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Cuisinart Single-Serve Coffee Maker Review

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Last updated: December 18, 2023

Quick Verdict: I would not recommend the Cuisinart Single-Serve. Instead, I would buy the similar, but far less expensive Keurig K Mini Plus.

This is my Cuisinart Single-Serve Coffee Maker Review.

The review will focus on the Cuisinart SS-10, Cuisinart’s attempt at creating a machine to rival the Keurig K Mini and Keurig K Mini Plus.

I have never owned the Cuisinart SS-10. I have, however, owned the Keurig K Mini Plus, a very similar machine.

I also spent an entire day researching this machine, and users’ experiences with it, online to put together this review.

Let’s get started.

Should I Buy The Cuisinart Single-Serve Coffee Maker (SS-10)? 

I would not recommend buying the Cuisinart SS-10. The machine is just an overpriced version of the Keurig K Mini Plus. Although it has a few features that the Mini Plus does not have, these features do not actually improve the machine.

Many of the Cuisinart SS-10’s additional features actually make the machine worse, especially its large water reservoir which is an absolute pain to clean.

If you want a single-serve pod coffee maker with a small footprint, save yourself the money and go for the Keurig K Mini Plus.

Much Better Than the Cuisinart Single-Serve
Keurig K Mini Plus
$109.99 $83.10 ($83.10 / Count)
The Keurig K Mini Plus performs as well as the Cuisinart SS-10 and is significantly cheaper than it.
Get it on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
02/28/2024 10:38 am GMT

Product Overview

The Cuisinart Single Serve Coffee Maker (from now on I’ll refer to this as the Cuisinart SS-10) makes coffee using K cups or reusable single-serve filter pods.

The machine is essentially Cuisinart’s version of a Keurig coffee maker, with Cuisinart clearly taking a lot of inspiration from the Keurig Mini and Keurig Mini Plus.

You can find the key specifications of the machine in the table below:

SpecificationCuisinart SS-10
Brewing stylePod brewing (K cups and Cuisinart reusable pods)
Dimensions (width x depth x height, in inches)11.0” x 9.3” x 12.1”
Available serving sizes4oz, 6oz, 8oz 10oz 12oz
Reservoir size72 oz
Can you remove the reservoir?Yes
Maximum cup clearance (drip tray removed)6” (7”)
Temperature settingsYes – 2 settings
Strength settingsNo
Auto brew functionalityYes
Rinse/descale modeYes

Cuisinart SS-10 Pros

Cuisinart’s reusable pods can hold up to 15 grams of coffee. This is far more than a K-cup which means that you can make 10 oz coffees without them being watery.

Its auto-brew function is handy for busy mornings as it can brew your coffee automatically at a preset time (the machine has a display clock).

The machine has enough cup clearance for almost all cups (including travel mugs if you remove the drip tray)

Cuisinart SS-10 Cons

Its reservoir is very hard to clean (this is a big, big problem in my opinion).

It makes a watery coffee at 12 oz servings.

It brews coffee too quickly, meaning that your coffee is not very strong, regardless of serving size.

I found many reports of its heating mechanism deteriorating after about a year of ownership.

I would not recommend the Cuisinart SS-10.

Quality of Coffee

The Cuisinart SS-10 makes decent coffee by pod coffee standards, but only if you use Cuisinart’s reusable pod and you brew no more than 10 oz at a time. Otherwise, its coffee is subpar, especially compared to the Keurig Mini Plus.

To brew a good single-serve coffee you need to get three variables right:

  • You need a coffee-to-water ratio of between 1:15 – 1:17
  • You need to brew your coffee for at least two minutes
  • You need to brew at a consistent temperature of 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Cuisinart SS-10 only fulfills one of these criteria – that is the correct coffee-to-water ratio.

  • When brewing with a K-cup (which holds 11 grams of ground coffee), you can brew up to 6 oz of coffee before it gets too watery
  • When you are brewing with a Cuisinart reusable pod (holds up to 16 grams of coffee) you can brew up to 10 oz of coffee before it gets too watery.

The SS-10 brews a 10 oz coffee in just over a minute. 

This is far short of the ideal two-minute brewing time for drip coffee, meaning that Cuisinart’s coffee is likely to be under-extracted. Under-extracted coffee is typically sharp and watery tasting.

