So, Starbucks decided to try again with a second generation. The new Verismo System offers a much more competitive product, and I'd pick one up if I was a daily Starbucks diehard. Check out this Starbucks Verismo review to hear how the product actually stacks up this time around.
Great coffee and espresso engineered with an odd drawback
Does this make good coffee? That's the simple question here. Yes. It does. The coffee matches what's sold in Starbucks, and I know that because I bought the same exact beverages I made at home and tried them side by side. The cappuccino from the Verismo system wasn't quite the same, but both were of similar quality.
The coffee is brewed at the right temperature, though it dispenses 10oz at roughly 175º F. The brewing temperature seems right because of the spot-on flavor of the coffee. It's neither too weak or burnt, and I'd guess that the internal brew put it much closer to 195º F. The system and proprietary Starbucks Verismo pods produce much better coffee than what you get from the Keurig, though that comes at an expense.
I couldn't find the pods sold locally at any grocery stores near me in the Mid-Atlantic. My only option was online, and Starbucks sells them for, in the smallest amount, $12-13 for 12 pods. That's more expensive than the competition, but it's still cheaper than a Starbucks coffee shop.
On the whole, I admired the engineering behind the Verismo System's Brewer. The rinse feature is brilliant, it produces large cups of coffee, espresso shots come out perfectly every single time and when pods are used they drop into a collection bin that's housed within the unit. All of that is great, though multiple weeks of use brought up an odd drawback.
Even with the cup holding tray removed, some travel mugs were too large to actually fit below the brewer. I had to either brew into a different mug or (I don't recommend this) hold my mug off of the counter and move the brewer to a hanging position. The profile of the device is too low for some cups.
While it was easy to clean, Starbucks says that the way to properly deep clean the brewer is with special cleaning liquids. There's no recommendation to simply brew with vinegar and water.
A milk frother that works well most of the time
The milk frother can be purchased separately if you want the addition. It typically sells for $59, but it's a necessity if you want to make lattes and cappuccinos with the System. It heats and froths milk, and it can do the frothing without heat if you want your drink iced or chilled.
It's also easy to clean, though you'll need to work the bottom of the frother to remove any milk film created with the heat. It froths quickly, but it is the longest part of the brewing process by far.
My only complaint with the frother comes from the produced texture. At times, it's wetter than it should be when frothing for cappuccinos. I'd say it happens, perhaps, once out of every 10 uses, and I couldn't pinpoint the reason for it.
There are cheaper frothers out there, so you don't necessarily need the Starbucks version. It works well, though, and it's priced competitively when compared to other heated frothers.
The Starbucks Verismo System fills a niche
The Starbucks Verismo System sits right between the Keurig and coffee shops in price. The pods are more expensive than what the competition offers, but each cup of java, espresso or otherwise, is cheaper than what you'd find in an actual Starbucks.
If the system's two biggest benefits are its ease of use and the relative quality of coffee, its biggest slight is the cost of pods. For an everyday Starbucks drinker, the Verismo System makes a whole lot of sense. You'll get the Starbucks you crave at home for less money than you spend in stores.
If you're more of a frugal coffee drinker, like me, than the Verismo System will stand as an unnecessary expense. Which is totally okay. As strong as the system is, I don't think it's been designed or priced to be ultra competitive among consumers like me.
It is a novelty, though, and one that produces great coffee. I've had a cappuccino daily since having it in my house, and that's been a great treat.
If you like Starbucks and don't mind the extra price of the pods, the Verismo System is a well-engineered product that makes good coffee. It's definitely more capable than the Keurig, so keep that in mind if you're shopping for both.
Black Friday presents a great deal for the system
The Verismo System is actually on sale right now, too. We received a note from the PR contact working with us in regards to the system. Here are the details.
- From November 21 through December 25, customers can purchase the "Everyday Bundle" for $129 (regularly $179) at select Starbucks stores and on Verismo.com; This includes a Verismo® V Brewer, Verismo® Milk Frother and free 12-count box of Verismo® pods of your choice. Also available on Verismo.com.
- The Verismo® V Brewer is available for $99 (regularly $149) with a free 12-count box of Verismo® pods of choice, and the Verismo® Milk Frother is available for $39 (regularly $59). Also available on Verisimo.com.
Those discounts make this system a strong option right now.
Disclaimer: We were loaned a Verismo System for review purposes. We also received four boxes of pods.