The best single serve coffee makers require no pods and make a great cup of coffee quickly and easily. When opting for a coffee maker that operates without pods, you get unlimited freedom to select the coffee you like and experiment with different strength settings.
You do have to add the coffee yourself, but with a permanent filter basket you’ll easily get the hang of it.
Single serve coffee makers come in many shapes and sizes. Our top pick is the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew Single Serve Coffee Maker because it operates without pods yet makes it easy to brew up to 14 ounces of great coffee in your cup or mug of choice.
Identifying the best no-pod single serve coffee makers
Just because you prefer to brew your favorite coffee on cup at a time, it doesn’t mean that you have to compromise the taste, process, or cost.
Single serve coffee makers are often sold in pods-only versions, binding you to a specific system of pods and adding to the total cost per cup you make. Plus, it impacts the environment because every pod is made of plastic whereas regular ground coffee is require no use of additional plastic pods.
In order to find the best single serve coffee makers without pods, we researched the entire market and consulted some of the best coffee experts for advice. We reviewed the best options, and based on our findings we concluded that these are the factors you need to consider when shopping for a new single serve coffee maker that fits your needs:
- Coffee taste
- Ease of use
- Build quality
First and foremost, the coffee maker has to make great coffee. Otherwise there’s no point buying it. A proper cup of freshly brewed coffee should be hot but drinkable right away, and the flavor profile is supposed to be well rounded with no bitterness.
We also want our single serve coffee maker to perform well. That means no excessive noise during the brewing process, and it shouldn’t take more than one or two minutes to make a cup of coffee.
Ease of use is important too. None of us want to fiddle with a dozen of small parts and buttons we don’t know the function of, in order to brew a single cup of coffee. A proper filter basket is mandatory for a single serve coffee maker that doesn’t use pods, it has to fit properly in its slot and rinse easily under running water.
Finally, the build quality should always be a factor worth considering when shopping for a new product. There’s just nothing worse than spending your time and money on something that ends up breaking after only a few weeks or months of use.
Best overall: Hamilton Beach FlexBrew Single Serve Coffee Maker
Hamilton Beach FlexBrew Single Serve Coffee Maker
Enjoy a quick single serving of coffee without using a pod. Hamilton Beach FlexBrew makes great coffee in less than 3 minutes, and it’s really easy to use.
Pros: Compatible with K-Cup pods if needed, single serve brew basket included for own grounds, extremely simple to use, makes one cup of coffee in no time, highest capacity is 14 ounces at a single brew.
Cons: Brew basket is a little small, there’s no adjustable taste options available, might be difficult to use for elderly people.
The Hamilton Beach FlexBrew is a great single serve coffee maker, and its brewing system works extremely well. It functions perfectly without pods, but at the same time you do get a pod holder for K-Cup pods included and free to use if you desire.
Once you’ve filled the water tank to the desired level, you simply fill the brew basket with your coffee grounds of choice, snap it back into place, press the “BREW NOW” button and wait. Soon after the extraction process begins, and you’ll see your coffee start pouring from underneath the brewing head.
The coffee comes out great every time and you can use exactly the beans you like. Another great thing about this coffee maker is that you can use the Melitta #1 small paper cone filters available for purchase online or in most grocery stores. By using these you’ll make cleaning a bit easier, as you simply pull out the used filter along with its contents after use and give the brew basket a quick rinse.
All good things aside, there are of course a few trade-offs when choosing a single serve coffee maker of this type. The brew basket is a little small for our personal taste, which isn’t always a problem unless you like your coffee a bit stronger than most people. It doesn’t have any adjustable taste options either, and we thought the brew basket was a bit cumbersome to open and close.
Best on a budget: BLACK+DECKER DCM18S Travel Mug Coffee Maker
If you want an affordable, no-nonsense single serve coffee maker that doesn’t use pods, the BLACK+DECKER DCM185 is the number one choice.
Pros: 15-ounce insulated travel mug included, makes great coffee without pods, permanent grounds filter included, compact design, very simple to use, extremely affordable.
Cons: No adjustable taste options, condensation of water runs down behind the base of the machine if lid is lifted after brewing, no additional travel mugs seem available for purchase online.
The BLACK+DECKER DCM18S comes with everything you need to make a single cup of coffee. The only thing you need is your choice of coffee grounds, and you’re all set.
With the handy travel mug included, you can make up to 15 ounces of freshly brewed coffee that you can take with you and fits into most vehicle cup holders.
