10 March 2014

REVIEW: Starbucks Versimo 600 Coffee Machine

 Five Star Starbucks

As our Christmas Coffee Special might have alluded to, we're massive fans of the hot black wakey-wakey juice here at The Test Pit. In fact we get through so many cups of coffee that our walking to and from the local coffee shop has actually worn a track on the street outside our house, sided by coffee plants that grew from spilt beans.

Not wanting to pledge out allegiance to any particular brand of coffee provider, but hot-damn we've wished for years that we had a branch of Starbucks in our kitchen. Well, thanks to the Starbucks Verismo 600, we kind of do. That is because the funky looking brewer produced the best cup of Starbucks coffee we've ever tasted outside of an actual Starbucks.

In terms of looks the Verismo 600 is quite stocky and robust and certainly packs more of a visual punch than the other coffee machines we've reviewed. It put us in mind of some sort of 1920s super-villain's evil lair, complete with arched entrance and chrome grills. Fortunately the coffee it brewed was anything but evil.

The Verismo 600 takes, as you might expect, Starbuck's Verismo coffee pods. These are slightly smaller than the Nescafé pods we downed by the dozen just before Christmas, but also come in several varieties of intensity and style. Once you pop a pod into the machine you get to 'crank the arm' on top with a very satisfying amount of pressure, to pierce the pod and set it into place. Then all there is to do is select the right button on the front of the machine, which dictates the amount of water to be pushed through.

Quite like other pod machines, the Verismo 600 does not have the ability to steam milk; lattes and cappuccinos are therefore also at the whim of the Pod God, with milk coming in it's own little plastic prison. This does mean however that just like the NescafĂ© machine, buying a box of Latte pods actually means you get fewer cups of coffee out of them as half the box is made up of milk pods. But seriously, who cares? Not when the most important thing – the taste – is so good.

As we said previously, this is best cup of Starbucks we've ever had while standing around in our pants watching the cat lick itself. The Verismo pods have captured the unique Starbucks coffee taste spot-on and fans of that particular chain should dash out to try it.

There's lots of other things we could drone on about the Starbucks Verismo 600 coffee machine, such as the ability to store up to ten spent pods inside itself before having to be emptied, the 19-bar pressure going through the pods, the adjustable drip tray, the 15 second heat up... but instead we're going to stick with the taste. Trust us, it was uncanny. It can always be a risk for a such a well-known brand to market their products for the home-brewing masses, as often the taste just isn't the same. But with the Verismo 600 espresso at our lips we felt like flicking open out laptops and pretending to write a screenplay* – that's how much like the 'real thing' it is.

For fans of making every type of coffee under the sun, the Verismo 600 might not be for them. You will, after all, always be stuck with the Starbucks's Verismo pods as the machine cannot take other formats. However, if your dreams are filled with steaming milk, curvy-wurvy counters and calls of “Double-shot latte for Chris!” you're in good hands.


*Ever noticed just how many people in your local Starbucks are doing that? Always on an Apple laptop, too.

© The Test Pit

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