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The Finest Single-Serve Espresso Makers of 2022

Straight to the Level

Our high choose is the Kalita Wave 155 Dripper. When you prefer to tinker together with your brew, we additionally advocate the Aeropress with the Fellow Prismo Attachment.

Imagine it or not, brewing one cup of espresso at a time is controversial amongst espresso professionals. “If the brewing technique isn’t tailor-made to deal with that quantity of espresso, you don’t get fairly the mattress depth that you simply want and channeling goes to be a possible difficulty,” says Jaymie Lao, who has spent greater than a decade in specialty espresso training. Her ideas echo my own concerns. Basically, in case your mattress depth of espresso isn’t deep sufficient, water has a better time flowing erratically by way of the espresso grounds, extracting good and dangerous flavors suddenly. Which means that even our favourite pourover brewers aren’t fairly fitted to brewing eight to 10 ounces at a time. Lao likes to brew nearer to 12 ounces at a time, simply barely bigger than the common espresso mug, and even including simply 5 grams of espresso to the mattress depth could make a giant distinction. “The upper it’s, the extra you’ll be able to observe the evenness of the espresso mattress and ensure it’s stage.” 

Nonetheless, different espresso execs prefer to go small. “I just about solely brew one cup at a time,” stated Umeko Motoyoshi, proprietor of “I prefer to brew tiny cups of espresso as a result of they’re cute, and I additionally prefer to brew an quantity that I can take pleasure in in a short time. If I brew a big batch then typically it may well get chilly and I’m not capable of take pleasure in all of it the way in which to the tip.” I reached out to Motoyoshi for this piece as a result of they have been the primary individual I noticed demonstrating the Fellow Prismo Attachment. “I like to brew with the Prismo attachment for the Aeropress. I’ve a special relationship to brewing a single cup of espresso as a result of I’m making it simply for me, or simply for you, and it feels extra particular to me, and I pay nearer consideration to the brewing.” 

With the professionals of brewing a single cup in thoughts, I got down to discover the most effective guide espresso maker that may brew 8 to 10 ounces of espresso at a time, compiling a listing of brewers that use pourover, immersion, and even pressurized brew processes. When trying to find the most effective single-serve espresso makers, I deliberately not noted the Keurig and different pod-based espresso machines. Apart from being costly and creating extra waste than brewing your personal espresso, these kinds of machines are designed for comfort over high quality, leading to skinny, bitter, and watery espresso—it doesn’t matter what type of Okay-Cup or pod you buy. (Editor’s observe: Nespresso machines are one other matter and we’ll have a assessment printed on them quickly.) I additionally didn’t embody any espresso makers, as these have been coated of their own review

The Winners, at a Look

The Finest Single-Cup Brewer: Kalita Wave 155 Dripper

I cherished the Kalita Wave 155 Dripper for lots of the identical causes its bigger sibling gained our pourover brewers testing: the brewer’s easy flat-bottom design together with the scale of the filter mattress make it completely fitted to brewing a single cup at a time. It may be paired with these filters and the Kalita 300-G server, in case you don’t wish to brew immediately into your mug. 

The Finest Single-Cup Brewer If You Wish to Tinker: Aeropress with Fellow Prismo Attachment


Fellow Prismo Pressure-Actuated Attachment for AeroPress Coffee Maker

Whereas the Aeropress is a good brewer by itself, the Prismo attachment’s stress actuated valve permits for much more management and customization. With a rubber stopper that stays closed till you press it, the Prismo permits the Aeropress to behave as a full immersion brew technique. As a result of the bottom of the Prismo is wider than most pourover brewers, we advocate the Fellow Mighty Small Glass Carafe to ensure there’s sufficient clearance for the brewer.

