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Review: Starbucks Verismo Coffee Maker

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BocaNewsNow.com reviews the Starbucks Verismo Coffee Maker.


UPDATE: November 16, 2012: After our glowing review, we ended up returning the Verismo machine and returned to Nespresso. Quite simply, the Verismo machine just didn't get hot enough and the coffee wasn't good enough to justify the approximately $1/pod price. Unless you have a very tiny appetite, there is no way that a user will make a single pod latte, meaning that you're rivaling the cost of the “real” version at a Starbucks.

We think that Starbucks has enormous potential in this market, but the Verismo pricing needs to change, and the machines — even the low end version — need to be built with more quality and have a temperature control. Until then, after several weeks of testing and trying, we can not recommend the Verismo experience. Plus, we feel that you can't take something sold at Bed Bath and Beyond — simultaneously with William-Sonoma — seriously.


BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — If you are a single serve coffee fan, but find that nothing quite compares to your all too frequent visit to Starbucks, you owe yourself a trial of the new Starbucks Verismo single serve coffee maker.

You've likely heard by now that Starbucks is entering the upper echelon of single serve coffee makers. Not what we've found to be the consistently poor taste from the ubiquitous Keurig machine using K-Cups, or the not-quite-all-that-cool Senseo machine, but something that is supposed to rival the mature taste of Nespresso.

We were apprehensive yet eager to try the Starbucks offering at the Williams-Sonoma at Boca Raton's Town Center Mall. Apprehensive because we really didn't want it to be horrible. Eager because we really wanted to see it in action. Williams-Sonoma has two models — a $199 version and a $399 version which includes extra buttons and lights, although nothing worth an extra $200. But we'll talk about pricing in a minute. First, lets talk about taste.

Our demo-barista made for us a latte, complete with “tall” paper Starbucks cup. We're not sure if the actual Starbucks logo on the cup added to the flavor, but we're not entirely sure that it did not.

All kidding aside, the process couldn't have been easier. Turn the machine on. Drop in a powdered milk pod which — when hydrated — creates a phenomenal tasting portion of two percent milk. Then, add the Starbucks espresso pod. Within two minutes, you have a cup — albeit small cup — of Starbucks Latte.

We are not being paid to say this. No one has given us a free machine. But in a word: wow. It's not identical to what you get in a “real” Starbucks, but it is extremely close. The tradeoff, many will believe, is worth it: a very Starbucks-like cup of coffee or latte without having to leave your home.

There is also a brewing option for 'regular' Starbucks coffee (not a mixed beverage), but we did not have the opportunity to try it. We hear, however, that it's equally as good.

While the machines are on par with other home pod coffee makers when it comes to pricing, the pods themselves are on the pricier side. Unless you compare them with the actual cost of buying a drink at Starbucks, and then you're very much ahead. A box of 8 latte/espresso capsules with 8 milk pods will run you around $12. That's $1.50 or so per latte. Even if you double the dose, your $3 price is less than the $4+ you'll pay in store. And there's no one dinging your car in the parking lot.

A coffee pod — for flavors like “Pike Place” or others that you would buy in store — are roughly $1 each.

BocaNewsNow.com has long been a fan of the somewhat snobbish Nespresso brand, as we are in Boca and by definition somewhat snobbish. But we are seriously considering a switch over to the Verismo.

Everyone's taste is different, so it's impossible to say you'll love it or you won't, but head on over to Williams-Sonoma and ask for a sample. You'll at least know before you buy. And on that note, Williams-Sonoma is the only place right now to buy the machine, although Starbucks will begin carrying the $199 version in-store soon.

UPDATE: If you missed it, please read the first paragraph of this review which was updated several weeks after this was first posted. We returned the Verismo machine and currently do NOT recommend it.


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7 thoughts on “Review: Starbucks Verismo Coffee Maker”

  1. It seems as if these reviews are paid for by Starbucks. It strikes me as odd that there is no mention of the CBTL machines. Especially, the Kaldi (from the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf). The Verismo is simply not hot enough and there is no adjustment to make it hotter. The more expensive version of the Verismo can only be made cooler. The Kaldi makes piping hot coffee and espresso. The flavors are amazing. The pods are about 64 cents. The Kaldi retails for 149. It is a superior machine in all aspects. We’ve tested Nespresso, Verismo, Tassimo, and Keurig. They all made a luke warm drink. If you visit a neutral site like Amazon, you will see the ratings are very high for CBTL. The Verismo on Williams Sonoma site gets a lot of “one star” reviews. Hope this helps someone who really wants a delicious, HOT cup of coffee or an espresso.

    1. BocaNewsNow.com Staff

      While we wish we were paid, we were not. The $199 charge exists on our credit card. If anyone wants to send us a free machine, however, don’t hesitate!

    2. I could not agree more. I have Lavazza machine and received a Verismo to use in my office as a Christmas present. The concept is great. The product is luke warm at best and there is no way to adjust the temperature. I had a sample given to me at a Starbucks…and it seemed fine. I have made several cups of espresso and one latte. None are hot enoght no matter how long I leave the machine on. Also it requires at least three espresso pods to get teh latte to a reasonable flavor. One pod was like having coffee milk…two was an improvement but it wasn’t until i used three that it came close. The machine is being returned. I will check out kaldi…and may look at a lower priced Lavazza machine for office use. Shame on Starbucks…this could have been a winner!

  2. I saw this demo’d and it was terrible. Very very cheaply constructed compared to the Nespresso machines, and was no where near the taste. So I agree with the first poster, you seem to be paid. There is no way I would give up my Nespresso for this hunk of plastic.

    1. BocaNewsNow.com Staff

      In case you didn’t read the update at the top of the story, we agree with you. We returned the unit and happily moved back to our Nespresso machine.
      There really is no comparison.

  3. Glad i’m not the only person who thinks a dollar a capsule is outrageous. Once again, it’s not just the coffee that’s a dollar – starbucks is doing market entry into the milk, the BREW, as well as the espresso capsules. Yes, it is cheaper up-front, but think about it. How much will you be payin in the long run for fucking milk? 1 buck a capsule? Are you nuts? You can buy a gallon, use that same gallon of milk for cereal and cooking and still have more milk left than what equates to the equally costing 4 capsules of milk.

  4. I AM paid and I will honestly tell you THIS THING SUCKS!! It leaks and milky watery coffee mixture gets ALL OVER the place and it’s super hard to clean. Not to mention is smells horribly. Forget to clean it? Forget it, you’re done. It’s a bacteria and mold playground. I feel sorry for any sap who buys this.