Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Topic Author
psteinx
Posts: 3259
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2007 2:24 pm

Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by psteinx » Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:38 pm

TLDR: What are the good options for an unsophisticated coffee/latte drinker to easily, cheaply, and quickly get something that approximates something ~80% as good as Starbucks-type espresso drinks, at home?

===

OK, so I posted about this in 2017 and didn't pull the trigger on anything.

Have a single cup drip brewer. It's ok, but I like Starbucks better (mainly hot lattes, but I recently had a capuccino (sp?) and liked it, my wife likes mochas, and sometimes I'll dabble with iced versions of their drinks).

What I'd like:

1) Home brewed coffee and espresso drinks (or espresso only, perhaps)
2) ~80% as good as a Starbucks comparable
3) With minimum of preparation time (I'm not a coffee snob, and don't want to spend a long time making something)
4) At a reasonable cost per drink (Ideally <$0.75, but conceivably up to about $1.50 per)
5) Budget for machine of about $200 or less
6) Modest consumption of countertop space
7) We don't drink a ton of this stuff - I drink maybe 5 cups/week, so keeping fresh coffee around is tricky. No, I don't plan to self roast, self-grind, buy fresh grounds weekly, or something like that

OK, maybe my preferences add up to something unrealistic.

That said:
I tried Nespresso recently and liked it. Don't like the confusion of 2 separate, incompatible systems, nor the fact that the newer system is apparently locked up by patents and such and has expensive pods

I've tried K-cups periodically - they're ok, but my understanding is that they're more for straight coffee, not espresso drinks.

I was at Target yesterday and, IIRC, they had a ~$40 espresso machine, that appeared to work from grounds, not pods/cups. Would it likely be any good?

Cody6136
Posts: 263
Joined: Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:54 am

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by Cody6136 » Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:47 pm

psteinx wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:38 pm
TLDR: What are the good options for an unsophisticated coffee/latte drinker to easily, cheaply, and quickly get something that approximates something ~80% as good as Starbucks-type espresso drinks, at home?

===

OK, so I posted about this in 2017 and didn't pull the trigger on anything.

Have a single cup drip brewer. It's ok, but I like Starbucks better (mainly hot lattes, but I recently had a capuccino (sp?) and liked it, my wife likes mochas, and sometimes I'll dabble with iced versions of their drinks).

What I'd like:

1) Home brewed coffee and espresso drinks (or espresso only, perhaps)
2) ~80% as good as a Starbucks comparable
3) With minimum of preparation time (I'm not a coffee snob, and don't want to spend a long time making something)
4) At a reasonable cost per drink (Ideally <$0.75, but conceivably up to about $1.50 per)
5) Budget for machine of about $200 or less
6) Modest consumption of countertop space
7) We don't drink a ton of this stuff - I drink maybe 5 cups/week, so keeping fresh coffee around is tricky. No, I don't plan to self roast, self-grind, buy fresh grounds weekly, or something like that

OK, maybe my preferences add up to something unrealistic.

That said:
I tried Nespresso recently and liked it. Don't like the confusion of 2 separate, incompatible systems, nor the fact that the newer system is apparently locked up by patents and such and has expensive pods

I've tried K-cups periodically - they're ok, but my understanding is that they're more for straight coffee, not espresso drinks.

I was at Target yesterday and, IIRC, they had a ~$40 espresso machine, that appeared to work from grounds, not pods/cups. Would it likely be any good?
French press. Low tech and cheap and good for the earth.

gougmonk
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Feb 03, 2014 1:39 pm

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by gougmonk » Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:54 pm

I purchased an Aeropress (about $30 online or at Target) three years ago and find that it duplicates Starbucks lattes. Also have an ac powered frother and scald the milk before mixing(two battery powdered items failed after a few months). I am not a snob, purchase beans at Costco and grind in store. Tried grinding my own but can not see and difference in taste.

Whole process takes about four minutes, most of which is waiting for my water to heat in the microwave.

LordPerradin
Posts: 30
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:17 am

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by LordPerradin » Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:57 pm

I would get:
1) electric water kettle
2) french press and/or pour over (french press comes in various sizes and 1 cup = 4 oz).

If you want coffee that's BETTER than starbucks and local chains, I would also get a grinder and buy whole beans from a local roaster (if available). Easy times. You can make coffee that way's better than the chains, save money, and laugh at your friends/colleagues who wait at the drive-thru and spend lots of money like the suckers they are.

LordPerradin
Posts: 30
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:17 am

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by LordPerradin » Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:58 pm

LordPerradin wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:57 pm
I would get:
1) electric water kettle
2) french press and/or pour over (french press comes in various sizes and 1 cup = 4 oz).

If you want coffee that's BETTER than starbucks and local chains, I would also get a grinder and buy whole beans from a local roaster (if available). Easy times. You can make coffee that way's better than the chains, save money, and laugh at your friends/colleagues who wait at the drive-thru and spend lots of money like the suckers they are.
PS: You can also use a french press to make Cold Brew very easily in the warmer months.

renue74
Posts: 1678
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2015 7:24 pm

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by renue74 » Wed Jun 19, 2019 1:03 pm

Italian Mocha Pot, a nice manual milk frother and bean grinder. Get good quality beans like Lavazza.

The mocha pot will brew an espresso in about 1 minute on the stove top.

