Keurig dominates the world of single serve coffee makers, but don’t discount broader kitchen appliance brands like Cuisinart.
The company’s built an excellent reputation for its growing collection of coffee makers. The SS-10 in particular has proved extremely popular in recent years.
In my Cuisinart SS-10 review, I’m taking a detailed look at one of the most popular Keurig-compatible machines you can buy. Can a Cuisinart Keurig coffee maker really be as good as the “real” thing?
(If you want to explore more of my coffee content when you’re done, take a look at the epic home brewing guide I put together!)
About Single Serve Coffee Makers
Single serve coffee machines are designed to do one thing very well: get a decent cup of coffee in you as quickly as possible!
They don’t produce the greatest coffee in the world, but they’re incredibly convenient. You don’t have to measure out the coffee, they work quickly, and the process is entirely hands-off.
Who are they for?
If convenience and speed are the most important criteria for you when choosing a coffee machine, these are perfect for you.
If you’re a commuter who’s typically in a rush in the morning, single serve coffee makers do a great job of getting a pretty good cup of coffee in you quickly.
You can adjust most of them to accommodate travel mugs as well. Do check the maximum height of the dispenser once you’ve temporarily removed the drip tray though.
Although these coffee makers don’t make the hottest coffee in the world, that’s likely to be a benefit when you’re in a rush!
Who AREN’T they for?
These machines are built around convenience and budget. That means you won’t have many options for tweaking the brew.
In general, the depth of the coffee flavor isn’t as well developed either. True connoisseurs will likely find the results lacking.
By definition, single serve coffee makers aren’t great at making big batches of coffee either. Something to think about if you’re after a machine for hosting guests.
Finally, you need to consider the long-term costs. Although these machines are often relatively cheap to buy up-front, if you’re using the pods then you need to factor in the ongoing costs these represent.
Cuisinart SS-10 Overview
The SS-10 is the leading Cuisinart single serve coffee makers, and represents a direct response to the ever-growing popularity of Keurig machines.
It offers the same compatibility with the huge range of Keurig K-Cup coffee pods, but goes a little further.
(Viva Flavor is reader-supported. When you buy using our links we may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you. Thank you for support our independent reviews!)
You get a reusable coffee filter out of the box, for example. That means you can carry on using your existing ground coffee without buying a separate accessory.
It also features basic programming options so you can set your drink up the night before. There are some limited brewing options too, including a temperature tweak.
If you’re interested in buying a Keurig machine, but the actual brand isn’t important to you, I think it provides a much better experience overall.
- Fast heating up time means you get your first cup of coffee very quickly.
- A generous selection of brewing sizes: 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 oz. That’s more than many other machines of this type.
- 72 oz water reservoir, which will drastically reduce the need to refill the machine.
- Pre-ground coffee accessory is included with the machine, and has its own dedicated storage area.
- Auto On / Off function built-in, and you can tweak the temperature a little too.
- Compatible with all K-Cups.
- Quite large for a machine of this type, so make sure there’s room for it in your kitchen.
- All pod machines are a little “plastic-y” and that’s the case with the SS-10.
- Occasional issues with pod puncturing. You may have to do it yourself from time to time.
- If you want to use fresh whole beans with the machine, you’ll need to purchase a good grinder.
- Can be a little messy if you’re not careful.
Cuisinart SS-10 Review
That’s a very broad overview of the SS-10.
In the rest of this review I’m going to take a closer look at some of the specific features of this particular Cuisinart K Cup coffee maker.
The most important part, of course!
Pod brewing never holds up well against freshly ground – or often even pre-ground – coffee, but that’s the nature of the beast.
One of your friends likely has a Keurig machine, so give it a try first. For most coffee drinkers it’s a perfectly enjoyable experience.
One of the things I really like about the SS-10 though is the variety of serving sizes it can accommodate.
You can brew up a 4, 6, 8, 10 or 12 oz serving. That represents more options than just about any other single serve coffee machine I’ve used.
Also unusual is the option to choose between two different brewing temperatures.
It’s not exactly cutting edge stuff, but if you like a hotter drink then it goes some way towards overcoming the temperature issues these machines tend to have.
Although the machine can use any Keurig coffee pod, it’s worth noting that you can’t branch out from there into Nespresso, for example.
There are some 250 different Keurig pods to experiment with though.
As long as you’re happy with the overall quality of Keurig branded coffee, you’re unlikely to run out of new flavors to try any time soon.
I want to finish this section with a mention of something Cuisinart does very definitely to Keurig.
Out of the box you receive something called a Reusable Filter Cup. This lets you continue brewing your favorite pre-ground coffee and loose teas.
That’s good for your pocket, and much better for the environment too.
Keurig provides a similar accessory for its machines, but you’ll need to buy it separately.
It’s an extra cost you can always do without when it comes to entry level machines, and it’ll help you save money on pods in the long-run.
There’s even a dedicated storage area for this filter, built in to the machine.
This is quite a big machine, but that’s largely down to the 72 oz water reservoir.
You’ll need to check the machine will fit on your own countertop, but I actually really appreciate this extra capacity.
It’s a pain in the neck having to refill these things throughout the day, and frankly I’d always rather have something bigger (within reason!)
That water is passed through a charcoal filter as it’s drawn as well, which helps to improve the flavor of the coffee.
