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If you’re from a mid-size family of coffee drinkers, you would’ve come across scenarios where different people want different amounts of coffee, at different times. With a traditional drip brewer, it’s difficult or even impossible to choose to brew a cup’s worth of coffee, or a full carafe.
Some family members could also have different preferences of coffee type, or specific cravings at different times. It’s often impossible to satisfy everyone so someone has to give in. Unless…
You have a dual coffee maker at home.
In this article, we discuss what a dual coffee maker is, how to shop for one, and our top picks of the best dual coffee makers.
If you’re looking for the overall best coffee maker, the Ninja CP307 Auto-iQ Tea & Coffee Maker is our top pick. Note that it is not compatible with K-Cup pods though.
The best dual coffee maker for pots and K-Cups is the Keurig K-Duo. It’s a great alternative if you need K-Cup compatibility.
If you’re looking for something affordable, the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew Trio is worth looking into, although it has its own set of quality issues.
Table of Contents
What Is A Dual Coffee Maker?
If you’re familiar with drip brewers and single-serve coffee makers, a dual coffee maker essentially combines the both of best worlds.
The typical dual coffee maker is divided into two sides – one for brewing coffee into carafes, and the other for single-serve cups, or travel mugs. The full-carafe side takes in ground coffee, and in some models, tea leaves. The single-serve side on the other hand might take in ground coffee, K-Cup pods, or both, depending on the model.
By having different setups fit into one single machine, it’s able to solve an important problem – different people wanting coffee at different times. The appliance is especially helpful if you have a family of late risers, with maybe one or two early risers. This way, the early risers can opt to use the single-serve side of the machine, and maybe set an auto-brew timer that makes coffee just before the late risers wake up.
This way, there is no need to find ways to keep coffee warm when you’ve made a full carafe early in the morning. This allows you to have fresh, hot coffee whenever you want it, however much you want it.
Buyer’s Guide: What to Look For in Dual Coffee Makers
When you’re shopping for a new dual coffee maker, be sure to take note of these few points.
If you love iced coffee (I do!), make sure the machine you’re buying is capable of doing cold brews. This is done over ice, and is different from simply adding ice to your brewed coffee.
By adding ice after the brewing process is done, you’re watering down the coffee and diluting it. Cold brewing on the other hand allows iced coffee to stay rich and flavorful, which is the way it’s meant to be!
If you often drink more than just regular drip coffee, choosing a machine that does a few brew styles is a good investment. Specifically, if you make specialty coffeehouse drinks e.g. cappuccino or latte etc., look for a coffee maker capable of making specialty coffee.
Variable brew strength is also something you might want to look for in a coffee maker.
Not an important point as this article is mostly written for avid coffee lovers. But if you drink some amount of tea as well, there are models out there that do both coffee and tea.
Not many of them, but our top dual coffee maker pick – the Ninja CP307 – does just this!
For single-serve, some coffee makers only take in ground coffee. If the convenience of using a K-Cup pod for a quick cup of coffee is important to you, make sure the machine has this functionality.
Most, if not all of these coffee makers include a carafe with the purchase. On the lower-end you will mostly find glass carafes, and that is perfectly fine below a certain price point. If you’re paying, say, over $150 for a coffee maker, you should expect a thermal carafe instead.
A thermal carafe has several advantages over their glass counterparts. For starters, it keeps the coffee hot without the use of any heating plate – which avoids burning the coffee. Thermal carafes also delay oxidization of the coffee, and are resistant to shattering.
Our Picks of Best Dual Coffee Makers
With the many options out there at different price points, it can be hard to know which is right model for yourself. Well, lucky for you, we’ve put together our picks of the best combination coffee makers into one overview list!
If you’re looking for the best overall coffee maker, and the ultimate solution for your coffee brewing needs, this is the one to go for. In fact, this model brews tea perfectly as well, so if you enjoy both, it’s a really great brewer to have in the kitchen.
Not only does it make coffee and tea, it makes many styles of them as well. Able to do a smoother, toned-down classic cup, to making a flavor-intense rich brew, it is sure to satisfy you whatever your coffee strength preference is. Other than that, the model also does over ice, or cold brews, for that perfect iced coffee (or tea). It also comes with a specialty setting that allows you to make frothy lattes and cappuccinos, and many more beyond these.