There’s a brew basket with a permanent metal mesh filter included, so all you need to do is fill in your grounds and start brewing. Afterwards you can easily dispose of the used coffee grounds, rinse the filter, and you’re ready to make your next cup of coffee right away.
The top lid easily lifts up for access to the water tank and brewing basket, but one minor flaw is the design of the lid. Once you’ve brewed your first cup of coffee and want to make another one, the condensation of water runs down and drips behind the base of the coffee maker. This is probably not a big issue, but it is a little messy anyway.
Another small caveat is the operation of the coffee maker. Although it’s easily operated by a single press of a button, we could’ve wished for just a few extra options to adjust the taste and strength of our coffee. It does however make a great cup of coffee, but again, if you like your coffee a little stronger, you might feel a little disappointed with this one.
However, despite these minor trade-offs, we don’t think you can get a better single serve no-pod coffee maker within this price range, so if you’re on a budget and want something affordable, this is by far the best option of them all.
Best splurge: Technivorm Moccamaster Cup One Coffee Brewer
Technivorm Moccamaster Cup One, Polished Silver
Premium design, excellent coffee, simple operation. The Technivorm Moccamaster Cup One is as perfect as it gets.
Pros: Amazing build quality, fast brewing – under 4 minutes for a cup, turns itself off once the water tank is empty, approved by the ECBC, handmade in the Netherlands, crafted from quality metal and plastics that are free from BPA/BPS/BPF and Phthalates.
Cons: No drip-stop and no drip-tray, paper filters required, no taste adjustment options except adding more or less coffee into the brew basket.
All Moccamaster coffee makers are approved by the ECBC (European Coffee Brewing Centre), which means they meet strict quality guidelines and standard set by a neutral trade organization. ECBC also cooperates with the SCAA (The Specialty Coffee Association of America), and therefore they work together on the certification program.
The Technivorm Moccamaster Cup One has an outstanding build quality and is available in either polished silver or a stylish matte black version. It makes one single cup of coffee of up to 10 ounces at a time, and the brewing process is quick and easy.
With the Moccamaster Cup One you don’t need any pods, and in fact it works without pods only. There’s no additional brew basket included for pods, so with this coffee maker you can only use ground coffee. We believe this is a good thing, because it allows for a bigger brew basket with room for a proper paper filter and your desired amount of ground coffee.
Whether you like a strong or mild cup of coffee, the Moccamaster makes it happen. Simply add a little extra ground coffee to the filter basket for a stronger taste, and vice versa for a milder taste.
Over on Owly Choice they seem just as excited for the Moccamaster Cup One single serve coffee maker as we are, and they reward its excellent performance with a 95/100 rating, which means it checks out in all categories with a nearly perfect score.
Although we think this single serve coffee maker comes as close to perfection as possible, it has a few flaws that disappointed us a bit. First and foremost there’s no drip stop and no drip tray, which means you’ll either have to wait for the very last drop OR have another cup ready to go underneath the brew basket and catch those last drops.
For this single serve coffee maker to work, you have to use paper filters. Because it only makes one cup at a time, running cost quickly adds up if you make 4-5 cups a day. You can get reusable metal mesh filters though, but we haven’t tried them and Technivorm doesn’t officially recommend the use of these either. We’ve seen examples of people using #2 cone-shaped metal mesh filters, so you might give it a try at your own risk.
Best single serve dispenser: Cuisinart DCC-3000 Coffee-on-Demand 12-Cup Coffee Maker
Cuisinart DCC-3000 Coffee-on-Demand
If you like the idea of getting coffee on demand from your own kitchen, the Cuisinart DCC-3000 coffee maker is your best bet.
Pros: Keeps the coffee hot for up to 4 hours, makes up to 12 cups of coffee at a time, no external thermal carafe needed, removable water reservoir allows for easy cleaning and refilling, has an LED light over the cup that activates when you pour the coffee, programmable timer, 1-4 cup taste setting.
Cons: Unreliable coffee level gauge, unit is a bit bulky, not enough space to pull out an entire pot of coffee at a time if desired, lots of cleaning needed.
If you like the idea of pulling up to 12 cups of coffee each day without spending time brewing every single cup, the Cuisinart DCC-3000 Coffee-on-Demand 12-Cup Coffee Maker is a great choice.
This machine isn’t just a single-serve coffee maker but also a coffee dispenser, as it holds the ready made coffee in an internal container where it stays hot for multiple hours.
