The most common reasons people cite for using pods is that it’s convenient or they need to be able to make only one serving at a time. Let’s try to tackle these:
I just don’t have the time to make coffee in the morning. If you’re willing to grind your coffee the night before and place it in the coffee maker before you go to bed, you have many great options available to you. You can basically use any coffee maker that has a timer or the ability to be used with a timer. The Technivorm Moccmaster series is an excellent coffee maker that is highly recommended, however it doesn’t include a timer. Since its power switch can be left in the on position, a workaround for this is to hook it up to your smart plug and set it to turn on and off at certain times. You can even set it up to turn on by saying “Alexa, turn on coffee maker” while crawling out of bed. If you don’t want the trouble of that the Breville Precision Brewer is an excellent choice with a timer and many different settings, if you have one of their other kitchen appliances the look and feel will be familiar to you. Both of these brewers are higher end machines, check out all our reviews and recommendations for other options.
Here is a full list of home brewers that have been certified by the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA). Any of these will brew excellent coffee from your excellent beans. Unless you plan to transfer your coffee to a travel mug or cup within 20 minutes of brewing, pick a model with a thermal carafe over a warming plate.
They make brewers that have built in grinders, but those have mixed reviews and reliability issues. For best results you should have a standalone grinder. Those brewers will make better coffee than using pods, but for that extra effort of a separate grinder the results will be better and offer a lot more versatility for other types of brewing also. Also some of the lower end models don’t even offer grind adjustment which is a big part of making good coffee.
Make cold brew. Cold brew is easy to make in large batches and can be kept in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Use a coarse grind with a 1:8 ratio of grams of coffee to milliliters of water and let it in steep for 24 hours in the refrigerator, stirring occasionally. After that use a sieve to remove the large grounds then run it through a paper filter. Add milk or water to taste. This is one brewing method where you don’t need to use your best and freshest beans, for many this is actually the way they use up stale beans without wasting them. Reduce the ratio to 1:4 for cold brew concentrate and add water or milk to taste. I did another post with more detail about cold brew if you want to check it out.
I need the option to make only one serving. All of the coffee makers mentioned above have the option for making different brew sizes, however for most of them that means adjusting the amount of water in the machine as most will brew until the water runs out. If you are willing to spend a little more time you can look into the pour over process which is my personal favorite. Brewers such as the Clever Dripper (makes about 12 fl. oz) or AeroPress (makes about 6 fl. oz) are great at making single servings and easy to bring to the office. With a few reps you can do this pretty quickly. Your pod machine doesn’t offer size choices, only selections for how diluted you want your coffee to be. So if you think the Keurig is making you a 12 fl. oz. cup, it’s actually making you a 6 fl. oz. cup with twice the water.