Our Hamilton Beach FlexBrew Review (2024 Coffee Makers)

Brewing coffee is all about convenience right now, and single serve coffee brewers are super popular for this very thing.

But what about flexibility?

I’m talking about easily switching between K-Cup pods and your own ground coffee.

Hamilton Beach’s FlexBrew line offers you this feature in compact and easy to use machines. Not only do the machines take single serve cups like K-Cups but they also easily allows you to use your own coffee in a wider brewing basket filter.

We’ve all been there trying to scoop our coffee into that little filter cup without it spilling over just so that we can use it in our Keurig. But Hamilton Beach has incorporated a little larger single cup brewing basket cup. This makes it so much easier to use your own coffee in it.

The entire Flexbrew line offers something for everyone from single cup brewers to coffee makers with a 12 cup carafe alongside the single brewer.

If you don’t want the limitation of the typical single serve brewer like the Keurig to get in your way, you might want to look at these machines.

FlexBrew Single Serve Coffee Maker

The FlexBrew Single-Serve Coffee Maker model 49974 is one slim machine at only 6 1/2 inches wide. This can make the perfect coffee maker for an apartment or dorm room. It will brew one cup at a time and thanks to its removable cup rest, you can brew directly into a cup or up to an 8-inch tall travel mug.

The cup rest also features a storage area for either the K-Cup brewing holder or the refillable brewing basket. This is nice so you don’t lose those accessories.

There is no brewing selection like on a Keurig. Instead, you fill the cup reservoir up to your desired size. It has lines on the reservoir so you can see how much you are adding. Other than that, it is pretty straightforward to use, just put the pod or brewing basket it in, push the lever down and push the Brew Now button.

► Related – See the best Keurig machines of the year right here.

Notable Features of the FlexBrew 49974

  • Compatible with K-Cups or your own coffee
  • Single serve brewing cup with a 3 Tablespoon max line on it
  • Adjustable cup rest to allow you to fill your own travel mug up to 8 inches
  • Removable parts are dishwasher safe this includes the single-serve pack holder, handle and lock, drip tray, cup rest and filter basket
  • 10 oz brewing capacity for K-Cup and up to 14 oz for your own ground coffee
    auto shut off when the brew is finished

Yes You Can Brew With Your Own Coffee Grounds

You will still want to be sure you are using a medium grind coffee for your refillable brewing cup. If you grind too fine, you can clog the filter and you won’t get a good cup of coffee. Just grind to a medium coarseness and you will be just fine. You can save money by brewing your own cup this way and it doesn’t take that much time to set it up.

If you don’t want to worry about figuring out the right grind, Cuisinart sells a Grind and Brew single coffee machine that grinds and brews up to 16 oz. It uses a blade grinder so it isn’t going to be fancy ground coffee but you still get that fresh ground, fresh brewed coffee taste in a single coffee brewer.

This brewer does get the water hotter than the Keurig does, perhaps getting a better extraction. But it also takes a little less than 3 minutes from the time you push the lever down to the time that the brew is done in order to do this. This might be a long time for some of you.

Clean up is a breeze, with only 1/2 cup plain white vinegar and 1/2 cup cold water in the reservoir. Run it through and then rinse for 2-3 cycles before making your coffee again. You don’t have to buy specialized Descaler which is a huge bonus in my mind.

If the size of the travel mug allowed keeps you from choosing this one, you can find one using this article, or you can check out the Black and Decker CM625B which comes with its own travel mug. Either way, there are other options besides the Keurig.

Hamilton Beach is releasing a single serve FlexBrew with a 40 oz reservoir that will offer more volume options. It isn’t available yet but it is only 9.4 inches wide. If you want the convenience of not having to fill your water tank up every time you want to brew, this might be the better option for a single brewer.

FlexBrew Dual Single Serve Coffee Maker

Is the Single Brewer not enough for you? Maybe you want to make two cups but not have to wait the 3 minutes between brews to make that second cup. Here is the solution.

The FlexBrew Dual Single Serve Coffee Maker model 49998 gives you two single brewing machines that brew simultaneously. Use a single serve pod, fresh ground coffee or dispense hot water for tea. This is a great choice for anyone that might want two cups brewed at the same time but not want to waste a carafe. It is only 9.25” wide as well.

