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Best Pod Coffee Maker [2019]

Dolce Gusto Esperta by De’Longhi and NESCAFÉ
  • Makes specialty coffees without complex milk frother
  • 60-ounce reservoir with rapid heating
  • Hot and cold brewing


The Dolce Gusto Esperta is a technological marriage between the Italian appliance maker De’Longhi and the high-quality beverage company NESCAFÉ. It was specifically designed to appeal to craft coffee enthusiasts who want to enjoy a barista experience without the cost and time of a crowded coffee bar.

The Dolce Gusto has a 60-ounce water reservoir paired with a quick heating system. Yet it’s also engineered to produce hot and cold beverages, which can also be dialed in your preferred strength.

This pod maker was designed to only work with proprietary Dolce Gusto capsules, which are available in 18 carefully blended flavors. Each capsule has a recommended brew setting that is clearly printed on the top and corresponds to the settings on the top of the machine.

If you want to prepare a blended specialty drink, you will start by brewing the dairy or other specialty flavor capsule. Second, you insert the black coffee variety that corresponds to the recipe and then add it to the mug.

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Sboly Single Serve K Cup Coffee Maker For K-Cup Pod And Ground Coffee
  • Uses standard K-Cups and ground coffee
  • Small countertop footprint
  • Insulated tumbler travel mug included


The Sboly coffee pod maker was designed to be compact for homes and offices with limited countertop space, who still want to enjoy a high-end coffee experience. The water reservoir holds up to 12-ounce which allows you to brew two small cups or a single large travel mug.

Sboly designed this device to work with most standard K-Cup pods. There is also a reusable coffee filter pod included in the initial purchase. It allows you to use your own preferred coffee grounds or create your own special blends.

The Sboly also has a self-cleaning system that’s easy to use. Every two months you simply press the two selection buttons on the side to engage the internal descaling system. You should also make it a point to periodically rinse and wipe other components as needed.

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Keurig K-Cafe Coffee Maker with Dishwasher Safe Milk Frother
  • Milk frother can use real dairy
  • Iced coffee setting
  • Keurig’s trusted quality engineering


Keurig was a pioneer if not “The Pioneer” in the coffee pod marketplace. Since their rise in the beverage industry, a sea of competitors has tried to come up with their own take on this innovative device. Many offering their own way to add dairy or milk froth to a somewhat simply engineered coffee making process.

With the Keurig K-Café, you get all the thoughtfully engineering of the original device, with a high-quality milk frother that lets you work with real dairy products. The 60-ounce water reservoir allows you to make enough coffee for a fair number of people, making it a great option for the office cafeteria, as well as the family kitchen counter.

It has multiple volumes settings for coffee shots, 6-ounce as well as 8, 10, and 12-ounce cup volumes. The lower the volume, the stronger the coffee it produces. It’s also capable of preparing cold-brewed craft coffees that minimize flavor lost to melting ice.

How We Picked

Coffee pod makers are very popular these days. The original Keurig machine was the early standard, and there have been many competitors to emerge in the marketplace as more than just casual imitators. With that in mind, there are a few things we kept in mind while reviewing the following coffee pod makers.

Water Capacity and Footprint

Reservoir capacity is a major factor to consider before selecting a machine. If you only need to make coffee for you and maybe a significant other, then you probably don’t need a massive 60-ounce water reservoir. You could probably get by with a 12 to 24-ounce reservoir which will fill two large travel mugs while only taking up a small amount of space on the kitchen counter. If you have a small office that loves craft coffee, then you should probably prioritize a unit with a larger reservoir.

Volume and strength adjustments are also worth considering. With most pod makers the smaller the volume you brew, the stronger the coffee will be. A unit with 3 to 5 volume settings will appease those who love a strong “Cup of Joe” as well as those who like a light coffee blended with a flavored creamer.

Brew Time and Preheating

Brew time and heating can also be features to prioritize. If you need to make coffee for several people during the morning rush to get out the door, then you likely want to look for a coffee pod maker that talks about how fast it preheats or brews. A unit with a three minute brewing time can be prohibitive for getting your family out the door in the morning or causing a log jam line at the office kitchenette.