There is no need to worry about mixing tea and coffee flavors too, as the unit comes with separate baskets for coffee and tea. What’s even better, is that it automatically distinguishes between these two, and intelligently switches between tea and coffee settings. It doesn’t work with pods, but you’re able to brew your ground coffee or tea for anything from a single cup to a whole carafe.
The brewer also comes with a frother that fills in the essential foam that complex cappuccinos and flat whites need! It truly satisfies all the needs of an avid coffee or tea lover and is one of the best coffee makers out there.
- Capable of brewing both coffee and tea
- Able to do cold brews
- Has separate baskets for tea or coffee
- Automatically recognizes basket and displays appropriate settings
- 6 brew sizes – ranging from one-cup to full carafe
- 5 brew styles from classic to rich, cold brew etc.
- Included thermal carafe stays cool on the outside and is easy to use
- Doesn’t come with a warmer pad, i.e. hot plate
- Not usable with pods, or K-Cups
For a little cheaper, you get this model from Keurig that proves itself as a serious competitor to what Ninja offers. Being the creator and manufacturer of the original K-Cup, it goes without saying that this is compatible with those pods, on top of ground coffee.
The purchase comes with a 12-cup glass carafe. While it’s not as preferable as a thermal one, it’s quite well built and gets the job done. However pouring must be done carefully as it drips rather easily, making a puddle. That being said, the carafe is easily replaceable if you wish.
Other than the flaws in the carafe, the unit performs really well on its own. You’ll be able to make multiple brew sizes with this – even more than the range that the Ninja model offers. Ranging from 6 to 12-cup carafe brews, as well as 6 to 12 ounce cups, it fits every scenario you’re bound to run into – be it for breakfast coffee or for serving guests.
Apart from the basics, the Keurig coffee maker also has a few tricks up its (imaginary) sleeves. For starters, it has a heating plate that keeps the coffee hot. This isn’t present in the Ninja coffee maker, but one could argue because they included a thermal carafe that it is unnecessary.
The Keurig coffee maker also has an auto-brew timer for up to 24 hours in advance. Perfect for those who would like hot coffee waiting for them to get out of bed! It also has a nifty little feature that allows you to pause the brew for a short amount of time for you to pour mid-brew.
While it does not offer as rich of brewing styles as the Ninja, it’s a really solid unit on its own. The clear advantage is that this Keurig model is able to handle K-Cups, if you’re into that.
Lastly, if you’re wondering about the types of pods the unit is compatible with, it only works with K-Cup pods. If you have K-Carafe pods, K-Mug pods, Vue pods or Rivo pods, those won’t work unfortunately!
- Compatible with both ground coffee and K-Cups
- Multiple brew sizes – for both the carafe and the cup
- Includes a 12-cup glass carafe
- Removable 60oz water reservoir for easy refilling that connects to both single-serve and full pot brewing
- Has a heating plate
- Auto-brew timer for up to 24 hours in advance
- Included carafe is glass rather than thermal
- Carafe drips quite easily when pouring
Looking to grab a dual coffee maker without breaking the bank? This model from Hamilton Beach is just what you’re looking for. It gets the basic job done and a little more to squeeze as much value out of your hard-earned cash as possible. Be warned though, it does have more problems than its more expensive counterparts!
Operation-wise, this is compatible with both ground coffee and K-Cup pods. If you’re looking to brew ground coffee for a single cup, theu unit also includes a single-serve grounds basket to allow for that.
If you think it’s all basic with this model, it actually offers a little more than you might have expected. It comes with an auto-brew timer, and a heating plate that automatically turns on to keep the coffee warm for 2 hours! Not a breakthrough, but certainly a welcomed feature on a model this affordable.
There are also options to choose between a classic brew, or a stronger brew. That being said, the differences are subtle and not as noticeable as the higher-end models.
What we didn’t quite like is the separate water reservoir for either side of the coffee maker, i.e. the single-serve and the full pot brewing section. This means that you would have to check and refill them separately.
A main complaint is also the longevity of the model, as it seems to have problems or even breaking down entirely. Do keep this in mind if you’re considering this model!
