Friday, December 7, 2012

Starbucks Verismo: Review (Initial)

A while back, Starbucks hosted a contest to win a new Verismo machine, a single-cup coffee brewer thingymabob.  The contest was pretty complicated to enter, and I noticed a lot of people entering weren't meeting the contest requirements, so I entered.  Who doesn't want a free coffee maker that is supposedly "Starbucks in your own home" and full of awesomeness?

Lo and behold, I won one! And it appeared a week ago.  Observation #1 - Did not come with "Pods" to use in machine. I knew this and had already purchased 1 box ($12.99 for 8 single-shot lattes. Seriously? Okay, 20% off coupon at BB&B. Technically still cheaper than buying said latte at Sbucks, but definitely more expensive than making coffee at home.)

When it arrived, I eagerly set it up and tested it out...with plain water. I wasn't about to waste $1ish bucks on the pod at 10:00 at night when I got around to opening it.

Observation #2 The machine has 3 settings: 1) Espresso shot 2) Coffee cup 3) Milk cup. 

The next morning...I made a latte. Barely. It sucked. I have since learned that it works the best if I run the espresso shot button once (it wastes the least amount of water and its the ONLY button that works when you first turn it on).  but since I didn't know this at the time, I wasted a milk pod on the espresso setting, giving me extremely not-watered-down milk.  I didn't know what to I pressed the espresso button again.  Hoping that espresso is 1/2 the volume of the coffee or milk and that maybe I'd equalize my milk.  Put in the espresso pod and...can't remember what happened there, anyhow, by the time I got my "latte" it wasn't very warm, wasn't sweet, and wasn't impressive.

Oh, did I mention that after all this you run water through at the end to clean the machine, then you throw away your pods, then you find the bottom of the machine has a bunch of drips and you have to clean it all out? Yeah - not as quick to use as one might think. (K-cup brewers are similar, though, I think.)

Sunday I tried again.

Let me explain here that this is our absolutely smallest mug.  1 pod only makes 1 small serving. I'm used to drinking a 16 ounce cup of brew (with a LOT of milk) every morning in my travel cup, and when I pour this in my travel cup (which doesn't fit in the machine) it doesn't look very impressive.

Back to Sunday. I'm able to make a decent latte. But I'm sorely missing my vanilla syrup.  The taste, however, is fine...reminds me a lot of getting a latte in Europe.  However, I almost always order a double latte.  So now to get the double latte experience, I'd have to use two espresso pods and mess up the equality of the pod box (comes with 8 espresso, 8 can also buy them separately but BB&B was out). 
Now Sunday was a long time ago, but I'm pretty sure I remember microwaving my latte after making it because it wasn't warm enough (or was that Saturday?) People: I do NOT drink my beverages very hot AT ALL. When I order from Starbucks, I wait and wait and wait and wait before I take that first tiny sip and burn my tongue. I am not the person guzzling half their drink at the condiment bar so they can add more milk for free and whatnot.  So for me to have to microwave this, I'm in serious trouble.

Yesterday, I decided I'd just use the machine for hot water instead and make coffee my old way. (Yes, I drink instant. Yes, that disgusts a lot of people. Sorry. I'm not that into coffee.) So with just hot water, for whatever reason I ran into the not-nearly-hot-enough problem again. However, my next HUGE problem was that this machine is freaking loud.  My hot water kettle is not this loud (and I can turn it off before it whistles). But there is no "sleep in, Honey, I'll just have my coffee" with this thing. (update: only moderately noisy.)

Today I had an early meeting and had decided I would treat myself to a latte for another evaluation. Latte was made, at proper temperature, and met all latte requirements with some sweetener.  I continued to be disappointed about how much it actually makes, and felt tired later (caffeine addict, anyone?) but overall I think the experience has been acceptable.

Today Starbucks is having a sale on their pods and for Christmas they have MY FAVORITE BLEND, the Christmas Blend pods on sale. So I actually do plan to purchase a box of those (12ct, sale for I think $8) just for the coffee experience.

Beyond all of that, I'm not sure I can justify the use at our house. I almost never go to Starbucks so I'm not really saving much money. However in the summer, espresso drinks over ice are a big favorite, so I might keep it around for that.  (I usually buy the Starbucks Doubleshots when they are on sale, so sale price of about $1, $1.25 for the can as a treat - cheaper than the drink at sbucks) but even the doubleshot drinks would be cheaper than using 2 verismo espresso pods.

So...long email to say...not too impressed. :(  And that really bums me out.  But I'll give it a bit more of a chance anyhow...


jess said...

Will it make you feel better if I make chocolate mousse when you come after Christmas?

Emily said...

hmmm. it sounds like Keurig is the better way to go. Sbux need to come out with version 2.0