Pressure Bars

Pressure bars were once a major factor in coffee pod makers. Each “Bar” represents one atmospheric pressure. The more pressure you have, the more flavor and other components will be extracted from the grounds inside the pod. Today most of the truly competitive units worth your time and money have at least the 8 bars of pressure you want to brew a flavorful if not “Bold” cup of coffee.

Where bars of pressure really matters is when you are looking for a machine that will make craft coffee beverages like espresso. These machines need to generate in the neighborhood of 13 to 18 bars of pressure to extract a concentrated amount of coffee. Yet you also don’t want a device that exceeds 19 to 20 bars of pressure. These units can extract beyond the spectrum of “Good” coffee in the grounds, tapping into some of the coffee’s more “Bitter” attributes.

Special Features

The coffee industry itself has several niches, each with its own enthusiasts. Many high-quality competitors offer machines with special recipes or special features that are designed to cater to these individuals. This can mean specially formulated blends, dehydrated dairy pods, aerator devices, or even units that come with their own highly engineered milk frother.

Of course, many of these special features also impact the price. We tried to take a full-spectrum approach to the units we reviewed to help you understand their potential. If possible, you might want to take a quick poll of your office or family to see if there are any special drinks or features that they would prioritize.

Keurig K-Classic Coffee Maker

Keurig K-Classic Coffee Maker

Specs:

  • 48-ounce water reservoir
  • Variable brew volume
  • 8-ounce drip tray
  • 15 pressure bars
  • Auto-off energy-saving feature
  • Descaling feature

Keurig were pioneers in the coffee pod machine niche. For several years they dominated the marketplace while their pod maker affiliates were also quick to offer their own branded blends.

Keurig K-Classic Coffee Maker

The Keurig K-Classic has a large 48-ounce water reservoir that is easy to remove and refill. It can potentially supply enough water for more than six 8-ounce cups of coffee. There are also three volume settings for 6-ounce, 8-ounce, and 10-ounce cups. This allows you to not only brew a larger or smaller amount it also allows you to influence the strength of the coffee it produces.

Keurig K-Classic Coffee Maker in the kitchen

Depending on the temperature of the water it can take up to a full minute to preheat or prime. The average brew time is less than one minute.

The drip tray is designed to hold up to 8 fluid ounces or one average cup of accidentally spilled coffee. You can also remove it to fill taller vessels like a small thermos or up to a 7.1” travel mug.

The Keurig is relatively easy to clean. It includes a descaling feature to help remove mineral deposits from interior components. The pod receptacle is also easy to rinse out. It also has an automatic off feature that shuts the unit down two hours after its last use to help save power.

What We Liked

The large reservoir and easy to use buttons make it very convenient. The removable drip tray is big enough to handle up to 8-ounces of accidentally spilled water. It also makes it easy enough to fill up to a 7.1-inch tall travel mug.

You also shouldn’t overlook the small footprint and compact design. This is the sort of coffee maker that can live on your countertop without feeling like it’s eating up too much real estate.

Overall

Keurig is the classic coffee pod maker and you get the sense that they got it right the first time, or that they paid close attention to their earliest reviews when making updates to the design. The one-year warranty is a nice touch to ensure any manufacturing defects are caught early.

Keurig K-Classic Coffee Maker

  • Thoughtfully designed for convenient use
  • Accommodates up to 7.1” tall travel mug
  • 48-ounce reservoir with 3 volume/strength settings

Nespresso by De’Longhi EN125SAE Bundle with Aeroccino Milk Frother

Nespresso by De'Longhi EN125SAE Bundle with Aeroccino Milk Frother

Specs:

  • 24-ounce water reservoir
  • 19 bars of pressure
  • Two touch button controls
  • Auto shutoff feature
  • Aeroccino milk frother included

De’Longhi is an Italian company that has carved out a strong niche in-home electronic appliances. So, it only makes sense that they would team up with Nespresso to create a coffee pod maker called the “Pixie” which is bundled with a special “Aeroccino” milk frother included in the purchase.