- Affordable option
- Compatible with both ground coffee and K-Cup pods
- Comes with a single-serve grounds basket
- Includes auto-brew timer
- Brewed coffee stays warm for 2 hours through heating plate
- Classic and strong brew options
- Separate water reservoir for single-serve and full pot
- Not much difference between regular and strong brews
- Reviewers complain about longevity
If you only use the coffee maker occasionally and even the previous model is over your budget, this other one from Hamilton Beach is even more affordable!
Coming in a stainless steel finish that may or may not be of your liking, it brews some basic coffee just fine. There are settings for brew strength, as well as a programmable timer for auto-brewing up to 24 hours in advance. The warming plate keeps the coffee warm throughout the brewing process.
While there is nothing much else to praise about this model, it does brew fairly consistent coffee. At this price point, it really is a steal.
However, it does come with its own set of issues as well. In this case, there’s quite a few of them!
The immediately noticeable one is its brewing speed. It is notably slower than most other coffee makers we have tried, if not just downright slowest. We’re speaking not just for the full pot brew, but even single-cup brewing! It also doesn’t work with K-Cup pods.
It also has the important caveat of not being very long-lasting, according to reviewers online.
If you’re only brewing occasionally and not a regular coffee drinker, this might suit your purpose fine. But if you’re a coffee lover that can’t go a day without coffee, we recommend investing into something better!
- Highly affordable
- Programmable timer with auto-shutoff functionality
- Has a warming plate
- Settings for brew strength
- Easy to pour from included carafe
- Not very attractive on the countertop
- Brews slowly
- Separate water reservoir for either side of the brewer
- Does not work with K-Cup pods
- Reviewers complain about longevity
Coffee Center. What a fancy name!
If you spend hours trying to find the exact appliance that fits your kitchen aesthetic and that’s important to you, this Cuisinart dual coffee maker might be worth considering. The attention-grabbing feature is actually its wide range of color options – the classic silver, to a premium black-and-gold copper, and even white and full greyish black!
It’s not all looks only either, it actually performs really well (it better, for the price!). The unit is compatible with ground coffee and K-Cup pods, and has a variety of brew strength controls as well as temperature controls. This lets you tweak the brew to your exact preference. The basket and water reservoir come with a premium coffee filter and a charcoal water filter.
In terms of operation, the unit includes an auto-brew timer with auto-off functionality, which is expected at this price range. What’s great is that it also has a self-clean functionality, which is a feature not many manufacturers offer in coffee machines.
There are also a few things that we don’t like about it. The carafe included with the purchase is a glass one. While it functions well, we feel that it should have been a thermal carafe, especially at this price point. The water reservoir on the full-pot side is also non-removable, with only the 40oz one on the single-serve side being removable.
Finally, if you do decide and get this and you’re finding ground coffee all over the inside of the unit or even leaking out when making single-cup brews, here’s a tip from a fellow reviewer: line up the white line on the K-Cup insert with the line on the basket of the machine!
- Compatible with ground coffee and K-Cup pods
- Wide range of color options to fit your kitchen style
- Brew strength controls
- Premium gold-tone coffee filter as well as charcoal water filter
- Auto-brew timer for programming 24 hours into the future with auto-off
- Self-clean functionality
- Temperature control
- Removable 40oz water reservoir and drip tray
- At this price, glass carafe is a letdown
- Some reviewers complain of leaks on the single-serving side
- Water reservoir on the full carafe brewing side is non-removable
Love specialty coffee? This model offers a dedicated ‘specialty’ mode that brews super-rich coffee concentrate, allowing you to make cafe-standard coffee drinks right from the comfort of your home.
Functionality-wise, it is very similar to the Ninja CP307 Auto-iQ model – our top pick. That model is also capable of making specialty brews. What you’re getting here is reduced price, as well as having some functionalities and accessories (e.g. the separate tea and coffee baskets) taken away. If you don’t need them in the first place, it’s a great way to save some money without sacrificing quality.
The Ninja dual coffee maker offers 6 brew sizes, from single-cup servings all the way to carafe full of coffee. It offers 4 brew types that are the same as its more expensive sibling – classic, rich, over ice or specialty. It also has the same fold-away frother found in the other model for creamy and rich coffee drinks.
