Starbucks Verismo vs Nespresso – Review & Buying Guide

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verismo vs keurig

Starbucks is not new to coffee, but they are relatively new to coffee machines. Nespresso is not. They have been making popular machines worldwide for many years now, and their experience shows. 

Starbucks lovers will jump at the chance to make signature Starbucks coffee at home without the high price tag that usually accompanies a cup of Starbucks coffee. But this machine deserves more credit as they have worked out the kinks from previous models. 

This is an excellent match-up as it’s a case of old vs. new. Do you want classic shots of espresso, or do you prefer the unique flavor of Starbucks ground coffee?

Let’s dig a little deeper to make this decision easier for you.   

Highlights at a Glance

Nespresso

Specializing in espresso blends

Many flavor options to choose from

Has compatible Starbucks pods available

More cups sizes to choose from

Separate milk frother available for milk-based drinks

Verismo

Brews Starbucks quality and flavor 

Able to brew shots of espresso

One-touch cleaning system

Fair price

Separate milk frother and milk pods available 

 NespressoVerismo
Price RangeMid to HighMid
Country of OriginSwitzerlandUSA
Number of Models Available10 approx4 approx
Makes Regular CoffeeYes (only OrginalLine)Yes
Makes EspressoYesYes
Self-Cleaning FeatureYesYes

What Does Each Brand Stand For?

Let’s get to know each company a little better.  

Nespresso

This company is more well-known globally than in North America, but that has been changing over the past few years. The quality that these coffee makers produce very closely mimics anything you would find in an upscale coffee shop. 

Their specialty is authentic espresso using their unique espresso pods. It may be hard to believe that you can get the barista-level espresso from a pod machine, but Nespresso has figured it out. This creates a smooth flavor with an exquisite layer of creme on top, just like in the commercials. 

Its minimalist design also means you can brew your coffee pods easily without needing any prior experience. This is an automated procedure, so there’s no grinding beans or needing the proper technique to enjoy fresh coffee anytime and according to your personal preferences. 

With each new model that comes out, they seem to be getting better looking as well. They stick to a classic look that has an elevated feel to them. It works in many different kitchen decors just as well as it would fit in at a high-class lawyers’ office. 

Pros

Makes fragrant espresso quickly

Easy to operate controls 

Wide variety of coffee pod options

Stylish design for any setting

Cons

A bit pricier


Verismo

If you love Starbucks, then you already know what the Verismo is but are maybe wondering if it’s worth it. For die-hard Starbucks coffee lovers, the answer is definitely, yes! This is as close as you get to having a Starbucks store in your house. 

Starbucks has a unique flavor that seems only they can recreate. They have done that with their version of a single-serve pod-based coffee machine at an affordable price. You can choose from their traditional flavors, all in pod format. 

Verismo also doubles as an espresso maker with their custom espresso pods. This is great when you don’t feel like having a whole cup and maybe just need a burst of energy in the afternoon. It brews just as fast as the Nespresso options. 

For the more ambitious baristas, you can use their separately sold milk frother to implement your favorite milk frothing method to create lattes and cappuccinos. The Starbucks Verismo system offers milk pods to streamline the latte process to the max if you want lattes with even less effort.  

Pros

Make Starbucks coffee beverages in the comfort of your home

Capable of making fragrant espresso

Uses authentic Starbucks coffee capsules

Create creamy milk froth with separate milk frother or milk pods

Cons

Only compatible with Starbuck brand pods


The Best Model From Each Company

These two coffee companies have a lot in common, so I selected these two capsule system coffee makers because they are the closest in comparison. Yes, this makes the decision hard, but it’s nice to have a choice so you can be sure all your needs are met.  

Nespresso Vertuo

Nespresso has many iconic models to choose from, but I found this the most satisfying. Surprisingly, it’s the better machine when compared to the Vertuo Plus. Usually, when I see ‘plus’ in the title, it offers something else, but that’s not the case here. The water reservoir and the discarded capsule bin are both larger on the Vertuo than on the Vertuo Plus

The Vertuo does everything that is promised by making larger cups of coffee and even carafes for when guests are over, or you’re just having one of those days. Making regular coffee is a major difference between the VertuoLine and the OriginalLine and what makes it the arch-enemy of Verismo machines.  

The advanced features in this coffee machine include a barcode reader. This obtains information from each capsule and then programs the machine to use the correct water temperature, rotation speed, layer of crema, etc., to create the best cup of coffee for that capsule. 

Technology like this makes it very hands-off and will have you feeling like a professional barista. 

Pros

Barcode reader automates brew settings

Brews regular coffee, unlike OriginalLine Nespresso coffee makers 

Wide range of brew sizes

Centrifugal extraction method

Large water tank and used pod receptacle

Cons

Higher price


Starbucks Verismo V

Out of all the Verismo machines, this one stands out as it has all the awesome features that the other models lacked. Producing a shot of espresso is a huge bonus and really helps create authentic coffee in your own kitchen. 

One of the improvements includes an upgraded water reservoir. It’s enormous at 77-ounces which should easily get you through the week of morning coffees every day without having to refill even longer if you’re brewing shots of espresso. 

