If you’re looking to get into the world of single-serve brewing (or pod coffee) you might automatically start shopping for a machine from the leading US maker, Keurig. However, there are other options to explore. If you are a serious coffee drinker like I am, then you need to pay attention to this! We’ve picked out 3 viable Keurig alternatives you may like to consider…
Top Brewers Up Front: Here’s a quick overview of our TOP recommended machines, if you are in a hurry…
|Model||Original Retail Price||Current Deal Price||Deal Rating|
|Nespresso Inissia||$149.00||Check price here||A+|
|Nespresso Pixie w/Aeroccino||$297.99||Check price here||B-|
|Nespresso Citiz||$124.49||Check price here||B+|
|Nespresso Virtuo||$199.95||Check price here||B+|
|BUNN My Cafe||$199.99||Check price here||A|
|Delonghi Mini Me||$129.95||Check price here||B|
- Continue reading for the full analysis…
Option #1: Nespresso Range
“If Keurig is the first brand you think of when considering single-serve coffee, Swiss-based Nespresso is surely a close second.”
Nespresso brewers are divided into two ranges – OriginalLine and VertuoLine. Each range features a variety of models to suit different requirements and budgets. The main differences in the newer VertuoLine range are the use of centrifusion technology (that harnesses centrifugal force to spin out the perfect cup of coffee) and the fact that you can brew both espresso and full cups of coffee. This range is aimed more at the North American market to meet customer demand for Americano-style or drip coffee.
The full range of Nespresso brewers includes:
If you like the option of making milky drinks at home, Nespresso offers some of its models in a bundle with its Aeroccino Plus milk frother, either separately or built-in to the coffee maker. The high-end Lattissima model has advanced milk-heating capabilities.
Bought at list price, Nespresso OriginalLine brewers range from around $150 for the Inissia up to around $600 for the Lattissima Pro (deals and discounts are usually available). VertuoLine brewers cost around $200 for the standalone coffee maker and about $250 when bundled with the Aeroccino (a $50 saving).
NOTE: If you want to be sure you are getting the BEST DEAL, check out our Nespresso deals tracker here.
Online ‘hacks’ excluded, officially only Nespresso pods are compatible with the maker’s brewers. Even within the Nespresso brand, not all of the maker’s pods work with every machine. Crucially, only dome-shaped VertuoLine pods are compatible with this range. Various unofficial ‘get-arounds’ are available online, and other manufacturers have cropped up offering Nespresso-compatible pods (see number 3 on our list), but the new VertuoLine range of brewers includes technology that reads each pod’s barcode.
Price-wise, OriginalLine pods bought direct from Nespresso range from about $0.70 to $0.80 each. VertuoLine pods cost from about $0.85 to $1.20. Multi-packs are also available. Bought new, Nespresso brewers come with a variety pack to get you started.
- Nespresso is a big-name brand that exclusively sells single-serve brewers, pods, and accessories
- Nespresso is renowned for its stylish designs
- A decent range of brewers is available to suit different budgets and requirements
- A recycling program is available for used pods
- Coffee quality is generally good
- Both pod cost and compatibility are issues
- Recycling the aluminum pods take some effort
- Some users have raised issues over low brew temperature
- Buying into the Nespresso system can limit your brewing options
The second choice on our list is a single brewer, rather than a range. The BUNN My Cafe is a great option for anyone who wants to explore K-Cups but doesn’t want to be limited to using a Keurig brewer at home or in the office.
Indeed, the great benefit of the BUNN My Cafe is its overall versatility. This is coupled with ease-of-use and a simple (some might say overly functional) design. There are few bells and whistles on the BUNN, but it boasts plenty of positive third-party reviews. If you like the idea of having the option and convenience of brewing pods, but want to retain other brew methods without having to invest in multiples appliances, this is certainly a Keurig alternative that’s worth considering.
One thing to note about the My Cafe is that, unlike a lot of other single-serve brewers, there is no external water tank. This means that instead of keeping the reservoir topped up ready for multiple brew cycles, you wait for the machine to warm up and then simply pour in the amount of water you want to use for each brew. This sounds like a bit of a hassle, but it’s actually quite convenient and ensures fresh water is used each time. The My Cafe features simple 2-button operation – for the brew and pulse settings. As an indication of brew time, an 8oz cup of coffee is dispensed in around 15 seconds. There is no built-in milk frothing functionality.