We can imagine this type of single serve coffee maker works extremely well in an home office environment or a small business, but also in a regular kitchen. It works without pods, and you simply fill up the brew basket as you would on other regular coffee makers.
It has a great range of useful features, spanding from the 1-4 cups taste setting to the LED light that turns on when you’re pulling a cup of coffee, and there’s also a timer built in.
However, one thing that disappointed us a little bit, was the stylish old school coffee level gauge at the center of the coffee maker. It’s supposed to show how many cups of coffee you have left, but unfortunately it isn’t always reliable.
If you’re shopping for a single serve coffee maker without puts and want it to be of a compact size, the Cuisinart DCC-3000 isn’t a great choice either because it’s quite bulky.
In order to keep it thoroughly clean you’ll need to take it apart once in a while too, especially the internal containers where fresh water and coffee are kept.
Best programmable: Casara Single Serve Coffee Maker
Casara Single Serve Coffee Maker
What if you could set up your single serve coffee maker to have a mug full of coffee ready for you in the morning? With the Casara Single Serve Coffee Maker it’s possible.
Pros: Programmable – can be delayed for up to 24 hours, the illuminated LED display works well, very easy to use, works without pods, comes with a reusable filter basket, vacuum insulated travel mug included, fast, makes consistently good coffee.
Cons: Some parts seem a bit fragile, took some time to figure out how to deactivate the programmed delay, the opening for the water tank is narrow so you’ll have to pour fresh water carefully.
If you want a smart, programmable single-serve no-pod coffee maker, the Casara is a great choice. It’s almost as basic as it gets, which is a great thing, but it still has an illuminated LED display with a few useful options that make your day just a little bit easier.
With this coffee maker you can set everything up the night before, and have a full mug of delicious, hot, and freshly brewed drip coffee ready to go as soon as you make it out of bed. For those busy days this is just perfect.
The Casara Single Serve Coffee Maker comes with a brew basket and a reusable filter, so there’s no need to purchase paper filters on the side. It isn’t compatible with any pods, but it’s almost as easy to use anyway.
One tiny letdown is the overall build quality of this coffee maker. It does seem a bit flimsy, and not all functions are equally easy to figure out right off the bat. We’ve seen many people ask how to turn off the timer for example, and we figured out it can be done by turning it off, which isn’t the most intuitive way of doing it.
Another tiny setback is the fact that the water tank has a very narrow opening, so you’ll have to pour fresh water carefully if you don’t want to spill any of it.
Also worth reading: The Best Programmable Coffee Maker With Timer
Best for traveling: AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker
AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker
If you like brewing a single portion of gourmet coffee without the use of pods, try the AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker.
Pros: Extremely compact and lightweight, easily stows away in any drawer or cabinet, fits a backpack perfectly, easy to use and clean afterwards, makes 1-3 cups of coffee at once, great coffee taste.
Cons: Requires a bit of practice to use it correctly, you need a water heater or water kettle on the side, relatively more time consuming than other single serve coffee makers.
If you like minimalism, simplicity and the robust taste of great coffee, the AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker is a definitive favorite.
This version comes with a tote bag for easy storage and organization of all the parts you need to make great coffee, all you need is hot water and your favorite ground coffee to go with it.
The AeroPress is a traveler’s and camper’s favorite because it’s made from durable plastic, and everything is of course BPA-free. Everything packs down to the size of a regular water bottle, and you can easily fit it in any backpack or even your pocket.
This gadget is the perfect choice if you make a single cup of coffee on special occasions, and you don’t want a large unit taking up space on your countertop. It doesn’t require any power, and it’s a nice, relaxing way to make coffee while enjoying the scent of fresh ground coffee slowly extracting while mixed with the hot water.
One minor disadvantage with this single serve coffee maker is that it does require a bit of practice to get it right. You’ll need to experiment a little with the brewing time an water temperature in order to make the right coffee for your taste, and you’ll need a separate water kettle or pot in order to heat up your water.
It is a little more time consuming than an electronic countertop coffee maker, but in our opinion it’s worth it.
One of the best stand-alone reviews of the AeroPress invention we’ve seen so far is this review made by Wirecutter. They praise for being a great coffee maker for many purposes, durable, and easy to use. We agree with them on all their points, as we’re equally excited about this travel-friendly single serve coffee maker.
