Starbucks Verismo® Review

starbucks-verismo-review

You all know what a coffee hound I am. I mean, hi, my tagline for years was Powered by Coffee and Handbags — thus the coffee and handbag in my header to this day. I love my coffee, and I like good, strong coffee. I also love a latte. In fact, so does my husband. When we travel, we stop at every Starbucks up and down the eastern seaboard for lattes. Between the two of us, I think we keep Starbucks in business.

We’ve long coveted a fancy espresso machine, but we’ve never been able to justify what we want so we have done without. A latte is our treat when out and about, but here at home we settle for a plain ole brewed cuppa joe.

You can imagine my delight when I was invited to the Starbucks Suite at BlogHer to test out their new Verismo® system. They claim that it is a premium, all-in-one brewing system for making Starbucks-quality espresso beverages (Caffé Lattes, Americanos and brewed coffee) conveniently at home.

Sounds great, right? But color me skeptical. For a few months we used a Tassimo brewing system that had the option to make lattes and cappuccinos. Unfortunately they always tasted like chemicals to me.

I was eager to see this new Verismo system by Starbucks, but I was doubtful that it would hold a candle to real a real latte at the coffee shop. Still, an avid Starbucks fan, I made my appointment and showed up right on time to see this new wonder machine in action.

First of all, they did a great job with the suite. It was decorated to resemble a real Starbucks coffee shop, and they were very efficient about moving the groups through on schedule. They had two rooms — one where the system was demoed and you could ask your questions, and the second room where you got to make your own drink of choice and try out the machines. Brilliant.

starbucks verismo red

This model will retail for $299 when it goes on the market in October (JUST in time for the holidays!!)

The Verismo uses convenient, no-mess espresso and milk pods, and they went to great lengths to find a product that is real milk that doesn’t give the drinks that nasty sugary, chemically taste that so often occurs in lower priced latte machines. I can honestly say that they accomplished their goal. I am not easily impressed when it comes to lattes, but this is the real deal. My only suggestion would be to create options for skim, 2% and whole. The ones they are creating right now are 2% milk, but I find that lattes taste much better with whole milk.

I love that the pods collect in a basket, rather than having to empty them each time you make a cup of coffee.

starbucks verismo pods

Finally, the water container slips right on the back — so easy to get on and off, unlike some other single serve coffee brewers I’ve tried.

starbucks verismo water tank

Here I am, enjoying a Cafe Americano. (When I don’t want the calories of a latte, I usually order a Cafe Americano — it is espresso and hot water. It tastes like a cup of brewed coffee . . . but BETTER. This one did not disappoint. It even has the proper froth on top. (That is probably not the technical word, but during the demo, we learned all about the proper layers of an espresso, Americano and latte.)

starbucks verismo cafe americano

I was able to shoot a quick video while I was in the Starbucks suite, to show you how easy it is to use the Starbucks Verismo.

Honestly, I am so excited about this!! The Starbucks Verismo will be on my Christmas list for sure.

Disclosure: I was invited to attend this demonstration in the Starbucks suite at the BlogHer Conference with no strings attached. I was not asked to write about my experience, and I did not receive compensation for this post, nor was I offered a Verismo machine (unfortunately!!) All opinions expressed in this post and the video are very much my own.

Comments

  1. says

    Oh I am envious right now. I work at a cafe, I serve Starbucks. I would love to have one of these babies for at home. And in October? I now know what I am asking for my birthday. That will definitely take the sting out of the big 4-0

  2. says

    Oh you’re good-I didn’t get enough photos! The larger machine has a filter, and fits 30 pods vs. 10 in the ‘trash’. I think there was another benefit, but I was overwhelmed with the smell of coffee.

    We have a super fancy machine that was a gift, and love it…but this seems SO much easier.

  3. says

    Nice video, JL!! Great music and it felt so professional! That latte looks yummers, and I don’t even drink much coffee – haha. What about package/wastage? It seems like a lot of little plastic cups to be tossing in the trash. Couldn’t they make a machine that would let you put in your own whole milk from a jug? Does it just not work that way?

