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A Guide to Small Coffee Makers

Updated on February 19, 2009

When Space is Limited Look to a Small Coffee Maker

For those of us with limited counter space, a small coffee maker can make all the difference between  being able to see your counter, or stacking appliances ceiling high. And let's face it, some mornings the only reason to get up is a good cup of coffee. Fortunately the coffee market has exploded by leaps and bounds, especially after the arrival of espresso houses like Starbucks, and many kitchen appliance manufacturers make small coffee makers in all shapes and forms. Or, if you like less traditional methods of brewing coffee, you could always try a French press or the exotic Vietnamese coffee. Thirsty? Well read on.

Small Automatic Drip Machines

For most Americans the coffee brewing method of choice is the authomatic drip machine. For a while the only machines out there brewed up to twelve cups at a time, which is hardly convenient for a single person. Now there are all sorts of automatic drip machines that brew a single cup at a time. Some of these use regular, ground coffee (like Folgers), and others use self-contained pods with coffee grounds inside. I personally enjoy the pod machine because they are so nice and neat and come in an infinite variety of flavors, including teas.

Vietnamese Coffee

Talk about a small coffee maker, this guy could fit in a drawer! To make a cup of traditional Vietnamese coffee you need coffee blended with chicory, but you can use the phin (see the little hat shaped device on the cup to the right) with regular coffee as well. Simply dump a couple of tablespoons of ground coffee into the phin, tighten the filter, pour in hot water, and let the brewing begin! This is a simple and low-tech way to make small amounts of coffee with ease.

How to Make Vietnamese Coffee

French Press

Like the Vietnamese phin, a French press is great because it can be kept under the counter and out of the way. A French press can make anywhere from 8 to 32 oz of coffee, and only requires ground coffee and hot water to brew. Simply put the correct amount of coffee into the press, add hot water, let steep for several minutes, and then use the plunger to push the grounds to the bottom. Viola, coffee!

How to Make Coffee With a French Press


 There are many ways to enjoy a nice cup of coffee without wasting half of the pot. For the folks who like it easy- go with an automatic drip machine, and for those of us who like old-fashioned methods, both Vietnamese coffee and the French press provide low-tech options with great taste. Chances are, once you start brewing a cup at a time, you won't go back to the oceans of coffee produced by conventional machines.


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    • M. T. Dremer profile image

      M. T. Dremer 7 years ago from United States

      Me and my wife like to have coffee, but I won't deny that the thing I hate most about the larger coffee pots is cleaning it. There's like four different parts that need to be washed before we can have a cup of coffee, and we usually end up wasting some because we couldn't force ourselves to have another cup. That's why those single cup machines appeal to me. There isn't a pot to worry about and the grounds come in individual packages that I can just throw away after. Sure the machine would still need to be washed every now and then, but I feel like it would be much less maintenance. Great hub, very well written!