The Assessments

Critical Eats / Jesse Raub

  • Brewing Take a look at: Every brewer was examined with an 8-ounce brew to evaluate mattress depth, temperature stability, and brew time.
  • Every brew used 15 grams of espresso and used 250 grams water complete.
  • Brew water was heated to 210ºF in an temperature-control electrical kettle after which instantly used to begin every brew cycle.
  • Pourover brewers had a 45-second bloom, and water was added in 25-50 gram pulses each 10-15 seconds.
  • Immersion brewers had all of the water added without delay, and have been stirred for 10 seconds on the one-minute mark and allowed to steep 5 minutes.
  • The Aeropress was brewed inverted, and handled like an immersion-style brew with a two-minute, 45-second steep time.
  • The Prismo attachment was handled like an immersion type brew with a two-minute, 45-second time
  • Temperature Stability Take a look at: Every brewer was examined for temperature stability all through the brew cycle. 
  • Two waterproof probes from a Thermocouple have been inserted within the espresso mattress earlier than brewing began.
  • The thermocouple recorded the temperature curve in the course of all the brew time.
  • Every brewer had its temperature assessed on the highest peak and warmth loss was recorded throughout all the brew cycle.
  • Style Assessments: Every brewer was then dialed in to supply the most effective tasting espresso.
  • Primarily based on a number of brewing take a look at, every brewer was assigned a customized brew ratio, grind measurement, and brew time to mirror the recipe that yielded the most effective outcomes.
  • Every recipe was then adjusted to supply the most effective tasting espresso every brewer was able to making.
  • Usability and Cleanup Assessments: Every brewer was assessed in usability and design.
  • Brewers have been evaluated on ease of use, choosing up, filter attachment, deal with consolation, and different tactile evaluations.
  • Brewers have been evaluated on how simple they have been to scrub, together with discarding of spent grounds and elimination of espresso oils and residues.

What We Realized

Small Brews Lacked Thermal Mass

We tracked the temperature all through brewing utilizing a Thermocouple.

Critical Eats / Jesse Raub

Throughout the board, these single-cup espresso brewers misplaced plenty of warmth throughout the brew cycle. One of many principal benefits of an automatic drip coffee maker is a closed brew basket and a boiler delivering water immediately into the espresso mattress. Once I examined pourover devices, the full-sized units couldn’t fairly match the temperature stability of an computerized drip brewer…and single-cup brewers fared even worse. 

The perfect zone for espresso brewing is between 195-205ºF, and virtually each single-cup brewer dropped beneath 190ºF earlier than the brew cycle was completed, doubtlessly leaving the espresso poorly extracted. It is because bigger portions of espresso in a filter include extra mass, and so do bigger portions of brew water: when brewing with solely 15 grams of espresso and 250 grams of water, it was tough for the espresso mattress to carry onto warmth.

Mattress Depth Mattered

We discovered single-serve espresso brewers with narrower beds carried out higher.

Critical Eats / Jesse Raub

It’s not a shock that the most effective brewer on this assessment has probably the most slender brew base. The Kalita Wave’s base was solely 5 centimeters extensive, whereas the Pure Over (one of many poorer performers) had a 10-centimeter diameter. With a narrower base, the small dose of espresso was capable of create a deeper mattress depth, which inspired extra even saturation, higher circulate restriction, and extra constant extraction general. Compared, the extensive base of the Pure Over meant that espresso in the direction of the sting of the brew mattress dried out considerably sooner than espresso on the backside of the filter disc, making all of it however unattainable to brew persistently at smaller volumes. 

Precision Was Key

When brewing single-serving quantities of espresso, the margin of error is non-existent, which makes a espresso scale your greatest buddy.

Critical Eats / Jesse Raub

Shrinking all the way down to a single-cup brew places a microscope on the entire brewing course of. When you’re off by a gram or two of espresso when brewing 60 grams of espresso and one-liter of water, the general ratio of espresso to water stays roughly intact. However in case you’re off by a gram when your required dose is 15 grams of espresso? Your brew ratio is massively disrupted. 

The usual brew ratio for brewing is a 1:16.667 ratio of espresso to water: 1000g of water divided by 60 grams of espresso. Add a gram, and your ratio shifts to a 1:16.39 ratio. Add a gram to a 15-gram dose, and your 1:16.667 ratio drops to 1:15.625. Now, this appears finicky, however these ratios do matter! The decrease the ratio of espresso to water, the stronger the brew will get, and the tougher it turns into to extract the sweeter flavors you’re on the lookout for. When brewing within the 8- to 10-ounce vary, an additional espresso bean or two falling within the grinder, or an errant pour that provides a half-ounce of quantity to your brew can throw the entire thing off. Because of this, when brewing single-serve quantities, it’s crucial to weigh every thing in grams, even in case you’re used to imperial measurements.

Extra Espresso Made a Large Distinction

Tinkering with the brew is essential to attaining a greater, single-serve cup.

Critical Eats / Jesse Raub

In our dialog, Lao highlighted the truth that 5 grams of espresso may make a huge effect in making a extra steady brew setting and occasional mattress depth. Not one of the brewers actually produced a stellar espresso at an 8-ounce quantity, so within the second spherical of testing, I pushed the whole brew quantity as near 10 ounces as I may, at all times brewing into the identical mug to ensure it was by no means too full. With this bigger quantity, I discovered brew occasions have been extra constant, and the brews themselves ended up tastier with a extra balanced sweetness and physique. On the finish of the testing cycle, it’s laborious to advocate anybody attempt brewing eight ounces of espresso—ever. 

