Verismo: Starbucks' New At-Home Machine Is Put to the Test

PHOTO: Starbucks Verismo
Starbucks

Unless you were a Starbucks barista, you couldn't make the popular chain's drinks at home. Last month Starbucks unveiled an at-home coffee machine. Priced competitively at $200, the Verismo costs about the same as the Nespresso Pixie and Cuisinart EM-200. The pods are an additional $12 for 12 coffee or espresso pods and $10 for 12 milk pods. Keurig's popular k-cups sell for less than a dollar a cup at $16.50 for 24 cups. Starbucks has plans to add variety to the pods, like low-fat milk options.

For those who like flavored drinks, the syrups are also an additional cost and available on the company's website. A 63 fluid ounce container of pumpkin spice syrup sells for $22, while a liter of popular syrups like vanilla or sugar-free caramel sell for $10.

A few custom drink kits have been added since the product launches. A caramel macchiato kit, complete with the cups and syrups, sells for $44. A mocha kit and vanilla latte kit are $20.

Testing it out:

One of the first things I noticed about the Verismo is that it comes ready-to-use; it's not one of those machines that needs to be assembled. I added water to the back tank, which took a few tries to get it to snap back into place, and plugged the machine in.

After cleaning the system several times by hitting the espresso button without inserting a pod, the machine was ready to go. With three buttons: one for espresso, milk and coffee, the Verismo is user-friendly. The pods are inserted at the top of the machine and then you pull a silver lever down to secure it in place before starting. The bottom tray adjusts to fit smaller or larger glasses, but it doesn't fit the big to-go mugs you would probably use on a daily basis.

A latte is made by inserting a milk pod which pours the steamed milk. Then, follow by inserting an espresso pod to complete the drink. Coffee can be made by adding a coffee pod and pressing the corresponding button. One thing I noticed is that the machine is much louder than a traditional espresso machine.

The coffee pod options are house blend, Pike Place, Veranda and Caffe Verona. The espresso pod options are Guatemala Antigua and Espresso Roast.

The taste of the coffee is comparable to those in the store and a good quality. It's not the watered-down version most at-home machines provide.

As someone who regularly grabs coffee in the morning, the Verismo didn't replace my morning coffee run. Instead, I found I used it more on the weekend when I didn't feel like running out to the store. The machine is also great for those who do a lot of home entertaining to make a latte or espresso for guests while you prepare dessert.

This machine is a great gift for those who entertain guests often at home. It can supply your morning coffee on the go, but for more elaborate drinks like the peppermint mocha, I'd stick with their VIA instant line instead.

The machine isn't as cost-effective as you would think, with the price of the machine, the pods and the syrups if you use them, a drink costs about the same as it does in stores. If you had a regular latte every day for a year, including the price of the machine, it would be about $2.17. The volume of liquid the machine makes is comparable to its "Tall" or small size.

The company includes three of their most popular drink recipes with the Verismo. Click through to take a look at the Caramel Macchiato, Vanilla latte and Mocha recipes:

PHOTO: Caramel macchiato
Starbucks
Caramel Macchiato

Put 2 Tbsp. vanilla syrup in a cup
Brew one (1) Verismo™ Espresso Pod into the cup
Brew one (1) Verismo™ Milk Pod into the cup
Drizzle the top of beverage with 2 tsp. of caramel sauce

PHOTO: Mocha
Starbucks
Mocha

Put 1 Tbsp. mocha sauce in a cup
Brew one (1) Verismo™ Espresso Pod into the cup
Brew one (1) Verismo™ Milk Pod into the cup

Stir until fully mixed.

PHOTO: Vanilla latte
Starbucks
Vanilla Latte

Put 1 Tbsp. vanilla syrup in a cup
Brew one (1) Verismo™ Espresso Pod into the cup
Brew one (1) Verismo™ Milk Pod into the cup

Stir until fully mixed.

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