Calling it: These are the 9 best small coffee makers for tiny kitchens or dorms

Big flavor, tiny footprint

A pink and yellow graphic with a selection of three coffee makers from Keurig, Grind and KitchenAid
(Image credit: Future)

If you're currently working with an appetite for caffeine, a small kitchen, and a minimal amount of countertop space, then say no more. You need a small coffee maker that will allow you to get your daily caffeine without resorting to a kitchen makeover. Yes, we've found and reviewed nine professional barista-style machines that really are impressive. And they're packaged to be tiny enough to slide and sit in a corner. And the best part is that most of them are nice and affordable.

great coffee maker is hard to come by, especially if you have a bunch of must-have specifications. Many of our Real Homes editors and writers pay a pretty premium to live in the city, so a shoestring kitchen is pretty standard *no shame*. 

So whether you want something easy to use, affordable to buy, or a pod machine for less mess, scroll on to see which petite appliances we appreciate. We've reviewed all of the machines featured for a set period, or better still, they've gone on to live in our homes forever. We've even included two portable beverage makers so you can enjoy your favorite blend on the go.

9 of the best small coffee makers

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Real Homes review process: How we reviewed these coffee makers

Making a short strong espresso coffee using the MORNING coffee maker

Reviewing the Morning Coffee machine

(Image credit: Future / Christina Chrysostomou)

Here at Real Homes, if we're not already sipping on a cup of coffee then you can bet we're messaging our colleagues to see when they're getting their fill of freshly-brewed java. We've got a professional bean-to-cup machine in the office and several coffee shops to choose from around our London Paddington office.

However, when we're WFH, we need a machine for modest spaces. And so, often when we're testing these machines, we won't just get the tape measure out. Nope, we'll take these appliances home to see if they can fit on the tiniest of countertops with shelves, cupboards, and alcoves added to the mix. 

When we're testing multiple machines side by side, we prefer to travel to our test kitchen in Reading, UK. Yes, this does involve shotting several cups of espresso, but someone's got to do it. Heart rate aside, we measure how noisy the machines are, analyze their brew times, and discover what coffee types are available. Because you don't want to be stuck with a loud device that makes a terrible drink, right? Here's what else we consider while reviewing coffee machines:

Size
Does the machine have a long cable to stretch to the few plug sockets we have? This is something we need to know. Can it sit flush or does it have to be displayed at an angle? Another query we think about while quaffing coffee.

Ease of cleaning
Let's not pretend that we like cleaning, so if the components can fit in our tiny dishwashers, then the small coffee maker will definitely earn some brownie points. Though, if it's handwash only, we'll evaluate how easy it is to take apart and reassemble once clean.

Descaling process
Cleaning the plastic and stainless steel components is not the only maintenance needed for a small coffee maker. You'll also need to descale it every couple of months. So the team will run a cycle, keeping an eye on how lengthy it is, and how thoroughly the agent can get to work. This is where we like to keep hold of machines to really push the limits on whether they can tolerate hard water (especially in our city dwellings).

Coffee taste
People like different beverages, so we try and strip out subjectivity by commenting on coffee as part of a tasting panel. This might include other editors and writers across the Future Plc homes portfolio. After all, some of us like milk in our beverages while others prefer theirs black, and sometimes we'll add a splash of a plant-based milk alternative to keep up with the ever-changing options out there.

Meet our coffee machine reviewers below:

Reviewed the Morning Coffee Machine
Christina illustration
Reviewed the Morning Coffee Machine
Christina Chrysostomou

Hey, I'm Christina, Real Homes' Ecommerce editor, and my favorite out of this edit is the Morning coffee machine. I almost felt like donning a white lab coat and some goggles when testing it.

Out of all of the pod machines out there, this is one serious bit of machinery. There is a huge menu of compatible pods and the founders really care about the most subtle nuances in coffee profiles. This isn't your cookie-cutter machine. I personally could spend hours (on a lazy and rainy weekend) making tweaks to the water temperature and playing about with the Bloom & Brew feature to optimize the extraction of my coffee. And let's not look over how incredibly chic that OLED screen looks. This is one pod machine you won't turn your nose up at!"

