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232 of 241 people found the following review helpful
on October 21, 2013
If you listen to Starbucks and think this is a one stop latte machine you're not paying attention. You don't get 16 ounces of frothed milk from a tiny pod of powdered milk and water. My advice is to avoid the milk pods altogether, this machine shines as an espresso machine so I use it primarily for that. I usually prefer cold lattes, so I get my two shots of espresso from one pod, add any syrup, then the cold milk, then pour over ice. The espresso heats the syrup so it mixes well and doesn't end up all on the bottom, and the milk cools the espresso so it doesn't melt the ice. Tastes just like going into Starbucks, but a hell of a lot cheaper and easier.

As far as the espresso, I love it. Just as good as the multi thousand dollar commercial machines make.

The pods are obviously more expensive than buying whole beans and grinding them, but not so much more expensive that I care really given the convenience. A dollar for the pod, plus the milk and syrup isn't the cheapest option but it beats the $5 the barista charges you. It's faster than waiting in line in Starbucks, and it's in your kitchen.

As for portion sizes, that's how big espresso shots are supposed to be, though again yes the milk pods do not magically produce 4 times the volume in milk.

I have also tried the chai tea pods, and those are excellent as well.

I think Starbucks made an awesome pod espresso machine, decided most people wouldn't buy it if it didn't say latte on the box so they worked out a halfassed way to make frothy powdered milk in the espresso machine. People get these home and expect to make exactly what they get at Starbucks and think the whole machine is no good when the milk sucks.

If you need frothed milk there are plenty of other dedicated machines that can do that far better than this one can.
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278 of 292 people found the following review helpful
on November 26, 2012
It's been nearly 25 years since I got my first Espresso maker--a totally manual machine--and I've had quite a few machines since then. I hate to say what my current Jura Super-Automatic machine cost, but I can say that in all those years, I haven't been able to make an Espresso at home that was as good as I could get at a cafe. Well, except with my manual machine, but that was back when I was young, single, care-free and had time to pull a shot (and clean up the grounds, water and general mess afterwards).

While my Jura machine makes excellent coffee, the Espresso just isn't satisfactory, regardless of the roast and grind (harsh, with thin, watery crema that dissipates in seconds). I had wanted to get a pod machine, but I've tasted a number of them and they just don't hack it. Keurig, as well as most of the pod machines, don't really make Espresso, just a small cup of strong, pressure-brewed coffee, rather like my Jura machine. Except for the Nespresso machines (which are too messy and time-consuming for me), none of them brew with adequate pressure or temperature to make a true Espresso. I was skeptical of the Verismo when I first saw it, but the local Starbucks was giving demonstrations and free samples, so I thought I'd try it and this is definitely The Real Deal.

The Espresso is hot, rich, full-bodied and mellow--even the dark roast. Although it doesn't quite produce the thick, dense crema of the best Espresso I've had, it is far superior to anything else out there I've tried and considering how simple and easy it is, I've got no real complaints. I also disagree with the people who think the milk pods taste bad. I've used them for making lattes and hot cocoa and find them quite good and natural tasting (far more natural tasting than any other pod machine "milk"-based beverages). I actually find them a little rich tasting and so I run a little more water through the milk pod when frothing (which actually makes it frothier). I wonder if people are frothing the milk using the "coffee" button rather than the "milk" button, which will burn the milk, as the coffee is brewed at a higher temperature.

After brewing an Espresso, you can manually run the water through an espresso pod for a few seconds longer and get a good long shot (the higher end Verismo machine can do a long shot automatically).

I would say the low-end machine is a bit overpriced, while the high-end machine is quite overpriced, but like buying an Apple product, you are paying for the name as well as a better product. I've had no problems with leaking or noise. It heats up incredibly fast, it takes up little space on a countertop and is easy and quick to clean up.

The mechanism is shockingly simple compared to the other pod machines--no motorized or automatic dispenser, just a big lever you pull to drive the coffee pod into the brewing chamber. If you move the lever too hard and fast, or bobble the lever while moving it, the pod will not seat properly and will fall through into the dump bin (you can easily retrieve it for re-use, as it's obvious when a pod has already been used).