Coffee is nice and all in, I think I might have $50 or $60 into the setup.

caffeperfavore
Posts: 242
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2015 11:45 am

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by caffeperfavore » Wed Jun 19, 2019 1:27 pm

gougmonk wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:54 pm
I purchased an Aeropress (about $30 online or at Target) three years ago and find that it duplicates Starbucks lattes. Also have an ac powered frother and scald the milk before mixing(two battery powdered items failed after a few months). I am not a snob, purchase beans at Costco and grind in store. Tried grinding my own but can not see and difference in taste.

Whole process takes about four minutes, most of which is waiting for my water to heat in the microwave.
This is a much better option than a $40 espresso machine from Target. I and everyone else in the world that have tried the $40-300 pump machines has found they make a poor unsatisfying approximation of espresso right before breaking after a couple months of unhappy use.

To stay under $200, keep it simple. Aeropress or Moka pot + a wand frother with some microwaved milk. It's not true espresso, but it ain't bad, which is better than Starbucks.

User avatar
tyrion
Posts: 1207
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2008 3:33 pm

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by tyrion » Wed Jun 19, 2019 1:50 pm

I have a Nespresso original (Nespresso brand pods, but generics are available) and an Aeropress (local market bulk beans, ground at the store). Both are surprisingly good and easy to use. I put a splash of cream in both.

I prefer the Nespresso for ease of use and variety of pods.

I prefer the Aeropress for making a big cup of coffee, the ability to make iced coffee, and because it's cheap. It does require keeping fresh coffee beans.

rasta
Posts: 121
Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2018 4:29 pm

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by rasta » Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:00 pm

melitta pour over 1 cup coffee brewer.

SmallSaver
Posts: 139
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:34 am

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by SmallSaver » Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:03 pm

Home-brewed coffee is easy. Home-brewed espresso is hard. If there's a <$200, no-prep way to make a cappuccino at home (or even a good espresso), I've never heard of it. A pourover cone filter will make coffee as good as anywhere, and is cheap and easy. French press is also good. Aeropress and Moka pot will get you something sort of like espresso, if you want to heat or foam milk I think you may have to give up the cheap/no-fuss criteria.

Topic Author
psteinx
Posts: 3259
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2007 2:24 pm

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by psteinx » Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:37 pm

OK, so I know my current method (single cup drip coffee) produces results substantially below that of a Starbucks latte.

There are a few ways I could, potentially, improve things. Again, assume that I'm looking for a minimum of fuss and prep and cleanup time:

1) I could use fresher coffee. Currently, I open a smallish plastic bin of Folger's (I think - red container). A fresh small one lasts me maybe 3 months. So obviously, the seal is broken on first use, and then, even with a lid, I assume the grounds get stale. Currently keep it on countertop - could keep it in freezer. Could use various fresher methods, including smaller quantities, purchased ~weekly, of beans or grounds. That said, the nearest grocery store with this kind of stuff is not that convenient. And furthermore, I'm not sure there's a big difference, to my taste buds, from when I'm using the last of the old (stale) can, or the first bin with the freshly opened bin. Also, I used to use single serve pods (Tassimo), and I don't think there was a big difference with that, either. Coffee snobs may sneer at me. And I haven't really done a good A/B test, but I'm skeptical this is the prime cause.

2) Various alternative brewing methods. Big category here, and I don't have a way to easily play around with many of these at the moment, absent buying some equipment that I may not like/use after a few uses.

3) Hot and/or frothed milk. We *do* have one of those mini-mixing wand things, and I have, in the past, microwaved some milk, frothed it with that, and then brewed coffee into it. Was probably better, but also kind of a pain, and I haven't been doing this for a while. During Nespresso demos, I was shown their separate milk heater/frothers, and they seemed pretty simple and probably produced a lot more froth than I used to. I suppose I could buy one of these independently of anything else, and may do so, but given that at least some brewers address the milk/frothing issue too, I'm slightly reluctant to buy a $50-100 gadget that may be bundled in if/when I buy a different brewer.

User avatar
tyrion
Posts: 1207
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2008 3:33 pm

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by tyrion » Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:58 pm

Buy an aeropress. $30. That's like 6 Starbucks Lattes.

Buy some better coffee. Experiment. Pick up a bag at Starbucks if you like their stuff. I can't believe you think fresh ground beans aren't going to be substantially better than a 3 month old can of Folgers. If you still think the Folgers is just as good, then that's awesome for you. You enjoy the inexpensive stuff.

Use your milk frother wand just like you have. Try frothing cream or half and half if you want something richer.

Or sit back and do nothing for another year or two. Your call.

DSInvestor
Posts: 11013
Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2008 11:42 am

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by DSInvestor » Wed Jun 19, 2019 3:11 pm

I love the Aeropress.
Wiki

zrail
Posts: 64
Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:18 am

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by zrail » Wed Jun 19, 2019 3:22 pm

I just got the least expensive original-line Nespresso after throwing out yet another almost full bag of stale beans that I was grinding and using in my aeropress.

I’m now a huge fan. They have a reasonable selection of coffees, including official Starbucks capsules if that’s your thing (I think they are at Target and Walmart only right now). I also have been enjoying Peet’s and the Nespresso decaf stuff.

My typical morning coffee is two espresso-sized shots (40ml each) and a lungo shot (110ml) of hot water with a bit of sugar.

Topic Author
psteinx
Posts: 3259
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2007 2:24 pm

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by psteinx » Wed Jun 19, 2019 3:24 pm

A small bag of ground, fresh Starbucks coffee is a good idea, and I could probably do some A/B with that. FWIW, the nearest Starbucks is much closer to us than the nearest fully grocery store that sells fresh coffee stuff. OTOH, a Christmas or two back, my kids gave me some fresh ground Starbucks, and I don't remember it rocking my world, versus stale Folger's.