Reviewed the Aeropress
Melissa Epifano headshot
Reviewed the Aeropress
Melissa Epifano

Real Homes’ editor in chief Melissa loves coffee and has tested a wide range of manual and automatic coffee makers at home. She has been an Aeropress convert for two years now and refuses to go back to her digital machines or French press. Since switching, she's noticed a big increase in the taste quality over capsules and other presses. It also pumps out a single serving rather than three or four cups of coffee that often go cold before she gets to them. She prefers different coffee types and flavors compared to her husband and extended family, so this cuts out arguments over what grounds to use.

The compact gadget also takes up little room in a suitcase, so she brings it on vacations and trips home to visit family, which means a good latte is always guaranteed.

Reviewed the Grind One coffee maker
Millie Fender illustration
Reviewed the Grind One coffee maker
Millie Fender

Real Homes' head of reviews Millie Fender tested the Grind pod coffee machine in her South London kitchen. She thinks it's totally iconic and just as gorge in person as it looks online. She recalls that the shiny stainless steel does mark easily, but it also buffs clean with a microfiber cloth. Your options with this pod machine are limited, but what it does, it does well. 

You can choose to dispense either a short or long shot of coffee — this is adjustable if you want it extra long. However, if you do want to top up a bulky mug you'll struggle to get it under the dispenser. It's also a winner for sustainable credentials, with a made-to-last design that won't find its way into a landfill for a long, long time. The pods are also compostable and the coffee inside is super delicious.

Reviewed the Nespresso Vertuo Next
Louise Oliphant author illustration
Reviewed the Nespresso Vertuo Next
Louise Oliphant

Ecommerce editor Louise Oliphant stays caffeinated with the Nespresso Vertuo Next. Thanks to this machine, she's canceled her coffee subscription and saved lots of money (and queue time) in the process. In her East London apartment, her coffee bar setup includes a bottle of Monin syrup (with a pump for barista vibes) and a glass jar filled with cookies.

Reviewed the Breville One-Touch CoffeeHouse
Author image of Nishaa Sharma
Reviewed the Breville One-Touch CoffeeHouse
Nishaa Sharma

Nishaa has the Breville One-Touch CoffeeHouse in her apartment, and it's been there since she moved in two years ago. She loves how easy it is to use, and it's saved her so much time and money on going out for a cup of coffee or a matcha latte. The only thing she doesn't like is that the milk compartment is an awkward shape to clean, but the price more than makes up for it.

Reviewed the Keurig K-Slim ICED
Jaclyn Turner illustration
Reviewed the Keurig K-Slim ICED
Jaclyn Turner

During the warmer months of the year, cold coffee beverages are what fuel Jacyln throughout her day. Don't get her wrong, she'll happily drink a hot cup of java 12 months out of the year, too. So, the Keurig K-Slim + Iced Coffee is that happy medium with a convenient ability to brew iced and hot coffee — all in a compact footprint. 

Freelancers who reviewed coffee machines for us:

Sarah Warwick headshot
Sarah Warwick

Sarah Warwick, our freelance reviewer tested the Kitchenaid, Wacaco, and Lavazza branded coffee makers you see in this guide. She liked all of them for different reasons, but gave both the KitchenAid Artisan Nespresso 5KES0503 and Lavazza Jolie Plus four stars out of five.

Christina Chrysostomou
Ecommerce Editor

Bonjour, Yasou, Hello — I'm Christina, ecommerce editor at Real Homes. Along with my super creative colleagues, I create content to help you create a chic home on a budget. I live in a two-bed maisonette with a garage and garden in Essex. Geographically, it's perfect; I've got the forest on my doorstep, and London is just 15 minutes by tube or car. I specialize in small kitchen appliances so that you can prepare food with ease at home. Prior to working for the Future plc family, I've worked on a number of consumer events including the Ideal Home Show, Grand Designs Live, and Good Homes Magazine. With a plethora of experience in digital marketing, editorial, and social media, I have an eye for what should be in your shopping basket.

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