It would be nice if there was a low-water-level indicator, as there is on the higher-end machine and it's surprising to me that even the higher-end machine doesn't have some sort of automatic mechanism to load the pod, either motorized or spring-loaded, to avoid pod seating problems, especially considering the price.

All in all, though, it makes great Espresso with little effort at a reasonable price and that makes it easy to overlook the minor annoyances.

Just an update: If your machine is truly leaking water, i.e., water is coming out somewhere other than the spout or ends up anywhere other than in the drip tray, then your machine is defective and you should exchange it. Either the pump/hose has a leak or the seal around the pod is bad. My machine has no "leaks" whatsoever after several weeks and hundreds of espressos. Not a drop of liquid anywhere other than in the cup or the drip tray.

If people are talking about "leaks" in reference to liquid in the drip tray, that is normal. Any liquid that drips from the spout without a cup under it ends up in the drip tray and any liquid left in the pod/chamber when the pod is ejected ends up in the drip tray. This is an inherent side-effect of having a collection container for the used pods inside the machine, rather than requiring you to empty the used pod with each brew. It is true of all superautomatic coffee makers, for example, which are even messier to clean up, as you have to deal with loose grounds as well. I dump out the spent pods and empty the drip tray once a day--takes me maybe a minute and there is no mess (I do keep the machine next to the sink, though, so I don't have to carry the water reservoir around and spill water).

As far as the pod continuing to drip coffee after brewing, all you have to do is eject the pod before you remove your cup and the dripping stops immediately (of course the pod will then leak into the drip tray, but that's what the drip tray is for).

Believe me, I am not some sort of Starbucks fanboy--I rarely go there unless I want an espresso and it's on my way, as I can make great coffee at home with my Jura machine (better than Starbucks, IMHO), but I am totally satisfied with the Verismo and it's ability to make Espresso.

Another update:

I've had this product for many months now and have made many hundreds of Espressos. IMHO there is no better home machine for Espresso than this, other than manually pulling your own shots. None of the other cup-at-a-time machines even come close other than Nespresso and this is better and easier.

Just to clear up some misunderstandings that seem to be around:

1. Starbucks didn't invent this machine, it's a slightly modified version of the Swiss K-fee machine popular in Europe and Australia, replacing the bottom "Rinse" button with the "Milk" button to reconstitute the milk pods at a lower temperature than for brewing coffee. Starbucks' contribution was their clever method of manipulating temperature and pressure to allow you to brew coffee, produce espresso and steam milk with one machine (as well as fine tuning the system to match Starbuck's "flavor profiles".

2. If your machine leaks, it's defective--return it. No liquid should go anywhere other than in your cup or the drip tray. You must empty the drip tray before it overflows, but other than at parties, I've never had to do that more than once a day. I have absolutely no issues with liquid clean-up--not one drop.

3. As explained in the manual, when you turn the machine on, you must run a rinse cycle, which is why only the top button lights when you first turn it on. This is a good thing. It cleans the machine out and warms your cup. It adds maybe 10 seconds to making your first cup of coffee. I also routinely run a dummy cycle without a pod to warm cups that just came out of the cupboard--it works great in the winter when my cups have been sitting in the cold cupboard overnight.

4. As explained in the manual, you can turn the machine off manually by pressing and holding the power button until it turns off (about 5 seconds).

5. I've used the milk pods to make lattes and hot cocoas for dozens of people and no one ever complained about the milk--even when I prompted them and asked them if the milk tasted funny (I don't think it tastes funny, I think it pretty much tastes just like frothed 2% milk). To me, the best lattes are made by running the milk cycle a few extra seconds (which produces a larger serving, makes the milk taste a little less rich and froths it more), then brewing two espresso pods into the frothed milk. Like I said, no complaints, only compliments from dozens of people I've served at parties.

6. Although it took me a day or two to get the hang of closing the lever consistently with no mis-feeding of the pods, I haven't misfed a pod in months. I think maybe people make the mistake of trying to do it too slowly and carefully once they are sensitized to the issue, which is not a good approach. Or else they try to slam it home, thinking it takes a lot of force. It takes a smooth, natural motion, not too fast, not too slow. I honestly have no problems with it at all now, although it's certainly an aspect of the product that could be improved.

