November 12, 2007

Review: Cuisinart SS-1 Cup-O-Matic Single Serve Coffee Maker - Use Coffee Pods or Ground Coffee

Review from Single Serve - Coffee Pod Reviews 564027E

With the introduction of the Cuisinart SS-1 Cup-O-Matic Single Serve Coffee Maker, you can finally purchase a single serve coffee maker that uses ground coffee and coffee pods all in the same filter basket. This is also the first coffee pod brewer to feature a charcoal water filter inside the water reservoir. We've written quite a few articles to round out our review since the launch of the Cuisinart SS-1 Cup-O-Matic Single Serve Coffee Maker including:

  • Cuisinart SS-1 Cup-O-Matic Single Serve Coffee Maker first news
  • Unboxing, the Cuisinart SS-1 Cup-O-Matic Single Serve Coffee Maker
  • First Impressions of the Cuisinart SS-1 Cup-O-Matic Single Serve Coffee Maker
  • Using Ground Coffee in the Cuisinart SS-1 Cup-O-Matic Single Serve Coffee Maker

This review will feature highlights from the earlier articles we've published and our final pros and cons of the Cuisinart SS-1 Cup-O-Matic Single Serve Coffee Maker.

Features of the Cuisinart SS-1 Cup-O-Matic Single Serve Coffee Maker

Here are the features of the Cuisinart SS-1 Cup-O-Matic Single Serve Coffee Maker:

  • Brew basket can accommodate coffee pods as well as ground coffee
  • 60-oz. water reservoir holds enough for ten 6-ounce cups of coffee
  • Low pressure pump and boiler system
  • Patented tamping and sealing method for better tasting coffee
  • Cup size selector – 4 to 12 ounces
  • Can select regular or bold coffee flavor
  • Removable drip tray can accommodate coffee cup from 4 ounces to Cuisinart’s travel mug (170mm)
  • 2 minute pre-heat time
  • Charcoal water filter removes impurities
  • Auto shut-off (2 hours from last use)
  • Water level indicator on front
  • Scoop included
  • Easy to clean

The water filter and instructional DVD video.

At launch this was the only single serve coffee maker to come with charcoal filter, and the ability to use ground coffee in the machine using a filter basket that comes with the machine. Now however if you would prefer to use K Cups over coffee pods, the Breville BKC600XL Single Cup Gourmet brewer has debuted, and features a charcoal filter, and a resuesable My Cup coffee filter that allows you to use your own ground coffee.

Our overall impressions of the machine from a design point of view is the machine is very narrow and looks taller than other single serve coffee machines. The water reservoir is slightly hard to grab given the square shape, and the stainless steel look of the machine makes the machine appear substantial and solid.

The buttons on the front are very pleasing to push. Each lights up with a luminescent border, and the settings couldn't be easier.

Making A Cup of Coffee with the Cuisinart SS-1 Cup-O-Matic Single Serve Coffee Maker

To make a cup of coffee you simply put in a coffee pod or ground coffee, pick regular or bold, select pod or ground coffee, and then push the cup size and brew.

The settings light up and we love the blue LED lights.

Note: See our First Impressions of the Cuisinart SS-1 Cup-O-Matic Single Serve Coffee Maker and also Using Ground Coffee with the Cuisinart SS-1 Cup-O-Matic Single Serve Coffee Maker to get more background n this feature.

We found that warm up times and brew times were however some of the longest and most involved we've ever seen in a single serve coffee machine. On average the machine took about 2 minutes to heat up, and average brew times depending on cup volume were over a minute to almost two minutes in length. Is the coffee produced worth the wait? Indeed it is. This is some of the best coffee we've had produced from either coffee pods or ground coffee using the same filter basket.

Brew and clean cycles are easy to access.

