The Best Single Cup Coffee Makers That Don’t Use Pods

If you’re in a little bit of a rush and don’t have time to read the entire article, we recommend the Sboly Single Serve Coffee Maker, as the best single cup coffee maker with no pods.

Sustainability is becoming more and more of a priority for everybody in today’s world. It’s high time everyone took it on the chin and started being a little more conscious with how much waste they’re producing.

Luckily, it’s much easier than you think it would be with coffee makers. There really isn’t any need to use K Cups anymore, especially when eco-friendly and sustainable alternatives exist. Alternatives that aren’t going to be around after we’re long gone, and that are really easy to use.

We’ve put together a list of the best single cup coffee makers with no pods, that don’t compromise on convenience or ease.

These are the best single cup coffee makers we’ll be looking at:

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The World’s Coffee Pod Consumption

Let’s begin by throwing a few figures around to try to understand how many coffee pods are used each year, then we’ll get onto why it’s becoming a problem.

Keurig, who are arguably the biggest single-serve coffee brand, reported that for the fiscal year ending in September 2015 they sold 10.5 billion K Cups. This is a hard number to get our heads around because it’s so big.

It looks like this, 10,500,000,000. That’s more than the human population on earth, in one year!

This makes sense when you consider how many people in the US alone own a single serve coffee maker. As of 2018, 41% of the US population who were over the age of 18 owned a single serve coffee maker.

When K Cups were first brought out they became hugely popular in offices and businesses where efficiency and convenience are a priority. Back in 2004 when K Cups were released for the home, the environmental impact was barely a thought, and people went crazy for the instant cuppa joe that was on offer.

Keurig had produced enough K Cups within the ten years since they came out, that if placed end-to-end, they would circle the globe ten times.

Let’s Not Get Mad

You know what they say, hind-sight is twenty-twenty vision. I don’t believe the companies who invented these products are evil, bad or hate the world. They were simply trying to create more convenient products that we would buy.

However, wastefulness is not something any company is striving for in today’s world. We are becoming more and more eco friendly, and aware of the effects we are having on the environment.

Throwing billions of K Cups into a landfill is not the way to go. They’ll be sticking around for the next 1000 years, slowly decomposing as time moves forward. To put a little perspective on that time, Columbus connected Europe and the Americas less than 500 years ago.

Yes, it is possible to recycle these K Cups, but that doesn’t mean it happens. You often have to separate the lid and cup and nobody does that. About 95% of K Cups end up in a landfill, instead of getting recycled.

The inventor of the K Cup, John Sylvan, has been quoted saying “I feel bad sometimes that I ever invented the K-Cup” and “It’s like a cigarette for coffee, a single-serve delivery mechanism for an addictive substance”. If the inventor is conscious of the environmental effect these little pods are having, so should you be.

Luckily, there is a sustainable answer to getting coffee quickly and conveniently, all the while looking after the environment and not producing lots of waste.

two lattes in ceramic cups

Biodegradable, Compostable, Recyclable

There are many brands out there that are turning their K Cups into compostable and biodegradable products. Although they may still end up in a landfill, they won’t be sticking around for no where near as long as the aluminium ones.

This is good. It’s certainly a step in the right direction. Problem is, these materials aren’t often as strong and people complain (of course) that the cups split, spilling ground coffee into their single serve coffee maker.

No doubt, this is an annoyance, and it’s hard to remember that you bought these K Cups for the sake of the environment at the time. But there is an even better solution.

Reusable K Cups

Yes, they exist and they work fantastically for a few reasons.

Firstly, and maybe most importantly, they’re lighter on your wallet. K Cups are expensive, especially when you compare coffee beans to coffee pods. For the amount of money you spend on K Cups to last a week, you could get a lot more coffee for your money if you bought ground or whole beans.

