Consumer Reports: Single-serve coffee makers

February 5, 2013 2:45:05 PM PST
Traditional K-cups are easy and quick to use - but they can be expensive. Consumer reporter Nydia Han has brewed up some cheaper coffee pod alternatives. But which one works best?

It's no surprise single-serve coffee makers are still growing in popularity; their convenience is tough to beat.

But the cost of these disposable pods are pricey and the average owner uses more than 1,000 K-Cups per year.

Single-serve coffeemakers are quick to use but the cost of pods can add up. Alternatives promise to reduce the amount of money you spend so Consumer Reports just checked out three that let you use your own coffee.

"To compare we looked at how much it would cost to brew one cup of coffee per day for a year," according to Desiree Ferenczi of Consumer Reports, "With K-Cups that's about $220 to $275."

Testers also looked at convenience. First up - Simple Cups, which claims its "a fraction of what a K-Cup will cost." Fourteen dollars will buy you a pack of 50 disposable cups, filters, and lids.

"When you add in the price of coffee it is less, about $185 per year," Ferenczi said.

But testers found the cups are hard to close. Although Simple Cups tells Action News, "Included in every box is a stabilizer that you're supposed to put the cup into and then close it... We've done some testing with the elderly, and that makes them pop right on as long as you put the filter in the proper way."

Next, the reusable EZ-Cup for $13, plus about $8 for 50 of its biodegradable filters. With coffee it works out to about $135 a year. But the EZ-Cup wasn't much easier to use than the Simple Cups.

In the end, My K-Cup - Keurig's K-Cup adapter - was the clear winner. Testers found it was the easiest to use. And once you buy the reusable My K-Cup for $18, your only expense is coffee - an estimated $80 a year. That's a big money saver. Another plus with Keurig's My K-Cups - they're a lot easier on the environment.

If all this has you longing for a single-serve coffee machine that can use the alternative My K-Cups, Consumer Reports recommends the Cuisinart SS-300 Compact Single Serve for $130.