Here we have a heavyweight match-up between two giants of the coffee world: Starbucks and Keurig.
Keurig is infamous for the single-button brewing methods, and most recently, Starbucks entered the arena in 2012 with its line of Verismo makers.
Investigating these coffee machines by brewing as much coffee as I did should be a sport in it itself. My taste buds were ecstatic; I couldn’t sleep; it was a night to remember.
If you’re a coffee lover who wants to step their game up to the barista level, then look no further.
A Closer Look
For the Starbucks Verismo coffee maker model, there are four different options for machines: the Verismo V, the Verismo 580, Verismo 585, and the Verismo 600. For Keurig, there are a whopping 31 different brewers with what seems like endless variations in design, functionality, and features.
Let’s keep this on the short and sweet side rather than put you through a coffee brewer’s encyclopedia. We’ll focus on the forerunning, most popular machines from each coffee giant. Meet the Verismo V and the Keurig K-Elite Brewing System.
The Verismo V is built for Starbucks lovers. Say goodbye to long lines and drive-thrus; you can now have your favorite Starbucks cup of coffee right from the comfort of your home.
Starbucks at home and at your fingertips
Single-button brew process is easy and user friendly
Brews espresso and coffee
Limited number of flavor options
Pod boxes are expensive
Limited design options, only available in black
The Keurig K-Elite is built for a coffee aficionado. You’re in the driver’s seat, and you can brew a cup of hot java your way, with hundreds of flavor varieties offered by over 60+ vendors internationally. Get more out of your coffee and spice up your mornings.
Wide variety of coffee flavor options
Single-button brew process is easy and user-friendly
Brew strength and brew temperature settings
Iced coffee and hot water on demand settings
Doesn’t make espresso
Longer brew time than Verismo V
Noteworthy Features: A Comparison
What you love about delicious coffee and how you prefer to drink it are what I found as the big differences in taste between the two instant coffee machines. Are you an average coffee drinker that sticks to the classics, or do you like to experiment and love having a huge variety of flavors you can try from around the world?
Let’s take a deep dive into what that means with some notable differences between the two brands of coffee makers.
|Verismo V||Keurig K-Elite|
|Weight||7.7 pounds||8 pounds|
|Height||11 inches||13 inches|
|Width||7.6 inches||9.1 inches|
|Brew Size||10 ounces||4-12 ounces|
|Brew Speed||Less than 1 minute||Less than 2 minutes|
|Brew Strength Controls||No||Yes|
|Water Reservoir||77 ounces and removable||75 ounces and removable|
|Display||Buttons with LED indicators||Buttons with LED indicators|
The single-serving, one-button brewing system has revolutionized the coffee world and is optimized in both machines. Pop the pod in, pop the pod out, and there you have it: quality coffee. It’s just that easy.
The quality of these brewers and how customizable they are is where these coffee brewing systems differ.
The Keurig K-Elite gives you more customizable options than the Verismo V. Personalize your cup of coffee by using Keurig’s brew strength and temperature settings. Did somebody say java over ice?
The Verismo V boasts Swiss dual-pressure technology that turns your machine into a coffee and espresso maker. However, the Keurig K-Elite’s brew strength settings can still give you an extra kick when you get those mid-afternoon office blues. Understandable if you think only a shot of espresso will do the trick, but I found the strong brew option of Keurig really knocked my socks off.
The Verismo V’s espresso is also on the weaker side, as other machines like Nespresso, for instance, use more coffee grounds per 1 ounce shot than the Verismo default. If you only drink espresso because you need to stay awake, you may find yourself dozing off.
The water heats in just 15 seconds for the Verismo V, with less than a minute of brewing time. For the Keurig K-Elite, brew time is just under 2 minutes, though still just as competitive in the speedy world of coffee appliances.
The Keurig K-Elite features 4, 6, 8, 10, or 12-ounce brewing sizes meaning you can satisfy any coffee craving. For the Verismo V, your only option is a 10-ounce pour. Anything more or less than that, and you’ll have to keep an eye on it.
This is the defining factor for Keurig and why I think the Keurig K-Elite is the better brewer.
The Verismo V has only 16 types of pods available as the machine is strictly compatible and licensed to brew Starbucks blends. Flavor options are franchise staples like Pike Place Roast, Colombia, and Blonde Roast.
If you have been going to Starbucks for years, love their coffee quality, and want the convenience of that delicious flavor from home, this may not be a drawback at all. But with the Keurig K-Elite, you can broaden your brewing capabilities and coffee routine.
