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Drip Coffee Maker vs Single Cup

Alexis Labadie Profile image

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Updated August 27, 2022

If you’re single or have a small family, you may be considering whether a drip coffee maker vs a single cup model is better for you. Of course, the best coffee maker makes the perfect amount of coffee for your family. Still, it must have other advantages, including ease of use, temperature control, and consistency between brews. If you want to explore additional coffee maker models, check out our comparison of a drip coffee maker vs a pour-over.


  • Drip coffee makers usually make a larger amount of coffee whenever you want it, and you can set a timer to have your cup ready when you are.
  • Single-cup coffee machines provide consistent taste and extraction for your morning cup of coffee, but they don’t necessarily make as much as you want in one cycle.
  • Single-cup models remain faster and easier to use than regular coffee makers.

Differences Between Drip Coffee Machines and Single Cup Models

Most drip coffee machines (like Keurig coffee makers) make 4-12 cups of coffee, though select models may have features for a single cup. If you don’t have one of these devices, you probably have a product that relies on a pod, capsule, or specialized cup for a wide range of drinks, including hot chocolate. The consistency and ease of using one of these coffee brewing methods surpass a drip coffee machine. However, drip coffee machines offer automatic temperature controls, and they make multiple cups of coffee for your family. If you want information about different brews, consider whether you want a drip coffee vs an espresso maker.

Insider Tip

Set your timer the night before for a cup of drip coffee when you want it in the morning.

Perfect Cup

Single-serving kitchen coffee brewers provide consistency in every pour because they use a specified amount of grounds prepackaged in a pod, cup, or capsule. Additionally, you don’t have to measure the grounds or water since the machine does all that for you.

Drip coffee makers often lead to inconsistent brewing since some people don’t measure their coffee grounds, instead preferring to “eyeball it.” However, if you use a scale or measuring cup, you increase the consistency, with the scale surpassing the measuring cup. Adjustments to the grounds cause adjustments to the coffee’s flavor and features.

Brewing Process

When extracting the flavor for your coffee, you only have to put the cup or pod inside the machine for a single cup device. You may have to add water as well, but some models store water. You then press the button for your desired strength and let the machine run.

A drip coffee maker measures and heats the water for you when you press brew. However, you have to measure the coffee grounds and add them and a filter to the compartment. The machine then runs hot water through the grounds and filter, creating your ideal morning coffee in the coffee carafe.

Abundant Coffee

Drip machines brew 4-12 cups of coffee at a time, meaning more coffee for you to enjoy every time you make a pot of coffee. Because they make larger brew sizes, you can fill a large tumbler or mug without brewing twice. However, the abundance of fresh coffee comes at the cost of speed. So if you want your cup of coffee hot and ready when you wake up, set your timer a little earlier.

Single-serve machines offer highly-priced delicious coffee made with one cup in mind, and the cup is not always as large as you want. For example, if you want a large thermos of hot coffee, you may need multiple brew cycles to fill it, but each cup of coffee will be made faster than the drip coffee version.

For a look at other machine brands, you’ll want to check out the Moccamaster vs Aeropress coffee makers.


Drip coffee lacks consistency because your measurements may not be precise, so you should consider using a scale.


Are there different types of single-serve coffee makers?

Some drip coffee makers offer a single-serving brew setting, but these machines are not as common. Instead, you may find single-serve coffee makers that use a pod, cup, or capsule option, which all do basically the same thing.

How much do Keurigs cost?

Keurigs vary in price spanning $60-250, with their single-serve option running on the low end of this spectrum.

What does the strong brew button on my coffee maker actually do?

The strong brew button slows down the water, enabling greater saturation before passing through the filter.

STAT: In the United States, 75% of adults are coffee drinkers, and 49% of Americans report drinking coffee every day. (source)

Alexis Labadie Profile image