If you shun all coffee but Starbucks, the Verismo V may be the machine for you (Update)

In 2013, Starbucks came it out with its answer to Keurig coffee makers, the Verismo 580. Like other single-cup brewers, it uses disposable pods to make coffee, but it can also whip up an espresso. Starbucks is launching the latest version, the Verismo V, which is available for pre-order today and officially goes on sale October 21.

Some of the improvements over the original version include an adjustable drip tray for larger mugs, the ability to make a 10-ounce cup of coffee, and a hot water button for Americanos. There’s an optional, separate milk frother that can be used for making lattes and cappuccinos.

In addition to the hot water button, there are five other buttons on the top of the Verismo: one for power, rinse, milk capsules, espresso, and coffee. There are preset amounts the coffee, espresso, hot water, and milk dispense, but you can change them by holding the button down for three seconds, then pressing it again when you want it to stop. The machine will remember this input until you reset it.

To make a drink, you open the top, slide a capsule into the slot, push the top down, and hit your desired button. It’s fairly easy, although we did have one misfire, where the pod didn’t align correctly and the machine spit out hot water. Since the capsule wasn’t damaged, we fished it out of the reservoir, which holds about 12 used pods.

The preset for coffee for is 10 ounces, and when we tried it out, it took about two minutes to brew. The coffee came out at an average of 168 degrees Fahrenheit (75.55 degrees Celsius). Espresso was ready in about 21 seconds at an average of 175 degrees Fahrenheit (79.44 degrees Celsius). While the hot water for an Americano is preset to 5 ounces, you can hit the hot water (which averaged around 184 degrees Celsius, or 84.44 degrees Celsius) button to stop it whenever you want.

The optional Verismo Milk Frother, $59, quietly froths up milk in about a minute and a half. It’s designed so that you can separate it from the base for easier pouring and cleaning. It works really well, and can either froth your milk cold or simultaneously heat it to around 138 degrees Fahrenheit (59 degrees Celsius). You could also use the milk pods instead, which transform powder into froth via the coffee maker.

The Starbucks pods really do manage to deliver authentic Starbucks flavor at home, and the machine does a nice job with espresso. The shots end up with a nice little crema on top. It’s a quick and easy coffee or espresso delivery system, but there’s a pretty big catch: The $149 Verismo only works with Starbucks pods. Unless you buy in bulk, the pods are about $1 a piece. That’s not that different from Starbucks K-Cups, but with a Keurig you’re not locked in to all Starbucks, all the time.

Updated 10/21/2016: Updated to clarify how the Verismo frother works, as it does have the option to heat up milk as it froths. 
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