Can also re-experiment with frothing and the wand-thingie, perhaps in conjunction with Starbucks. I think much of my older dabbling with that was after a trip to New Orleans, and really liking the cafe au latte (sp?) at Cafe Du Monde. Tried to semi-replicate it at home (canned Cafe Du Monde coffee with chickory, hot frothed milk, wanded for some froth), and the results were ok, not great, and a bit of a pain to achieve.

User avatar
Doom&Gloom
Posts: 2895
Joined: Thu May 08, 2014 3:36 pm

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by Doom&Gloom » Wed Jun 19, 2019 3:48 pm

tyrion wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:58 pm
Buy an aeropress. $30. That's like 6 Starbucks Lattes.

Buy some better coffee. Experiment. Pick up a bag at Starbucks if you like their stuff. I can't believe you think fresh ground beans aren't going to be substantially better than a 3 month old can of Folgers. If you still think the Folgers is just as good, then that's awesome for you. You enjoy the inexpensive stuff.

Use your milk frother wand just like you have. Try frothing cream or half and half if you want something richer.

Or sit back and do nothing for another year or two. Your call.
+1

Grinding your own beans is very little extra effort. The extra effort is almost entirely in cleaning the grinder periodically. We seldom clean ours unless changing to a different type of coffee bean, but we do change that fairly frequently.

Cleaning the frother is little extra effort. I use cream, but half-and-half also improves the taste (to me). Neither will froth/foam as much as whole milk, so don't let that deceive you; use your taste buds.

Until I retired I used a drip coffee maker with ground Folgers, etc and cream right out of the carton. I still kick myself for settling for that combination for so long.

OP, if you have already made two OPs about this on this forum, I honestly don't know why the inertia.

quantAndHold
Posts: 3438
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2015 10:39 pm

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by quantAndHold » Wed Jun 19, 2019 3:53 pm

Fresh, good quality beans will make a larger difference than anything else mentioned in this thread. Look for beans roasted within the last couple of weeks, and only buy what you can use in a couple of weeks. Buy whole beans and grind them as needed. Folgers is stale before you even open the can. Same with those coffee pods.

In a pinch, you can go to Walmart and get Peet’s. The bags of Peet’s have the roasting date on them. Paw around on the shelves and find a bag that was roasted within the month. Freeze whatever you can’t use within the week.

When we travel in the motorhome, we use the aforementioned Peet’s, an inexpensive burr grinder, an aeropress, and one of those milk steamer/frother pitchers from Amazon. It doesn’t come close to what we can make at home with our fancy espresso machine and beans from the local artisanal roaster, but it’s loads better than Starbucks. And easy peasy to do.

csm
Posts: 263
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2016 7:52 am

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by csm » Wed Jun 19, 2019 4:04 pm

I've used a Nespresso original line for years and actually find the coffee superior to Starbucks.

You've mentioned a couple of times that you liked the Nespresso coffee, so why not get a machine which is easily within your budget? Depending on your preference, you can either get one that includes a milk frother that is attached as part of the machine, or you can just get a machine for the brewing and a separate frother. Often, you can get a bundle for a machine plus separate frother (aeroccino) for a good combined price.

I don't understand the hesitation to get a Nespresso just because they have two lines of machines / pods now.

I think the original makes better coffee. Simple, quick, easy to clean and maintain.

UpperNwGuy
Posts: 2310
Joined: Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:16 pm

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by UpperNwGuy » Wed Jun 19, 2019 4:04 pm

Nespresso original line for espresso drinks. A Chemex or Melitta pour-over, paired with a good quality burr grinder, for regular coffee.

User avatar
jabberwockOG
Posts: 1761
Joined: Thu May 28, 2015 7:23 am

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by jabberwockOG » Wed Jun 19, 2019 4:54 pm

quantAndHold wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 3:53 pm
Fresh, good quality beans will make a larger difference than anything else mentioned in this thread. Look for beans roasted within the last couple of weeks, and only buy what you can use in a couple of weeks. Buy whole beans and grind them as needed. Folgers is stale before you even open the can. Same with those coffee pods.

In a pinch, you can go to Walmart and get Peet’s. The bags of Peet’s have the roasting date on them. Paw around on the shelves and find a bag that was roasted within the month. Freeze whatever you can’t use within the week.

When we travel in the motorhome, we use the aforementioned Peet’s, an inexpensive burr grinder, an aeropress, and one of those milk steamer/frother pitchers from Amazon. It doesn’t come close to what we can make at home with our fancy espresso machine and beans from the local artisanal roaster, but it’s loads better than Starbucks. And easy peasy to do.
Good advice. Buy fresh whole beans and grind daily with a burr grinder. Use aeropress or just a simple melita pour over filter to easily make coffee that is fit to drink.

Only folks in jail/penitentiary should have to drink bottom of the barrel, stale, canned, swill "coffee approximate substance" like Folgers.

Topic Author
psteinx
Posts: 3259
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2007 2:24 pm

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by psteinx » Wed Jun 19, 2019 5:07 pm

jabberwockOG wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 4:54 pm
Only folks in jail/penitentiary should have to drink bottom of the barrel, stale, canned, swill "coffee approximate substance" like Folgers.
FWIW, this kind of hyperbole is why those with casual interest are often disenchanted with internet advice on topics for which some have great enthusiasm. It could be beer, wine, sports cars, or ...