To sum it up, it works very much like our top pick from Ninja. In fact, it also does not work with K-Cup pods. The difference is that this unit is a tad bigger, so it takes up more countertop space. It is also certified by the Specialty Coffee Association for home brewing, something unique to itself!
- Extra-rich coffee brew for specialty coffee drinks e.g. latte, macchiato, cappuccino etc.
- Brew over ice for rich iced coffee
- 6 brew sizes from single cup to full carafe
- Includes 4 brew types – classic, rich, iced, or specialty
- Fold-away frother for silky smooth froth
- Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) certified
- Does not work with K-Cup pods
- Takes up a lot of countertop space
If you’re short on countertop space, this Keurig is the best premium, yet space-saving model money can buy as of now. Coming in a slim design, it doesn’t compromise on reliability and functionality. Think of it as a better designed sibling of the original Keurig K-Duo!
As with the other model, it is compatible with ground coffee and K-Cup pods. It also has brew strength settings and multiple brew sizes for you to make your perfect cup, or jug of coffee. The auto-brew timer and the pause & pour functionalities from the original model were also carried forward to this model.
An improvement of this one compared to the original Keurig K-Duo is the inclusion of a thermal carafe! With this change, Keurig has decided to remove the heating plate from the unit. Even so, brewed coffee stays hot for up to 2 hours, and even stays warm for up to 12 hours in the included carafe.
Designed with space-saving in mind, the water reservoir is tall and thin. It can also be positioned into multiple spots – namely the left, right, or back of the unit – in order to preserve and optimize counter space. The reservoir is a 60oz removable one.
Same as the Keurig K-Duo, this model doesn’t brew other types of pods including K-Carafe, K-Mug, Vue or Rivo pods.
- Compatible with ground coffee and K-Cup pods
- Thermal carafe included
- Brew strength settings
- Multiple brew sizes for a carafe and a cup
- Single multi-position 60oz water reservoir to optimize counter space
- Auto-brew timer for up to 24 hours in advance
- Able to pause and pour mid-brew
- For a model priced like this, should ideally include multiple brew styles
- No heating plate
How to Pick for Your Use Case?
Still confused after reading our best dual coffee maker reviews? We’re here to help you make a decision that fits your exact use cases.
Apart from budget, a few models stand out because of their own unique selling points. Here are a few needs that might resonate with you. Do you…
- have limited countertop space? The space-saving Keurig K-Duo Plus might be the one for you, depending on how limited your counter space is.
- want to be able to brew tea as well? In that case, the Ninja CP307 is the only model you should be considering.
- have very specific kitchen aesthetics? Then you might find the one for you in the many color options that the Cuisinart SS-15P1 offers.
- need compatibility for K-Cup pods? If so, anything apart from the two Ninja models and the Hamilton Beach 2-Way Brewer will do.
- want a thermal carafe with the machine? The only ones offering this is the Ninja CP307 or the Keurig K-Duo Plus.
- drink specialty coffee i.e. coffeehouse drinks? Both Ninja models are the best for this use case.
- need a frother built-in? The two Ninja models on our list are pretty much the best dual coffee makers with a frother out there.
Well then, if you don’t have any of those needs, it just comes down to budget.
For something reliable with tons of good feedback and reviews, the Ninja CP307 is our top recommendation, although it is priced at pretty much the top-of-the-line. It is not usable with K-Cup pods though, and for that the Keurig K-Duo is a good alternative.
If you’re not looking to break the bank for a coffee maker, then the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew Trio is your best bet. Offering a wide range of features at a low price, it provides a lot of value for what you pay for. That being said, it does suffer from some quality issues. If you’re serious about coffee, it’s best to look elsewhere!
Satisfying everyone’s coffee needs is hard, especially when you’re a family of coffee lovers, each with his or her own set of coffee tastes and waking habits.
With a dual coffee maker, you’re able to make varying amounts of coffee, ranging from less than a cup to a full carafe. Some models even come with auto-brew timers, so you’re able to have coffee at precisely the time you want to.
If you’re always unsure when to brew that carafe of coffee with your current drip brewer, it might be a sign for you to get a dual coffee maker instead!
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