Modern coffee drinking has been revolutionized by the introduction of instant coffee machines. No longer does one need to brew a whole twelve cups of coffee just to waste over half of it! Instead, thanks to the popularity of the Starbucks Verismo and the Keurig products, personal coffee making has become efficient and immediate. However, this begs the question: how do these two brewing methods compare to each other?
Both brewing machines offer a wide range of services that allow users to enjoy a variety of brews and drinks. On the Starbucks side of things, there are four different machines: the Verismo V, the Verismo 600, the Verismo 580, and the Verismo 585. For Keurig, there are about 31 different brewers. Yikes! That number can be daunting, but don’t worry. We will only focus on the flagship brewer for each company. In Starbucks’ case that is the Verismo V, while for Keurig it’s the Keurig K-Elite Brewing System.
There is a variance in price between the two. The Verismo V is in a slightly higher price range, while the Keurig K-Elite is near the middle of the pack. This difference is primarily because the Verismo can brew both espresso and coffee due to its unique dual pressure technology, as opposed to the Keurig, which can only brew regular coffee. However, what the Keurig lacks in the espresso department, it makes up for in additional features.
Both machines are great tools, and owning either one is not a mistake. But to make the choice a little simpler, let’s break down the differences between the two.
What Are the Differences?
Both the Verismo and the Keurig K-Elite are straightforward, easy-to-use machines. If it is a struggle to figure them out, the guides can be found here (Verismo) and here (Keurig). While they’re designed to be instant coffee dispensary systems, if the machine has not been used in a while, it will take a few moments to reheat and start dispensing coffee. Nonetheless, in terms of performance, they’re quite similar.
One defining characteristic is the limited number of products that are compatible with the Verismo. Specifically, there are roughly only 16 different brew pods that are usable. This is because the brewer only accepts Starbucks Verismo Pods. The Keurig has 200+ different types of pods that can be used. This includes all 16 of Starbucks’ premier flavors for the Verismo.
However, paired with the other products that Starbucks sells, such as the Verismo Milk Frother, the Verismo allows the user to create unique and custom drinks that rival even the most skilled barista.
We already touched on the price, but there are other costs involved besides the initial purchase of the machine, such as the coffee pods. These are the Verismo Pods for the Verismo and the K-Cups for the Keurig. Looking at the standard 72-count box of both, the price for Starbucks Verismo Pods is around $60-70, while K-Cups are closer to $30-50.
Through Keurig’s website, users can order a custom delivery every month with their favorite brews, which will vary in price based upon quantity and product ordered. Overall, buying one new Verismo with a box of 72 Verismo Pods will cost about $263.98, while the same package of a Keurig K-Elite and a box of 72 K-Cups will cost about $219.99.
I have had my own Keurig for roughly three years and, with regular descaling and minimal maintenance, I have had no issues. I don’t have the K-Elite, but the materials of the K-Elite are primarily durable plastics with minimal technological innovations, so the product should last a long time with no technical failure.
Similarly, the Verismo has received praise for its durability and sustained function over long periods of time. Both machines are effective due to simple, intuitive designs, and require minimal maintenance.
Both brewers are similar-sized machines, with the K-Elite weighing in at eight pounds and the Verismo at 7.7 pounds. The K-Elite is 13.1” high, 9.1” wide, and 12.7” deep. The Verismo is only 11” high, 7.6” wide, and 12.6” deep, hence the slight difference in overall weight.
Both systems are able to match almost any kitchen setup. The Keurig comes in three main colors of brushed steel, brushed slate, and brushed gold, while the Verismo comes in the all-matching color of black.
Recap of the Keurig K-Elite
Recap of the Starbucks Verismo V
For both products, the reviews are overwhelmingly positive. Customers report that they have used either their Keurig or Verismo for at least a year, if not longer, with little to no breakdown. The only noticeable issue is that some customers complain about the customer service of Starbucks, which is available only Monday through Friday, and only able to be called from eight a.m. to four p.m. Naturally, this doesn’t fit with the schedules of most workers.
Outside of this issue, and apart from the occasional mechanical issue, when looking at the aggregate of customer reviews there does not appear to be a pattern of a specific error occurring with either machine. This means that the manufacturing for both products is sound.
The Bottom Line
When looking for an instant coffee machine, the average user would probably look at overall price, durability, and quality of product. In this instance, the Keurig K-Elite costs less, while remaining just as durable and performing at the same level as the Starbucks Verismo.
However, if you want both a coffee machine and an espresso machine, even though it’s more expensive, the Verismo is the product for you. It’s simple, it’s easy, and it’s better than having two clunky machines taking up precious counter space. In the end, just talking about coffee, the K-Elite wins out due to its broad product range and lower overall price.
Featured image credit: Tony Webster, Flickr