Espresso is the basis for many of the great specialty drinks that I like to order at my beloved Starbucks, such as the Iced Americano and the Iced Latte (basically, if it’s iced, I like it!). Through lots of trial and error, I have learned how to make my own iced coffee at home on demand (I lack the patience needed for the 24 hour cold brew method) and it works well enough, but any time I pop into Starbucks to get one of their drinks, the difference in drink quality between what they make and what I make is painfully obvious.
When my friends at Starbucks sent me their new brewer, called the Verismo System, to try out, I was excited but skeptical at the claim that I could make drinks that taste just as good as what I can get from my local Starbucks barista. But the pods for the system are all Starbucks products, which are top notch, and since this machine is note worthy for its ability to make rich, beautiful espresso (just look at those 3 layers of color!), I thought it was worth a try, especially since a drink with an espresso foundation packs a punch and should have some awesome flavor!
This system will make espresso or coffee, but I think it’s big draw is the fact that it makes those beautiful cups of espresso. And that brings me to what I like the very least about this system: it has a very short clearance for your cup. It is most definitely not designed for the person who plans to make iced beverages, as you can see in the first photo above where my favorite tall coffee cup cannot fit. But to be fair, that’s not what the system was designed to do.
It should also be noted that the Verismo system has its own line of pods, which are all Starbucks blends, so your K-cups aren’t going to work in this machine. These pods are much smaller, but trust me when I say that the flavor is totally there. And if you do like to have a cup of coffee, these pods make a very generous 10 oz size, which I was excited to discover.
If you like to use milk or milk alternatives in your beverages, then I do recommend purchasing the accessory piece, which is the milk frother. This machine will warm your milk quickly and even froth it for you. I’m pleased to see that it even has a cold froth option for folks who are making iced beverages (simply hold the button down for about 4 seconds, until to turns blue, for it to stay cold. Holding it for just 1 second turns the button red and starts the heating process).
Cafe Americano (Hot or Cold)
So let’s break down how to make a few espresso-based drinks, starting with the Cafe Americano. To begin, load an espresso pod into the system and brew your espresso.
Now all you need to do is press the hot water button to add 5 ounces of hot water and your Cafe Americano is ready for you to drink as is, or to add the sweetener of your choice.
If you like it iced, like me, instead of adding hot water, add 2 Tbsp of cold water to your drink, and then pour it over roughly 1 1/2 cups of ice. I typically just add even more ice and skip the water part.
Cafe Latte (Hot or Cold)
A latte is an espresso based drink that also uses quite a bit of milk. To make a hot version of this beverage, get your milk frother out, fill it to the line (it’s 5 oz) and make sure your whisk attachment is removed so that the milk is warmed up but not frothed too much the way you would want it for a cappuccino (oh yes, you can make those, too!). Brew your espresso and then add your hot milk to the cup. It’s so delicious!
For the iced version, take your brewed espresso and pour it over roughly 1 cup of ice, and then add cold milk. I simply took the hot latte I made previously, let it chill in the fridge for about 20 minutes to cool down, and then poured it over ice. The iced latte just might be my very favorite.
After trying out several different types of drink with the Verismo, I have to say that my beloved Keurig has been permanently unplugged. The flavor quality I’m getting with this system, and the fact that I can still make iced drinks quickly, makes the switch a no brainer for me.
If you have a coffee lover on your holiday list and you are looking for a last-minute idea, the Verismo is a big winner, I promise. I’d love to see some pods wrapped up for me! 🙂