Nespresso by De'Longhi EN125SAE and coffee capsule

The machine itself has a relatively small 24-ounce water reservoir. However, the heating element works quickly and can fully preheat the machine in around 25 seconds. It was designed to produce up to 19 bars of pressure, which is right in the sweet spot for brewing a high-quality espresso.

Making a cappuccino Nespresso by De'Longhi EN125SAE

There are two button controls for “Espresso” which brews a 1.35-ounce volume. The “Lungo” button brews a 2.75-ounce volume. It’s also set up with an automatic shutoff feature, which triggers 9-minutes after the last use.

The Aeroccino milk frother is also a nice touch, though it does take a little getting used to. Once you get the hang of it though, you can make barista quality lattes and cappuccinos.

What We Liked

With 19 bars of pressure and other thoughtful design features De’Longhi and Nespresso have created a machine that very closely resembles the barista coffee culture of Italy. It also has a very small footprint, that won’t eat up a lot of counter space.

Overall

While this is a coffee pod maker, that will produce a quality “Cup of Joe,” the Nespresso by De’Longhi bundle really is meant to be more of a small batch artisanal coffee machine. If you are looking for a coffee maker for the office kitchenette, this probably isn’t the right unit for you. If you have a small family and love high-end coffee beverages, this unit should shoot to the top of your list!

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Nespresso by De’Longhi EN125SAE Bundle with Aeroccino Milk Frother

  • 19 bars of pressure
  • Fast preheating with automatic shutoff
  • Aeroccino milk frother for cappuccino and lattes

Hamilton Beach 49976 FlexBrew Coffee Maker And Single Serve

Hamilton Beach 49976 FlexBrew

Specs:

  • Traditional coffee maker with single-serve pod option
  • Separate reservoirs
  • 12 cup carafe
  • Drip tray storage
  • Digital programmable controls
  • Automatic shutoff feature

The Hamilton Beach 49976 FlexBrew was created to cater to people who want to have a big pot of coffee available, yet who also want to enjoy a little something special from time to time. They do it all with a very friendly price point to boot!

Hamilton Beach 49976 FlexBrew

The traditional coffee maker side has its own independent reservoir which will hold up to 12 cups of water. It has programmable digital settings, which allow you to fill it up the night before and program it to brew at the right time the next morning. It also allows you to adjust the brew strength to your personal taste.

It was also designed with a “Pour and Serve” feature. This helps prevent messes if your home or office has “That Guy” who absolutely cannot wait to pour their cup of coffee until it’s done brewing.

Hamilton Beach 49976 FlexBrew in the kitchen

The single-serve pod side of the coffee maker is designed to run on a “K-cups” like the ones sold by Green Mountain and their competitors. If you prefer there is also a special pod that you can load with your personal favorite blend of grounds.

Just keep in mind that if you are going to use traditional coffee grounds in this way, that you will need to periodically clean the needle. Loose grounds can potentially clog the needle for the next user. On average it takes around 3-minutes to brew a 10-ounce cup of coffee.

The spout is high, and the drip tray pulls out to accommodate a travel mug. The drip tray also serves as a small storage compartment for the do-it-yourself coffee grounds pod.

What We Liked

The dual brew functionality with the standard 12-cup carafe and the single-serving side caters to the needs of different people. This is great if you have someone in your home or office that just wants a simple cup of black coffee without any fuss. While others enjoy a little something special to warm up their day.

The single-serving size is also nice for tea and cocoa drinkers. The 3-minute average brew time for coffee might seem a little slow compared to other coffee pod makers, but it’s right in the sweet spot for brewing a nice cup of black or herbal tea.

Overall

The Hamilton Beach 49976 FlexBrew tries to appeal to everyone including tea drinkers and people who like craft coffee, while not leaving the basic “Cup of Joe” crowd feeling left out. The price point is also comfortable for offices and families who are on a budget.

Yes, the 3-minute brew time is slower than most of the other coffee pod competition, but it’s still far less than brewing a traditional pot of coffee.