  4. says

    Awesome! We have a Tassimo and LOVE it. Sorry to hear that you feel it tastes like chemicals. That has not been our experience. We use filtered water in it and I think that helps?

    But, Starbucks is my one true coffee love. A Starbucks machine at home would be heaven.

    SO excited to see them out in my area in a few months!!!

  5. LeaneG says

    Can a coffee maker be sexy?!? That is one sexy looking coffee maker!
    I have an issue with drinking something made out of a plastic pod. That is the only thing that keeps me hooked on my Senseo machine. But, honestly, that is a seriously sexy coffee maker. So, I would love hear {or read} an update once you get one! :) Great review!

  6. Adam says

    Will Starbucks sell 3rd party cartridges the way Keurig has Dunkin Doughnuts, Starbucks brand, etc. k-cups?

    Did they state approx. cost of the cartridges? (I believe Keurig is approx. 45 – 55 cents per cup of coffee)

    Thanks!

  7. says

    We just purchased a Keurig system at our house this summer and I’ve been loving it. The convenience of just popping in a pod and brewing a single cup of coffee has been great. Now I’m a little disappointed I didn’t know about the Starbucks Verismo coming out so soon. I might have waited to buy until this came out! Maybe Santa will be extra nice to me and put this under my tree this year… :)

  8. Angela says

    This is a fantastic idea for starbucks lovers. I am sure my husband will want one. We purchased a keurig just a few weeks ago, and he has said that the “mocha” and “latte” products for keurig are not quite up to par. The one area that I feel keurig has starbucks beat is that it is so versatile. We drink coffee, cappuccino, hot tea, iced tea, even apple cider with the keurig. They have something for the whole family, where as the starbucks machine will most likeley only have their brand products. Don’t get me wrong, I am sure they taste great and we will probably get one, but it will be sitting right next to my lovely keurig machine. :)

  9. stacy says

    So were the milk pods refrigerated then? Where would you purchase the coffee and milk pods- online only like nespresso or in stores?
    Thanks!

    • says

      No, they will probably be ultra -pasteurized, I’m assuming, which I know, is not ideal, but for a machine like this, it is really the only way. OR you can froth your own milk and use the espresso – which is probably what I would do b/c I do like real milk in my lattes. But still, it tasted delicious so the convenience is a huge draw.

      They wil be online and in stores, I assume.

  10. Alison says

    Did the mention if they will be doing teas…like chai tea lattes?! I purchased the keurig vue but then took it back when I heard about the verismo but I’m thinking that I will just get a regular keurig if the verismo is only going to be able to do three types of coffe…hmmmm

  11. Danie B. says

    That video gave me goosebumps. I can’t wait for this coffee machine to hit the market. From Tassimo, to Keurig, to Verismo…just to stay with my fave Starbucks latte.

  12. Sandra says

    Wow, can’t wait to get one. Do you know if they will have the cup where you can use your own coffee? If you hear the date it is actually coming out please let us know. I might be first in line.

    • says

      See, I’m the opposite. I always ask for whole milk! LOL. I suppose you could always froth your own milk and combine it with the espresso. I expect they will eventually offer the milk in skim and whole? I HOPE!

  13. anjeeta says

    I have been coveting one of those nespresso machines so delighted to know that starbucks is coming out with a clone. Wonder how much the pods cost?

  14. says

    Hi Jo-Lynne,
    Thanks so much for this review, which is really helpful. Starbucks launched sales of this on their website today, and it looks like a promising machine. It will certainly generate some competition for Tassimo, Keurig and Nespresso.

    Your review didn’t really talk much about the most important thing, though — taste quality. In the video, when the salesperson asks you how it tastes, you just smile politely! As someone who drinks lattes from Starbucks all the time, what did you think were the differences between this machine and the lattes you get at Starbucks? What about brewed coffee?