Irisheyes
Posts: 126
Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2018 1:36 pm

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by Irisheyes » Wed Jun 19, 2019 5:20 pm

I have the right answer to this :happy

We bought the Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino Maker 2 years ago for $159.

Makes really good cappucino/lattes and expressos and has been fool proof. We use it on a daily basis.

We considered all the fancy Italian-style/named brands that were much more expensive but ultimately went with this one because of Mr. Coffee's legendary reliability. This one has been foolproof.

We usually buy a big bag of Peets ground french roast coffee from Costco. I think the coffee is better than any you can get at Starbucks and as good as more upscale coffee places.

quantAndHold
Posts: 3438
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2015 10:39 pm

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by quantAndHold » Wed Jun 19, 2019 6:11 pm

psteinx wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 5:07 pm
jabberwockOG wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 4:54 pm
Only folks in jail/penitentiary should have to drink bottom of the barrel, stale, canned, swill "coffee approximate substance" like Folgers.
FWIW, this kind of hyperbole is why those with casual interest are often disenchanted with internet advice on topics for which some have great enthusiasm. It could be beer, wine, sports cars, or ...
You're complaining about the coffee you're drinking. Then when people tell you that the problem is that you're drinking Folgers, you don't believe them and don't seem willing to try anything different.

Folgers is made from cheap beans, underroasted (less roasted beans are heavier than the same volume of properly roasted beans, so it takes fewer beans to make 12 oz of grounds), pre-ground (which goes stale almost immediately after grinding) and several months old before it's even put into the can. It's bad coffee, and probably the biggest source of your problem.

There are a lot of ways to make good coffee, but for any of them to work, you have to start with good, fresh coffee beans.

In the big scheme of things, a bag of coffee beans is cheap. Maybe go to a good shop, buy some better beans and a pourover cone, and do a side by side test with the beans from the shop and the Folgers.

User avatar
Cycle
Posts: 1382
Joined: Sun May 28, 2017 7:57 pm
Location: Minneapolis

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by Cycle » Wed Jun 19, 2019 6:18 pm

a lb of very good fair trade organic coffee from Aldi is 4.99 last i checked, sometimes 4.49.

get an electric conical burr grinder, i got a nice one from aldi for $20. Ambiano.

boil water, and wait until it has cooled to 205F. use a digital thermometer until you get the timing right.

pour over in a cheap plastic melita cone with paper filter.
Never look back unless you are planning to go that way

Dottie57
Posts: 6703
Joined: Thu May 19, 2016 5:43 pm

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by Dottie57 » Wed Jun 19, 2019 6:44 pm

LordPerradin wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:58 pm
LordPerradin wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:57 pm
I would get:
1) electric water kettle
2) french press and/or pour over (french press comes in various sizes and 1 cup = 4 oz).

If you want coffee that's BETTER than starbucks and local chains, I would also get a grinder and buy whole beans from a local roaster (if available). Easy times. You can make coffee that way's better than the chains, save money, and laugh at your friends/colleagues who wait at the drive-thru and spend lots of money like the suckers they are.
PS: You can also use a french press to make Cold Brew very easily in the warmer months.
How do you use a french press to do so? I have one and love cold coffee.

MooseFoot
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Jul 18, 2018 5:10 am

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by MooseFoot » Wed Jun 19, 2019 6:54 pm

Dottie57 wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 6:44 pm
LordPerradin wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:58 pm
LordPerradin wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:57 pm
I would get:
1) electric water kettle
2) french press and/or pour over (french press comes in various sizes and 1 cup = 4 oz).

If you want coffee that's BETTER than starbucks and local chains, I would also get a grinder and buy whole beans from a local roaster (if available). Easy times. You can make coffee that way's better than the chains, save money, and laugh at your friends/colleagues who wait at the drive-thru and spend lots of money like the suckers they are.
PS: You can also use a french press to make Cold Brew very easily in the warmer months.
How do you use a french press to do so? I have one and love cold coffee.
Iced coffee = brewing the coffee and then adding ice

Cold brew coffee = placing your grounds in room temp water and allowing them to sit there for a pre-determined period of time. The temp of the water is lower and keeps acidity low and makes the coffee smooth. Then you press it as you would normally and you can either add ice or warm it up.

sbaywriter
Posts: 127
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2016 10:00 pm

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by sbaywriter » Wed Jun 19, 2019 6:56 pm

Another non-connoisseur here. I upgraded from years of drinking instant coffee to old drip type Cuisinart 4 cup machine.

No recommendations on the expresso options, but on the beans, I couldn't tell much difference between buying a small bag of pre-ground and buying beans and grinding my own in a cheap grinder. I think either one would be big improvement over the Folgers. I buy the preground Starbucks or Peets at the local grocery store - I assume it would be fresher if buying from Starbucks..

I also use an OXO airtight container - I jam the whole bag in there rather than emptying the coffee into it - I figure that maybe extra protection. It takes me about 3 weeks to get through the bag, and can't tell much difference between start and finish. I like these OXO containers - easy to use.

https://www.amazon.com/OXO-Grips-Airtig ... B00CZA0MAQ

User avatar
G12
Posts: 1513
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2007 2:35 pm

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by G12 » Wed Jun 19, 2019 7:07 pm

Irisheyes wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 5:20 pm
I have the right answer to this :happy

We bought the Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino Maker 2 years ago for $159.

