November 27, 2012

Review: Verismo Single Serve Coffee and Espresso System by Starbucks

Review Single Serve CoffeeVerismo Matte Black 580 

Starbucks recently sent over the Verismo Single Serve Coffee and Espresso System which besides VIA instant coffee is their first single serve coffee and espresso system. Currently there are two models of the Verismo - the 580 and the V-585 larger model. The Verismo will make a variety of cafe beverages by using a combination of espresso Verismo pods and milk pods. You can also brew fresh coffee by using a Verismo coffee pod that has a freshness foil on the bottom of it you need to remove to reduce the pressure in the pod while brewing a single serve cup of coffee.

Versimo system machine

We received the Verismo 580 machine and it's very sleek and not very heavy. We like the fit and finish of the machine, and the overall design on the machine for us is one of it's strengths. If you're going to spend $199 for the 580 and $399 V-585 Verismo the machine had better be appealing. The water reservoir was easy to fill, and the lever to insert the Verismo pods was also easy to use repeatedly. We like the catch basin and multi-tier design of the cup stand allowing you to use larger or smaller cups, and you can even rise the cup stand high enough to use a shot glass for espresso shots.

Versimo system topThe lift handle and insertion of pods is easy.

Verismo Highlights include:

  • Starbucks  quality  lattes,  espresso  and  brewed  coffee,  all  from  one  machine   ␣ Lattes  are  made  to  our  café  standard  of  caramelly,   rich  espresso  and  natural,  creamy  2%  milk  
  • Fresh,  natural  milk  makes  creamy,  sweet,  frothy  2%  milk  that  is  perfect  for  Starbucks  Lattes  
  • Uses  Swiss-­‐engineered  high-­‐pressure  technology (19  bars)  to  deliver  a  caramelly,  rich  Starbucks  quality  espresso  shot  
  • Functions  as  both  a  high-­‐pressure  (espresso)  and  low-­‐pressure  (brewed  coffee)  machine  with  automatic  temperature  settings  
  • Pods  are  made  using  100  percent  arabica  beans and  roasted  at  the  peak  of  freshness the  same coffee  we  serve  and  sell  in  our  cafés    
  • Pods  available  in  Espresso  Roast,  Decaf  Espresso Roast,  ,  as  well  as  the  full  Starbucks®  Coffee  Roast Spectrum  (Blonde,  Medium,  and Dark)  
  • Sleek  design  with  small  footprint  that  blends seamlessly  on  countertop,  with  a  removable container  for  used  pods  
  • Two  machine  models  available 580  (base)  and  V-­‐ 585  (premium)  will  be  sold  at,   Starbucks  stores,  and  specialty  retailers

Making a Shot of Espresso with the Verismo Single Serve Coffee and Espresso System by Starbucks 

Versimo system shotonmachine


We took our Verismo out for it's first test drive by making several shots of espresso using the espresso roast pods. The results was a very rich and intense espresso with excellent crema on top. We thought this out of all the drinks we prepared made the system a standout. Two shots of espresso combined with a little hot water made a great Americano as well.

Versimo system espressohot

Making A Caffe Latte with the Verismo Single Serve Coffee and Espresso System by Starbucks


Versimo system makingmilk

We decided our first multi-pod drink should be a Caffe Latte as it's one of our favorite drinks at Starbucks cafes. The milk pod is used in conjuction with a shot of espresso to make the Caffe Latte:

  • Step  1: Remove  height-­‐adjustable  drip   tray,  replace  grate,  and  then   put  8  oz.  glass  on  top.  
  • Step  2: Lift  handle,  insert  milk  pod  and   close.    
  • Step  3: Push  milk  button  (bottom)  and   wait  for  milk  to  pour.    
  • Step  4: Lift  handle  and  insert  espresso   pod;  the  button  lights  will  start   blinking  while  the  temperature   adjusts.     
  • Step  5: Wait  until  light  stops  blinking   (8-­‐10  seconds),  then  push   espresso  button  (top)  for   espresso  pour.
Versimo system caffelatte

The result is a pretty yummy caffe latte if you like shelf stable milk. This is going to be the dividing point for most US coffee drinkers as the shelf stable milk has a more buttery flavor than using fresh milk that has been frothed / steamed. If you like this flavor you'll be fine, and most people when given the blind caffe latte don't really taste the difference. We however can taste the difference and it's not one we truly prefer.

