For those who weren't aware, it's somewhat difficult to find a reasonably-priced, single-serving coffee maker. As my girlfriend does not partake, I found this to be a bit of a problem when looking to brew my own coffee a few months ago.
There aren't many options on the market, and the majority require proprietary one-use coffee capsules. The names and geometries of these capsules vary by manufacturer -- Keurig has their K-Cups, Braun's Tassimo uses T-DISCS, and Phillips' Senseo takes Pods -- but the one thing they all have in common is that they cost substantially more per cup of coffee than buying grounds or beans.
It's the classic razor and blades business model. Buy one of those coffee makers, and you are locked in to that company's capsules... which is exactly what they want, because that's where they make their money. They will gladly give the coffee makers away if it gets you to start buying the capsules... and, in fact, they are. Flipping through the paper the other day, I came across an advertisement for the Senseo "Drop the Drip" campaign. The gist of it is that if you bring in your old drip-style coffee maker, they'll gladly take it off your hands and, in return, give you a brand new Senseo coffee maker... for free. It's marketing brilliance! Not only do they get you started on their product, but they take away your old one to leave you with no alternative.
No thank you, says Drag Reduction. What a racket.
I ended up buying a small french press, in case you were interested. It is working out fairly well, though muddy coffee takes some getting used to. More on that later.