Makes really good cappucino/lattes and expressos and has been fool proof. We use it on a daily basis.

We considered all the fancy Italian-style/named brands that were much more expensive but ultimately went with this one because of Mr. Coffee's legendary reliability. This one has been foolproof.

We usually buy a big bag of Peets ground french roast coffee from Costco. I think the coffee is better than any you can get at Starbucks and as good as more upscale coffee places.
Yes, I bought a Mr Coffee Barista Espresso and Cap Maker as well in March 2019. Can do single or double shots, I think it does a great job for $148 bucks yet as others have said, a lot of it is the coffee you use. I also bought a original line Nespresso machine in December though I found myself using 4 pods in the AM. It is still very quick and the Delicitaly Ristretto pods are 25 cents on AMZ and I use them when in a hurry. It came with an Aero(?) milk frother which works well but I went back to plain espresso, I think it was a $90 combo. Haven't used the Mr C milk frother. Haven't had any problems with either.

Winston19
Posts: 173
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2019 5:42 pm

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by Winston19 » Wed Jun 19, 2019 7:33 pm

Another vote for Aeropress. Only problem is that assuming you use decent beans it won't be 80% as good as Starbucks, it will be much better.

Topic Author
psteinx
Posts: 3259
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2007 2:24 pm

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by psteinx » Wed Jun 19, 2019 7:34 pm

quantAndHold wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 6:11 pm
psteinx wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 5:07 pm
jabberwockOG wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 4:54 pm
Only folks in jail/penitentiary should have to drink bottom of the barrel, stale, canned, swill "coffee approximate substance" like Folgers.
FWIW, this kind of hyperbole is why those with casual interest are often disenchanted with internet advice on topics for which some have great enthusiasm. It could be beer, wine, sports cars, or ...
You're complaining about the coffee you're drinking. Then when people tell you that the problem is that you're drinking Folgers, you don't believe them and don't seem willing to try anything different.
Not the message - the tone.

User avatar
Sandtrap
Posts: 8288
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:32 pm
Location: Hawaii No Ka Oi , N. Arizona

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by Sandtrap » Wed Jun 19, 2019 7:36 pm

I use a single cup, 12 oz simple high quality French Press.
Grind premium Kona Coffee beans each morning.

Terrific!
j
Wiki Bogleheads Wiki: Everything You Need to Know

NotWhoYouThink
Posts: 2625
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2014 4:19 pm

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Wed Jun 19, 2019 8:37 pm

tyrion wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 1:50 pm
I have a Nespresso original (Nespresso brand pods, but generics are available) and an Aeropress (local market bulk beans, ground at the store). Both are surprisingly good and easy to use. I put a splash of cream in both.

I prefer the Nespresso for ease of use and variety of pods.

I prefer the Aeropress for making a big cup of coffee, the ability to make iced coffee, and because it's cheap. It does require keeping fresh coffee beans.
Same

Don't waste your time or money on the generic or Costco pods. No one yet does it as well as Nespresso.

dh
Posts: 370
Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2011 8:01 pm

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by dh » Wed Jun 19, 2019 8:40 pm

rasta wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:00 pm
melitta pour over 1 cup coffee brewer.
+1

ThankYouJack
Posts: 2930
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2014 7:27 pm

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by ThankYouJack » Wed Jun 19, 2019 8:55 pm

NotWhoYouThink wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 8:37 pm
tyrion wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 1:50 pm
I have a Nespresso original (Nespresso brand pods, but generics are available) and an Aeropress (local market bulk beans, ground at the store). Both are surprisingly good and easy to use. I put a splash of cream in both.

I prefer the Nespresso for ease of use and variety of pods.

I prefer the Aeropress for making a big cup of coffee, the ability to make iced coffee, and because it's cheap. It does require keeping fresh coffee beans.
Same

Don't waste your time or money on the generic or Costco pods. No one yet does it as well as Nespresso.
It's a bigger initial investment, but a super automatic will likely come out ahead of a Nespresso in terms of cost. OP would have to be willing to pay about $600 initially, but ~20 cents a cup vs ~$1.00 cup will save him/her about $200 a year. Or even more if he drinks more coffee or doesn't mind cheap coffee.

User avatar
neurosphere
Posts: 3181
Joined: Sun Jan 17, 2010 1:55 pm

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by neurosphere » Wed Jun 19, 2019 9:00 pm

I only skimmed the question and answers, so forgive if this is 100% irrelevant.

But, I'm a coffee snob, or perhaps was. Needed freshly roasted and freshly ground beans, at times weighed water and beans, set water temp to the degree, timed the contact with water and coffee etc. I've tried all the "fancy" methods (whether expensive or simple/cheap such as pour over). I very much like coffee, drink it every day.

All of that is a prelude simply to say I LOVE the starbucks VIA instant coffee. It's not just dehydrated crystals it's also "micronized" meaning there actually ground coffee particles, the kind that are always present in french press, or the kind that can go through some paper filters.

Consider trying nothing but VIA for a week. You'll either be pleasantly surprised, or you'll come back and say I have no taste. :) But now, I finally have a "travel" coffee I can put in my bag/suitcase/etc when staying with family/friends who drink folgers. ;)

There are many days I have fresh beans handy, look at my burr grinder, but then use a pouch of Via instead. Anyway, just putting that idea out there for an "easy" coffee. Just in case you hadn't tried it. Personally, my favorite is the Italian roast. But all of them are dramatically better than the coffee at my parents house. :D
If you have to ask "Is a Target Date fund right for me?", the answer is "Yes".