Six Month update (May 2013):

I still love it. I use it several times a day, every day. No leaks, hardly ever misfeed a pod any more, easy to use, easy to clean--no issues.

I see a number of people complaining about having to rinse the machine so often--I must have glossed over that part of the manual. All I ever do is rinse the machine whenever I turn it on (unavoidable, as it will only allow you to run a rinse cycle when first turned on) and once before shutting it off for the night. Although I will typically run a dummy cycle in order to warm a cup up before brewing, if the cup is already warm, I don't bother. I never rinse the machine between brews. If I make a latte, I follow the instructions and brew the milk first, then brew the espresso into the milk. When I do this, I never have residual milk getting into the next shot.

Interestingly, I just got a call from Starbucks to participate in a Verismo survey. This was a real survey, not one where they just get the answers they want by limiting the questions they ask and the responses you can give. They asked questions about how it operated, how it tasted, the noise level, the price, any problems with the machine, and they listened to my feedback (we actually discussed ways to eliminate the pod-loading issue!). Even though I don't have problems with pod-loading any longer, it's still a less-than-professional aspect of the machine.

Hopefully this means Starbucks will eventually introduce a cheaper machine with an automatic loading system and low water indicator. Either that or they'll just give up on it--although I hope not!

(2014 and another update.)

I was looking for more variety, so I got a Nespresso "U" D50 pod machine to try out.

There's a lot to like about this machine compared to the Versimo:

It's smaller than the Verismo and allows you to position the water tank in back or to multiple positions on either side for easiest access.
The water tank is very easy to remove/replace and has a lid to prevent spills.
It warns you when you are running out of water or if the used pod container is full.
It automatically loads and ejects the pods, so there are no jamming or "fall through" problems.
You can reprogram the amount brewed for the different cup sizes
It has all of these clever magnetic catches that hold the water tank and cup rest in different spots and hold the used pod container/drip tray in place.

On the downside:

If you think the Verismo is noisy...
Although the pump noise is a bit quieter than the Verismo, it is more high-pitched and shrill, so more annoying to my ears.
The pods make a loud noise when they fall into the used pod container (possibly due to Nespresso using aluminum rather than plastic pods)

Honestly, the Versimo noise doesn't bother me at all, but the D50 noises are more harsh.

There's a fair amount of waste water. After brewing 4 Espressos, the drip tray was pretty full. I might be wrong, but it seems to me the drip tray would overflow before the used pod container was full.

But perhaps I should have put this first--the simple fact of the matter is, none of the Espressos I've tried yet (the D50 came with 16 different samples) were anywhere near as good as the Espresso from the Verismo. They have all been less mellow with thinner crema. The saving grace might be that, unlike the Verismo, there are user-fillable pods available for the Nespresso machines, so I'm going to experiment with my own coffees. The primary reason I'm doing this is to try to get to a much lower acid Espresso than the Versimo (Kona, maybe), but I was disappointed the Nespresso pods have been off the mark so far.

I'm also starting to enjoy the Versimo Chai pods...
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104 of 117 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon November 21, 2012
Starbucks Verismo 580 Brewer

The Starbucks Verismo single-cup brewer allows you to make your favorite drinks at home: lattes, espressos and of course traditional coffee. The system is very efficient and the ingenious pods make it so easy to use. Update 3/14/13. I am enjoying this machine more and more each day. More pods are being introduced and so there are more flavors and options out there. I've tried some of the coffee pods and I must say I love it!

Positives:
1. Make your favorite Starbucks drinks in just seconds at the convenience of home.
2. Very easy to set up, maintain and use. Modular as well, that is you can change the height of the drip tray.
3. Fashionable and eye-pleasing...they come in different colors.
4. Doesn't take up that much space.
5. Produces great lattes!
6. Well-built system. It looks sturdy and designed to last. Only time will tell.
7. Update 3/14/13. Emphasis on positive #1. It's timesaving machine! Sometimes I'm on the go and the Verismo machine always come true.
8. More variety of pods!
9. Pods provide a more consistent taste every time out. No need to measure just insert the pod and you will get the same great-tasting coffe every time out.
10.Update 12/17/13. The machine continues to work like a charm. I also purchased a Keurig and I have reached the conclusion that the Verismo produces a superior, richer taste. I sampled the Starbucks Blonde Coffee (Light) for both machines and Verismo comes out on top. I made sure to keep the variables to a minimum. Same coffee, approximately the same amount, and there you have it.