The recently announced Rivo from Keurig and Lavazza will use fresh liquid milk right out of your refrigerator and whatever percent of fat you choose. It will be interesting to see how the Rivo with this feature alone makes headwind or doesn't gain much wind in it's sails from the fresh milk feature. Maybe US customers won't care, but maybe their taste buds and dollars will.

Making a Cup of brewed Coffee with the Verismo Single Serve Coffee and Espresso System by Starbucks

Versimo system brewedcoffee

Making a cup of brewed coffee with the Verismo is very easy. We received the House Blend coffee pods to use with the machine and you only really need to lower the cup stand, use the larger coffee setting, and remove the freshness foil from the underneath of the coffee pod.

  • Step  1: Place  10  oz.  glass  on  grate  of  height-­‐adjustable  drip   tray.    
  • Step  2: Important:  Before   brewing,  remove  foil   freshness  tab  from   bottom  of  pod  (to  expose   filter).     
  • Step  3: Lift  handle,  insert  coffee   pod  and  close.  
  • Step  4: Push  brewed  coffee   button  (middle)  and  wait   for  coffee  to  pour.
Versimo system finalhouseblendbrewed
The resulting coffee was piping hot and really quite good. We like the small amount of oily top, along with the fresh taste of the House Blend coffee. We also liked adding a shot of espresso right into a cup to make it have a bit of extra punch.

Pricing and Verismo Pods available now:

Versimo system pods

  • Caffè  Latte  Pack  (16  ct.,  8  Espresso  and  8  Milk   Pods):  $12.95  
  • Espresso  Pods  (12  ct.  ):  $11.95   ␣ Milk  Pods  (12  ct.):  $9.95
  • Coffee  Pods  (12  ct.):  $11.95

Pods available:

  • Brewed Coffee Pods: Veranda Blend (Blonde), Pikes Place  Roast  (Medium),  House  Blend*  (Medium),  Caffè   Verona®  (Dark),  and  Christmas  Blend  (Dark)  
  • Espresso  Pods:  Espresso  Roast,  Decaf  Espresso   Roast, and  Espresso  Guatemala  Antigua  
  • Milk  Pod:  100%  natural  and  creamy
As we stated above there isn't a lot of options right yet, but given time we think Starbucks will offer more brewed coffee varieties and perhaps some flavored milk pods to make a Peppermint Mocha or other options in the future. We can only hope because they have not announced any flavored varieties yet.


The variety of brewed coffee options are limited right now but should serve the majority of households from light to dark roast drinkers. The real reason to purchase the Verismo after many weeks with it is for the espresso and espresso based drinks. We love the brewed coffee producted, but the limited variety also places it a far distant winner from the Keurig brewed systems which have hundreds of coffee flavors available. 

We think espresso and coffee drinkers who want to get more Starbucks in their home lives the Verismo system will deliver a great cup of coffee or shot of espresso. We can only hope that Starbucks will make various new coffee flavors and rare espresso or single origin roasts available for the Verismo as time goes on. At $199 we think the Verismo is also priced right for a system that makes a really great shot of espresso. The more expensive V-585 with the integrated LCD display may be for you but we encourage you to seek it out in person and make sure double the price for the same beverage delivered is what you need to spend your hard earned dollars on.

For machine availability in Starbucks stores and at various retailers please visit the Starbucks Verismo web site. 

Thanks again to Starbucks for providing us the Verismo 580 and various coffee, milk, and espresso pods to use in this review.

Read More in: Reviews | Single Serve Coffee Machines | Starbucks Single Serve Coffee

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Posted by Jay Brewer at November 27, 2012 8:24 AM
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