    As far as I can tell, the machine looks and acts very similar to a Nespresso, with a few important differences: 1) it can do both espresso and non-espresso drinks; (2) it can do milk in capsule form, which is convenient; (3) it seems much bulkier in size (the Nespresso’s, especially the pixie are very nice and small).

    The Nespresso is a very nice machine, and the espresso it makes is pretty decent (actually better than most cafes if you go and ask for a single shot of espresso… which usually results in your getting some undrinkable swill). If the Verismo makes similar quality espresso, I can see it being a hit, especially if the coffee it makes is also decent. From what I can tell, capsules are more expensive for the Verismo ($1 ea.) than Nespresso (maybe 60+ cents ea.? I’m not sure). At $1 for a shot, or $1.50 for a latte, that’s a bit expensive for a home machine, so the drinks would have to be pretty high quality.

    Personally, in the end, I went for a “real” espresso machine that doesn’t use pods (the Gaggia Classic), which is more expensive ($499) plus you need a grinder (at least $200 for a decent grinder that can grind for espresso), but the advantages are that you can use any beans you want, you can grind fresh, and the shots you get are of higher quality. Steep price and steep learning curve, initially, but I suppose you save in the long term, since the beans for shots only costs maybe 20 cents per shot or so. My mother, however, has a Nespresso and it’s perfect for her.

    • says

      I was truly impressed with the taste of the drink. I always feel a bit awkward on video, plus I had an audience that was making me nervous, lol. I do agree, that when you factor in the cost of pods, the price increases exponentially. I have used a nespresso once before, just for espresso, and it was fantastic. I had a tassimo once, and the Starbucks machine makes a MUCH better tasting latte.

  15. says

    I was surprised to learn the writer of this review didn’t didn’t know about the Kaldi from CBTL. It’s got the best reviews of any of these machines, it’s 50 bucks less expensive, has the same features of the Verismo, and the pods are 40 cents cheaper. Plus, it’s made by CBTL, one of the best coffee shops in America. I used to love Starbucks until I found the Coffee Bean.

    The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf sells the Kaldi for about $149. As a former Starbucks addict, I didn’t think anyone could make a better cup of coffee, espresso, or latte. I tried the Nespresso macine, but they don’t make the coffee hot enough. Then, I sampled the Kaldi in the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf store. It was amazing. I took the 400 Nespresso machine back, and bought the Kaldi for 149. I haven’t been to a Starbucks since. The coffee pods are about .64 cents, compared to Starbucks pods, which are a dollar. CBTL doesn’t have that burnt taste Starbucks is known for, just a perfect cup of HOT coffee, espresso, latte, cappucino every single time, with a nice creamy froth on the espresso and coffee, too, has the removable water container in the back, just like this Verismo. It is a durable machine that I use at least 4 times a day for over 9 months, and it’s got every feature of the Verismo, but less expense. Everyone that i’ve told about the Kaldi raves. I cannot wait for the real reviews of the Verismo. You can get CBTL pods not only at the Coffee Bean, but at Bed Bath and Beyond, too.
    Hope this helps someone who really enjoys a good cup of coffee. You’ll thank me….

    • says

      Hi Chris. “The writer of this review” is googling Kaldi right now. ;-) I am intrigued!

      I didn’t feel the Nespresso wasn’t hot enough when I had it, but I am not one to need my coffee super hot. I thought it made a fabulous espresso. I’d love to put it beside the Verismo.

      I can tell you that from seeing an extensive demo of the Verismo, they have gone to great length to get the proper froth on the espresso and all the layers of the latte. They showed us each one and explained it all. It was impressive.

      Right now I use a Keurig. I love the convenience, but I miss the depth of flavor you can get from a French Press.