AlphaLess
Posts: 1555
Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:38 pm
Location: Kentucky

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by AlphaLess » Wed Jun 19, 2019 9:03 pm

Why 80% when you can beat Starbucks by using Nespresso?
"You can get more with a kind word and a gun than with just a kind word." George Washington

Hard Lesson
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed May 29, 2019 8:46 pm

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by Hard Lesson » Wed Jun 19, 2019 10:28 pm

+1 for Nespresso

We recently got back from a trip to Europe. The coffee over there was so much better. I noticed some of the places had Nespresso machines. As soon as we got back I bought a Breville Creatista Plus and retired the ol’ Keurig. Now I’ve got a family of budding baristas who are all trying to outdo each other. Lattes, mochas, iced macchiatos... It’s a wonderful thing.

User avatar
snackdog
Posts: 714
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2014 4:57 am

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by snackdog » Thu Jun 20, 2019 4:45 am

Having tried various options over the years, I rank them thusly -

Electric percolator - worst. Haven't see one of these machines in ages. There were generally fed Folgers from a can. $10
Kuerig - watery percolator-style coffee with water sent through a Folgers style grind which was sealed for freshness in a pod. $30 plus cheap pods.
Mr. Coffee type machine - fairly bad as coffee sits on a burner and quickly turns to sludge. Can be ok if fresh beans used, hot enough water, etc. $30.
Nespresso - drinkable with lots of milk, etc. Fine grind coffee is fresh in pod. Machine at least strives toward correct temp and pressure. Easy! $50 plus spendy pods.
Starbucks - mediocre factory espresso obscured by too much sugar, milk, and god knows what else. Single shots too variable and often horrible. $5/cup
Pourover - paper filter or, preferrably, stainless steel. Can control water temp and bean quality/grind. $10
French press - excellent flavor when right combo of temp, bean, grind and steep time achieved. $25
Home Espresso - fully automated . Beans may sit in machine for days/weeks and are automatically ground, moved around, and made into espresso. $2500
Most Local Espresso - most coffee shops use a commercial grinder, ok beans, and a commercial machine on default settings to pump out coffees all day long. They don't pay a lot of attention to what they are serving and it doesn't much matter since ratios of coffee to water and milk are quite lot. $4
Home Espresso - semi-automated. You control beans and grind and machine delivers water at correct temp/pressure. $800
Good Local Espresso - maybe 15% of coffee shops can pull a decent shot consistently and use great beans. You will know when you find one as they tend to obsess about beans and deliver a great coffee. $4
Home Espresso - lever. You control everything by hand. Can be hugely variable from sludge to nirvana. Takes practice. $1500

I currently have a La Pavoni lever which I discovered open box at Bed Bath and Beyond for 75% off retail. It has made some of the best espresso I have had outside Italy and some of the worst. Takes practice and requires attention to detail on bean variety, vintage, grind, and pulling style. Once dialed in for a particular bean it is consistent. Takes about 10 minutes to prep and warm up for a shot and about five for cleanup. Requires a high end grinder which can deliver consistently fine espresso grind. Weekends only. There is a Facebook group of adoring fans who are ruined for any other coffee.

motorcyclesarecool
Posts: 711
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2014 7:39 am

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by motorcyclesarecool » Thu Jun 20, 2019 5:06 am

If you want a low maintenance espresso, Nespresso Originaline is really the only game in town. I tried for a few years to enjoy my Bialetti Moka pot, but is way more fuss and cleanup for a product that is far inferior to S’bux. Get one of the Originaline machines at Bed, Bath, & Beyond. Use one of their ubiquitous coupons. I love mine and haven’t gone back.

Pro tip: I try only to buy Nespresso pods when there is a “free sleeve” promotion.
Understand that choosing an HDHP is very much a "red pill" approach. Most would rather pay higher premiums for a $20 copay per visit. They will think you weird for choosing an HSA.

RobLyons
Posts: 426
Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:55 pm

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by RobLyons » Thu Jun 20, 2019 5:31 am

We have a Keurig K55/K-Classic. $90 on Amazon and get pods for $0.30 from same source. It cranks through cups of coffee quickly and cheaply.
"Great parenting sets the foundation for a better world"

sunshinebottom
Posts: 30
Joined: Tue May 22, 2007 6:54 am

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by sunshinebottom » Thu Jun 20, 2019 5:34 am

Bit of a coffee geek here. And always looking for the cheap way to do things.
For espresso I use a Flair espresso maker. This is a manual lever espresso maker that is a model of simplicity. Cost is around $200 and it should last a lifetime. I use it for my daily coffee and the quality is great.
I also roast my own beans. A Behmor roaster is about $400 and with a little practice you can roast beans like a professional. You can roast up to a pound at a time. I buy green beans from a variety of sources for $4-$6 a pound.
There is a huge difference in making espresso from beans that were roasted a few days previous versus beans that have sat for a few weeks. This in my opinion has the biggest impact on the quality of the espresso.

scout80
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2019 11:20 am

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by scout80 » Thu Jun 20, 2019 7:22 am

We have a French Press which we use occasionally. We keep the ground coffee or beans in the freezer or in the fridge in an airtight container. For my day to day coffee needs I almost always drink Medaglia D'Oro Instant Espresso. Here is the Amazon link but we can usually find it at Wal Mart for less than $3 a bottle and one bottle lasts me a couple of weeks drinking it every day. https://www.amazon.com/Medaglia-DOro-Es ... B002BTI9B0. Read the reviews - it is just as awesome as they say it is.

