If you don’t fancy the queue in your local Starbucks for your first caffeine hit of the day, then there’s an easy way around it. Before I took delivery of the Verismo 600 coffee machine, I was quite happy with their Via Ready Brew sachets.
This machine is good-looking, small enough to fit on the counter-top and best of all it’s easy to use in a just-woken-up-haze. It uses, like most, pods with vacuum packed coffee and these are available in three different types – espresso, coffee and milk – used in different ways to ‘customise’ your drink.
For the stat-loving readers, here’s how it stacks up:
Makes espresso, regular coffee, tea, milk pods
Removable water reservoir 33.8 oz and drip tray
Stores up to 10 used pods
Auto off activates after 5 minutes
Size: 16.4″H x 8.2″W x 14.8″D
It weighs 8 lbs (just under 4 kgs)
It has a 19-bar pump pressure
So, more importantly, how does it taste? I buy and drink Starbucks coffee every day so feel I’m in a particularly good place to give my verdict.
The espresso and the house blend taste almost the same as if you were buying from a Starbucks store. Separate milk pods will turn your coffee into a latte and whilst the pods begin life as natural milk, all the water is removed to produce fine milk-powder. It’s true that combined with water, under high pressure, the powder mixes well with the coffee pod but I cannot bear milk powder in any form. To prove it’s made with real milk, the shelf-life for the pods is just 8-weeks (£5.99 for 12).
To make a 6 fluid oz latte you’ll need one milk pod and one espresso pod, for a larger one it’s suggested you add a second milk pod. I’ve got a separate milk frother which I used to heat and whisk the milk. Caffe Latte boxes contain a pack of 6 espresso pods and 6 milk pods (£5.49 for 6 servings).
The Espresso pods contain Guatemala Antigua (£5.99 for 12) a medium-roast coffee – exactly the same Arabica coffee used in your local Starbucks. This model has an “Espresso” button. All you need to do is make sure you have a cup that fits into the slot. This is the pod you’ll need to make an Americano or Caffe Latte.
The Pike Place Roast pods are a medium-roasted coffee with rich flavour, good balance and a smooth finish, again the same beans used in their popular filter coffee.
The machine was easy-to-use and it takes no time at all to heat the water, which is easily filled at the rear of the machine, and with the added bonus of no grinding, measuring or cleaning, I found myself drinking a lot more than usual. No bad thing for the Starbucks coffers eh?
To add the capsules to the pod, you lift the silver lever and add one to the top of the machine, the old pod drops into a removable pod section.
The drip tray is easy to remove and the grill easy to clean.
Here’s a full list of what’s available for the Verismo, I’ve noted which are available for sale in the UK.
Espresso pods which include Fairtrade Espresso Roast (available in the UK), Fairtrade Decaf Espresso Roast (available in the UK), Guatemala Antigua (available in the UK).
Brewed coffee pods 12 servings: Caffè Verona Filter (available in the UK), House Blend, Pike Place Roast (available in the UK), Veranda Blend.
Decaf pods 12 servings: Decaf Pike Place brewed coffee, Decaf Espresso roast
Latte pods 8 servings: Fairtrade Caffè Latte (available in the UK) , Decaf Caffè Latte.
Verismo Tea pods 12 servings: Verismo Chai Tea pods,
Milk pods 12 serving: Verismo Milk Pods.
The machine is on sale via the Starbucks store. It’s also here you’ll find the pods for use in the machine and special kits to make Caramel Macchiato and Vanilla Latte.
Thanks to Starbucks for the loan of the machine.