For comparison, a Keurig Mini Plus with a strong button on will brew a 10oz coffee in about two minutes and twenty seconds. 

This extra 80 seconds is a long time in terms of making drip coffee and means that a Keurig Mini Plus will make better coffee than a Cuisinart SS-10.

Quality of Coffee Rating: 4/10

Functionalities

The Cuisinart SS-10 can make a wide range of serving sizes (4 oz – 12 oz). I do not like the fact that you cannot adjust its brewing length (most K cup machines allow you to do this), however.

The Cuisinart SS-10 can do the following things:

  • It can make single-serve coffee (from pods) in 4 oz, 6 oz, 8 oz, 10 oz and 12 oz serving sizes.
  • It offers you two temperature settings (hot and extra hot). As far as I am aware this affects your coffee’s final temperature rather than its brewing temperature.
  • It can dispense plain hot water.
  • It can run a rinse cycle at the touch of a button.
  • It has a dedicated descale mode which you can activate by pressing the “rinse” and “hot water” buttons together at the same time for one second.

Even though this is a decent amount of functionality for a single-serve coffee maker in the SS-10’s price range, I really don’t like the fact that you cannot control the machine’s brewing time.

Most Keurig machines have some sort of “strong” button or “strength” setting that lengthens the machine’s brewing time.

I always try to set my Keurig machine to its maximum strength setting so it brews coffee for as long as possible. This just creates better coffee.

The fact that you cannot do this with the Cuisinart SS-10 is a major weakness of the machine, especially as its default (and only) brewing length is around one minute, far shy of the ideal minimum of two minutes.

Functionalities Rating: 6/10

Ease of Use and Cleaning

The Cuisinart SS-10 is easy to make a coffee with but cleaning its water tank is a massive pain.

The Cuisinart is pretty easy to set up.

All you need to do is set the machine’s clock to the right time, fill the machine up with water and have it run a rinse cycle (this setup is standard on almost any coffee machine that has an auto brew function).

One annoying feature about the machine that I found in many users’ reports is that the machine’s clock resets when it is disconnected from the mains.

This means that if you have a power outage, or accidentally turn the machine off, then you need to reset the clock again to be able to use the machine’s auto-brew function.

This is a small annoyance, rather than a devastating problem.

Making coffee with the machine is really easy.

It has a button-operated digital display screen that is really intuitive to use. All you need to do is select your serving size and temperature and press the brew button.

The worst thing about the machine is that its tall, slim water tank is really hard to clean.

It is so slim that you cannot fit your hand in its bottom corners. These are the parts of the machine where grime tends to build up (often very quickly). 

This is very difficult to clean and you may well need a powerful tap in order to spray off the grime that builds up here.

Ease of Use and Cleaning Rating: 7/10

Design and Build Quality

The Cuisinart SS-10 is a fairly durable machine, although there are some users who report its heating element deteriorating within a couple of years of use.

The Cuisinart SS-10’s simple design and lack of features mean that it is a fairly durable machine. The fewer features that a coffee maker has, the less there is that can go wrong with it.

The only real design flaw that I have noticed with the machine (other than its too-fast brewing times) is that its water tank is tall and slim and does not have a handle.

As I have already mentioned, the shape of the SS-10’s water tank makes it hard to clean. The fact that it does not have a handle also makes it hard to carry from your sink to your machine without sloshing water all over your floor.

Again, this is more of an annoyance than a devastating blow against the usability of the machine.

I found a few reviews of the SS-10 on Amazon and Reddit complaining that the machine’s heating mechanism got worse a few years into its own and this meant that the coffee it dispensed was not hot enough (I’ll show you some examples of this later on).

To be honest, there will be some models of every coffee maker, regardless of price, that has heating mechanisms that deteriorate over time. That’s just the nature of heating mechanisms – they are delicate.

Fortunately, from what I could find, Cuisinart offers a decent level of customer service (to US-based customers, at least) and are not averse to replacing machines whose heating mechanisms fail within the first three years of your ownership of it.

I also found a couple of reports of the machine’s internal pipes scaling up despite regular descaling. This causes the machine to not dispense enough coffee.