If there’s a true foible in the design, it’s the removable drip tray being used for storage. Should you have a serious miss or spill on the single-serve side, it could lead to a very messy cleanup.

Hamilton Beach 49976 FlexBrew Coffee Maker And Single Serve

  • Can be a traditional coffee pot and pod maker
  • Pour and serve feature
  • Programmable and includes custom pod

Dolce Gusto Esperta by De’Longhi and NESCAFÉ

Dolce Gusto Esperta by De’Longhi and NESCAFÉ

Specs:

  • 60-ounce reservoir
  • 15 pressure bars
  • Exclusively uses Dolce Gusto capsules
  • 18 flavor varieties
  • Recommended settings on capsules
  • Hot and cold brewing
  • Almost instantaneous heating

People who year for craft coffee and specialty drinks want a home machine that can closely represent what they find at the high-priced, and often overcrowded coffee bars. Catering to this ever-growing niche is the Dolce Gusto Esperta. It’s the brainchild of a partnership between the NESCAFÉ and the Italian appliance manufacturer De’Longhi.

Dolce Gusto Esperta by De’Longhi and NESCAFÉ

It has a 60-ounce water reservoir that is fed through a quick heating system for almost instantaneous preheating. Yet it is also capable of producing hot and cold beverages, at a variable strength.

Dolce Gusto Esperta by De’Longhi and NESCAFÉ

The Dolce Gusto Esperta was designed to only work with their proprietary Dolce Gusto capsules. They are available in 18 thoughtfully blended flavors. Each has a recommended brew setting clearly printed on the top.

If you want to make a black coffee you would simply use a single coffee capsule. In the case of a blended specialty drink, you will need two capsules. The first will be the milk or other specialty flavor capsule. Then discard it, and insert the black coffee variety of your choice, making sure to match the strength setting on the machine to the corresponding one on the label.

What We Liked

There was a lot of thought and care put into designing this coffee pod maker to produce specialty coffee drinks without having to add a complicated milk foaming feature. Nescafe takes it a step further by removing the guesswork on dialing-in the recipes by giving you recommended settings on each pod label that correspond to the settings on the device itself.

Overall

If you would love to make specialty coffee drinks at home, but you don’t want to mess with milk frothing and other technicalities, then the Dolce Gusto Esperta by De’Longhi and NESCAFÉ deserves to be near the top of your list.

Just keep in mind that it will only use Dolce Gusto capsules. If you happen to have a personal favorite through another provider, it might not be available. It’s also worth noting that they currently have a very limited range or tea and other beverages. So, you should consider this as only a specialty coffee machine.

Dolce Gusto Esperta by De’Longhi and NESCAFÉ

  • Makes specialty coffees without complex milk frother
  • Uses unique recipe capsules
  • Designed for convenience

Breville Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine

Breville Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine

Specs:

  • 19 pressure bars
  • 40-ounce water reservoir
  • Centrofusion technology
  • 7,000 rotations per minute
  • Aeroccino for hot and cold milk applications
  • Exclusively uses Vertuo capsules

The Breville Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine steps into the craft coffee maker niche with their take on state-of-the-art brewing technology.

Breville Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine

This device uses proprietary Centrofusion technology which pre-wets the grounds inside the capsule. Then a special laser reads the barcode on the underside of the rim, as the device spools up the capsule, which can spin as fast as 7,000 rotations per minute.

Breville Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine and coffee capsule

There are 12 different capsule blends sold through Nespresso. Just bear in mind that it will only work with their proprietary capsules. At this time, there are no secondary vendors selling alternative options.

Breville Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine in the kitchen

This coffee pod maker has a 40-ounce reservoir and heats in under 15 seconds. It has five different cup settings and produces 19 bars of pressure. There’s also an automatic shutoff that engages after 9 minutes after the last use.

The Aeroccino device also works with their custom pods. It is capable of produce both hot and cold milk recipes for specialty drinks like cappuccino or latte.

What We Liked

This machine marries state-of-the-art technology with quality ingredient pods to give you the ability to enjoy fresh-brewed coffee with crema or authentic espresso, while also keeping it simple. Most of the time you can create a barista-grade coffee beverage with little more than one or two presses of a button.