The list price of the BUNN My Cafe is $200 but you can purchase one brand new for closer to $150 (or even less if there are deals on).
In addition to standard K-Cup packs, the BUNN My Cafe can handle ground coffee. You can also use the brewer with tea pods, bags, and loose-leaf tea.
- This is a highly versatile single-serve brewer that does much more than just brew pods
- It can brew serving sizes of between 4 and 14oz
- The BUNN is compatible with standard K-Cups
- Coffee quality is very high
- The brewer is straightforward to use with 2-button functionality
- The BUNN represents good value for money (given all the brew options on offer)
- The design is more functional than stylish
- The operation is quite noisy
- Some of the 2-button functionality takes some getting used to (especially if you have previously owned a single-cup brewer)
Option #3: Legato Single Serve Coffee/Tea/Espresso Machine
Italian maker, Legato, has come up with a single-serve brewer that is a real alternative to the big brands. While not as versatile as the BUNN My Cafe, the Legato does offer the option to brew both 1.5oz espresso and 6oz coffee using its own range of pods and Nespresso OriginalLine capsules. Cup sizes can be adjusted to taste. The brewer can also dispense plain hot water.
If the design is an issue, you’re sure to be impressed by the attractive, compact unit with its futuristic blue light and three color options (charcoal, red and the intriguingly-named, ‘new black’). This brewer features a smallish external water tank and 2-button functionality (for espresso and coffee). Coffee quality is excellent (at least for pod coffee) and making adjustments is pretty straightforward. Again, there is no built-in milk frothing functionality.
Overall, the Legato is a real contender in the field of single-serve brewers and should definitely be on your shortlist if you want to explore this type of home/office brewing.
The list price of the Legato is around $100. It is sold new with a generous sampler pack of 90 (that’s ninety!) capsules, which is worth around $35.
Legato has its own range of 9 blends, 5 for coffee and 4 for espresso. They include French Roast, French Vanilla, and Decaf. A box of 10 costs around $3 ($6 for decaf). Larger boxes are available. While Legato (naturally) recommends using its own pods in its brewer, Nespresso OriginalLine pods are also compatible with this brewer. It does not support ground coffee. (In case you’re wondering, yes, you can use Legato pods in Nespresso OriginalLine Brewers!)
- The Legato is a stylishly compact brewer
- It can brew 6oz of coffee or tea and 1.5oz espresso with one-touch functionality
- Volumes are programmable to taste
- The brewer is compatible with Nespresso OriginalLine pods in addition to Legato’s own range
- Both the brewer and Legato pods are priced favorably when compared to Nespresso and Keurig
- The brewer is sold new with a pack of 90 Legato pods
- The Legato is not as versatile as some single-serve brewers on the market
- It does not work with refillable pods or ground coffee
- The water tank is quite small compared to some other single-serve brewers
- Heat-up time is longer than some other brewers on the market
Additional Keurig Machine Alternatives
While this article focuses mainly on just 3 Keurig alternatives, there are plenty more to explore. Here are a few more contenders to consider:
De’Longhi Mini Me Single Serve Coffee Maker and Espresso Machine (around $120)
This a funky little brewer that opens up the world of Nescafé Dolce Gusto pods.
Starbucks Verismo Single-Cup Coffee and Espresso Maker (around $85)
This option lets you literally bring the coffee shop into your kitchen or office, as you can make Starbucks’ drinks using the chain’s very own coffee (and milk) pods.
Cuisinart SS-10 Premium Single-Serve Coffeemaker (around $150)
This is another example of a brewer that lets you explore original K-Cups but doesn’t limit you to those alone, as it features a reusable filter cup for your favorite brew.
What’s the verdict?
The aim of this article is to highlight a few of the many non-Keurig single-serve brewers out there. The main things to be aware of when selecting a brewer are versatility and compatibility. Choosing a model or a coffee machine that’s compatible with only one type of pod is limiting and takes away one of the great advantages of single-serve – variety.
Whatever else you take away from this article, hopefully, we’ve shown that switching to single-serve or adding this brewing method to your existing options, doesn’t limit you to Keurig, even if you have your heart set on K-Cups!
Still Stuck on Keurig? If the above options don’t seem like a good fit for you, but you still want to save some money, check out our top deals on Keurigs here. We’ve curated the top promotions online, so you get the most bang for your buck.