Again, this is another case of the fact that every machine, regardless of cost and quality, will have the odd model that scales up a bit too easily. 

I could not find out whether Cuisinart is as generous in replacing machines that scale up quickly as they are in replacing machines with faulty heaters. I suspect that they might be a bit more strict on this as a user cannot prove that they descale regularly.

In terms of external build quality, the Cuisinart SS-10 is well-built and durable despite still being relatively compact.

Its external build quality appears to be marginally better than similarly priced Keurig machines, and close to premium Keurig machines (which are far more expensive than the SS-10).

Design and Build Quality Rating: 8/10

Value For Money

The Cuisinart SS-10 does not offer good value for money at all. This is the main reason why I do not recommend this coffee maker.

The Cuisinart SS-10 is a very similar coffee maker to the Keurig K Mini Plus.

The SS-10 makes inferior quality coffee to the Mini Plus but makes up for this by having slightly better durability and build quality.

Overall I would say that there is little that separates the two machines, as far as quality is concerned.

The Cuisinart SS-10 is typically around 50% more expensive than the Keurig K Mini Plus.

This goes to show how poor value for money the machine is.

The SS-10 is a mediocre machine and its relatively huge price tag is why I just cannot comfortably recommend it.

Value For Money Rating: 2/10

What Users Say

As of January 2023, the Cuisinart SS-10 has been reviewed 15,753 times on Amazon with an average rating of 4.4 stars out of 5.

Positive reviews of the machine praise how easy the machine is to use and how good Cuisinart’s customer service is:

Amazon review, January 2023: “For a pod-style brewer, it’s faster than the popular brand, and is very consistent on the brew size and temperature. There is a vision-impaired person in the household, so the tactile buttons make it easy for her to brew her own. Very pleased so far.”

Amazon review, January 2023: “When we received it, I set it up and it did not work, called customer service and was given the fix right away, which worked! Hooray! Love this coffee maker!”

Negative reviews of the machine say that its reservoir is impossible to clean and that the machine descales too quickly:

Amazon review, October 2022: Next is cleaning this horrible water reservoir. It’s too narrow to fit your hand down inside to clean the bottom. There are also several plastic ridges molded into the inside on the bottom that make it impossible, even with a brush, to remove water sediment or even growing “green” fungus forming in the corners on the bottom.”

Amazon review, August 2022: “Worked great for about four weeks, then seemed to start getting limed up. Ran a Descale. Seemed to do OK, but really didn’t go back to the way it was.” 

The fact that there are far more positive reviews than negative ones for this machine coheres with my claim that the machine itself is not bad, but rather it is just overpriced and there are cheaper better alternatives.

Cheaper, Better Alternative – Keurig K Mini Plus

Much Better Than the Cuisinart Single-Serve
Keurig K Mini Plus
$109.99 $83.10 ($83.10 / Count)
The Keurig K Mini Plus performs as well as the Cuisinart SS-10 and is significantly cheaper than it.
Get it on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
02/28/2024 10:38 am GMT

The Keurig K Mini Plus is similar to the Cuisinart SS-10. The main differences between the two machines are:

  • The Mini Plus makes better-tasting coffee than the SS-10 because of its longer brewing (especially if you use the Mini Plus’s strong button.
  • The Mini Plus does not have a digital display screen which the SS-10 does have.
  • The Mini Plus brews with all the water in its reservoir. The SS-10 has preset serving sizes and a 72 oz reservoir. Personally, I prefer the Mini Plus’s system as it means that you are always brewing with fresh water and your water tank does not grime up.

The Mini Plus is also typically a fair bit cheaper than the SS-10. I don’t, therefore, see any use case where I would recommend buying the Cuisinart SS-10 over the Keurig Mini Plus.

Final Verdict

I would not recommend buying the Cuisinart SS-10 Single Serve Coffee Maker.

Instead, I would recommend the Keurig Mini Plus.

The Mini Plus makes better coffee than the SS-10 and is typically a fair bit cheaper than it too.

Much Better Than the Cuisinart Single-Serve
Keurig K Mini Plus
$109.99 $83.10 ($83.10 / Count)
The Keurig K Mini Plus performs as well as the Cuisinart SS-10 and is significantly cheaper than it.
Get it on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
02/28/2024 10:38 am GMT

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