Negatives:
1. The pods are expensive. The unit cost per latte is $1.62.
2. The recommended pods produce small drinks. Was hoping for larger sized drinks. Update, 2/2/13 I have discovered that you can make the lattes bigger by hitting the espresso button an extra time or two without much loss of flavor. Problem solved.
3. If product doesn't sell well will Starbucks still support it?

In summary, after a week of heavy use, I really like the unit. It's very easy and produces delicious lattes and espressos in just seconds. The only initial drawback is the price of the pods, hopefully as demands for this excellent system increases the price of the pods will drop and become more consumer friendly. Update 3/14/13. More pods means more variety. After a couple of months of use, I love and rely on my Verismo more than ever. Taste is a matter of opinion but as more variety of flavors become available, the consumer is more likely to find the pod that best suits their taste buds.
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42 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on August 17, 2013
I love coffee and have 4 different types of machines in my house right now. I have tried lots of brewing methods (even the pour over) but the most convenient has been the keurig. It's easy to find pods, it's fairly quick, and it's great before work because I can make just 1 serving. The only thing I find frustrating about keurig is the taste.. It's not very strong or rich. Plus making a latte requires some effort which I am not interested in putting in first thing in the morning. So I started looking for a machine that was more versatile, and quick and easy. I found the verismo to be the most economical and I don't have to put that much effort into buying the pods (as I drink a lot of coffee it's nice to run to the store and be able to pick some up instead of waiting for my next shipment). Some of the other reviews I read said the flavor wasn't that great or the milk pods didn't taste good, but I really like it. The coffee flavor and depth is a definite improvement over the Keurig. The milk pods are creamy and a little sweet which I like because then I don't have to add as much sugar. The frothiness is really good; i.e the milk isn't flat there is froth. When making a cafe latte you can adjust the strength. And over all it's super easy and quick (I actually find it heats up faster then my Keurig).

Are there better machines? Sure. The nespresso is fantastic! but the machine I would buy is $399 plus the pods are more of a pain to purchase. I cant just run to the store and pick them up.
So if you are looking for something that is a step up from the keurig, with great flavor, easy to use, and in the same price family go with the Verismo.
Hope this helped :)
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54 of 63 people found the following review helpful
on June 26, 2013
My wife and I looked at a bunch of different machines. The nespresso is neat, but it requires a lot of cleanup and maintenance. If you make ONE latte, you spend more time cleaning the machine and pouring milk back into the primary container, than you would making and drinking the latte. For that reason, we went with the Verismo machine.

First of all, Starbucks plain old espresso is TERRIBLE. It's over roasted, and tastes burnt. It is literally the worst coffee produced by any coffee shop in the history of coffee shops. However, if you get the Guatemala espresso, it solves that problem. Most people don't know what Guatemala Antigua coffee is, but I lived in Guatemala for some time and received a coffee education. All the rest of Starbucks coffees are terrible, but the Guatemala roast is excellent.

We started with using starbucks cinnamon dolce syrup, a milk pod, and 2 guatemala espresso pods. This ended up making the cost of a double shot latte, w/o syrup (haven't calculated the number of pumps in each syrup bottle) about $3. This is $1.55 less than what we pay in store for a double tall latte ($4.55). So, it's saving money when not including the cost of the machine.

Now, on to the milk pods. We thought they were great for some time. On a whim, we decided to purchase the verismo steamer/frother for real milk, since it's the same price as half a dozen boxes of milk pods. WOW, what a difference. It makes the milk pods taste terrible, and totally changes the entire drink.

