Sip Better: Coffee Pod Machines for an Amazing Cup of Joe

Making good coffee literally can’t get any easier than this.

Cup of coffee in front of laptop on table.
The perfect cup of coffee is just a button push away.Alessandro Bianchi, Unsplash

Pod-based coffee machines offer an enticing promise: pop in a pod, press a button, and get your coffee. They’re hugely popular, and for good reason. Here are a few other things to know about these makers before you buy one.

Nespresso Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine by Breville with Aeroccino, Matte Black
This system can brew five different size cups, depending on how much of a caffeine boost you need.Breville

One of the biggest issues fans of pod-based machines have is that the pods aren’t always simple to recycle. But some companies have begun to combat this by creating widespread dropoff spots for used pods, or they can ship you a prepaid bag to send the pods away for proper disposal.

Hamilton Beach FlexBrew Thermal Coffee Maker, Single Serve & Full Pot, Compatible with K-Cup Pods or Grounds, Programmable, Black and Stainless
This product offers a regular pot in addition to the single-serving option, ideal for making a larger quantity.Hamilton Beach

Pod-based machines are great for offices and hotels, because they brew only a single cup at once. But what about when you’re having people over for brunch at home and need a whole pot of coffee? Some makers now come with both a pod-based brewer and a traditional drip-based coffee pot—the ultimate flexibility.

Keurig K-Mini Coffee Maker, Single Serve K-Cup Pod Coffee Brewer, 6 to 12 oz. Brew Sizes, Oasis
This minimal, playful design measures just 5 inches across, so it’s easy to find a place for, or to tuck away when you’re not using it.Keurig

One hack to get the best possible coffee out of your pod: avoid using larger size mugs. Coffee aficionados say that typical coffee pods don’t contain enough grounds for a perfectly balanced jumbo-sized cup (even if it’s offered as an option on the machine). Opt for a smaller size brew to get the best-tasting cup of coffee.

De'Longhi America EN750MB Lattissima Pro Original Espresso Machine
With a built-in foam system, you can create lattes, macchiatos, cappuccinos and more.De'Longhi

If you’re looking to create fancier beverages with your pod-coffee maker, look to an espresso machine. Espresso is, as its name suggests, meant to be brewed extremely quickly; espresso machines use high amounts of pressure to cut down on the amount of brewing time. If you don’t love drinking espresso straight, you can experiment with all kinds of different espresso-based drinks such as americanos (espresso with hot water), flat whites (espresso with hot milk) or cappuccinos (espresso with hot milk and foamed milk).