If you want to use your own coffee with this one, again, watch the grind because it uses a filter basket and not an enclosed cup like the updated model above. It can overflow and make a mess if the grind is too fine. Use the typical grind for an auto drip coffee maker and you’ll be fine.

Brewing is easy though, just fill up the reservoir to the desired capacity line and push down on the lever after you put your coffee in.

Features of the FlexBrew Dual Coffee Maker

  • Brew one or two cups at the same time
  • Use K-cups or your own coffee
  • Brewing basket for use with your own coffee
  • Fits cups or travel mugs on either side with the adjustable cup rest for travel mugs
  • Brew 10 oz with a K-Cup and up to 14 with fresh ground coffee
  • 2 power buttons to allow you to brew independently

2-Way FlexBrew Coffee Maker

The 2-Way FlexBrew Coffee Maker model 49976 is the most versatile of the FlexBrew line. You can brew a pot for a party or one to go. It gives you the flexibility of having a single serve brewer but still get to keep your coffee pot.

It was updated at the same time the Single Serve FlexBrew was so it uses the same convenient brewing cup for filling with your own coffee. Having the carafe on one side makes this an all-in-one, do-it-all coffee maker. It takes up 12 inches of counter space, but it is better than having two machines.

Features of the 2-Way FlexBrew

  • Single cup or carafe brew
  • Single-serve side:
    • Use K-Cups or your own coffee
    • Brew up to 14 oz with your coffee, 10 oz K-Cup
    • Adjustable cup rest to allow for travel mugs, also stores accessories
    • Bold or Regular strength brewing option
  • 12 cup carafe side
    • Bold or Regular strength brewing option
    • Programmable timer and auto shutoff
    • Auto pause and serve function

You do have to add the exact amount of water for the single serve side each time you want to brew. It also takes about 3 minutes to brew a single cup. It also doesn’t brew both sides simultaneously. These are the cons for these machines, but at the same time, you don’t have to buy licensed K-Cups or K-Carafe cups for this coffee maker to work.

If you like the flexibility of the 2-way but want more brewing options and less hassle, the Cuisinart SS-15 Coffee Center allows you to select, 6 oz, 8 oz, and 10 oz. It also has a 40 0z reservoir and comes with a reusable filter cup.

This FlexBrew really is a flexible, versatile, and affordable brewer. If you want the convenience of a single serve but the flexibility of a regular coffee maker, this machine will do it for you.

I am the only one drinking coffee in my home. Because of that, my 12 cup coffee maker sits lonely and all but forgotten on a cabinet shelf in my garage. Right now, in my kitchen I have my Keurig K-Compact and pour over cone so I can enjoy my single cups of coffee. It’s an extreme I know. But as soon as I have company over, I have to bring my carafe brewer out. I really like the 2-Way FlexBrew because of its versatility. It eliminates the need for two different machines.

Keurig 2.0 does offer the ability to brew into a carafe that you buy separately, but you do need to buy either the carafe pods or a refillable carafe brewing basket. Bear in mind that the Keurig carafe will only brew up to 32 oz while the FlexBrew can brew up to 72 oz. Brewing capacity could be a deciding factor for you if you regularly have lots of people over or just a few.

So Which One?

Decisions are so hard sometimes, but we don’t want your decision for a coffee maker to be one of those.

The FlexBrew line has from the start, offered the flexibility to brew how you want, hence the name. Depending on what your needs are for a coffee maker, there is a machine for everyone.

To be honest, I am not as impressed with the Dual machine because it has the faulty brewing basket that was the Achilles Heel to the previous models. Your grind has to be just right to get a good cup of coffee and to not make a horrible mess when it overflows if you ground too fine. I hope that Hamilton Beach redesigns this machine because it is the only one of its kind on the market.

Flexibility seems to be the key word today with these machines, but sometimes it beats convenience every time. The FlexBrew line offers you slim coffee makers that also brew your way.

Flexibility, versatility, and convenience. Sometimes you really can have it all.

Brian Mounts

Head blogger, editor, and owner of "Top Off My Coffee", a website that has been educating readers about coffee brewing techniques and equipment since 2012.

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