The Evolution of the Single Serve Coffee Maker

The Evolution of the Single-Serve Coffee Maker

Is coffee your favorite time of day?

For most of us, we can't wait for it to be coffee time. Whether it is that first cup of coffee in the morning or that afternoon coffee break - we are pretty much just coffee junkies. But we are not alone with our addiction, most of the world's population is addicted as well (but all is good, it's the good addiction).

I know for myself I can not wait for that first brew in the morning when I crawl out of bed and drag myself to my single-serve coffee maker. But the other day when I woke up I was sadly disappointed to find the power was out and I was left without my morning coffee.

Besides being very cranky, it got me thinking about the history of coffee makers, to be more precise, I was wondering when single server coffee makers came about. So of course, (because I am the curious type) I decided to do a little research on the evolution of the single-serve coffee maker.

I think I went a little too far back in my research and came across the legend of how coffee was discovered.

The Legend of Coffee

According to, the tale goes like this, Kaldi an Ethiopian goat herder saw his goats dancing and eating cherry-red berries containing beans. So he decided to try the beans and was soon dancing merrily with his goats. One of the monks nearby saw this and decided to take some of the beans back to his fellow monks. Well, that night all the monks were "uncannily alert to divine inspiration." And coffee continued to spread across the world.

Do you believe the legend of Kaldi?

Back to the history of the coffee maker, which started a long time ago.

The First Coffee Maker

Around about 575 A.D. the Turks were known to have cooked the cherry-red berries in a pot over an open fire. Thus they are credited with creating the very first coffee pot (coffee maker of sorts).

It doesn't look like much else happened with the coffee maker until about the 1700s when the coffee maker really took off with many different brewing methods and inventions.

Do you know any of the coffee maker histories between 575 A.D. and the 1700s?

Infusion Brewing

In France in 1710 infusion brewing was discovered. Which is were you place coffee beans inside a cloth bag (preferably linen-but sometimes a sock was used), you would then submerge the bag or sock into boiling hot water. When the strength of the coffee is to your liking, you would take the bag out. And voila, you have coffee.

French Drip Roast

Another one for France. In 1790 Jean Baptiste discovered the french drip roast method of coffee making (we are getting closer to single-serve coffee making). French drip roast is when you take a filter filled with roasted coffee beans and place it in a container. You then pour hot water over the filter and it drips into the container below.

Espresso Brewing

In 1822 Angela Moriodo invented and patented the first espresso machine. Which is when you force hot pressurized water through the ground coffee and a filter. The result is thick concentrated coffee.

The Vacuum Coffee Maker

Invented by Loef of Berlin in 1835. The vacuum coffee maker, water is heated up, creating steam which rises into the higher chamber where the coffee beans are sitting. The heat is then removed and the steam condenses to form a vacuum, which pulls coffee through the filter into the lower chamber.

The vacuum machine (which is still popular in today's world)  was known to brew a very clear pot of coffee but very complex to use back in the day. It was considered the Cadillac for coffee connoisseurs.

The Coffee Percolator

The electric coffee percolator was invented back in 1865 and was and still is a big hit with consumers. The coffee percolator is a type of pot used to brew coffee by continuously cycling the boiling water through the coffee grounds until it is the strength you desire. (I remember my parents having a green one when I was younger).

Do you have any memories of classic coffee makers?

Melitta Coffee Filter Paper

In 1908 Melitta Bentz invented the first coffee maker with a filter constructed out of blotting paper, rather than expensive linen and cloth filters that were used before. Good job Melitta Bentz!

French Press Brewer

In 1958 Faliero Bondanini patented his version of the french press brewer. Which is when you place coffee grounds into a cylinder type container and then boiling water into the container. After letting it brew, you push a plunger into the container, which is attached to a mesh screen that pushes the grounds to the bottom and holds it down. This way, when you pour the coffee you don't get the grounds too. The French press is still popular to this day.

Automatic Drip Coffee Maker

1970 - Invented by Mr. Coffee. This coffee maker automatically heats the water and gets poured in with the coffee beans and brews. It also keeps the coffee heated. These started out in restaurants but ended up in many homes across the world.

Do you still have and use a Mr. Coffee machine?

The K-cup System

In 2012 the single-serve coffee maker was born. The k-cup was invented by Keurig and was a groundbreaking invention. The k-cups are small cups filled with the grounds of various beverages like coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. The k-cup machine has a spot where you place these cups, and when you close the lid, it pierces a hole all the way through the cup and hot water (which you pour into the reservoir before brewing) goes through these cups filled with your grounds and into your cup below.

Single Serve Coffee Maker

2015 -  Keurig revolutionized the way we brew our favorite hot beverages. Today single-serve coffee makers are wildly popular and there are literally hundreds of single-serve coffee makers available on the market to choose from.  They all have different selling features from price, performance to even the color of the machine.

Final Thoughts on Single-Serve Coffee Maker Evolution

The coffee maker has evolved from boiling beans in a pot over an open fire to brewing a single cup of coffee. It will be interesting to see where the single-serve will go next...what the next big invention will be.

Do you think the single-serve coffee maker will evolve even more? Let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear your thoughts.

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