Not counting the cost of the steamer, using organic milk, the cost of our morning latte is now $2.65. A savings of $1.90 over the store. That makes the machines pay for themselves after 137 lattes. Since we each have one every single morning, that's 68 days before the machine pays for itself. I was going to starbucks nearly every morning. I can make a latte in less than 2 minutes, including the time it takes to clean the milk steamer. I don't have to deal with stupid, slow baristas that often couldn't make a consistent drink to save their life, or the ones that completely forget that I even ordered a drink. I calculated time it takes from the moment I stop out of my car, to the moment I'm back in my car, and it's 6-8 minutes on average. Gotta stand in line, order the drink, pay for the drink, then stand and wait. On busy mornings, it's sometimes upwards of 15 minutes. Even a drive thru often takes way over 5 minutes.

The reliability is off the charts. I've dealt with many Keurig machines, which are the most unreliable pieces of junk I've ever paid for in my life. I went through 4 of them at home, and they all failed. Here at the office we went through 6 of them before getting a business class machine for 5 people that drink coffee. The first one failed after 5 months, and the second one is finally holding strong. We've had our Verismo machine for 10 months, and it has never once hiccuped. However, we take great care of it and only use distilled water, or water from our reverse osmosis system so that there is no scale buildup. I am not kidding when I say that we've made over 600 lattes in it, and never had an issue. The cleanup is simple, since the only cleanup is running an empty shot when the machine first comes on. It heats up in like 8 seconds, so there's no standing around waiting on the machine. I do wish it held more trash pods, but it holds about 8 before we have to empty... but that's the laziness in me talking.

So, if you drink a latte every single day, this machine is for you. Especially if you like the espresso in any of the pods available.

UPDATE 3/16/2015: We've had this machine for almost 3 years, and it's still going strong. The white symbol on the top brew button is starting to disappear since that's pretty much the only button we use. I estimate that we've put close to 4,000 pods through this machine, and it still has never caused us any issues. During that time, we had another Keurig die at the office, which we replaced AGAIN. I still wish we had more variety in the Verismo pods, but they have added a couple new options that are as good as the Guatemala espresso.
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140 of 172 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 2012
I am obsessed with coffee machines, I am also obsessed with lattes. I spend too much money at Starbucks and I have been seeking a low cost machine that makes comparable drinks. This is NOT it. First of all the milk pods are basically powdered 2% milk and that is exactly what it tastes like. When I saw that they were also selling a $50 frother, I said, if these make lattes why do you need the separate frother?? now I know why, because the milk pods taste like watered down powdered milk. Basically what this machine is , is Nespresso but less sturdy and not as good. At least the Nespresso has the right brew temp and pressure. I have also tried the tassimo , which uses powdered creamora as their latte and that too is nasty. The only decent push button machine I have found that is comparable for decent latte making is the FLAVIA machine.Their milk packet is also made up of milk powder and whey, but for some reason it tastes much better Other then that , your best bet for cheap lattes is a Nespresso with a Keurig frother.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2013
Had a Keurig for 2 years and the GF took it when she moved out. So when I set out to replace it, I stumbled across the Verismo. I love everything Starbucks so I bought it and I am glad I did. I love espresso. This makes it quick, easy, and tastes so good. The system is stylish, smart, compact, and easy to use. I have tried the latte's and I don't see what all the complaints are about. It tasted great to me. The coffee is perfect. To me, the only way to beat this, would be to put a Starbuck's in your home. As far as people complaining about the price - come on, Starbuck's is not cheap, so if you want cheap, stick with your Folgers and Mr. Coffee. You get what you pay for.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on April 21, 2014
I primarily brew espresso with this machine. A disconcertingly large number of espresso pods burst during the brewing process, spewing grounds into the cup and rendering the coffee undrinkable. I don't have any personal experience with other brands so I can't compare Verismo to other products but, on an objective scale, its performance is unacceptable. I'd also add that Starbucks seems to have basically abandoned support of this machine in favor of Keurig. As a result, it's not easy to find Verismo pods... even at Starbucks stores. All in all, I'd suggest looking elsewhere if you're looking to buy this sort of product.
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30 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2012
Bought this a few weeks ago at a Starbucks store for closer to $200, Liked the idea that it made lattes, but the milk pods taste bad (chemical), and if you use them, the amount of water used makes a VERY small latte. The espresso is pretty good, though, so I warm the milk in the microwave, use a battery operated frother, then use the machine to add the espresso. Doesn't take as long as it sounds, as the machne takes a little while to warm the water for the espresso anyway. Makes a pretty good latte, and of course, you can vary the type and amount of milk (but don't try it with almond milk). I can make a latte for about a dollar less than Starbucks charges, and they really are pretty good. We use the nachine a lot, and I would recommend it as an espresso maker. The machine should probably hold up - I hope - as there doesn't seem to be much that can go wrong with it.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
TOP 100 REVIEWERon October 6, 2013
It was taking me about 20 minutes and $4 every morning to go to Starbucks and get my favorite, a no toppings tall pumpkin spice latte (or a hazelnut macchiato Feb to Aug). I'm very picky, I can't drink other lattes besides Starbucks or the really amazing lattes you get in the small but popular Cambridge/Boston shops like Darwin's Ltd. Therefore I did not hold out much hope for the Verismo, but much to my surprise, it has completely supplanted my brick and mortar neighborhood Starbucks.

