Starbucks wants everyone to be a barista

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Customer drinking what could be her second cup of Starbucks coffee if she owned a Verismo.
Customer drinking what could be her second cup of Starbucks coffee if she owned a Verismo.
Image: AP Images / Paul Sakuma

Bucking the austerity trend, Starbucks announced that it will sell high-end single-serving espresso machines for use at home.

It’s called a Verismo and it’s not just a coffee maker, but a coffee-making system with “Swiss-engineered high-pressure technology.” It comes with “pods,” or single servings, of Starbucks’ arabica coffee brand. The idea is to make the same cup at home you’ll buy later on your way to work.

From the official release:

“For more than 41 years, we have been committed to bringing exceptional coffee and espresso beverages to our customers,” said Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman, president and chief executive officer. “We are applying that passion and commitment, once again, to the fastest growing segment of the coffee market, the multi-billion-dollar premium single cup segment, with the introduction of a breakthrough at-home Starbucks® coffee experience that is second to none. What we are bringing to market today has been impossible until now.”

That’s a lot of promises, not to mention a lot of titles for one man.

Starting in October the machines will retail at high-end shops and Starbucks cafés in the US, Canada and in some international markets (including the UK). Machines in London will cost from £149 to £349 ($242 to $567), according to the Daily Mail. The fancier machines have LED displays and temperature controls. The pods cost £5.99 for 12 servings, or 50 pence a cup. (By comparison, a Nespresso machine—the gold standard in pod espresso making—retails from roughly £80 to £479. )

Cost per day at Starbucks: This reporter paid £2.15 for a small latte today at Starbucks.

Cost per day at home: 50 pence + £349 (because I’m worth the best machine) divided by 365 days (because a better system will come along in a year or you’ll tire of this one) = £1.46

Real cost per day: £2.15 + £1.46 = £3.61 (because you know you’ll still stop for one before work, and that’s exactly what the people at Starbucks have in mind).

So much for austerity.