Skip the Lines, Be Your Own Barista: Merchandise Monday

Coffee makers were a huge focus at this year's Home+Housewares Show in Chicago. More specifically: single-serve coffee makers. The single-serve coffee maker has been one of - if not the - fastest growing segments in the housewares industry. Single-serve machines have been out for several years but have not caught fire until recently. Improvements in the actual quality of the machines and varieties of coffees available for them have contributed to the recent surge in interest.

Like anything else, the economy has played a role in the popularity of single-serve coffee machines. Consumers want coffee shop quality coffee but without the coffee shop quality prices. This is where single-serves have come into play. With the growing amount of coffee varieties becoming available, including some flavors from places like Starbucks, it is becoming more economical and feasible for people to make coffee shop quality coffee in their own home.

What are some of the rising stars in this new market segment? The Tassimo single-serve coffee maker has seen a rise in popularity. Produced by Bosch, Tassimo offers more than just standard coffee with options ranging from Starbucks House Blend, Milka hot chocolate and even Twinings English Breakfast Tea. The machine is also capable of brewing up espresso and macchiato style single-serve hot beverages as well.

As far as being considered "leader of the pack," Keurig definitely takes that title. Its single-serve machine has been a game changer and has quickly risen to be the most popular item in its category. Like Tassimo, Keurig's machine offers several different varieties of coffee styles, called K-Cups, primarily supplied by Green Mountain Roasters. Green Mountain has recently come out with a new line of Energy K-Cups called revv and revv plus, packed with extra guarana and ginseng and targeted at the same groups that enjoy other lines of energy drinks.

In addition to their own economical single-serve machine, Keurig is partnering up with Cuisinart in creating a higher end single-serve coffee maker. This upscale version of a standard Keurig model has more features such as one-touch programmable technology, five cup settings and even an iced beverage feature.

With coffee options like these inside the home, it makes skipping the morning coffee ship trip a little more feasible.