That extra capacity also helps to keep the machine ticking over thanks to a rinse function.
After each brew you make, a little bit of water will be flushed through the brew chamber. This gets rid of the residual flavor from your last brew, and ensures the next one won’t be affected.
Finally, if you need to grab some hot water for tea, instant soups or hot chocolate, you can actually use this machine as a hot water dispenser as well.
It’s worth mentioning that the drip tray on the SS-10 is removable, and pops out pretty easily too.
The reason this is such a useful feature is it increases the size of the cups you can fit under the dispenser.
If you like to take a travel mug on your commute, for example, you can pick a larger serving size, pop the tray out and fill up.
There’s about 7” of space to play with once you’ve done this, so just check your current travel mug will fit first.
The SS-10 features a very clear, nicely backlit LCD display. From here you access the brew settings, and it displays a 24 hour clock at other times.
Keen to grab a couple of minutes’ extra sleep in the morning? You can set the SS-10 up the night before, and have it automatically brew your first cup for whenever you wake up.
It also turns itself off after around 30 minutes of inactivity.. I’m one of those people who hates the idea of hot machines sitting idle, so this is always a bonus for me!
Build & Design
Like most single serve pod machines, the SS-10 is unlikely to win any design awards any time soon.
With that said, I think it looks a little more pleasing than many other machines in this category. It’s largely constructed of plastic, but there are some stainless steel elements which help.
Ultimately you’ll have to consider where you want to locate this machine, and how it will look in your own kitchen.
- Dimensions: 11.03 x 9.33 x 12.13 inches
You’ll often find that these machines lend some of that plastic taste to the drink, but I’ve not found that to be the case with the SS-10. It’s another big tick against the competition.
As with all appliances, the better you care for the SS-10 the more use you’ll get out of it. It won’t last as long as a more industrial coffee machine, but I think it’s pretty durable for the price point.
As for weight, the SS-10 clocks in at around 9.5 lbs. These aren’t designed to be moved around a lot, so I doubt this will be a problem for your countertop. It’s certainly an improvement over previous Cuisinart machines!
Cleaning & Maintenance
The SS-10 is a very simple machine to care for.
I’ve already mentioned the auto-rinse feature, which is really helpful when it comes to keeping the machine in good order.
Both the section that holds the pods and the reusable filter are dishwasher safe, which makes life a lot easier.
I would still recommend giving the drip tray and reservoir a good manual clean in the sink.
Every three to six months or so – depending on how hard you water is – you’ll also get an alert about descaling the machine.
Don’t ignore this! Clearing out the mineral build-up will definitely extend the life of the machine, and your coffee will taste a lot better as well.
The machine comes with a charcoal filter, but you should expect to replace it every two to three months.
As much as I like the SS-10, there are some other machines you might like to consider before settling for it.
Here’s a snapshot of some of my favorites that compare well with the machine.
If you’re really short on countertop space, and need something slimmer than the SS-10, definitely look at its younger brother the SS-5.
The main difference, as you’d expect, is that you have a much smaller water reservoir. If you’re only going to be drinking a couple of cups a day though, that’s obviously not going to present a problem.
You should also be aware that the SS-5 features slightly fewer brewing sizes. You lack the 4 oz serving of the SS-10, as well as the 12 oz.
That might be a problem if you’re looking to fill a travel mug before racing off to the office, so just be aware of these limitations.
You also don’t have the option of using the reusable filter cup in this model either. Still it’s an otherwise comparable coffee maker that does much the same as the SS-10.
This is the next machine up from the SS-10, and is more suitable if you’re looking to make a carafe’s-worth of coffee that you savor over a longer period of time.
That carafe is included with the machine, and it has its own dedicated 60 oz water reservoir. The single serve side of the machine has a 40 oz reservoir.
Cuisinart claims the carafe is good for 12 cups of coffee, but realistically I think you’re looking at more like eight.
Like the SS-10, you also get a reusable filter included with the machine.
You’ve slightly less brewing sizes to use in total though. You can either make a “12 Cup” carafe, or you can brew 6, 8 or 10 oz single serve sizes.
I couldn’t leave Keurig out of the alternatives! The most directly comparable machine with the SS-10 is the K Elite.
This machine features a somewhat larger 75 oz water reservoir. Unlike the SS-10 it also has a dedicated setting for brewing hot coffee over ice. Nice if you like a rich, cold coffee in the summer.
It has a generous selection of serving sizes as well. 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 oz settings are all available on the machine.
If you want a stronger brew than other people in your household, there’s a setting that adds a little oomph to the flavor.
There’s not an awful lot you can do to enhance pod coffee if I’m honest, but it’s a welcome feature to have on a entry-level machine like this. It works a little better than earlier Keurig machines in this regard as well.
If you’re determined to stick with Keurig, but need the features of the SS-10, I think this is your best option.
I was really impressed with the Cuisinart SS-10, and I wouldn’t hesitate to choose it as an alternative to a Keurig equivalent.
The coffee it produces is as good as it gets with single serve coffee makers, and the temperature tweak is a really welcome addition.
Although the programming features are basic, being able to set the first drink up the night before I want it is always very welcome.
I think the inclusion of the reusable filter out of the box is a big advantage for the machine as well. No one wants to buy extra accessories when they can avoid doing so, after all!
Click here to learn more about the Cuisinart SS-10, and read other reviews of the machine.