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How to Use a Single Coffee Maker

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Updated May 6, 2023

If you’re shopping for a top-tier coffee maker, a single-cup brewer may have crossed your radar. If you live alone or only drink a morning cup of coffee, single-serve coffee makers are a fantastic choice. It may not give you the best-tasting brew compared to other types of coffee makers, but it’ll still produce a good cup of coffee. In addition, most single-serve coffee machines are compatible with K-cup pods, which saves you money on paper filters. So, read on to learn how to use a single coffee maker.


  • Fill the water tank with clean water and place your coffee cup under the coffee spout.
  • Place your coffee pod in the filter basket and select your brew size on the control panel.
  • Dispose of the coffee pod and remove your cup from the drip tray when your drink is done.

Luckily, a single-cup coffee maker isn’t too tough to use. While the largest brew size won’t fill a pot, most support multiple cup sizes to fit the average coffee drinker. In addition, since the serving size is small, you can make numerous cups of coffee quickly compared to a full-size drip coffee maker. Finally, you get the convenience of instant coffee with the flavor options of a mini coffee machine. If you’d like to try your coffee pods in a non-pod machine, read our guide to using K-cups in a regular coffee maker. Just remember that unlike using a coffee machine with pods, you will need a filter for a regular coffee maker. All is not lost if you don’t have any, we have a great article on what to do when you have no filters for the coffee maker.

If you’re interested in delicious coffee from traditional means, see our guide on how to use a siphon coffee maker. And if you are new to making coffee at home, you will see that there are tons of different machines and brewing methods. You may be curious about what a coffee maker is. Thankfully we have an article for that and much more.

Insider Tip

You need a paper or reusable brew basket filter if you’re not using a regular K-cup in your single-serve machine.

Brewing Coffee Using a Single-Serve Coffee Maker

Tools: coffee pod, coffee cup, water

STEP 1 Fill the Fresh Water Reservoir

If your model has a removable water reservoir, insert it into your coffee maker. Fill your tank with clean water and close the water reservoir lid when you’re ready to move to the next step. Use hot water in the water tank if you want a slightly faster brew.

STEP 2 Get Your Coffee

You can use pre-ground coffee cups for pod coffee makers, or you can use bagged grounds. That said, if you don’t use pre-packed coffee pods, you’ll need to place your coffee grounds in a reusable filter pod. Additionally, don’t be fooled by the permanent filter screen in most models. You still need a filter for loose-ground coffee. If you do choose to use pre-ground coffee, you’ll want to add 2 tablespoons of coffee for every 6 ounces of water.

STAT: In a recent survey from Gallup, Midwesterners reported drinking 43% more cups of coffee on average than Americans in Western states. (source)

STEP 3 Insert the Pod into the Single-Serve Machine

Your coffee pod or reusable filter basket should fit snugly in the pod compartment. Close the lid, and move on to the next step.

STEP 4 Get Your Coffee Cup

Choose your favorite mug for hot coffee, but pick a cup large enough to hold however many servings of coffee you’ve made. Ideally, the mug should also maintain the brew temperature and keep your coffee hot. Next, slide the coffee cup onto the drip tray.


If your coffee temperature has fallen, do not reheat it in the microwave. Instead, for the best flavor, add some ice and make a cold brew.

STEP 5Select Single Serving Size

Look at the control panel and find the brew buttons. On most models, you will use these buttons to select your brew size and programmable features. Keep in mind, a smart coffee maker won’t make you choose a size, as you’ll likely set this through the app or via voice command.

STEP 6 Let the Coffee Maker Brew and Enjoy

Once your cup of coffee is brewed, carefully remove it from the drip tray. Be mindful of hot water vapor coming from the cup.

In fact, a great espresso machine for a little coffee shop will feature thermally-optimized brew groups that provide accurate and consistent temperature control, and an ergonomic design for simpler operation.


Who invented pod coffee makers?

There’s a mix of opinions. Some people believe that this “seasons” your Moka brewer by building a layer of flavor. However, these leftover coffee grounds are over-extracted when making the next cup of coffee and cause a bitter taste.

Do Bialetti Moka pots make espresso or coffee?

Eric Farve invented the Nespresso, the first pod coffee maker, in 1976.

How to grind your own coffee?

Most coffee experts use a hand grinder or mortar and pestle. That said, you can also use an electric grinder for advanced features and convenience.

Can you use coffee pods without a machine?

Yes, you can use coffee pods in a regular coffee maker. Simply remove the seal and pour the coffee grounds into a paper coffee filter.

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