And that takes us to one of the key features of the Cuisinart SS-1 Cup-O-Matic Single Serve Coffee Maker - the coffee tamping piston in the brew filter basket chamber. At the end of each brew cycle this piston comes down and tamps out the rest of the coffee goodness from the coffee pod or ground coffee you're using. This makes for a great cup of coffee and also much less mess. You don't have a wet soppy coffee pod, and you don't have wet soppy grounds - both are more or less dry, and easy to remove from the filter basket.

The piston pushes down into the filter basket during
the brew cycle.

Brewing a cup of coffee with the Cuisinart SS-1 Cup-O-Matic Single Serve Coffee Maker however is loud and a bit noisy. The machine does a pulse cycle that vibrates the machine quite a bit, but this pulsing is also why the Cuisinart SS-1 Cup-O-Matic Single Serve Coffee Maker makes such an amazing cup of coffee. We do wish however that the drip tray was a little bigger, as the vibration moves your mug until there is coffee in it quite a bit. You can also remove the drip tray altogether to alleviate the cup vibrating, and this also allows for the use of tall travel mugs.

Making a cup of coffee with the Cuisinart SS-1 Cup-O-Matic Single Serve Coffee Maker

The Unique Brew Basket - Use Coffee Pods or Ground Coffee

The filter basket can hold either coffee pods or ground coffee. What's unique is the same filter basket is used for both methods of brewing a cup of single serve coffee.

The filter basket fits inside the holder.

The filter basket with the filter inserted.

Note: See our Using Ground Coffee in the Cuisinart SS-1 Cup-O-Matic Single Serve Coffee Maker.

As we've stated before using ground coffee or coffee pods is very easy. You can use 1 scoop of coffee with the included scoop to use ground coffee, or you can use a 7-11 gram coffee pod, and up to two 7 gram coffee pods inside the filter basket when using coffee pods. The included Lavazza coffee pods worked great, and they produced coffee we didn't like as much as other coffee pods we've been using. The darker roast of the Lavazza coffee pods however was quite good.

You can use two Senseo coffee pods in the SS-1.

They fit quite well, and the coffee produced was excellent.

Pros and Cons of the Cuisinart SS-1 Cup-O-Matic Single Serve Coffee Maker


  • Can use either ground coffee or coffee pods
  • Water reservoir has charcoal water filter
  • Easy to use controls
  • Easy to access clean cycle
  • Small footprint
  • Excess power cord can be stored away
  • Included Instructional DVD is actually very helpful


  • Noisier than other machines
  • Drip tray is small and larger fatter mugs will have issues fitting on
  • Vibrates while brewing due to pulse brew method
Coffee produced from the SS-1 is excellent.

Overall we can't but recommend the Cuisinart SS-1 Cup-O-Matic Single Serve Coffee Maker. This is simply one of the best cups of single serve coffee we've had from a single serve coffee pod brewer, and the price point at $199 though higher than other makers, makes the Cuisinart SS-1 Cup-O-Matic Single Serve Coffee Maker still very affordable for a single serve coffee machine that can use both ground coffee and coffee pods.

Again - feel free to read our previous features on the SS-1 to get even more details on this amazing single serve coffee maker.

  • Cuisinart SS-1 Cup-O-Matic Single Serve Coffee Maker first news
  • Unboxing, the Cuisinart SS-1 Cup-O-Matic Single Serve Coffee Maker
  • First Impressions of the Cuisinart SS-1 Cup-O-Matic Single Serve Coffee Maker
  • Using Ground Coffee in the Cuisinart SS-1 Cup-O-Matic Single Serve Coffee Maker

At Cuisinart SS-1 Cup-O-Matic Single Serve Coffee Maker

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Posted by Jay Brewer at November 12, 2007 9:02 AM
Recent Comments

I got a Keurig B 70 for Christmas and it only heats to 165 despite saying it is 192. Has anyone measure the Cuisinart water temp? It seems if it takes 1 -2 minutes to make a cup, it better be pretty hot?
In all these reviews ( on every machine ) no one ever measures water temp? Am I the only person who owns a Thermopen?