Also worth reading: The Best Travel Coffee Maker
Most versatile: Hamilton Beach FlexBrew 2-Way Single Serve & Full 12-Cup Pot
Hamilton Beach FlexBrew 2-Way Single Serve & Full 12-Cup Pot
The Hamilton Beach FlexBrew 2-Way Single Serve & Full 12-Cup Pot gives you ultimate freedom to make exactly the type of coffee you want.
Pros: Extremely versatile, choose between bold or regular brew strength, programmable timer with 24-hour delay, make a single cup of coffee or an entire carafe at the same time, no pods needed, single serve coffee maker compatible with K-Cup pods if desired.
Cons: Bigger than regular coffee makers, some parts seem a bit fragile, automatically shuts off after just 2 hours, single cup brewing unit drips a bit after use, no drip-stop on the full pot coffee maker.
The Hamilton Beach FlexBrew 2-Way Single Serve & Full 12-Pot Coffee Maker is the best option for those seeking a versatile machine that meets every need you and the rest of the household might have.
It does a full 12-cup pot just as easily as a single cup of coffee, and with the single serve works without pods OR K-Cup pods. This gives you the most options out of all coffee makers in this buying guide, and we really appreciate that.
The coffee it makes has a great taste that can be adjusted to your liking, so if you like a strong cup of coffee you can adjust it to the “Bold” flavor setting, or if you just want a regular coffee that everyone likes, choose the “Regular” setting.
Both water tanks are easily refilled with fresh water by opening the top lid and pouring it in, however the single serve top lid could probably benefit from being a tiny bit bigger. It’s a matter of taste though, and for us it worked well. Be aware that you can’t place this coffee maker under a wall mounted cabinet, because you need to keep the above area clear in order to pour in the water.
A few people mentioned that it shuts off after just two hours of keeping the coffee warm, which is only half the time of other coffee makers. For the single serve portion of the machine there’s no warming plate, and it functions like any other Keurig or single serve coffee makers.
Best pour-over: OXO Pour-Over Coffee Maker With Water Tank
OXO Pour-Over Coffee Maker With Water Tank
If you want to pass on the gimmicks of an electric coffee maker, the OXO Pour-Over Coffee Maker allows you to brew a single cup of coffee easily without a big piece of tech at your countertop.
Pros: Incredibly simple to use, easy to clean with all parts being dishwasher safe, makes great coffee with your personal touch to the taste, saves you time and money.
Cons: There is no reusable filter included, paper filters are expensive, you need to boil your water yourself, might not fit on top of all cups, only makes up to 12 ounces of coffee at a time.
If you like to keep things simple and never make more than a single cup of coffee without the use of pods, the OXO Pour-Over Coffee Maker is a proper choice for you. It comes with a 12-ounce tank that allows you to set it and forget about it, instead of having to manually pour the hot water down into the brew basket and wait for it to pass through the grounds.
With this type of coffee maker you normally get a brew basket and that’s it, but OXO really thought this through and made something a little bit easier to use. The water tank on top of the brew basket lets the water pass into the brew basket slowly, ensuring proper extraction of your favorite ground coffee.
After use you can easily rinse everything off and put it back in a drawer or cabinet, but if you want to wash it you can also put it in your dishwasher.
One thing we felt a little disappointed about, is the lack of a reusable filter. You’ll either have to rely on #2 paper filters or buy a mesh filter on the side, but this isn’t really a big deal as it’s perfectly possible and easy to find online.
Unfortunately there isn’t any way it makes more than 12 ounces of coffee with the water tank attached on top, so you’ll have to do with its limitations or manually pour over the amount of water you want.
Best French press: Bodum Chambord 12-Ounce Coffee Maker
Bodum Chambord 12-Ounce Coffee Maker
Enjoy the rustic flavors of French press coffee without ever using a single pod. Bodum Chambord is our favorite single serve French press coffee maker.
Pros: Sleek and stylish design, most parts are metal and glass with exception of BPA-free plastic lid and handle, metal mesh filter in a great quality, makes a great cup of coffee with a bold flavor.
Cons: Takes a bit of practice to get it right, you need coarsely ground coffee to make it work properly, lots of loose parts require cleaning after use.
The beautiful Bodum Chambord French Press Coffee Maker is our absolute favorite when it comes to single serve French press coffee makers. The iconic design is what made the Danish company Bodum famous around the world, and there’s nothing better than serving this kind of coffee at the dining table or in your favorite spot for relaxation.