Not only do you get more coffee in general, but also more choice. It’s true there are lots of K Cup flavours to choose from today, but it’s nothing compared to how many different single origins, and blends of coffee there are from all over the world. You can be savouring the different flavours and notes from Brazilian coffee one morning, and the next tasting the velvety textures of Colombia.

It’s also about freshness. If you’re really wanting to push the boat out, grinding up your own coffee beans at home just before you have a brew, is going to change your coffee game. The difference in freshness and flavour from K Cups/pre-ground coffee to freshly ground coffee is unparalleled. I promise, you won’t be disappointed if you were to give it a go.

So a reusable K Cup gives you more for your money, more choice in coffee, and better freshness. And that’s without mentioning anything to do with the environment… Win-win-win-win…

Even if you’re not convinced about reusable K Cups, there are still coffee makers that will grind and brew a single serving of coffee, without having to touch a K Cup. Let’s have a look through the choices we have.

latte with latte art

Best Single Cup Coffee Makers – No Pods – The Reviews

Touch Essential Single Serve Coffee Brewer

best single cup coffee maker no pods 

Key features:

  • Starts brewing in under 20 seconds from switching on
  • Brews at optimum temperature
  • 90oz removable water reservoir
  • 5 cup sizes to choose from (6, 8, 10, 12, 14oz)
  • Auto shut-off feature
  • Dimensions (inches): 16.5 x 15.3 x 11
  • 1 year warranty

The first coffee maker we’re reviewing is quite the piece of technology and comes with some great features to really make a good cup of coffee. It’s not specifically designed to be used with reusable K Cups but it is compatible with them and does work.

Firstly, there’s no waiting around with the Touch, as the water is heated up from room temperature to the optimal brewing temperature (200F) in 20 seconds. That’s quick. You would think that it needs to be switched on all the time for it to heat the water so fast, but it’s actually a really efficient machine.

With the auto-off feature, even if you forget to switch the coffee maker off before leaving for work, it’s going to turn itself off after a short period of inactivity. It has a really easy to use interface and allows you to choose between a wide range of cup sizes.

The 90oz removable water reservoir means you’re not going to refill often, but also when you do have to, it’s easy and stress free as you can take it over to the sink. It’s the little things that make a difference and this is one of them.

With the environment in mind, it comes with a basket already in the brewer to fill with your own ground coffee, so you’ll never have to use a single serve coffee pod.

Check price on Amazon

Hamilton Beach Scoop Single Serve Coffee Maker

best single cup coffee maker no pods 

Key features:

  • Brews an 8oz up in 90 seconds
  • Brew strength options (regular, bold)
  • Auto shut-off feature
  • Super easy brewing process
  • Compact
  • Dimensions (inches): 8.35 x 8.67 x 6.7
  • 1 year warranty

The Hamilton Beach Scoop coffee maker is perfect for those of us that live in households that don’t drink a lot of coffee. If you’re constantly filling up your carafe for one person, or you’re wasting coffee each morning, then this could be the coffee maker you’ve been looking for.

It comes with it’s own scoop that you load with ground coffee, place into the top and close the lid. From there, you choose regular or bold, and in a couple of minutes you’ll have a cup of coffee. There are lines on the inside of the scoop to indicate how much coffee to put in for your desired brew size.

The Hamilton Beach is a compact little coffee maker, easily fitting in a corner of your kitchen or even your office.

It really is a simple coffee maker, which produces pretty great coffee. It’s also pretty cheap. Coffee makers these days can be an expensive kitchen appliance, so it’s good when you find a decent coffee maker, that’s user friendly and doesn’t break the bank account.

An overall eco friendly coffee maker, that’s cheap to buy and maintain, and brews coffee quickly.

Check price on Amazon

Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker

best single cup coffee maker no pods 

Key features:

  • 6 brew sizes to choose from
  • Can brew a 50oz carafe if desired
  • Includes a fold-away milk frother
  • Hot and cold beverages
  • Delay brew feature
  • Removable 50oz water reservoir
  • Dimensions (inches): 15.04 x 11.99 x 8.75
  • 1 year warranty

The Ninja Speciality Coffee Maker isn’t your average coffee maker, and although you can make single servings of coffee, you can also brew full carafes. This is handy for when your friends and family are over and you have the option to make a large batch of coffee.