Posted by: Ric at December 30, 2010 1:37 PM

Cup O Matic makes a good cup of coffee. Kind of loud, but well worth the noise.

Posted by: Kevin O'Brien at May 19, 2010 8:22 AM

I have a cuisinart cup-o-matic. I don't mind the machine, it's OK. If I use ground coffee (French press grind) the filter plugs up and the coffee drips out so slowly and I never get a full cup. It needs some kind of a paper filter, I believe. Also, hard to find other than the Lazarra pods for this machine. Any idea on where to get pods that make a reasonable cup of coffee?

Posted by: coffeelover at January 23, 2010 1:15 PM

I own and have owned $1,000+ super automatics (Krups and Jura). The Cusinart is the first coffee maker I have owned that allows the subtle (and not so subtle) differences of coffees and grind to show through. If you are using ground coffee (versus PODS) trial and error the grind and you will be amazed. If you want strong coffee - tamp your grounds prior to inserting into the maker - you can get much more coffee into the holder this way.

Posted by: Tom at November 1, 2009 6:22 PM

I just purchased thi Cusinart SS1 brand new from a thrift store on Friday. I had no idea how wonderful this device is. If I knew it was this good, I would have spent 199 on it a long time ago. It makes the best competes with coffee house coffee. It is AMAZING and the best $10 I ever spent.

Posted by: Rebecca at October 6, 2009 11:45 AM

The wife lost the filter basket on trash day,,,Wow a $200.00 coffee maker ,,,called cusinart had a replacement in 3 days....I love this coffee maker it is the best,,,,,The coffee is always the same.Hot,Fresh and just made.........I LOVE IT ,,,,, CUSINART THANKS FOR THE BEST COFFEE MAKER MADE oh yes the basket was lost in August 2009

Posted by: julius FARMER at September 4, 2009 6:55 AM

Espresso pods will not work - only coffee pods. Check out our coffee pod reviews section.

Posted by: Jay Brewer at August 13, 2009 1:53 PM

Thanks. I seem to be having trouble finding the perfect size espresso pods for the Cuisinart SS-1 Cup-O-Matic Single Serve Coffee Maker. Can you recommend any that you may have used.


Posted by: d at August 13, 2009 12:05 PM

Anything that comes in a 62 mm 7-12gram coffee pod. That would include Tea Pods - but no milk based coffee pods.

Posted by: Jay Brewer at August 13, 2009 11:13 AM

thank you for getting back to me. are there nay cappuccino's that u can brew in the Cuisinart SS-1 Cup-O-Matic Single Serve Coffee Maker or is it only coffee? Can you brew espresso? Is it just that there is no place for the milk for cappuccions.

Posted by: d at August 13, 2009 11:05 AM

No - you can't use the Senseo cappuccino pods.

Posted by: Jay Brewer at August 13, 2009 10:13 AM

Can I use senseo cappucinos in the Cuisinart SS-1 Cup-O-Matic Single Serve Coffee Maker?

Posted by: d at August 13, 2009 10:08 AM

I bought this at Tuesday Morning for $99 this week and I LOVE IT! However, I called Cuisinart and they are not making the SS1 anymore and don't have plans to make another single serve coffee maker. So, if you want it, you better buy it at soon :)

Posted by: Jen at May 14, 2009 10:56 AM


Posted by: JUSTIN at January 29, 2009 10:49 PM

Yes, it makes good coffee - but don't ever damage or lose the metal filter basket. Cuisinart does NOT carry the part, and it is almost impossible to get a replacement. If you can't find the part, you have a Cup-O-Matic landfill item - the machine does not work without it.

Posted by: Richard at January 15, 2009 1:44 PM

I am really interested in the SS-1 machine, but have never used a single serving coffee maker. My concern is: I have one cup of coffee a day in the morning and it is 18 oz. Will the machine make two 9 oz cups with 1 pod or ground coffee fill?