When making French press coffee the process is radically different than other single serve coffee makers, and you’ll have to spend a little time mastering it. The coffee has to sit for 4 minutes in order to extract properly, because pushing the plunger and filter down towards the bottom of the glass beaker.
The design is actually surprisingly simple, and it’s always fascinated us how amazing a cup of French press coffee tastes. The brewing method really enhances the rustic elements in every type of coffee, and it isn’t unlikely that you’ll taste nutty, chocolaty flavors with a burnt hint to them. A sharp yet pleasant cup of coffee that fits perfectly for any dessert or breakfast meal.
One small trade-off is that it needs coarsely ground coffee to work properly. This means you’ll either have to grind your own coffee beans to your liking, or make do with the selection at your grocery store which is sometimes limited to only a few options. A great, compact burr coffee grinder doesn’t have to cost much though, and we strongly recommend that you get one if you want to make proper specialty coffee at home.
Best for Turkish coffee: CopperBull Solid Hammered Copper Turkish Coffee Maker
CopperBull Solid Hammered Copper Turkish Coffee Maker
If you love bold, intense coffee flavor, this single serve Turkish coffee maker might be the one for you.
Pros: Beautiful cupper design with a wooden handle, makes great coffee with an intense flavor, great for those special moments, can be used to warm up many things besides coffee.
Cons: Only makes very strong coffee similar to Espresso, needs to be washed by hand, requires an electric stove top or small gas burner to heat up, finely ground coffee needed to make it work properly.
For most people the CopperBull Solid Hammered Copper Turkish Coffee Maker might seem more like a gimmick than an actual single serve coffee maker, but truth is it makes a great single cup of coffee quickly. It does have a small learning curve to it, but once you get the hang of it you’ll have much fun preparing your coffee in the future.
As a single serve coffee maker you’ll get a beautiful copper vessel with engravings on the outside and a long wooden handle that doesn’t transfer any heat, and the small pouring spout makes it easy to pour the coffee into your cup.
Instead of actually brewing the coffee like other coffee makers do, you could say the Turkish coffee maker cooks the finely ground beans instead. It simmers over low heat or, as they traditionally do in Turkey, hot sand. The end product is a thick, frothy coffee with an amazing, bold aroma that has a kick to it. Serve it with a glass of water and sweets, preferably Turkish delights or chocolate.
Of course this isn’t your regular cup of coffee, but the good thing is it doesn’t need any pods to make great coffee. For those who like strong coffee packed with flavor, the Turkish coffee makes for an exciting opportunity to try something completely new.
Reasons why no pods are needed to make a great cup of coffee
Pods come in many shapes and sizes, and work with different systems. The beauty of pods is how easy they are to use, you simply slide one into your machine and press a lever, push a button, and the coffee is ready after less than a minute. The machine automatically ejects the pods into a bin afterwards, and there’s basically no cleaning or maintenance needed.
Why isn’t that a good thing?
First of all, the pods are packed separately and normally in a shell of plastic. This plastic is of no use after you’ve made your coffee, and although it’s very convenient, we don’t like the amount of trash it produces.
No-pod single serve coffee makers might require a little more handling to make them work, but in our opinion it’s worth it.
Reason 1: Choose any type of coffee beans you like
When you opt for a single serve coffee maker without pods, you can choose any coffee beans you like. Either grind them at the store or in your own grinder one portion at a time, and experiment with all kinds of flavors until you find the one you love.
Add in the fact that a drip coffee maker offers one of the easiest possible ways to make coffee, and this is a great choice.
Reason 2: Always have your coffee beans as fresh as possible
With coffee beans and pre-ground coffee you get to know exactly when it’s made, granting you the opportunity to always opt for fresh coffee beans with a better taste.
Reason 3: You can grind your own coffee beans for an even better flavor
Grinding your own coffee beans might seem a bit over the top, but once you’ve tasted coffee made from scratch with freshly ground beans, there’s no turning back. The taste is better, stronger, bolder, and chances are you’ll love it more than any regular coffee you’ve ever had.
Reason 4: Less impact on the environment
Ground coffee is sold in large backs, while pods are sold in single packaging with lots of plastic and paper. Every time you make one cup of coffee, you have to throw out the empty plastic pod as it cannot be used more than once.
Reason 5: Less expensive
While some pods are cheaper than others, they’re generally more expensive than regular, ground coffee. By opting for ground coffee you’ll save money every time you make a single cup of coffee at home.