My favourite feature on the Ninja is the fold-away frother. Being able to make a latte or cappuccino at home is a game changer. Every now and then, if I fancy making a milky coffee, I can do that instead of having to go to the nearest cafe. There is also the option to brew iced coffee drinks for those hot summer days when you need cooling off.

The delay brew feature also lets you programme the coffee maker to start brewing in a few hours time. It also comes with a permanent brew basket, scoops, and a warming plate which can keep your coffee hot for up to 4 hours. It’s safe to say Ninja have thought of just about everything when it comes to brewing coffee at home.

This is a unique coffee maker with regards to the amount of options you have as to what coffee you drink. Plus, you can use your own coffee beans instead of having to use K Cups all the time.

Check price on Amazon

Sboly Single Serve Coffee Maker

best single cup coffee maker no pods 

Key features:

  • Brews coffee in 3 minutes
  • Up to 14oz brew capacity
  • Super compact design
  • Auto-cleaning button
  • Auto shut-off feature
  • Really easy to use
  • Water reservoir clearly displays water quantity
  • Dimensions (inches): 11.6 x 7.3 x 5.4
  • 1 year warranty

This truly compact coffee maker is stylish, sleek and really easy to use and maintain. It’s the pinnacle of convenience. If you’re after a coffee maker that’s going to brew a cuppa quickly, and is really user friendly, this might be it.

The Sboly gives you 4 different brew size options, 6, 8, 10 and 14oz cups. It also comes with a filter basket you can load up with ground coffee, making it easy to limit your waste by not using K Cups.

With it being compact, there’s no trouble finding a place for it in your kitchen or office, and with the auto-cleaning function you don’t have to worry about cleaning it yourself. The only thing you do have to worry about, is the amount of coffee you’re wanting to brew.

A great eco friendly single serve coffee maker, at an affordable price, and comes with some fantastic features

Check price on Amazon

Classic Stovetop Espresso Maker

best single cup coffee maker no pods 

Key features:

  • 3, 5 and 8 cup models
  • Simple to use and dependable, no electricity needed
  • Easy to clean
  • Compact and transportable, great for camping
  • Brews in about 5 minutes
  • Dimensions (inches): 6.5 x 5.2 x 3.9 inches
  • Lifetime warranty

This is my all time favourite brew method. If there is anyone who’s reading this that doesn’t mind stepping back in time, to when you didn’t need electricity to brew a coffee, then I’d recommend getting this moka pot any day of the week.

It requires no K Cups, or pods. Simply fill the base with water, load up the filter basket with finely ground coffee, place on the stove at a medium heat, and sit back for a few minutes. You can easily take this away with you on weekends, on camping trips or when you’re visiting friends.

When espresso machines get silly with their prices, it’s nice to revert back to some traditional brewing methods to see how they match up. In my opinion, a stovetop espresso maker brews an exceptional and unique tasting cuppa.

Although it doesn’t come with gadgets or any other amazing features, it’s reliable, durable, and produces a superior quality of coffee.

Check price on Amazon

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re looking for a coffee maker that doesn’t use coffee pods because you’re wanting to do your bit to reduce waste, or whether you’re after a better quality brew, these are the best I could find.

It really depends what your needs are, and how much coffee you want the option to brew, but I would recommend the Sboly Single Serve Coffee Maker as one of the best on the list.

With it being able to brew 14oz if desired, the Sboly can produce more than enough coffee for a single serving. Plus, the user interface is a doddle to use and it’s self-cleaning function makes life that little bit more hassle free.

Failing that, you could try the reliable Classic Stovetop Espresso Maker.

Let us know which one you went for in the comments!

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Tom Bolland

Tom Bolland

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