This has obviated my need for an espresso machine although I still wouldn't mind a Moka pot since it's so quick and easy - just not as easy as this instant espresso.

Edit: We tried other instant espressos when Medaglia D'Oro was not available for a few weeks earlier this year. There is no comparison - the others lacked the true Espresso flavor that this has. Also - I found some information online that says a teaspoon of this stuff has about the same caffeine as a 6-oz cup of coffee - 60-90 mg. I use two teaspoons in a 12 oz. cup.

TN_Boy
Posts: 1050
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 12:51 pm

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by TN_Boy » Thu Jun 20, 2019 8:31 am

psteinx wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:37 pm
OK, so I know my current method (single cup drip coffee) produces results substantially below that of a Starbucks latte.

There are a few ways I could, potentially, improve things. Again, assume that I'm looking for a minimum of fuss and prep and cleanup time:

1) I could use fresher coffee. Currently, I open a smallish plastic bin of Folger's (I think - red container). A fresh small one lasts me maybe 3 months. So obviously, the seal is broken on first use, and then, even with a lid, I assume the grounds get stale. Currently keep it on countertop - could keep it in freezer. Could use various fresher methods, including smaller quantities, purchased ~weekly, of beans or grounds. That said, the nearest grocery store with this kind of stuff is not that convenient. And furthermore, I'm not sure there's a big difference, to my taste buds, from when I'm using the last of the old (stale) can, or the first bin with the freshly opened bin. Also, I used to use single serve pods (Tassimo), and I don't think there was a big difference with that, either. Coffee snobs may sneer at me. And I haven't really done a good A/B test, but I'm skeptical this is the prime cause.

2) Various alternative brewing methods. Big category here, and I don't have a way to easily play around with many of these at the moment, absent buying some equipment that I may not like/use after a few uses.

3) Hot and/or frothed milk. We *do* have one of those mini-mixing wand things, and I have, in the past, microwaved some milk, frothed it with that, and then brewed coffee into it. Was probably better, but also kind of a pain, and I haven't been doing this for a while. During Nespresso demos, I was shown their separate milk heater/frothers, and they seemed pretty simple and probably produced a lot more froth than I used to. I suppose I could buy one of these independently of anything else, and may do so, but given that at least some brewers address the milk/frothing issue too, I'm slightly reluctant to buy a $50-100 gadget that may be bundled in if/when I buy a different brewer.
People are passionate about their coffee ....

Personally, I think a nespresso makes a decent shot of pretty much espresso and I'd go with that .... except I don't know how well the frothing is going to go - zero experience with hand held frothers.

I have a gaggia semi-automatic and it does a fine job frothing, but I think your cost and countertop space requirements rule out that sort of solution (I also have a 20lb burr grinder sitting on the countertop .... and the combination was a lot more than $200, though less than $1,000). The frothing is for the spouse and guests, I usually drink espresso shots.

I don't have any opinion on Folgers beans, never having tried them (I should note that I believe Starbucks coffee shops make good espressos and such, but just as you get people who diss Folgers, a lot of people don't like Starbucks while I do .... and my friends and family definitely consider me a coffee snob). That said, opening a bag and using for 3 months is .... suboptimal and I would VERY much notice the difference between those month old grounds sitting out and fresh ones. That's likely one reason you find Starbucks much better -- they will be using reasonably fresh beans, ground when the shot is run.

You can order beans (or grounds) online from many places, with reasonable shipping costs. I like Peets, but there are many choices. One basic decision is whether you like dark roasts or lighter roasts. I'm a dark roast kinda of guy, but many a coffee shop employee has tried to convince me that their light to medium roast beans with 'floral tones" and such are better. And maybe they are, if you like them. Which I don't .... You could try the Starbucks regular roasts versus their blond roasts. I go on about the beans, not because of your Folgers ..... misadventure :-) but because if you like, for example, a dark roast, and then tried the BEST LIGHT ROAST COFFEE BEANS EVER ... you might not like a cup from those beans.

Irisheyes
Posts: 126
Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2018 1:36 pm

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by Irisheyes » Thu Jun 20, 2019 11:44 am

snackdog wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2019 4:45 am
Having tried various options over the years, I rank them thusly -


[b]Mr. Coffee type machine - fairly bad as coffee sits on a burner and quickly turns to sludge. Can be ok if fresh beans used, hot enough water, etc. $30.[/b]
Just to clarify, I think you are referring to Mr. Coffee's regular coffee maker here. The description is not accurate for the Mr. Coffee expresso/cappucino maker that was referenced further up the thread. IThe latter makes one cup at a time -- right into your coffee cup, which you can then add frothed or steamed milk to if you wish to make a latte or a cappucino.

teamDE
Posts: 243
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2016 9:16 pm

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by teamDE » Thu Jun 20, 2019 3:17 pm

MooseFoot wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 6:54 pm
Dottie57 wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 6:44 pm
LordPerradin wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:58 pm
LordPerradin wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:57 pm
I would get:
1) electric water kettle
2) french press and/or pour over (french press comes in various sizes and 1 cup = 4 oz).

