Buying Guide to Single-Serve Coffeemakers

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8 Things to Know Before You Buy

One by one the coffee aficionados in your life have ditched their traditional java makers for a single-serve machine. Why the mass shift? Single serving machines mean less mess (no grinds), zero middle man (the coffee brews right into your cup) and no left over coffee to contend with. Just fill the water tank, slip the coffee pod into the machine, press star and in two minutes you'll have a hot cup of your favorite java.

But no two coffee makers are exactly alike. Pick one that doesn't quite fill your needs and your morning caffeine fix could be seriously impeded. Keep these facts at the forefront when shopping for a single-serve machine.

Fact #1: Size

Before you purchase a machine, it's important to determine how much counter space you can devote it. While single-serve coffee makers tend to be more compact than the electric dinosaur you currently use, their width, depth and height still vary from brand to brand.

Fact #2: Grinds

Not every single-serve machine uses the same brand of coffee pod. There are those that are devoted to their own specialty grinds and others that fit pods filled with popular gourmet brands like Green Mountain , Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and Gloria Jean's. Check to see that the coffee maker you choose uses a brew you enjoy.

If variety is the spice of your life, make sure the machine utilizes pods that make hot chocolate, chai and tea as well.

Fact #3: Cup Size Settings

Love filling your to-go mug before you head out for the dreaded morning commute? Then you want to pick a machine that not only physically fits a cup that size (many have a removable drip tray), but calibrates itself to brew the perfect 12-or 14-ounce cup of coffee.

Fact #4: Brew Adjust

There are those who are religious about how they take their coffee, and others who need to mix it up every once in awhile. If you fall into the latter category you may want to choose a single-serve machine that lets you adjust the temperature or has a twin pressure system (to make espresso as well as regular coffee and tea).

Fact #5: Dishwasher Safe Parts

Hand washing dishes isn't on your list of things you love to do? Then nab a single-serve coffee maker with dishwasher safe parts.

Fact #6: Hot Water Button

This extra allows you to use your coffee maker to create soup, ramen or tea and hot cocoa the old-fashioned way.

Fact #7: Display

Consider whether or not you want a display with LCD technology. You'll also want to decide whether or not you're interested in one-touch technology (press a button and voila, coffee), a timer, automatic shut-off and a clock.

Fact #8: Water Tank Size

Though water tank sizes don't vary hugely (they usually run between 50 and 85 ounces), it is still something you want to keep in mind -- especially if you're purchasing a brewer for an office. The bigger the tank, the less you're going to have to refill it.