EASE OF USE
Plug in. Hit Power. Wait as lights flash for a few seconds. Do one cleaning cycle if desired. Lift lever, stick in a pod, hit one of three buttons (directions are on every box, the buttons give you espresso serving, coffee serving, and milk serving),done. The amount of time it takes from plugging the unit in to finishing prep of a full, perfectly hot latte is shockingly short.

CLEANING
It's a small machine and has a small catch bucket for the empty pods. The catch bucket is part of 4 sections that fit together, all designed in a way that it's easy to see what fits where and impossible to load it into the system incorrectly. The catch bucket sits atop a tray, and the pods do often leak into that tray. The tray has a plastic divider with a small opening, which separates it from the section where you put your cup. If you're using the insert that allows you to prep espresso shots, your glass sits above the tray. If you take that out because you want to fill up a full cup (normal ubiquitous paper coffee cup), your cup will sit in the tray. Therefore, you need to keep that tray clean. I can usually go two days before needing to clean because I get some liquid in the tray, but if I don't clean that tray unit that night, I'm very sorry in the morning when I open up my office door. The spoiled milk smell is nasty.

In summary though, espresso machines and frothers have a lot of upkeep. I LOVE the fact that this machine's upkeep is so easy.

SIZE
The system is small and fits easily in a corner. The water fills from the back so you need to put it in a spot where it can be easily pulled out.

TASTE
I find the espresso to be a very good match for the espresso at Starbucks stores. The milk pods are not. Although they are creamy, they have a side taste. I don't find it bad, but I know I'd get sick of that taste in short order were it not disguised by the pumpkin spice sauce that I ordered from starbucks.com. I end up with a tasty, creamy pumpkin spice latte (I never get toppings so I appreciate it exactly like that).

SOUND
I'm so used to my husband's italian grinder and espresso machine that I didn't notice the sound on this until I brought it in to work. It is a bit obvious, though nobody has peeped in at my door to see what the deep hum is yet.

PRICE
The Verismo units go on sale here and there, and the current one gives you 6 boxes of pods for free with purchase. As a box of pods is ten dollars and a new Verismo in the store is one fifty, that's effectively ninety bucks for the unit. Seeing as I was spending $4 to $8 every day and I'm now spending $2 to $4 every day, the unit has paid for itself VERY quickly. And I got back 20+ minutes of my life every morning.

If you want to maximize your drink, you can skip lifting the lever to release the pod and hit the espresso or coffee button a second time. Sure, it is a bit watered down, but I was surprised it wasn't as significant. We use newer Boston Bean units at our office and with just one run-through, that coffee is way waterier.

Other items that you would need to re-create your idea latte or other drink are also available at the online Starbucks store and on Amazon, like their amazing and decadent caramel sauce (I just can't get myself to order it, that stuff is dangerous!). Of my two neighborhood Starbucks, one carries the kind of pods I use regularly, so I get them there sometimes if I need them more quickly than an Amazon order or want to avoid Starbucks.com shipping costs.

Try before you buy - almost every Starbucks store I go to has a Verismo there and they will make you a free sample.
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