      Anyway… the Verismo is NOW for sale. For anyone who is interested!

      http://www.starbucksstore.com/verismo/verismo-machines,default,sc.html

      • says

        After googling, you probably found overwhelming positive reviews as to the quality of the coffee and espresso that the Kaldi makes! The CBTL has amazing crema. I can’t imagine anybody improving on it, and right now, it’s only 89.00 dollars! If you are a connoisseur of coffee, and are tired of feeding the Starbucks corporate machine, go to any CBTL store and try it. The flavor is amazing. ( I’m anxious to try the Starbucks machine just to see if they were able to get close., though) Starbucks was a 400+ per month habit (not including tips!), and now my coffee and espresso addiction is about 90 dollars per month for extremely high quality without having to stand in a line, and without having to deal with baristas who were never aware of, or never honored their own refill policy. (That is off topic, but it’s true. If you order a latte, and you drink it and then decide to stay a bit longer and switch to coffee, the official policy is that you are to be charged only a refill price of .50 –or nothing if you have a ‘gold card.” This is true whether your first drink is an ice tea, a blended espresso beverage, a frappucino, an ice coffee, etc. Whatever you order, you are welcome to a coffee, tea, ice coffee, or ice tea at the refill price. It was annoying having to carry a letter from Starbucks corporate headquarters to show to the Starbucks retail employees every time I asked for a refill of coffee after having ordered a latte and they wanted to charge me full price for the drink since I ‘switched’. Trust me, when you spend 12 bucks a day because of a Starbucks coffee addiction, any money you can save is good! Once I discovered the Kaldi, I fired Starbucks, though. It’s THAT good. )

        • says

          I would love to know if you’ve had a chance to try a Verismo to compare. They have machines for demo in some stores, I believe.

          The Kaldi seems to be $179. There are 2 cheaper models, but I’m having a hard time determining the differences. Any idea? I love that the Americano has a travel mug size.

          • Chris Caldwell says

            Hello again! Yes, I’ve tried the Verismo on two different occasions. The first time was to try the latte. This is made with a milk pod and an espresso pod. Well, to be honest, the milk pod made a very chalky tasting latte. So, I had them put another espresso pod in. It still was a bit chalky, although you could taste a bit more of the espresso. So it ended up costing 3 bucks for what amounted to a small plain latte. I’d rather pay the extra 50 cents and get a barista to make it. I didn’t think it was worth it. The next occasion, I just tried the coffee pod. It was close to the normal Starbucks brew, but not 100 percent. Believe me, the Kaldi does espresso and coffee PERFECTLY, hot and fresh and real. And right now, I see them on ebay for about 109 dollars (new, with 10 free capsules). You can also find them at Newegg.com for about 135.00. Last week at Dillards department store, they had boxes of the 16 count capsules for 30% off.

            Because of Starbucks’s marketing, many will buy they Verismo instead of the Kaldi. They will not experience the premium taste of the CBTL machine pods and will most likely think the Verismo is as good as it gets. But it’s not. The Kaldi is less expensive, and the pods are 30 cents cheaper, too. And the taste is delicious.

            • says

              Very interesting. I was actually pleased with the coffee I tried from the Verismo — I tried a Latte and an Americano. I probably would never buy milk pods. I’d rather froth my own b/c I like whole milk and they use 2%, I believe. I do like that it makes an Americano, though.

              As much as I enjoy Starbucks, I know it is not the end all be all where coffee is concerned. I’d love to be able to taste test the CBTL machines and make sure I like them as well before I invest, but I definitely like the idea of cheaper pods. I never thought to check ebay. Good idea!

            • Chris Caldwell says

              Ps. Regarding the differences in the CBTL machines, the Americano and Briosa both have selectable, not programmable buttons. Otherwise, the pressure/bars are the same as the Kaldi.

      • Marianne Helmich says

        My husband bought me a Verismo for Christmas. I was thrilled till I found out the espresso was $1.00 a pod. Almost twice that of similar machines. Then two weeks after Christmas the milk frothier stopped working and I tried to return it. They would not replace their defective machine without a receipt. I am very disappointed in a company that does not stand behind their product. (They said it could be stolen) I mean really.

    • Wills says

      This looks good, but seems to be an attempt to compete with the CBTL Americano and Kaldi, which are less expensive and just as nice looking or moreso. Also the caffitaly capsules seem to be generally better tasting and less costly. However, most true coffee lovers would find these type of machines preferable to the standard coffee-only capsule machines.

