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K-cups are the ultimate in convenience coffee. Everyone claims to hate them, but when you’ve only got three minutes to grab a cup before you head out the door, are you really going to bust out your conical burr grinder, assemble your 52-part European espresso machine and carefully tamp the dose to render the perfect cup?
Nope. You’re going to pour a cup’s worth of water into the reservoir, pop in a K-cup, and press the button. Minutes later, you’re walking out the door, caffeine support system in hand.
The trick is getting a sub-$100 K-Cup machine that’s going to last. And if you’re not careful, there’s a legion of knockoff Keurig machines just waiting to disappoint you. Here are the best K-cup machines—including some not made by Keurig—for less than $100:
Keurig made the K-cup world we’re living in, so it’s only fitting that they’re first on the list. The K-Mini improves on the Classic design by fitting into a space on your countertop that’s no wider than your coffee mug. It has a one-cup reservoir and can make 6-, 8-, or 10-oz. beverages. You want cheap, easy and surprisingly attractive? Grab the K-Mini and don’t look back.
The Keurig Classic is the brewer you may be the most familiar with if you’ve stayed at a midrange hotel any time in the past five years or so. It’s essentially the same machine as the K-Mini, but with a 48-oz. water reservoir. Convenient for when you have a lot of coffees to make (or if you only want to refill once in a while). It’s the largest reservoir you can get for under $100.
At first glance, the Mixpresso doesn’t look much different than your standard K-cup brewer. However, while it does share the basic mechanics of the Keurig machines, the Mixpresso can brew your coffee in under a minute. It also has a removable water filter so that you can get the most out of your coffee. Cleaner taste, faster? That’s a win in my book. This is also the least expensive unit on the list. So if price is your main driving point, this is the maker to get.
With a voluminous 64-oz. reservoir, you’ll be able to brew a single pot of coffee or multiple K-cups. The drip tray is adjustable to accommodate the carafe, single coffee mugs or a tall thermos. There are also convenient 6-, 8-, and 10-oz. buttons on the top of the unit for when you’re brewing K-cups. It’s a great machine to have on hand for when you normally only need coffee for one, but also like the option of brewing more when you have guests over.
But what if you want a K-cup coffee maker that can do everything? The FlexBrew Coffee Maker from Hamilton Beach is a programmable drip-coffee maker that can brew an entire pot into a convenient thermal carafe (my favorite way to keep coffee warm—burners are for chemistry class, not coffee). You can even set the depth of flavor that you want for your brewed coffee. On the right side of the unit is a single-cup coffee maker that works with grounds or K-Cups and can brew directly into your favorite mug or thermos. It’s the most flexibility you’ll be able to find in a coffee maker at this price range.