My New Favorite Single-Serve Coffee Maker Costs $60 and Doesn’t Use Pods

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Woman sitting in her comfortable home, drinking tea
Credit: Getty Images | Westend61

It might be from the caffeine, but I’ve been chatting about my coffee routine a lot lately. I’ve been raving about my favorite new coffee brand and my trusty grinder, yet I somehow managed to skip over the machine that creates all that magic. And that’s my bad because it deserves a major shout out for being my best friend in the morning. I found the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew Plus about a year ago, and it’s made such a difference in my brew routine. I struggled for years to brew the type of coffee I wanted without relying on pods but still simple enough to use to make a single cup. The FlexBrew is as easy to operate as any of the pod-reliant machines but saves way more space. And best of all, it offers complete freedom to control the type of coffee I want to brew. Are you perked up yet? Read on!

I did a ton of research before I purchased the FlexBrew to see if I could find a single-serve machine that required very little thought to operate even without pods, and it definitely fits the bill. Just place grinds in the basket following the fill line, pour water into the reservoir, put a mug on the drip tray, and press a button. In about a minute, the coffee is ready, and it powers off automatically when it’s done. Bonus: It can handle up to a 14-ounce cup in one cycle! Most other single-serve makers would require two or more pods to fulfill my morning caffeine requirement, but this machine? One and done.

I also knew I wanted to go pod free to save space and prevent wastage. FlexBrew immediately jumped to the top of the list because it has a reusable brew basket, no pods, and no need to purchase separate paper filters. I don’t have to worry about where to store those bulky boxes of pods, plus the machine itself is only about 13 inches wide. That saves a ton of my highly coveted counter and cabinet space. I know I’m throwing shade on pods, but if you love them, the FlexBrew does come with a K-cup compatible basket, too. I usually forget I have that option, since it stores neatly under the removable drip tray, only to see the light of day when I clean the machine. (A little dish soap and a quick rinse does the trick, by the way.)

Without pods, I’m not locked into certain brands, flavors, or container sizes. I choose the type of beans, quantity, and grind of coffee, which leads me to my absolute favorite feature: the bold brew button. In my opinion, Keurig machines and pods never gave me a strong enough cup of coffee, and the opposite is true of Nespresso. The FlexBrew has both regular and bold brew options, something I could not find on other machines during my research. The bold button gives me the exact flavor I want, but having the option means that no matter which brew you prefer, it’s one final level of control over your coffee’s flavor with a simple press of a button.

Since I work from home, I always use regular mugs, but this machine can accommodate travel mugs up to eight inches high if I need to head out somewhere. If you prefer taller travel mugs, I suggest the Scoop model, which is adjustable to different height containers and has the same great flexibility of the brew basket and strength buttons. Either way, can you smell it yet? That’s the freedom from pods, and it smells (and tastes!) exactly like the perfect cup of coffee … and it’s just one button push away.

This post originally appeared on Kitchn. See it here: My New Favorite Single-Serve Coffee Maker Costs $60 and Doesn’t Use Any Pods