The fact that the Aeroccino maker can produce hot and cold coffee beverages is also a nice touch. Especially if you love a full-bodied iced latte that doesn’t have to be watered down by the melting ice.

Overall

If you want something that can brew up specialty coffee beverages that go beyond the sometimes-simplistic pod makers, but you don’t want to wrestle with advanced technology, you might want to take a closer look at the Breville Vertuo.

Like many of its closest competitors, you can only use the proprietary blends available through their custom 12 capsules. So, take a little bit of time to look into their recipes to make sure that they have the kind of beverages you like most.

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Breville Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine

  • Designed for high-quality extraction
  • Exclusive proprietary capsules
  • Aeroccino can make hot and cold milk froth

Keurig K-Cafe Coffee Maker with Dishwasher Safe Milk Frother

Keurig K-Cafe Coffee Maker

Specs:

  • 60-ounce water reservoir
  • Variable brew volume
  • 15 pressure bars
  • Auto-off energy-saving feature
  • Iced coffee setting
  • Descaling feature
  • Milk frother included
  • Accommodates reusable coffee filter for custom blends

Keurig was first to invade the market with its original coffee pod maker which soared to success starting in 2006. In recent years an increasing number of competitors have thrown their hat into the ring to offer specialty coffee drinks that simply go beyond what the original Keurig design could handle.

Not to be outdone the original big dog has jumped back into the market with their own upgraded and slightly reinvented versions to appeal to craft coffee drinkers around the world. The Keurig K-café coffee pod maker with milk frother resides near the top of their once again highly competitive line.

It has a 60-ounce water reservoir which is larger than many of the other pod-based craft coffee makers. It can set up for multiple volumes include coffee shots, 6-ounce as well as 8, 10, and 12-ounce cup volumes. The lower the volume, the stronger the coffee it produces. There is also an iced coffee setting.

Keurig K-Cafe Coffee Maker and iced coffee

The frother that’s included with the Keurig K-Café does require a little more technical know-how than some of the automated competitors who use dehydrated dairy products in secondary pods. However, there are many craft coffee enthusiasts who prefer to work with the “Real Thing” rather than pod-based dairy.

Like most Keurig coffee makers the K-Café also has an automatic shutoff feature to save power. The device turns itself off two hours after the last use.

The K-Café can accommodate Keurig’s reusable coffee filter K-pod. This allows you to use your own custom coffee grounds for specialty brews that might go beyond Keurig’s already diverse range of K-pods. Just keep in mind that it’s sold separately.

What We Liked

The ability to use standard K-cups or Keurigs reusable coffee pod certainly increases the versatility of this coffee pod maker. The fact that it comes with a frother is also a nice touch. Especially if you are the kind of person who prefers to be hands-on with their dairy frothing.

Overall

This is Keurig’s answer to the new competitors invading the niche with new takes on how to integrate pod coffee technology with craft coffee demands. They could have given in to the temptation to provide dehydrated dairy pods to this space, but instead chose to offer a relatively simple, yet reinvented milk frother that lets you work with real dairy products.

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Keurig K-Cafe Coffee Maker with Dishwasher Safe Milk Frother

  • Milk frother can use real dairy
  • Large 60-ounce reservoir
  • Keurig’s trusted quality engineering

Sboly Single Serve K Cup Coffee Maker For K-Cup Pod And Ground Coffee

Sboly Single Serve K Cup Coffee Maker

Specs:

  • For standard K-Cups and ground coffee
  • 3-minute average brew time
  • Easy auto cleaning feature
  • Comes with an insulated tumbler travel mug
  • Automated shutoff feature

One complaint with coffee pod makers is their footprint on the kitchen counter. Some of the larger units can compete for serious real estate which could also host other important appliances. Especially if you already have a small apartment kitchen or office cafeteria space.