What’s great about this is that it’s made for those lazy learning about coffee; this does it all for you, including frothing milk. Unique milk pods mean you can get that same texture every time without worrying about burning the milk. 

The price point of this machine also makes it very attractive, which is contrary to prices at their retail stores. You’ll save money in the long run with this machine and pod automation. 

Pros

Quickly brew your favorite Starbucks blends of coffee

Easily create shots of espresso

Huge tank for your filtered water

Compatible with different mug sizes

Competitively priced

Cons

Only uses Starbucks compatible coffee pods


Important Features – A Comparison

Here is what each feature looks like under a microscope. When two machines are so similar, you have to dig deep to uncover the truth.

Brewing

On paper, both these machines accomplish the same goal. In reality, they go about it in two distinct ways. In short, Nespresso is known for brewing espresso, and Verismo makes Starbucks coffee. Each machine is specially programmed to excel in these two categories. The difference is Nespresso allows for some wiggle room in customizing your cup of espresso, whereas Verismo is pretty set in its ways.  

Winner: Nespresso

Settings & Control

If you’re looking for simplified controls, you found them in both these machines. The buttons and control panel are minimal. This is great for on-the-go lifestyles and part-time coffee lovers. But it also means they lack extra features like a clock and notifications for things like the water level. But when those early mornings sneak up on you, a simplified operating system is very welcome. 

Winner: Draw

Pods

For some, this could be a fork in the road as the deciding factor for the side you choose. Nespresso pods are plentiful and offer many options from various companies specializing in espresso types and including Starbucks flavors. Nespresso also has a recycling program that lets you return your used pods in a bag they provide for you. A Starbucks Verismo system only works with Verismo pods which are delicious but don’t offer a wide range of flavors if you ever feel adventurous.   

Winner: Nespresso

Ease of Use

The point goes to the Starbucks Verismo with this feature because there are so few options that everything is one-touch. Simply select your size from one of the buttons on top, and that’s it. Nespresso has this simplicity as well, but there are a few more options you can explore if you want to. That’s something a savvy Nespresso customer appreciates.  

Winner: Verismo

Variety of Machines

The Starbucks Verismo V is the best choice from the whole line of Verismo options because it is built on what its predecessors lacked. That’s easier to do when the main objective hasn’t changed; they make Starbucks coffee. Nespresso has a much wider range of choice in machines because each machine has different talents. Take the Nespresso CitiZ, for example; this is the holy grail for latte lovers. It has a built-in milk frother to get the perfect micro-foam every time at a very affordable price. 

Winner: Nespresso

Design

Appearance plays a big part in selecting your coffee machine because even when you’re not using it, you can see it 24 hours a day. For the best-looking machine, go with the Nespresso Vertuo. It has an elevated look that makes me thirsty for the full espresso drinking experience. The Verismo looks alright, but it’s a bit plain and doesn’t have the same refinement that a genuine Swiss company can provide.  

Winner: Nespresso

Price

We wish this didn’t matter, but unfortunately, we must consider this. The Verismo comes in a bit cheaper based on its construction and lack of design aesthetics. With a Nespresso, your buying quality as well as function. Hopefully, the price is not a huge factor when deciding, but Starbucks fans will be happy that at least something from Starbucks is not exorbitantly priced.  

Winner: Verismo

Reviews

With many raving reviews about the Nespresso Vertuo, I think ‘Carissa’ summed it up best. 

“I used to have a Tassimo… Never going back! The coffee pods may be more expensive but this is well worth it (coming from an ex-barista). This coffee is so so good and even makes a nice crema on top! Decent amount of flavours to choose from.”

It seems it’s easier to get a Verismo machine from a third party than at the Starbucks stores, but those have resulted in some bad reviews regarding the machine’s condition. If you get straight from the source or brand new on Amazon, then you will probably have the same experience as ‘Grandma Bee.’

“I purchased this new Verismo to replace one that was an “original.” This machine is far better than the first generation Verismo, which I used for about 5 years. The materials are of much better quality. The controls are also much better…offering more control over the machine. The machine is especially quiet. I love that. I only brew espresso with this machine and also own the Verismo Frother. I use both every single day and brew an exceptional lait. I might add that I am able to get two shots out of the Starbucks Espresso pod. Try it!”

However, there were an alarming amount of reviews that cast a dim light on the Verismo. It seems that not having decades of experience with building coffee appliances has repercussions that ‘Matt’ fell victim to. 

“Machine stopped functioning after 6 months. The internal mechanism of the ‘arm’ that locks in the pod broke way too easily. At this time, the machine is utterly useless.” 

Winner: Nespresso

The Final Verdict

These advanced versions cater to slightly different crowds. On the outside, these coffee brands specialize in either coffee or espresso, but they have the capacity to do both. My favorite model is the Nespresso Vertuo simply for the quality and versatility it provides. Dedicated Starbucks drinkers may disagree but the reviews don’t lie and I have to agree that the quality of the Verismo is suspect at best, but that’s ok; that’s why we have a choice!   

Another Nespresso Comparison: Nespresso vs Keurig

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Clint's skills as a barista have made it easy for him to transition into writing about coffee. With so much personal experience and passion, he is able to shed light on all aspects of coffee to ensure you can enjoy this delicious beverage as much as he does.

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