The Standards: What We Search for in a Single-Serve Espresso Brewer

Critical Eats / Jesse Raub / Amanda Suarez

One of the best single-serve brewers have been easy in design, simple to scrub, had snug handles, and easily brewed nice espresso in small volumes. They held onto brew temperature higher than their opponents, and have been extra forgiving throughout the brewing course of. A slender base was additionally key to a well-functioning single-serve brewer: it encourage deeper espresso mattress depth which in flip promotes a extra even, higher tasting extraction from the espresso.

The Finest Single-Cup Brewer: Kalita Wave 155 Dripper

Kalita Wave 155

What we preferred:The Kalita Wave 155 simply merely brewed great-tasting espresso. With a flat-bottom design, the espresso was evenly distributed throughout the filter base which allowed the espresso to be saturated evenly throughout the pouring course of. With such a slender diameter, it was simple to keep up a espresso mattress depth that allowed for even and constant extraction, brew after brew. The quick top of the brewer’s partitions additionally made it simple for the spout of the kettle to get nearer to the espresso mattress, selling larger brew temperatures. I additionally actually appreciated that the brewer may feasibly brew as much as 14 ounces of espresso, making it a extra versatile brewer general. Because the principal physique of the brewer is glass, the Kalita Wave 155 was simple to rinse off and wipe clear, with no espresso oils or residues left hanging on. With a base extensive sufficient to relaxation simply on high of most mugs or glass servers, the Kalita Wave 155 is a utilitarian brewer. 

What we didn’t like: Whereas the glass model is cheaper than the stainless steel version, it additionally felt considerably extra fragile. The plastic base helped shield the glass backside of the brewer from dense, stone counter tops, however the base additionally felt low-cost to the contact when in comparison with the brewer’s strong metal cousin. The deal with on the glass model was rounded, which triggered it to rotate barely when picked up. 

Key Specs

  • Supplies: Glass and plastic
  • Weight: 4 ounces
  • Floor Diameter: 5 centimeters
  • Base Diameter: 11 centimeters
  • Variety of items: 2
  • Appropriate with: Kalita Glass 300-G Server

Critical Eats / Jesse Raub

The Finest Single-Cup Brewer If You Wish to Tinker: Aeropress with Fellow Prismo Attachment


Fellow Prismo Pressure-Actuated Attachment for AeroPress Coffee Maker

What we preferred: With the pressurized rubber worth on the attachment’s base and a micromesh metallic filter, the Prismo transforms the upright Aeropress right into a full immersion chamber that lets espresso steep for so long as you’d like earlier than urgent the espresso by way of the filter itself. The Aeropress with Prismo attachment truly brewed my favourite tasting cup out of the entire fashions — it simply took some tinkering, and was not as repeatable because the Kalita Wave 155.

The Aeropress itself has an enormous following on account of its compact nature and the numerous methods to brew with it. (There’s even a yearly competition to see who can develop the most effective tasting espresso with an Aeropress, and customized recipes are extremely inspired.) One difficulty with the Aeropress, nonetheless, is that when brewing proper facet up, espresso tends to trickle by way of the filter as a result of, effectively, gravity. That is fairly frequent when blooming any pourover brewer, however for the reason that brewer solely permits a lot brew water for use at one time, most individuals discover the most effective outcomes by inverting the brewer and turning it into an immersion chamber, with the stopper precariously holding the brewing espresso at bay. With the Prismo attachment, you’ll be able to obtain the identical full immersion chamber with out the fragile and harmful flip technique. 

My favourite factor in regards to the Prismo is actually how way more customization it provides to the Aeropress. My greatest tasting recipe with it used a barely larger dose of espresso, which fits immersion brew strategies, and a full 4-minute steep time earlier than urgent down. Oh, and yet another secret: regardless that the Prismo comes with a built-in metallic filter, I added two of the usual Aeropress paper filters, which offered extra resistance throughout the urgent interval and helped filter out any lingering espresso grit. It’s the right arrange for the espresso fan that likes to tinker. 

What we didn’t like: The Aeropress with Prismo attachment’s largest strengths are additionally its largest weaknesses: to get the most effective espresso, you have to tinker. With tons of of various methods to arrange a recipe, it may be tough deciding on which brewing bits and items you wish to add into your personal customized brew information. It can be difficult to correctly seat a paper filter, if you wish to go that route, and with a brewer that comes aside into 4 separate items, there are only a lot of transferring components to maintain clear. Talking of cleanup: puck elimination from an Aeropress could be messy at occasions, as it’s a must to unscrew the filter cap and press the grounds out. When you’re fortunate, they’re totally compacted, however typically the grounds are unfastened and may spill throughout. Because the physique of the Aeropress and Prismo are each plastic, they’ll have a tendency to select up extra espresso oils and residues over time and would require deeper cleansing. And, lastly, this setup additionally requires you to purchase two separate brewing units. 