Controls of the Sboly Single Serve K Cup Coffee Maker

Sliding neatly into this niche demand is the Sboly Single Serve K Cup, Coffee Maker. It has a 12-ounce reservoir, which can brew two small cups or one large travel mug of coffee. It was designed to work with most standard K-Cup pods. It also includes a reusable coffee filter that allows you to use your own brews or produce hot water for pour-over tea.

Coffee infuser of the Sboly Single Serve K Cup Coffee Maker

The Sboly also comes with an easy to use the self-cleaning system. Every two months you simple depress the two selection buttons on the side to activate the internal descaling system. Most other parts and components need periodic washing.

Measurements of the Sboly Single Serve K Cup Coffee Maker

This coffee pod maker was designed to accommodate a 12-ounce travel mug. It even comes with a promotional insulated tumbler travel mug with a thoughtfully designed handle.

What We Liked

The small footprint and easy travel mug compatibility are the two factors that will draw you to the Sboly. The fact that you can also use it with most standard K-Cups or your put coffee grounds in the reusable coffee filter is also a nice touch.

Overall

If you have a limited amount of kitchen counter space and you just want to conveniently fill a travel mug for you or perhaps another person, the Sboly deserves to be on your radar. This probably isn’t the unit you want to make coffee for a family or the office kitchenette.

The brew time is a little longer than some of the competitors at 3-minutes for a full 12-ounces, but it’s still faster than a standard drip coffee maker or French press.

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Sboly Single Serve K Cup Coffee Maker For K-Cup Pod And Ground Coffee

  • Can use K-Cups or reusable coffee filters
  • Small footprint for limited countertops
  • Built-in cleaning system

Mixpresso – Single-Serve K-Cup Coffee Maker

Mixpresso – Single-Serve K-Cup Coffee Maker

Specs:

  • 45-ounce water reservoir
  • 19 bars of pressure
  • Compatible with 1.0 and 2.0 K-Cup pods
  • Fast preheating
  • Automatic shutoff feature

There are some coffee pod makers that come with a dozen bells and whistles mixed in with impressive technology. For people who just want a simple, quality coffee maker that can handle 1.0 and 2.0 K-Cup pods, there is the Mixpresso Single-Serve K-Cup Coffee Maker.

Mixpresso – Single-Serve K-Cup Coffee Maker

It has a large 45-ounce water reservoir that preheats in around 30-seconds. It also has an automatic shutoff feature that powers the unit down 15 minutes after the last use.

Mixpresso – Single-Serve K-Cup Coffee Maker in hte kitchen

It was designed to work with version 1.0 and 2.0 K-Cup pods. This includes things like tea and other branded hot beverages to give you a broad spectrum of hot beverage options, without getting locked into a manufacturer’s limited proprietary blends.

The system generates 19 bars of pressure to extract the maximum amount of flavor and aroma without some of the bitterness that can happen with low pressure, longer brew times. The spout is set high enough to handle up to a 7.5-inch travel mug.

What We Liked

The ability to work with 1.0 and 2.0 K-Cups gives this pod maker the ability to make more than just high-quality coffee.

It’s also worth noting that Mixpresso back their device with a 1-year warranty as well as a 100% satisfaction guarantee. They have been working hard to develop a reputation for quality customer service since 2015.

Overall

This isn’t the fanciest coffee pod maker on the market, but it’s also not the most expensive. The compatibility with most K-Cup pods makes this a well-rounded coffee maker. Just don’t expect to make cappuccinos or lattes without also buying an accessory frother.

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Mixpresso – Single-Serve K-Cup Coffee Maker

  • Versatile brewing options
  • Rapid preheating with automatic shutoff feature
  • One year warranty with 100% satisfaction guarantee

Buyers Guide

Pod coffee makers are incredibly popular these days. They seem to be a natural evolution in the marketplace in response to the high-price coffee bars that have sprung up on nearly every street corner.

Of course, it’s not enough to go out and just get a simple $10 coffee maker or French press at the box store and try your hand at brewing a perfect pot. Sure, there are people who can and are willing to sit down and take the time to source the right coffee beans, buy a high-priced grinder, learn the special techniques, and then apply them the morning labors.

