I am human! If I’m saddened, do I not cry? If struck by the call of nature, do I not…uh, find a bush and answer said call? If cut, do I not bleed…COFFEE, like all the rest of the caffeine consuming masses? Of course I do. Like any good automaton, my lifeblood has been voluntarily sacrificed and replaced for the energy boosting liquid-ebony that is Peet’s or Starbucks caffeinated beverages.
Succinctly put; I drink a lot of coffee and am often experimenting with new flavors, different coffee makers and various ways of making coffee. So I leaped at the chance to check out Starbucks’ Verismo 580 Brewer in “Piano Black”. It’s a high pressure brewing system that can serve up espresso shots, small size lattes and traditional cups of coffee in less than a minute. It’s an impressive device that I’ve come to rely on for my morning joe. But there are a few quirks for which users should be privy.
The unit requires very little assembly and ships with an 8-serving box of Verismo Caffe Latte Pods. Coffee, espresso and milk pods are what the machine uses to brew your liquid wake-up call. They can be ordered online or picked up at most Starbucks. Fill the 1-liter capacity water tank and attach it to the back of the unit. It slips in easy enough and clicks into place. Fit the pod storage unit (repository for used pods) and spill-off drain together and slide them into the large compartment on the front of the Verismo 580 brewer. Power the unit on and hit the top button for espresso. This will run high pressure hot water through the system for a quick and easy clean. That’s it! Assembly is done and you’re ready to make coffee.
Pull up on the top lever to reveal a perfect pod-shaped compartment underneath. For an espresso shot, drop in an espresso pod. Pull the lever all the way down. You will feel the system puncture the pod’s top as you pull down the lever, closing the compartment. Now hit the top button again and voila; you have a single espresso shot. The instruction manual doesn’t mention this, but I was able to get about two strong shots from a single Pod. However, the wife is an americano snob. But the Verismo accommodates her tastes well. The system can add pressurized hot water to your espresso shot for a pretty damn tasty Americano. Lattes! Alternatively, you begin with a milk pod. Hit the corresponding bottom button to pour steamed milk into your cup. Lift the lever and drop your desired flavored coffee pod and press the corresponding middle button to pour brewed coffee into your cup where your steamed milk is waiting to mingle.
Any one of these drinks can be made in about a minute if you want a sizeable beverage. I make two espresso shots and then have the Verismo 580 brew me a standard cup of coffee. This is then added to the espresso shot. I can’t remember if that’s called a “Red Eye” or a “Black Eye”. Regardless it’s a much-needed eye-opener after an all-nighter of writing.
Each pod remains in the compartment until the lever is lifted to add a new pod. Lifting the lever drops the used pod into the aforementioned storage. Yet sometimes the pod doesn’t fall in place or does not puncture correctly. Instinct forces us to check the compartment but doing so/lifting the level drops the pod to the storage. You could leave it there as a casualty of the morning’s caffeinated wars, or you can go through the hassle of pulling out the storage unit and fishing for the unused pod.
It holds about 10 pods before it needs to be changed and cleaned. But I’m happy to report, cleaning is a cinch. The removable pieces only require a rinse, if you stay on top of it every few days.
I love the this little machine. Although it’s definitely not cheap, the coffee is ready in seconds, tasty and does the job of waking me up quite effectively. Something should be done about the puncture system when pulling down the lever on the pods. I would say about 1-in-5 pods are not properly punctured and are dropped in the storage, where I know many germaphobes will not venture to retrieve them for re-use. I also wish there was another way to brew larger cups of joe. It’s a bit of a hassle to double and triple up the pod use just to get a Starbucks standard “Tall” sized coffee. Finally I would like an audible indication that the water is low in the tank. It’s behind the unit so I often don’t know it’s empty until nothing is coming out the spout. By that time I’ve already punctured the pod.
There you have it. As I mentioned; there are a few quirks. It’s all forgivable, but you all deserve full disclosure for $200. Me? I think it’s time for another cup of coffee.
Bottom Line: I highly recommend the Verismo for any household that could use a more controlled and speedy way of brewing their breakfast.
- Fantastic taste
- Brews in seconds
- Cleans just as fast
- Cafe-quality lattes, americanos, standard brew and everything in between
- A few minor quirks
Shawn loves gadgets, literature, history and games. For 10yrs+ he's straddled both the comic book & video game industries, as a writer, editor, marketing officer & producer. Shawn got his start in tech & games as an editor & Hardware Director for GameRevolution.com. More notable accomplishments include Executive Producer on mobile games Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved & The Shroud.