You don’t need an expensive machine and pricey single-use cups to make one great cup of coffee at a time. There are a number of cup-at-a-time coffee brewers that cost around $20, and I actually find them easier to use than the cup-style brewers. (I love my Black and Decker single cup coffee maker.) And it’s not just the machine that’s more affordable – buying cans or bags of coffee is always going to be cheaper per cup than buying those little pre-measured cups.
Note that you may need to shop online for these. I sometimes see them in my local shops, but not often. For a little more money, you can also buy single cup coffee makers that have the option to use pods as well as brew. That way, if you have coffee pods you love, you don’t have to give them up.
The advantage of a single cup coffee maker
I initially bought one of these machines about eight years ago when I was the only person in my household drinking brewed coffee, because I can’t drink a whole pot myself. Later, I had roommates who enjoyed brewed coffee, but we ended up sticking with this type of machine because we all liked different types of coffee made at different strengths. With a single-cup brewer, everyone can make precisely the sort of cup they want – flavored, decaf, strong, not so strong, whatever. My machine brews so quickly that you can easily make two customized cups in less than five minutes – including cleanup time.
And if you like to grind beans fresh when you make coffee, you need a regular coffee brewing system. You can do that with these machines, using just a small amount of grounds.
Related: learn how to make a homemade mocha and save money.
Cleaning is also wonderfully easy – it’s got a permanent filter that’s dishwasher safe. Every time you use it, you’ll need to take it out of the machine, dump the grinds, and then rinse it under the tap – that’s it. About once a week – or anytime I make a pot of flavored coffee, I go ahead and give it a quick hand wash with a tiny bit of dish soap.
If you get have hard water, you may also need to do a deeper cleaning once a month. Just brew some diluted white vinegar (2 parts vinegar to 1 part water) through the machine twice (don’t reuse the solution; make a fresh one). After the unit shuts off automatically, brew water through it once or twice to remove the vinegar taste. That’s it. I’ve rarely done this with mine because I’ve only had hard water at one place I lived.
These little machines are also great for making teas, bullion, packet soups and homemade mochas, and when you need a few ounces of hot water for whatever reason, this is my preferred method over microwaving a cup or bowl and hoping it doesn’t boil over because I’m never quite sure how long to leave it in.
Brewing a cuppa with my machine is super easy, and the steps will be pretty similar with other brands:
- Pour in water
- Spoon desired amount of coffee into filter reservoir. You can also put in loose tea. Or you can put a tea bag in your cup and just let hot water boil through the machine. You can also put hot chocolate powder in your cup and coffee in the reservoir to make a mocha. You get the idea.
- Flip the switch
- Wait less than a minute
- Take your lovely brewed cup of whatever off the hotplate and enjoy!
This really is as simple a method of brewing one cup at a time as you can find. The machines are extremely low maintenance and cleaning is so easy, and everything is just so affordable. This is by far my favorite way to make a custom cup of coffee, one cup at a time.