Posted by: Jim at June 12, 2008 1:10 PM

I bought the cuisinart cup-o-matic a week ago and I LOVE this machine! Makes a great cup of coffee and is so easy to use and clean. It certainly is on the louder side, but nothing intolerable. It does vibrate during use, pushing the cup around quite a bit and sometimes almost off the tray, but this is completely remedied by removing the tray and vastly improved by placing a mousepad with rubber up under the unit (fits perfect) acting as a sort of shock absorber i guess. I suppose a rubber mat of some sort would do also. As for ground coffee, i don't really know how anyone can say its hard to clean after, it takes 30 seconds to wash both basket and cup out with soap afetr each use so its ready to go. the coffee this machine makes is truly wonderful and unlike the breville, which i tried right before this one, it truly allows you to customize your coffee (I actually made my first few cups too strong to compensate for the weak, watery coffee i was getting with the breville). I am so so happy with this machine and I hope this review helps anyone on the fence!

Posted by: silvia at March 13, 2008 5:59 AM

I bought the Cuisinart Cup-O-Matic and want to return it! It's cheap, loud, and not working properly. Not a good buy.

Posted by: Debra at February 18, 2008 11:42 AM

Senseo makes an expresso pod and expresso pod holder for their pod brewers now. The top-of-the-line has held up well for home use, but not at the office.

Posted by: Curtis at January 24, 2008 5:15 PM

To Donna:

If you want a machine that does Espresso and Pods, you should look at the Kenwood Mokabista/K-Cup.
It comes with three different pod holders: one for a single pod, one for double pods and one for ESE-Espresso Pods (illy, molinari, etc.) and offers a powerful 15 bar pump. The coffee it produces is very good, even the espresso is not much different from a Saeco or Gaggia ESE machine. Highly recommended.

Posted by: Bernhard at January 9, 2008 6:02 AM

I got the Cup-o-Matic for Christmas after doing a bunch of research on my options. I'm now thinking about taking it back. On the upside, it's a good-looking machine, good water tank capacity, and the great option of using pods or ground coffee. Disappointments: the noise is ridiculous, enough to feel like I'm waking the whole house. (I was warned of that in reviews, however.) You have to remove the drip tray to get your mug to stop skipping around while brewing. Other cons: it really needs two pods for a normal mug of coffee as one pod produces a very watery cup. I like using my own ground coffee, but cleaning out the basket it very difficult. Because of the tamping piston it really compacts the coffee tightly. It won't just dump out into the trash or sink, I have to scrape it out with a spoon. It's a lot of work for each cup of coffee. The variety of soft pods seems to be disappointing, too, although perhaps on online search will locate a source with more varieties than just the regular, decaf and dark roast that Lavazza offers. The coffee is not terribly hot. And using it for hot water only (for tea or chai) requires you to clean the basket and wipe the tamping device as grounds get caught in that tamping thing and you'll get amber-colored water for your non-coffee beverage. It's just not all that I had hoped for. Am now considering the new Breville (Keurig) that Williams-Sonoma has instead.

Posted by: Marybeth at December 29, 2007 3:27 PM

I have had two Bunn My Cafes. Actually it's sort of three. The first one started leaking from the base, so I sent it back and they sent back another one. Before I got the replacement, I bought another one. It eventually started leaking after the warranty was up so I tossed it. Just yesterday, the replacement one started dripping water non stop from the pod holder. I just ordered a Keurig B70 as a replacement. Hopefully it will last longer than 1 year...this is getting expensive!

Posted by: Mary South at December 28, 2007 10:56 AM

How can you tell the Cuisinart SS-1 uses white metal for the outer basket? I just bought one and the inner and outer baskets look like they're made of identical material.

Posted by: Kathy Mader at December 22, 2007 12:20 AM

I'll be getting the SS-1 for Christmas to replace my Senseo. Does anyone recommend a particular ground setting for when I get my coffee from Starbucks?

