, tea, or hot cocoa – but it does have a few caveats. This coffee machine has a single-serve brewing set-up that is compatible with multiple K-Cup pod sizes: 6, 8, and 10 ounces.
This Keurig pod machine is perfect for a beginner as it doesn’t need a lot of accessories or even coffee knowledge to operate it. You don’t have to buy any additional filters or worry about coffee to water ratio measurements.
It has a 48-ounce removable reservoir, and you just need to pop in a pod to start your morning buddy. You can expect the beverage to be ready in less than a minute. Also, there are plenty of choices when it comes to K-cup pods with the appliance being compatible with every type.
You will have to descale the Keurig K-Classic Coffee Maker needs to every 3 to 6 months to remove deposits. If you are negligent about this, you might end up clogging the mechanics of the machine. Although Keurig suggests using the company’s descaling solution, you can also fill the reservoir with white vinegar and brew normally.
It has a removable drip tray with space to keep a travel mug on its base. It has a programmable on/off switch that turns offs after every two hours making it convenient for you.
Discussing caveats, there is a constant problem of what Keurig calls a “short cup” with this coffee machine. In other words, the brew size that you select on the display panel isn’t similar to the amount that is actually poured into your cup. Also, coffee brewing is pretty inconsistent.
Our last issue with this pod coffee maker was its noisy operation. In comparison to the regular coffee machines mentioned on this list, it‘s quite loud.
Despite that, the Keurig K-Classic Coffee Maker is a good option when we consider pod versatility and convenience thanks to its smart control interface.
Hamilton Beach 49976 FlexBrew Coffee Maker
The Hamilton Beach 49976 FlexBrew Coffee Maker is certainly one of the most versatile and best FlexBrew models – it gives you the flexibility to choose between a single-serve on the go or a full pot for a large party.
You can remove the cup rest to fit an 8-inch mug and brew directly in it. This is the best feature for people with limited time.
One thing that we liked about this appliance is that it supports other pods instead of the licensed K-cups. However, you need to be careful about the amount of water you use for making a single-serve as it isn’t programmable.
You can brew either 10 ounces of coffee using a K-cup pod or 14 ounces with ground coffee. If you want to brew a full pot, you can expect up to 72 ounces of coffee. Also, the ‘Strength Selector‘ option lets you modify the brew strength according to your mood.
The auto shut-off feature saves energy and turns itself off within two hours, while the auto-pause feature lets you remove the carafe and pour the coffee without spilling.
The Hamilton Beach 49976 FlexBrew Coffee Maker is fully automatic and has easy-to-use functions. You can use the timer and set it 24 hours in advance to enjoy a cup of coffee as soon as you wake up.
Cuisinart SS-10P1 Premium Single Serve Coffee Maker
Definitely one of the top contenders for the best coffee machines on the market, the Cuisinart SS-10P1 Premium Single Serve Coffee Maker offers excellent convenience and speed. In fact, it‘s the compatibility with all K-cup pod brands and a reusable attachment for your own grounds that makes it a top choice.
You can use the ‘Hot Water’ button for instant coffee, hot cocoa, tea, oatmeal, or soup. And since it has a convenient ‘Rinse’ option, you don’t have to worry about leftover taste.
The appliance has a modern and sleek look which makes it aesthetically-pleasing. It’s also lightweight and extremely durable. It also has a three-year warranty to cover any potential problems.
It has a backlit LCD control panel that houses several features: a programmable automated brewing clock, programmable auto-on/off, and a hot or extra hot brew temperature. As for the brew sizes, you have five different options ranging from 4 to 12 ounces. The total capacity of the water reservoir is 72 ounces.
The Cuisinart SS-10P1 Premium Single Serve Coffee Maker is best for coffee lovers who like their beverage strong and hot. The quality is authentic with the best taste that makes it a worthy buy.
The Bottom Line: What is the Pod Coffee Maker to Buy?
Out of the first part coffee makers that we’ve mentioned above, our top pick would be the Cuisinart SS-10P1 Premium Single Serve Coffee Maker.
Not only does this machine support every type of K-cup pod, but it also has a programmable interface and can brew up to 5 sizes. It’s true that the coffee maker isn’t as compact, but it isn’t large enough to cause storage problems.
The quality of coffee is authentic, while its versatile design lets you make hot cocoa, oatmeal, tea, and soup with this appliance.
We also like the three-year limited warranty and efficient customer support. Keeping all these things in mind, the Cuisinart SS-10P1 is certainly the best coffee maker that gives you both delicious cups of coffee and reliability.