Key Specs (Collectively)

  • Supplies: Plastic, rubber, metallic
  • Weight: 8 ounces
  • Floor Diameter: 6 centimeters
  • Base Diameter: 9.5 centimeters
  • Size: 17 centimeters
  • Variety of items: 2

Critical Eats / Jesse Raub

The Competitors

  • Aeropress: The Aeropress is a good brewer with a number of enjoyable methods to brew however cup high quality and value is tough to match in opposition to an Aeropress with a Prismo attachment. It carried out admirably at brewing small quantities of espresso, however had some temperature stability points and required some difficult maneuvers.
  • OXO Brew Single-Serve Pourover Coffee Maker: The OXO Brew featured an auto-drip water tank designed to make pour-over extra novice pleasant, with measurements built-in. The difficulty is that water begins dripping by way of instantly, so in case you’re making an attempt so as to add precisely eight ounces to the reservoir, you doubtless have seen a minimum of two ounces drip by way of already. The brewer relies off of the Melita cone form, so the espresso mattress can unfold out extensive alongside the underside journey, however the auto-drip dispersion holes solely let water drip in a slender circle, leaving the perimeters of the espresso mattress excessive and dry as compared.
  • Espro Travel Press: Designed to be a French press on the go, the Espro journey press brewed some tasty espresso. The primary difficulty, nonetheless, is the effectiveness of its twin wall vacuum building. Whereas it held the very best brew temperature out of all the one -cup brewers examined, it additionally held that temperature in what was now designed to be a consuming vessel. Except you want a extra compact French press for journey or tenting, it’s doubtless you’d have a greater expertise with a standard sized french press, because it must be decanted in any case. 
  • Pure Over: Sadly, the Pure Over suffers from a large design flaw: with such a large and flat backside that tapers to a slender exit glass filter, the Pure Over creates an especially shallow mattress depth with a showerhead lid that’s half the scale of the bottom. This results in an especially uneven saturation of the espresso and ensures channeling. The design of the brewer was simply so flawed that I didn’t even transfer it to the second spherical of testing. On high of that, the brewer has a glass on high of glass on high of glass building, and even included a ceramic coaster, which is all simply begging for components to chip and crack in opposition to one another. Plus, it was a ache to try to dump the espresso grounds and the straight handles on the pour over and mug have been awkward to carry.


What about Keurig or different Okay-Cup and pod espresso machines?

Single-pod machines are usually very wasteful, however at their core, they’re simply not good at making good-tasting espresso. Nice drip espresso requires a normal ratio of espresso to water, a medium to mediu- nice grind, water temperatures between 195-205ºF, and a sustained brew time of round three to 4 minutes. Pod machines cheat these brew specs all within the title of comfort: there’s not sufficient espresso within the pods for the quantity of water getting used, so the espresso will likely be floor extra-fine, the machines will use boiling water to create stress, and the brew occasions are pressured too quick. The top result’s normally weak, bitter, and the strategy makes it unattainable the match the standard of a freshly brewed espresso.

Can my drip espresso maker be used to make a single cup?

Some fashionable drip espresso makers have a single cup setting, however it’s not normally what that adjustments in regards to the brew cycle. On the finish of the day, the filter basket measurement on a drip espresso maker is designed for bigger brews, so it will doubtless be tough to attain the appropriate mattress depth of espresso for a single cup on these machines. One possibility is likely to be the OXO 8-cup coffee brewer, which truly encompasses a smaller basket insert for brewing smaller volumes, although this basket is across the identical measurement because the Kalita 185 brewer, and higher designed for a minimal brew of 16 ounces. 

How a lot espresso ought to I exploit when making a single-cup pourover?

The usual ratio for espresso to water is 60 grams per liter of water, or 1:16.667 — meaning it’s best to begin with one half espresso and about sixteen components water. That may very well be one ounce of espresso and sixteen ounces of water, however measurements are way more correct in grams when brewing smaller quantities. It’s additionally beneficial to weight espresso out on a scale, after which place your entire pourover brew rig on the size afterwards. This manner, while you add water to the filter, you’ll be able to measure precisely how a lot water you might be including to the grounds. An 8-ounce cup of espresso ought to use 15 grams of espresso and 250 grams of water added to it.  

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