For the rest of us, there are coffee pod machines with the convenience and variety of selecting from a spectrum of special blends. These machines have been increasing in popularity since 2006 for use in homes as well as office settings. This had inspired other kitchen appliance manufacturers to throw their proverbial hat into the ring, to the point that the marketplace is now flooded with competition for the initial Keurig machine.

Most are very easy to use, you simply pour water into a special reservoir, which can hold one or more cups. There is a simple pump at the bottom which will extract a portioned amount of water from the reservoir, based on the settings you enter. It then passes through the machine to a small needle, which increases the pressure. The hot water then sprays through the specially prepared pod to rapidly extract the flavor from the fine ground coffee.

The pods are so carefully engineered with a specific recipe and grind characteristics that it gives you an almost consistently perfect cup of coffee every time. Most manufacturers will sell their own pods and specialty blends to increase brand loyalty. Though there are some manufacturers out there who offer their own custom pods meant to work in affiliated devices.

The popularity of this market segment also means that coffee pod maker shoppers are spoiled for choice. That being said, there are a few features to keep in mind while you look for the machine that is just fright for your household or office.

Reservoir Capacity

Most coffee pod makers have a reservoir that holds the water in advance of activation. The total volume will influence just how much coffee your machine can make at any given time.

If you only need to make coffee for you and your significant other, then you can get by with a smaller reservoir. If you are intending to use it as the office coffee machine, a larger reservoir should be a priority feature. The last thing you want is employees or coworkers standing around waiting around filling the reservoir leaving water drips all over the counter.

Variable Drink Size

Ideally, you want a machine with different volume settings. This allows you to accommodate that person who only wants a small cup, as well as the coffee drinker who’s mug, resembles more of a cereal bowl with a handle. As a baseline, you want to make sure that it can fill up a travel mug in a single pod.

Bar Pressure

At first, the concept of bar pressure might seem a little overly technical. One par is equal to one unit of atmospheric pressure. The more bars of pressure the coffee pod maker produces, the more it will be able to rapidly extract flavor from the grounds in the pod itself.

As a general rule of thumb, you want at least 8 bars of pressure. If you also want a machine that can produce a high-quality espresso, then you might want to prioritize a unit with 15 bars of pressure. Most of the popular units these days will accommodate these pressure bars. Still, there are some pretenders who try to get by with less. So, it’s still something to keep an eye out for.

At the same time, there are a few manufacturers who will try to overdo it, with 20+ bars of pressure. While this might get all of the potential good flavors out of the coffee, it could also end up extracting some of the bitter chemical plant flavors out of the grounds.

Brew Time

Brew times might be a factor depending on how many people you need to prepare coffee for. If you just need to fill a travel mug for you and your spouse, you might be able to get by with a longer 3-minute brew time. Especially if one of you enjoys using the pod machine to make tea.

If you have teenage children or you need to get caffeine into your office staff as fast as possible, then you should look for units that have a fast brewing time or use terms like “Rapid Preheating.”

Spout Height

The distance between the drip pan base and the spout can also be a factor especially if someone in your household likes to use the coffee pod machine for filling a travel mug/thermos. In a perfect world, a tall coffee maker with an adjustable spout height can accommodate everyone and might also reduce spatter droplets.

The Type Of Pods It Uses

There are some machines that are designed to use generic or otherwise standards pods or K-Cups. This takes the guesswork out of knowing which pods to buy at any given time. Sometimes you just want to walk through the grocery store and grab a box of pods without having to search through your phone to find out if they are compatible or not.

With devices that make espresso or other special craft coffees, you might be forced to purchase their proprietary blends in compatible pods. While they are often formulated for peak performance these pods or “Capsules” also mean you are tied into a specific menu and at the mercy of the prices they offer.

Tips For Maintaining Your Coffee Pod Maker

Technically you can just fill the reservoir with good old-fashioned tap water, pop a coffee pod in the receptacle and press the activation button. With most units, the machine’s inner workings will heat up the water and dispense it. While this will work, it’s not the ideal way to make the most of the unit in the short or long term.
It’s important to note that water quality is important for maintaining clean internal components. Hard water can gradually lead to mineral deposits, impacting the machine’s efficiency. As time goes on it could potentially damage the internal pump.

