Dual coffee makers bring together two different varieties of coffee makers. Generally, these machines put together carafe-brewing drip coffee makers and single-serve machines. That way, users get the convenience and benefits of single-serve machines, while keeping the ability to brew a full carafe.
There can be other combinations too, for example, drip coffee and espresso makers. However, single-serve and carafe brewers are the most popular combination. These combination machines have an appeal to a large demographic and are increasingly popular.
Here are some factors to consider when buying a dual coffee maker.
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The Single-Serve Side – Pods, K Cups, And Ground Coffee
How would you prefer to brew coffee on the single-serve side? A single-serve side that works with K cups is the most popular option. Machines that work with other options, like soft pods are available too. Hamilton Beach 49980A is a very popular machine where the single-serve side works with soft pods as well as ground coffee.
Some machines have a single-serve side working exclusively with ground coffee. I don’t see the benefit of getting a dual coffee maker where the single-serve side is exclusive to ground coffee. That part can easily be achieved by using a regular single-serve coffee maker. Alternatively, you could use a conventional drip coffee maker with brew-size selection.
To get the most out of a two-way coffee machine, the carafe-side should work with ground coffee and the single-serve should go for pods or K cups. As it stands, the sheer popularity of K cups and the available coffee flavors and options gives these machines an edge. It helps that Keurig too has remarkable dual coffee makers in the market. Keurig K-Duo Plus is a great pick for a 2-way brewer.
Environmental concerns are real and important when using a coffee maker with K-cup option. If you want the magic of the single-serve side, but would rather not contribute to plastic waste, consider investing in reusable K cups.
Do You Need A Two-Way Coffee Machine?
Often, we buy things simply because they sound cool. And a two-way machine certainly does sound cool. But do you really need to buy a coffee machine like this? These machines often have different mechanisms for both serving sides. Plus, there’s added complexity of hosting two coffee makers.
Would a single, regular machine fit your requirements? Many drip coffee makers offer brew-size selection. That means you can brew a single cup of coffee, a travel mug, or a full carafe. So if a regular machine can meet your needs, there’s no need to add complexity.
Similarly, single-serve machines can use the coffee of your choice, especially with reusable K cups. Of course, there’s also the convenience factor of plopping in a K cup and getting your choice of brew in seconds.
Both these options seem rather enticing and have their fair share of customers. However, some people find themselves in a legitimate need of both options. In this case, two-way brewers are your best choice.
Of course, rather than buying something on impulse, take your time to decide on the type of machine you need.
Size And Counter Space
Dual coffee makers are often larger than regular coffee makers. So make it a point to check the dimensions and see that they fit your counter space and other requirements. It seems simple enough, but people often misjudge the dimensions and get stuck with an inconvenient setting.
While we’re at it, consider not just the dimensions of the machine, but also the space it will require for different functions. This includes adding/refilling water, placing the coffee, and easy access to machine controls. You’ll need enough vertical space to handle these functions, or plenty of open space to move the machine when you brew.
Generally speaking, since there are two dispensing sides on a dual coffee maker, it needs more width. This is not an exact rule and there are plenty of compact dual coffee makers available as well. So be more circumspect and careful with your choice and mark the dimensions and available space carefully.
Placing The Water Reservoir
Usually, it is a good idea to have a water reservoir large enough that you don’t have to refill it several times a day. Similarly, it’s best to avoid going overboard with water capacity. You don’t want to brew coffee from a reservoir that was filled three days ago.
So give time to your requirements and water expectations. Some dual coffee makers have separate reservoirs for carafe and single-serve sides. In such cases, it is best to pay attention to the side you use most often. The other side should be refilled (and emptied) as necessary.
Choosing Between A Thermal And Glass Carafe, And Other Features
Most carafe-style coffee makers offer a choice between thermal carafes and glass carafes. Thermal carafes are usually expensive and made from metal, like steel. These carafes are insulated and can keep coffee hot for a couple of hours.
Glass carafes are cheaper and are often accompanied by a hot plate on the coffee maker. The plate keeps the coffee hot and can maintain the temperature for several hours.
Programming options including auto-on and auto-off are other factors to consider. You could use auto-brew options to have the coffee maker brew a fresh pot of coffee at a predetermined time of your choosing. It is worth noting that auto-brew options are available only for carafe brewing and don’t work for single-serve brewing.