      • says

        Can you enlighten me as to the difference between the Americano and the Kaldi? The pods appear to be about 70 cents a piece – cheaper than the Verismo but still more $$ than the Nespresso. Of course, the Nespresso ONLY does espresso, not coffee… so the CBTL machines are probably the way to go.

        • Wills says

          Have seen the Caffitaly compatible capsules that fit the CBTLs available anywhere from $7.99 to 11.99 for a box of 16 , online and in stores. The machines are very good quality Italian design, and there are very good deals at the stores now. Some sales under $100. The dark espressos that they offer are out of this world good. :-)

        • Karla says

          The CBTL Americano is twin pressure, is the taller machine with 5 button settings that can accomodate a travel mug. The CBTL Kaldi is a smaller machine with twin pressure and 3 button settings. Watch the CBTL videos Utube for a short description. They also make a Contata model, even smaller. ;-)

  16. George says

    Thanks so much for taking the time to post this info. The pictures and video are most appreciated. I’ve been waiting to buy a coffee/latte machine ever since I heard Starbucks was coming out with their own. I decided to wait to see what this product would be like and I’m glad that I did. I think that I will now have my Christmas early.

  17. Randy Squires says

    Pods are VERY expensive at $1.00 each (12 for $11.95) I bought this machine the day it came out, the coffee is great, but I can make espresso in one of my two machines for $.15 or .20 each. Sure, the Starbucks is a little easier to clean, but if I serve 10 espressos, thats $10. I’m disappointed with the pricing of the pods. Nespresso pods are only $.45 and are nearly just as good, can’t say that I can tell the differenc. The lattes are made with powered milk pods. Fresh milk in the microwave is as good or better.
    I bought the machine for those occaisions when I need to servc multiple drinks fast (like with company) But for making one cup, I use my $19 expresso maker and canned espresso at $3.99 for 10 oz. Makes about 22 espressos. Incidently, I drink espresso every day and used to own an coffee shop in Western Maryland.

    • says

      I used a Nespresso machine at a resort and was very impressed. But do the cheaper ones only make espresso? I liked how the Verismo makes Americanos as well.

      I have not bought one yet, I am still trying to decide what I want to get, but I do want a way to make espresso at home.

      I am also curious about the CBTL machines that are being discussed below.

  18. K says

    CBTL all the way they have had the Kaldi out for over 2 years and have been around since 1963 Starbucks needs to work on their originality they have none! They just copy others it’s sad actually

    • says

      This is new to me. I have used a Nespresso once and came home ready to buy one, and then I discovered the Verismo. I haven’t bought either yet, and now I am looking at the Kaldi.

      I wish there was a way to compare all 3 side by side.

      • Chris Caldwell says

        Jo-Lynne, I owned the Nespresso machine for two months. It was the Latissma model. The espresso was never very hot. I thought that was as good as it was gonna get until I tried the Kaldi. Being such a connoisseur of coffee and espresso, I’m very pleased with the Kaldi as you can tell! When the Verismo came out, I was concerned that it was going to be better than the Kaldi and thought, ok, here I go again buying yet another machine. But after trying it out, I was so pleased I didn’t have to. By the way, to make an Americano, in the Kaldi, you simply close the machine and run it without a pod when you want hot water.

    • says

      Thanks, I will. I am intrigued, but I wish I could try before I buy. Have you used the Verismo to know if CBTL is truly better? Assuming they are at least comparable, I like the price of the pods for the Kaldi much better. But I did like that the Verismo makes an Americano.

      • Karla says

        An americano is just espresso followed by hot water, so any CBTL machine can do that. I actually used a CBTL Americano for a year and saw the Verisimo in a store. I wasn’t really impressed with it. A few of the department stores sell all 3 …. Nespresso, CBTL, and Starbucks. Aromacup.com also offers video reviews .