Posted by: Bill at December 15, 2007 7:41 PM

I have owned most of the single cup machines out there. If this can help you decidse her is my opinion:
. Senseo makes a good european size cup of coffee. It delivers a nice cream on top of the coffee. Its a high pressure type of machine and really extracts well for the smaller European sized cups. Limits: You have to use pods that fit the Senseo basket, smaller cup size or you get a weaker coffee on the two cup setting and the small water tank. Price is good though.
. Krupps. Nice design but I found the coffee to be weak and not hot. I didn't like the machine. Gave it away.
. Kering K cup machine. Well make machine and delivers a decent cup of coffee but on the weaker side. Limits: You have to buy K cupp coffee and its expenseive. Limits your coffee selection to companies who make their coffee in K cups. They sell a basket so you can use ground coffee but it plugs up in about three months.
. Simplehuman. Cute little machine. It makes a good cup of coffee but weaker than a Senseo and no creame on top of the coffee. Its lower pressure extraction than a Senseo. It will except all Senseo pods but it does take double pods well and will possibly not take an extre sized pod. I broke my first unit trying to fit in a double portion pod. Its OK but I would prefer a Senseo for coffee quality but its better looking on the counter than the Senseo. What do you want, looks or coffee?
I kept the best for last!
. The Bunn. This will be shot. Its the best all around. Qualility, company customer service and coffee produced. It isn't perfect but its the closest. Limits: You have to use pods. But whats great with the Bunn, you can use any pod. It will take doubles and extra-portioned pods as well with no problem! It bews coffee with no creame though because its a lower pressure extraction than the Senseo. The water tank is a large size for less frequent filling. You can use ground coffee so it limits you to the coffee found in pods. But you can by pass this by buy the pod making machine advertised on this website. This will also allow you to play with the strength of coffee you like. You coffee will be hot consistantly.
. Cuisinart SS-1. This is the first of the next generation single cup makes. Why I say this is that it givew you the option of either using pods or ground coffee of your choice. The coffee isn't quit as hot as the Bunn but it is OK. The coffee strength can be adjust two ways. The machine has a coffee strength adjustment and you can add more gounds or less (Bunn can do this as well with the te setting that send hot water in spurts as well but again only with pods)coffee grounds. Water tank size is good. The machine isn't made as well as the Bunn (Bunn is made is USA, Chicago and the Cuisinart is made in China). You can feel it in the weight of the machines and the fit and quality of the parts. I am very satisfied with the qulaity of the coffee. No creame because it use a lower pressure to extract the coffee. Not as hot as the Bunn but you can use any coffee you want. Thats the only advantage over the Bunn! Everything else the Bunn is far superior to the SS-1. One thing I don't like about the cuisinart and I called the company about is the double basket design. The inner basket is stainless steel but the outer basket is white metal. Within two months of use the outer basket started to pit and blister. I got concerned with all of the lead scares from china that I could be getting lead in my coffee. There are several white metals available and half contain lead for add elasticity properties in the metal. With China's record whose to say that this component isn't tainted with lead? Cuisinart said they would send me a stailess steel outer basket. I'll believe its stainless when I recieve my replacement! Until then I am using only my Bunn. I had a hard time trying to explain the customer service what white metal was, they thought it was a white colored metal. I would be cautious until they make the basckets in all stainless steel so you don't get any leaching of the metal in your coffee.
. Braum T cup. Machine is cute and light, doesn't have the heft of the Bunn. Limits: T cups are expensive and good luck trying to find them in a store, your limited to purchasing on the web or from Braum. The coffee is good though. It makes a better qulaity cup of coffee than the Keurig K cup system. But you have limited availability of the T cups and the cost.
The only machine I have not had experience with is the Grindmaster pod home brewer machine. Grindmaster specializes in comercial coffee machines like Bunn does so the quality has to be in the machine. I would suspect that the machine is somewhere close to the Bunn machine in quality and the coffee it delivers.

