Coffee is a big part of college life. Finding the best coffee maker for college can be a difficult task, but luckily I’m here to help!
Whether you’re grabbing a cup right before class or having one while staying up all night to cram for a big test. Investing in a coffee maker earlier on in your college career will help you save a lot of money over the years. Today, I’m going to help you try to find a coffee maker that’ll suit all your needs at an affordable price.
Coffee Makers Being Reviewed
- Mr. Coffee Programmable Coffee Maker
- Hamilton Beach FlexBrew Trio Coffee Maker – My Favorite Pick
- Hamilton Beach Single Serve Coffee Maker
- Keurig K-Kafe Coffee Maker
- Bonsenkitchen Performance Espresso Machine
Things To Consider Before Buying A Coffee Maker For College
What Kind Of Coffee Are You Going To Make?
The biggest question to answer before you choose a coffee maker, is what type of coffee drinks are you going to be making. This’ll help narrow down your options and find the perfect coffee maker for your needs.
On this list the coffee makers either brew: regular coffee, specialty drinks, or espresso.
Regular drip coffee makers are going to be your cheapest option and can still make you great tasting coffee. Specialty drink and espresso makers are going to be more expensive, but are well worth it in the long run.
Key Features To Look For, That’ll Make Your Life Easier
If you like to have coffee before class or in early mornings, I would recommend getting one with a timer function. It’ll let you set a time for the coffee maker to brew, so you’ll always wake up to freshly made coffee.
This feature is to save you time, during your busy college schedule. Having your coffee maker run cleaning cycles by itself, so that you can still get the best tasting coffee out of your machine, with little effort from you.
This the feature that’ll save you from having anxiety when you’re rushing out the door to your 8am class. Getting a coffee maker that’ll turn itself off after a certain amount of time, so you don’t have to worry if your house is going to burn down during the middle of class. Trust me, I’ve ran home a few times just to find that it was off all along.
To start off we have a programmable drip coffee maker. It’ll let you set a time for it to start brewing you coffee up to 24-hours in advance. A key feature that it has is that it’ll automatically shut off for you after 2-hours, just in case you forget to.
If you’re in a rush to get out the door, you can interrupt it mid brew cycle and grab yourself a cup without it spilling any. This coffee maker only has a few buttons, making it super easy to operate.
This is a great pickup if you like to just drink regular coffee. For being at a considerably cheap price, it’ll give you very good and consistent tasting coffee.
- You can program it to brew coffee for you 24-hours in advance
- It’ll automatically shut off 2-hours after brewing
- You’re going to get good and consistent coffee every time you use it
This coffee maker offers you pretty much everything I mentioned in the key features part of this article. The only thing it doesn’t do is make specialty drinks.
It has two sides that brew coffee. If you’re going to have a long night, you can use the carafe side to brew up to 12-cups of coffee. If you just need a quick cup it has a single serve side to fit that need. It’s compatible with ground coffee or k-cups on the single serve side also.
You’ll have the option to brew your coffee as either regular or bold. Bold will take a little bit longer as it slows down the extraction process to give your coffee more flavor. You can set a timer for it to brew you coffee as well. And it does come with the auto shutoff feature.
- Lets you brew coffee in a carafe or a single cup of coffee
- You can use either coffee grounds or k-cup/pods
- It gives you the option to choose your brew strength: regular or bold
- Has the timer function, so you can set a time in advance for it to start brewing coffee
- Automatically shuts off after 2-hours
The next coffee maker on this list is an Aeropress. If you don’t know what an Aeropress is, an Aeropress is a plunger like device.
You begin by placing it on top of your cup or mug. Then you add coffee grounds and hot water into it. Pressing down on the plunger forces the liquid from the coffee grounds. Like magic, you have either coffee or something kind of similar to espresso in 1-2 minutes.
This is a little bit more involved than the other coffee makers. If you want something that makes you a single serving of coffee quickly, this is a great option.
- Makes coffee very quickly, in 1-2 minutes
- Cleaning is hassle free and super easy
- Makes a single cup of coffee
- You can get espresso-ish coffee out of this thing
The Hamilton Beach is a single serve coffee maker that will take either ground coffee or k-cups/pods. It can brew up to 14 ounces of coffee at once, just enough to fill up a travel mug and leave you some room for creamer.
This coffee maker will power down after it finishes brewing coffee. It’s super easy to clean, by disposing of the k-cups or rinsing out the little pod if you choose to use coffee grounds. While it does not have a timer for you to use, with a single press of a button it’ll have coffee ready for you in about 3 minutes.
An awesome coffee maker to have if you’re only making a cup of coffee for yourself. Buying k-cups can get really expensive, but having the option to use ground coffee can help save you money if you were planning to get this coffee maker.
- Brews 14 ounces of coffee, enough to fill a travel mug
- It takes ground coffee and k-cups/pods
- Very easy to operate, with a push of a button
- Only brews coffee for a single serving
The Keurig K-Kafe is a specialty drink coffee maker. It can brew you a single serving of coffee and something espresso-ish. This machine is the most involved coffee maker on this list.
It can make you lattes, cappuccinos, or most espresso based drinks that you would find at a cafe. You will need to steam milk with this machine, but it’s super simple. All you have to do is pour milk into the steaming pitcher and place it on the steamer with the lid on. You’ll have froth and steamed milk to pour into your coffee/espresso.
To name some of the features this coffee maker has: auto shut off 2-hours after it brews, it holds 60 ounces of water in a removable reservoir, and uses k-cups.
It is pricier than most of the other coffee makers on this list, but is well worth it if you order espresso drinks pretty often.
- It can brew you either coffee or espresso-ish coffee
- On the side is a frothing/steaming pitcher for milk, so that you can make lattes, cappuccinos, etc.
- It’ll automatically shut off after 2-hours
- Pretty easy to use to get espresso based drinks
For my last machine on this list is an Espresso machine. Espresso machines do take a lot of work. I almost considered not adding one to the list, but I did for those of you who are considering getting one instead of a coffee maker. There are a lot of factors that go into making good tasting espresso: water temperature, grind size, tamping, time, pressure, and few other things.
With this machine you won’t have to worry about too many of the factors I just listed. You will have to get ground coffee that’s pretty fine in consistency. You’ll also have to tamp your coffee, but that can be learned with a couple videos.
Now to get into the espresso machine, it’s pretty easy to use. After inserting coffee grounds, all you have to do is turn a knob to get your espresso. This machine also comes with a steaming wand, so you can make specialty drinks as well.
If you don’t mind being a lot more invested in making your coffee drink, this is a very reasonably priced espresso machine. It’ll give you pretty decent shots considering it to be on the lower end for espresso machines.
- Very affordable price as far as espresso machines go
- You can get pretty decent espresso shots without having to do too much
- Comes with a steaming wand so you can make your favorite specialty drinks
Save Yourself Some Money
If I would have just invested in a coffee maker my freshman year of college I probably would have saved thousands. $3-6 for a cup of coffee may not seem like a lot at first, but if you’re getting it 2-3 times a week or more it starts to add up.
What I think is a great option for most college students is Hamilton Beach FlexBrew Trio Coffee Maker. You’ll have the option to choose between brewing a full carafe or using k-cups/pods for a single cup of coffee.
There are a few programmable options that allow you to set a time for it to start brewing coffee for you and how strong you’d like it. It can even fit travel mugs if you want to take your coffee mugs with you.
The flexibility that this coffee maker provides, makes it the best fit for busy college lifestyle. I hope you found a coffee maker that’ll work for you!