      • Java-jim says

        Jo-Lynne

        Thanks for the review on the Verismo…have tried a number of espresso shots at my local SB with their demo machine…very consistent. BUT do agree the price is higher than some of the others…

        RE: the Kaldi…I emailed CBTL and asked about a trial option. Surprise surprise got an email very shortly after, touting the fact that they offer “a generous 30 day return option” this is impressive!

        Also a coupon code option “kaldi89″ good for about another few weeks, brings the price to $89 with free shipping and a 12 pod assortment pack…not something to sneeze at.

        Best wishes on finding a machine that meets your coffee addiction needs :)

  19. Alison says

    Thanks to the posts here I just ordered a CBTL Kaldi for under my tree!! Just a heads up, they have a code on their Facebook page for 89.00 off and it’s free shipping this weekend so I got my Kaldi for 90.00!! Seriously amazing

  20. Jeff G says

    I have a Tassimo and have been waiting for the return of Starbucks to the the realm of single cup machines that make latte’s. But your review aside this unfortunately this isn’t it! I can’t say how completely disappointed I am here on Christmas day. Well I guess the fact I’m on the web looking at reviews and writing a response to your review is a good clue!

    From the out of the box experience, bad design, to the way the machine itself is designed I am underwhelmed. I don’t know where to begin on the physical limitations of the machine to accept anything but the skinniest and shortest cup. The fact the a standard coffee mug in 99% of American homes doesn’t fit is a HUGE miss and design fail.

    But the real story is the coffee and in my case the latte which is why I bought this and hung on the Tassimo. I have to say the taste is truly terrible, and I’m a daily Starbucks customer, and just wanted this to be even “good enough” but it’s just terrible! I couldn’t even finish it!

    I’m sooooo bummed. So it’s back to the Tassimo, which has it’s own challenges, and the Verismo is getting returned after the holiday. Did I say how disappointed I am?

  21. Alison says

    I got the CBTL today and it is FANTASTIC!! I cannot say enough great things about it and I am very happy I went with it instead of the Starbucks Verismo.

  22. says

    So guess what I got my husband for Christmas? I was impressed with the Verismo when I saw it and tasted it, but after all the comments on this post and a ton of googling and researching, I went with the CBTL Americano! Thanks to all of you who pointed me to it. I had never heard of it until this post, and I am really pleased. We love it so far. I will write a separate post reviewing it, but I wanted to leave a comment here as well.

    • Karla says

      Great choice. What color did you get? What is you favorite coffee? Mine is French Brew for coffee and Italian Espresso for lattes. My significant other prefers Brazil and Columbia. There is an espresso available from the website and Amazon called Intenso, that’s simply awesome. Enjoy! ;)

  23. Al says

    If you are looking for an all-in-one single-serve latte solution technically the CBTL machines don’t include a milk frother do they? Has anybody tried the Keurig Rivo? I think I am down to deciding between the Verismo and Rivo but haven’t seen any head-to-head reviews.

    • Karla says

      CB&TL does make a milk pod now, as they also make delicious hot chocolate pods. Myself, I like real milk frothed for my lattes, by far. ;-)

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  25. says

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  26. Karla says

    I recently realized Verismo coffee (coffee only) capsules work in CBTL. Also this website for worldwide capsule manufacturers is great – Caffitalia.com

  27. Dwayne says

    After a month of using the Verismo I basically dumped it on a friend who could care less about coffee machine/brewing quality as long as it puts out coffee LOL. There is a crappy selection of pods…although I did try CBTL pods that fit the Verismo which gave me a better selection. There also is not a refillable pod to use my own Starbucks coffee and I refuse to make a mess cannibalizing used pods…ewe! The temperature of the coffee produced is not hot enough and many of the Starbucks pods just barely make a nice regular sized cup of coffee. The water reservoir is also very small and quite a pain to get to compared to the Keurig. The one thing the Verismo does well…producing the most awesome crema.

    Needless to say I went out and bought a Keurig Special Edition and absolutely LOVE IT! I can set my brew temp to 192 degrees, I have a world of coffee/teas available, and a reusable pod…I am a very happy camper ;-)

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