My dream machine would be a Bunn designed to use pods like the My Cafe and use grind coffee of you choice like the Cuisinart SS-1. If that machine becomes available I will be first in line for it!!!!!!!

I would wait before you buy the cuisinart SS-1 until cuisinart changes their basket design. If they don't pick another machine that doesn't leach whatever metal in you coffee (hopefully not lead!)

My choices:
For small spaces and smaller cups of coffee with a creame topping on your coffee (Like and expresso) The Senseo
For a good quality machine that will last for years and deliver a consistent good cup of american sized coffee with no creame, The Bunn

If you want to use your coffee ground than buy the pod maker machine and you'll have the best of both worlds until Bunn or Grindmaster makes a machine like the SS-1.

Just my opinion. Hope it helps you in your sellections.

Merry Christsmas

Posted by: Normand at December 8, 2007 3:24 PM

Trying to make the best decision on a single serving. Do you think they will ever make a k cup or pod with espresso? I guess I want everything in a machine,

Posted by: Donna at December 3, 2007 12:12 AM

I just bought the cup-o-matic today and I have to say this machine may be a bit slower and noisier but the end result is AWESOME!! Macy's had these for $199.99 and had a 10% coupon so it was $179.99 plus tax. I have a Tassimo which is good for latte's and cupaccinos. And until today I have been using a senseo. I think the piston that lowers down onto the pods improves the quality of the pods. I have some more coffee pods of different brands and varieties but I am very pleased with the quality of the coffee I have tried so far.

Posted by: Heartless at November 29, 2007 12:46 AM

In need of Cuisinart vs. Bunn advice! I'm a first time pod coffee maker buyer and have narrowed the options down after reading this site and doing some additional research. I am really torn between the new Cuisinart and the Bunn. My goal is a small, stylish quick pod coffee maker for decaf flavored coffees (about all I drink other than tea) that has variable cup-sizes and will accommodate travel mugs. I thought the Cuisinart sounded ideal in the event I have a guest who wants to use grinds, but I went to Williams Sonoma and alas the Cuisinart was pretty loud, and the spout didn't seem that high for tall travel mugs (even with the tray removed). And I've heard that you can't find the Bunn to try in stores for comparison. Both are evenly priced, and about the same size (although I like the style of the Cuisinart a little more). Does anyone who has had both have any preference? Is the Bunn significantly quieter than the Cuisinart? Thanks!

Posted by: Gillian at November 25, 2007 6:50 PM

How is the machine for just getting hot water? That's one thing I love about my Bunn MCP.

Posted by: Patrick at November 17, 2007 11:28 PM

Yeah, as an SS-1 owner, I can say that there is no traditional pod-holder type seal involved at all........ the thing uses the piston to extract the coffee, not water under pressure..... it looks to me like the piston is sort of a "showerhead" and the water comes out of it......... and as it presses down and forces water through the grounds, it make the coffee..... sort of like squeezing a teabag......

Posted by: Dave at November 14, 2007 10:59 PM

This really isn't an issue like on the Senseo, Home Cafe, and others - it's more like the Bunn My Cafe - the filter basket slides in - there isn't a head under pressure to snap open or break open during the brew process.

Posted by: Jay Brewer at November 12, 2007 2:11 PM

I think this is going to be my Christmas gift to me. Quick question, the one thing that was not addressed in this very good review: Is the build quality around the reservoir and seals better than average? I ask because my last two pod brewers have let go at the seals and I'm getting frustrated with machines that are awesome...for six months until they fall apart.

I really want this one to be good. :)

Posted by: James Kenefick at November 12, 2007 2:04 PM

Great Review!
Of all the SS coffee makers i have had, this one makes the best tasting coffee,and you never have to worry about which holder you should use for which sized pod.
the best part for me is that it is extremely customizable.
I have put the drip tray away and this minimizes the noise and vibration very much.
A very well thought out machine deserving of the best pods that one can afford


Posted by: Cheezr at November 12, 2007 10:34 AM
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