If you want coffee that's BETTER than starbucks and local chains, I would also get a grinder and buy whole beans from a local roaster (if available). Easy times. You can make coffee that way's better than the chains, save money, and laugh at your friends/colleagues who wait at the drive-thru and spend lots of money like the suckers they are.
PS: You can also use a french press to make Cold Brew very easily in the warmer months.
How do you use a french press to do so? I have one and love cold coffee.
Iced coffee = brewing the coffee and then adding ice

Cold brew coffee = placing your grounds in room temp water and allowing them to sit there for a pre-determined period of time. The temp of the water is lower and keeps acidity low and makes the coffee smooth. Then you press it as you would normally and you can either add ice or warm it up.
I make cold brew by just putting coarse grind into a big pitcher of water and let it sit in the fridge for 12-18hrs. Then i filter it with a fine mesh basket and then through a coffee filter.

teamDE
Posts: 243
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2016 9:16 pm

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by teamDE » Thu Jun 20, 2019 3:18 pm

There are good drip machines. Bonavita makes a good one that's not too pricey.

I currently use a french press at the office, but i think i'm going to switch to Nespresso soon since its faster/easier.

david_that_guy
Posts: 51
Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2016 9:15 am
Location: Massachusetts

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by david_that_guy » Thu Jun 20, 2019 6:05 pm

I started grinding my own coffee beans about 8 years ago and found that the coffee tasted better than any coffee I ever had made from pre-ground beans. I think all pre-ground coffee is stale. I've used all kinds of different beans and liked everything that was roasted within a month. I now wonder why I put up with lousy to mediocre coffee for decades. I alternate between a French press and a Bialetti moka pot and find that both make better coffee than Starbucks if you use reasonably fresh beans. Neither takes much time. You do have to experiment a bit to get the right grind for each device or the coffee will be too bitter or too weak. A couple years ago I upgraded to a Baratza Encore Coffee grinder ($140) and find that I get more consistently good coffee than with a cheap grinder.

I've never owned a Nespresso original, but I think every AirBnb that I've stayed at in Europe had one, and I found the coffee reasonably good. If a French press or a moka pot is too much trouble, I would vote for the Nespresso.

quantAndHold
Posts: 3438
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2015 10:39 pm

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by quantAndHold » Thu Jun 20, 2019 6:09 pm

snackdog wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2019 4:45 am
Having tried various options over the years, I rank them thusly -

Electric percolator - worst. Haven't see one of these machines in ages. There were generally fed Folgers from a can. $10
Kuerig - watery percolator-style coffee with water sent through a Folgers style grind which was sealed for freshness in a pod. $30 plus cheap pods.
Mr. Coffee type machine - fairly bad as coffee sits on a burner and quickly turns to sludge. Can be ok if fresh beans used, hot enough water, etc. $30.
Nespresso - drinkable with lots of milk, etc. Fine grind coffee is fresh in pod. Machine at least strives toward correct temp and pressure. Easy! $50 plus spendy pods.
Starbucks - mediocre factory espresso obscured by too much sugar, milk, and god knows what else. Single shots too variable and often horrible. $5/cup
Pourover - paper filter or, preferrably, stainless steel. Can control water temp and bean quality/grind. $10
French press - excellent flavor when right combo of temp, bean, grind and steep time achieved. $25
Home Espresso - fully automated . Beans may sit in machine for days/weeks and are automatically ground, moved around, and made into espresso. $2500
Most Local Espresso - most coffee shops use a commercial grinder, ok beans, and a commercial machine on default settings to pump out coffees all day long. They don't pay a lot of attention to what they are serving and it doesn't much matter since ratios of coffee to water and milk are quite lot. $4
Home Espresso - semi-automated. You control beans and grind and machine delivers water at correct temp/pressure. $800
Good Local Espresso - maybe 15% of coffee shops can pull a decent shot consistently and use great beans. You will know when you find one as they tend to obsess about beans and deliver a great coffee. $4
Home Espresso - lever. You control everything by hand. Can be hugely variable from sludge to nirvana. Takes practice. $1500

I currently have a La Pavoni lever which I discovered open box at Bed Bath and Beyond for 75% off retail. It has made some of the best espresso I have had outside Italy and some of the worst. Takes practice and requires attention to detail on bean variety, vintage, grind, and pulling style. Once dialed in for a particular bean it is consistent. Takes about 10 minutes to prep and warm up for a shot and about five for cleanup. Requires a high end grinder which can deliver consistently fine espresso grind. Weekends only. There is a Facebook group of adoring fans who are ruined for any other coffee.
Yep. Good summary. I would add the Aeropress, which is $30, and somewhere in the Pourover/French Press neighborhood. Some are cheaper and some are simpler, but anything starting at the Pourover can make excellent coffee, when properly used with good beans.

mindgap
Posts: 128
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2018 1:24 pm

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by mindgap » Thu Jun 20, 2019 6:47 pm

All wrong. :oops:

Do it like the Italian people do it since many decades.

Bialetti Express. Get some good beans. A grinder (automatic ones from Braun) and you are set. Will cost you around $50 all together and you are set for a awesome espresso.

https://www.amazon.com/Bialetti-Express ... den&sr=1-4


Forget about Nespresso. Marketing hype to sell you coffee for more than gold and it creates lots of trash.

My 2 cents :)

SaveStrong
Posts: 30
Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2012 5:11 pm

Re: Single cup coffee/espresso options, 2019

Post by SaveStrong » Thu Jun 20, 2019 6:58 pm

2nd the Bialetti recommendations for quick espresso!

Post Reply