The Keurig K-Elite has over 200 flavor options from around the world. Whether it’s Kenya or Brazil, Ethiopia or Papua New Guinea, you can now have the better-tasting coffee without even leaving your home.
You can also choose from a wide range of your favorite brands that have partnered with Keurig since its launch in 1992; Dunkin Donuts, McCafe, Green Mountain, Laura Secord, and Van Houtte, to name a few. Not to mention Starbucks, of course.
Since you can still have the same quality cup of Starbucks coffee and hundreds of other brew pods available to you, I would lean more towards purchasing the Keurig K Elite instead of the Verismo V. Still not convinced? Let’s keep digging.
The Verismo V has a higher price tag, but the dealbreaker is the comparison of price between the two brewer’s pods.
For example, a Verismo V pod pack of 72 pods is almost $70, while the same Keurig K-Elite 72 pod pack retails for about $50. That’s a difference of $20 every time you order.
From the get-go, opting for the Keurig K-Elite brewer will give you the most affordable price and the lowest cost per pod price.
Both brewing machines are less bulky and take up less space on the kitchen counter than others. At less than 10 lbs and as tall as 13 inches, these brewers won’t take over your kitchen setup.
The Verismo V maker comes in classic jet black color. This brewer can match just about any home or kitchen decor.
The Keurig K-Elite doesn’t come in the all-matching black, which is a bit of a surprise considering most Keurig brewers offer this option. That said, the K-Elite offers more aesthetic choices.
You can choose from brushed steel, brushed slate, and brushed gold. The K-Elite gives you a polished, sleek look, perfect for elevating your space and adding some flash to your countertops.
One detail I love that the Verismo V lacks is the Keurig K-Elite auto-on and auto-off feature. You can program your maker to power on and heat your water so it’s ready to brew when you are. Plus, the auto-off feature keeps your energy bill happy.
If you want consistently great-tasting coffee, I’d recommend descaling once a week. Descaling is a process to avoid scale build-up in the water reservoir of your maker, leaving your coffee bitter and your machine more likely to break down.
I usually empty the old water out of the reservoir, fill it with vinegar, run it through a brew cycle until prompted to refill, let it sit for about an hour, and rinse. Avoid dishwashers as most will crack or damage your water reservoir.
This is easy to do with both the Verismo V and the Keurig K-Elite, as they have removable water reservoirs.
The K-Elite features a new calcium indicator that tells you when to clean your machine. This beautiful design element keeps your machine just as fresh as your coffee.
Generally, online customers tend to agree with the breakdown of these two machines. The Verismo V is made for Starbucks lovers; the Keurig K-Elite is made for coffee lovers who want more.
Here’s what TP51 says on the Keurig website:
“Full-featured and economical price make the K-Elite the ideal choice for home brewing. Quality engineering, construction, and customer support keep me returning to Keurig. I highly recommend this brewer model.”
Most reviewers love the Keurig K-Elite for its durability, intuitive designs, easy operation, and variety of pods you can try from a lower price range.
In comparison, many reviewers highlighted the Verismo V as ‘hit or miss’. This goes for the coffee quality and its longevity. Brian Bennet from cnet.com writes:
“Unfortunately, the 10- to 11-ounce cups I brewed tasted quite watery, even with more coffee grounds in the pod.”
Suppose you’re looking for coffee pod machines that also brew cappuccinos, espressos, and lattes at a more reliable rate than the Verismo V. In that case, I’d recommend looking into the Keurig K-Cafe.
The K-Cafe features a built-in milk frother which means no additional purchases are required to get those savory scoops of frothed milk. The frother and the drip tray are also removable and dishwasher safe, making descaling that much easier.
The brewer also has four cup sizes of espresso shots and that same great-tasting instant coffee. You can now have your own little cafe at home next to the toaster.
The winner by a mile is the Keurig K-Elite. I would choose the Keurig K-Elite over the Verismo V for three reasons:
- Variety. Try over 200 different flavors of amazing coffee from around the globe.
- Durability. With the Verismo V’s track record of inconsistent quality, the K-Elite is a safe bet for anyone who doesn’t want to go a morning without their favorite coffee blend.
- Cost. From the jump, you’ll already be saving lots of money with the K-Elite, from the maker to the coffee pods.
So there you have it, Keurig takes home the belt in the epic Verismo vs. Keurig showdown. Single-serve coffee machines are here to stay. To get the most out of the impressive technology, opt for a Keurig brewer.