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CNET First Look
Starbucks Verismo 580 BrewerGreat for Starbucks addicts, not so much for everyone else.
Hi. I'm Ryan Crist for CNET here with the Verismo 580 which is the first home brewing single-serve coffee machine from Starbucks. Now the Verismo's got a really elegant look. It's got this pretty piano black finish, also comes in other colors as well. The minimal design of it is really, really appealing and it's kind of striking the restraint that Starbucks showed. If you look at this device, there's not a Starbucks logo on it, there's not even the word Starbucks anywhere. All you've got is the word Verismo etched into the handle up here. So, the minimal design of this also carries over to the interface. If you look, it's only got three buttons on the front and this power button up top. You look at the three buttons on the front, you got this small cup for Espresso, this black cup which is coffee, and the white cup for milk and those are the three types of pods that the Starbucks Verismo uses. And you've got the coffee pod here, the Espresso pod, and the milk pod. And this kind of limits the machine. It only brews Verismo pods. It doesn't brew K-Cups, it doesn't brew brown coffee, it doesn't brew anything else. So, all you're gonna be able to do are these three pods. Now, there are different varieties of the coffee, there's Starbucks Veranda Blend, there's Pike Place Roast, but it's all Starbucks all the time, so if you like other brands of coffee or like experimenting, you probably not gonna like this machine that much. The downside here, are the milk pods. The milk pods are made out of a dehydrated white fluff that used to be milk and it's got all the liquid sucked out of it and the Verismo puts that water back into it, and Starbucks calls this a gentle tasty process that makes sweet frothy, creamy milk, but it does not taste like that, it tastes really bad and we didn't enjoyed the latte's at all because of that. That said-- the coffee that it makes is very, very good if you like Starbucks. It taste just like what you get at Starbucks and the Espresso, we thought was really good as well. It doesn't just taste good, but if you make a shot of Espresso, it looks good. It's got crema, it's got the right layering, it's just a good looking shot. So when you're using the Verismo, you're gonna wanna fill the reservoir up first and this is a one liter reservoir that goes in the back here. It's a little smaller than reservoirs of other single-serve coffee makers that we tested. Also, I think they probably wanted to keep the design symmetrical which is why they put this in the back, but I'm not sure that was the greatest decision. If you're using this flush against the back of your wall, it's gonna be tough to get this reservoir in and out. So, might not have been the best design choice. After filling up the reservoir, just lift up the lever, drop a pod in, push it back down, and press the button of the drink that you're making. Another downside of the Verismo is that cleaning is a bit of a pain. When you wanna clean it, which you'll have to do pretty often, you pull this entire unit out and this here is a bank that holds all the used pods. And it's got multiple parts and all kind of dripped together, everything oozes and it just kinda has a lot of little nooks and crannies to clean and they're hard to get to. This is a really narrow opening with a lot of sludge in there. So you're gonna be reaching in with your arm and a sponge, it's just a little crank and awkward. So, the Verismo looks really nice, it also feels good. If you pick it up and look at it here, it just has a nice solid construction that's to the touch, it feels durable and that's right in line with what you'd expect from a device that cost you about $200. We like that the Verismo looks so good and it makes really good Starbucks coffee, but for people that are looking for different brands to experiment with or they just don't like Starbucks, it's probably not the machine for them. So, we don't recommend it for everyone, but if you're a Starbucks addicts, this could be the best machine you'll ever own. So, give it consideration of that deal. With the Verismo 580 from Starbucks, I'm Ryan Crist for CNET.