Ideally, you want to use filtered water, which has minimal mineral content. Yet distilled water also isn’t a good idea, as it can sometimes have strange heating effects and can leave the coffee tasting a little flat. A faucet water filter like PUR or Britta should be sufficient to capture minerals before they have a chance to impact the machine’s internal workings.

Priming the pump can also be helpful. If you are the first person to use the machine in the morning, try running a full cup of plain water through the machine. This will get everything heated, rinse out the pod receptacle and it will also warm your cup before brewing your first coffee.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Does A Coffee Pod Maker Only Make Coffee?

A: While these devices were originally designed to brew coffee, most are not a one-trick pony. Many machine manufacturers and pod suppliers offer specialty coffee blends, as well as specially formulated teas and even things like hot cocoa.

Q: Can I Reuse A Coffee Pod?

A: Some coffee pod makers allow you to adjust the volume and brew strength. Selecting a smaller volume often produces a stronger brew. People who like very strong coffee, but also need to fill a travel mug or over-sized coffee mug, might be tempted to simply reuse the same coffee pod on the low volume setting.

While the results can vary from one pod maker to the next, chances are you will not be impressed with the result. With coffee grounds, the last third of the brewing potential might still come out dark, however, it also tends to have a very bitter flavor. It might be a matter of personal taste, but if your goal is a perfectly strong, large volume brew, it’s better to use two fresh pods.

Q: Do I Need To Clean My Coffee Pod Maker?

A: Just like any home appliance a coffee pod maker will benefit from some occasional cleaning. Most manufacturers design them to be easy-clean, and many of the components that come in contact with coffee or other organic materials have some type of non-stick coating. When in doubt on how to clean something or how often to perform a thorough cleaning you should always refer to your owner’s manual.

Q: What Is Descaling?

A: There are some coffee pod makers that include a special “Descaling” feature. This is a built-in cleaning mode that removes mineral deposits and calcium build-up. Though you shouldn’t consider this the equivalent of a full deep-clean. Depending on the manufacturer, you should run the descaling feature every three to six months.

Q: How Can I Keep Coffee Warmer For Longer In My Cup Or Travel Mug?

A: Most people who drink coffee straight from a simple 8-ounce coffee mug consume it before it gets too cold. Yet people who drink from large cups and travel mugs sometimes complain that the coffee isn’t at the ideal temperature or cools off rapidly despite any insulative properties of the vessel.

What’s really at play here is the temperature of the cup or travel mug before you pour the coffee into it. The good old law of thermodynamics has the heat of the coffee being transferred to the vessel until they meet a relative equilibrium.

The way to get around this is to “Prime” the cup or travel mug in advance or brewing. If you have the time, and there’s no one else waiting for their turn at the coffee maker, you can simply draw out a full volume of hot water into the mug. Let it sit for a solid 4 or 5 minutes for the heat energy to balance out with the mug. At that point, you can pour it out and brew your cup of coffee like normal. The end result will be a steaming hot cup of coffee that retains its pleasant warmth for a longer period of time.

Conclusion

A coffee pod maker is a great investment in providing your home or office with the ability to quickly brew coffee without the exorbitant prices and long wait times you get at a coffee shop. This also means that even the most expensive unit will pay for itself in a relatively short amount of time.

At home, you might be able to brew a high-end craft coffee for less than a dollar per cup, compared to the five dollars you might spend at the corner coffee bar. In this way, the coffee pod maker will pay for itself in short order, while also saving the family budget I the long-term.

Coffee pod makers also provide a significant return on investment in the office setting, where employees might pay for their own craft coffee, but you lose man-hours each day to the runners who pick it up. Now those runners can be put toward more productive tasks, and your employees feel rewarded by having a great brew right at their fingertips.

Take the time to think about the volume, the speed, and the types of coffee or other hot beverages you might enjoy. Prioritize the key features that are right for your setting, and you are sure to find a coffee pod maker that is well worth your investment.

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