Starbucks Verismo vs Nespresso – Review & Buying Guide

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It’s never been easier to make barista-style coffee at the push of a button. Understandably, more and more coffee brands want to be part of the movement, breaking into the market. Today we’ll compare two coffee giants and their capsule-based machines: Starbucks Verismo vs Nespresso.

This is a match-up of new vs. old, discontinued vs. established technology. But more on that later…

Let’s start with the basics.

Nespresso
Nespresso
Nespresso
  • Specializing in espresso blends
  • Many flavor options to choose from
  • More cups sizes to choose from

Nespresso is one of the biggest players in the pod machine market, and it shows. At the push of a button, you can create a delicious shot of espresso with a layer of crema on top. Compatible with third-party pods, you get access to a diverse range of flavors.

Starbucks Verismo
  • Brews Starbucks quality and flavor
  • Able to brew shots of espresso
  • Only for die-hard Starbucks fans

With their Verismo machines, Starbucks promised high-quality coffee from the comfort of your home, as if you were in one of their coffeehouses. However, they discontinued the technology in 2020 and have since invested in Nespresso capsules.

What Does Each Brand Stand For?

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

NespressoVerismo
Current situationIn productionDiscontinued
Price RangeMid to HighLow
Number of Models Available264
Third-Party Pod CompatibilitySome (only OriginalLine)No
Makes Regular CoffeeYes (only OrginalLine)Yes
Makes EspressoYesYes
Self-Cleaning FeatureYesYes

Nespresso

This company is well-known globally and, increasingly, in North America. 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 crema 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
  • Make delicious espresso quickly
  • Easy-to-operate controls
  • Wide variety of coffee pod options
  • Stylish design for any setting
  • Many models to choose from
Cons
  • Higher price tag

Starbucks Verismo

If you didn’t spend the last few decades living under a rock, you inevitably heard of the US coffee giant Starbucks. While the coffeehouse brand has been around since the early 1970s, they could never establish themselves with coffee machines.

Starbucks discontinued their Verismo machines

In 2012, they launched their Verismo machines in the hopes of breaking into the home brewing market. However, it wasn’t exactly a success because, in 2020, they decided to discontinue their machines and instead focus on producing Nespresso-compatible capsules.

But this doesn’t mean you can’t get your hands on a Verismo anymore. It might just be a bit more difficult, but for die-hard Starbucks coffee lovers, it could still be worth it. 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. Since their discontinuation, prices have plummeted, and you might make a really good deal.

Ultimately, however, you’re putting your money on a technology that is no longer continued. This includes their Starbucks brand pods, which are harder and harder to get.

Pros
  • Make Starbucks coffee beverages in the comfort of your home
  • Espresso at the push of a button
  • Create creamy milk froth with separate milk frother or milk pods
  • Good deals available
Cons
  • Discontinued technology
  • Only compatible with Starbucks brand pods
  • Starbucks now invests in Nespresso capsules

The Best Model From Each Company

These two coffee companies have a lot in common, so I selected the Nespresso Vertuo and the Verismo V because they are the closest in comparison.  

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.

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 of 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
  • Wide range of brew sizes
  • Large water tank and used pod receptacle
 
Cons
  • No 3rd party capsules
  • Coffee tends to be not as hot
  • Relatively high price tag

Starbucks Verismo V

Out of all the Verismo machines, this one stands out as it has all the 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. 

Tha fact that this machine, like all Verismos, is no longer produced makes it hard to get. However, you might snatch an excellent deal if you look in the right place.

Pros
  • Quickly brew your favorite Starbucks blends of coffee
  • Easily create shots of espresso
  • Huge tank for your filtered water
  • Competitively priced
Cons
  • No longer in production
  • Only uses Starbucks-compatible coffee pods
  • Exorbitant coffee pod prices

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

Winner: Nespresso

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.  

Settings & Control

Winner: Tie

If you’re looking for simplified controls, you found them in both these machines. The minimal buttons and control panel are 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. 

Pods

Winner: Nespresso

nespresso vertuo 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, including Starbucks flavors. Nespresso also has a recycling program that lets you return your used pods in a bag they provide.

The 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. It’s worth pointing out that Verismo pods are considerably more expensive than Nespresso pods. Also, remember that the Verismo was discontinued, so getting your hands on Verismo pods is increasingly difficult.

Ease of Use

Winner: Verismo

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.  

Variety of Machines

Winner: Nespresso

The Starbucks Verismo V is the best choice from their 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.

Design

Winner: Nespresso

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.  

Price

Winner: Verismo

We wish this didn’t matter, but we must consider this. The Verismo comes in a bit cheaper based on its construction and lack of design aesthetics. With a Nespresso, you’re 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.  

Reviews

Winner: Nespresso

Overall, the Nespresso Vertuo has significantly better ratings than the Verismo V or any Verismo machine for that matter. On Amazon, the Vertuo scored an average of 4.7, whereas the Verismo V comes in at 3.4 out of 5.

Admittedly, a lot of bad reviews are from customers complaining about the fact that Starbucks stopped producing pods compatible with their machines. Very annoying.

I like the machine, but getting pods for it is not easy or cheap…”

Unfortunately, it’s not the only shortcoming people point out. Not having decades of experience with building coffee appliances seems to have 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.”

Read more Starbucks Verismo Reviews:

On the other hand, customer reviews of Nespresso machines are overwhelmingly positive. I think ‘Carissa’ summed it up best by saying the following about the Nespresso Vertuo:

“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 flavors to choose from.”

Read more Nespresso Vertuo Reviews:

The Final Verdict

Considering that Starbucks is no longer producing its Verismo machines, the clear winner for easy and convenient coffee at home is Nespresso. An internationally renowned brand, it’s been in the single-serve coffee maker business for decades, and it shows… My favorite model is the Nespresso Vertuo, simply for its quality and versatility.

Dedicated Starbucks fans may disagree, but I wouldn’t put my money on a sinking ship.

Nespresso
Nespresso
Nespresso

Nespresso is one of the biggest players in the pod machine market, and it shows. At the push of a button, you can create a delicious shot of espresso with a layer of crema on top. Compatible with third-party pods, you get access to a diverse range of flavors.

Photo of author
Author
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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