Cafe X unveils robotic café to serve coffee
SAN FRANCISCO: Cafe X Technologies on Monday unveiled its first robotic cafe in the U.S. by combining machine learning and robotics, aiming to eliminate the variability that bog down the coffee experience.
Sometimes a coffee means something, it is an opportunity to catch up with friends or sit quietly among strangers, but other times coffee is pure fuel, a jolt of caffeine to kick you up and out of your sleepy doldrums.
The Cafe X system is designed for humans and robots to collaborate allowing the operations team to focus on sourcing and using fresh ingredients, maintain high hygiene standards, and ensure a great customer experience.
Cafe X is solving the time and quality compromises that consumers are forced to make with daily coffee rituals, and serves customers in seconds to deliver beverages that taste exactly how the coffee roaster intended.
The inaugural machine is located in downtown San Francisco’s Metreon shopping center, a highly trafficked dense area which will be the blueprint for future Cafe X locations.
Cafe X Technologies, in partnership with WMF (the leading international manufacturer of fully automatic coffee machines) has developed a fully automated robotic cafe that integrates hardware and software which blend the functionality of baristas with specialty coffee preparation methods.
Cafe X sets itself apart by removing the on-site wait time, the potential for preparation error, and the unexpected variability, setting a new standard for automation technology and the specialty coffee service industry.
“I’ve long been a big coffee consumer and there’s never a guaranteed seamless experience,” says founder and CEO Henry Hu.
“In today’s world, you have two options for getting a cup of coffee: you’re either in and out with something subpar or you’re waiting in a 15-minute line for a great cappuccino.
I started Cafe X to eliminate that inherent compromise and give people access to a tasty cup of coffee consistently and conveniently.”
Customers can order customized espresso-based beverages on the spot at the ordering kiosk or download the Cafe X app onto their mobile device to order in advance.
Once the beverage is ready, customers use the touch screens on the robotic cafe to type in a 4-digit order number which is either sent via text message or displayed on the Cafe X mobile app for iOS and Android.
The Mitsubishi robot arm will then identify the customer’s drink from the waiting stations and deliver it to the customer within seconds.
“This won’t replace baristas or the coffee shop experience that so many people have come to love – we don’t aim to do that,”says Hu.
“What we’re offering is the best possible experience for people who are looking for consistent specialty coffee to-go”
Cafe X has formed unique partnerships with local roasters who source specific premium ingredients and create unique drinks which are programmed into the automated coffee systems within the robotic café.
Cafe X currently works Oakland-based AKA Coffee, critically-acclaimed Verve Coffee Roasters, and Peet’s Coffee, a Berkeley based specialty coffee roaster and retailer.
“There’s an entire segment of the consumer population that’s not buying coffee because it doesn’t fit into their present moment,” says John Laird CEO of AKA Roasters.
“We’re truly excited to partner with the Cafe X team to expand to those customers we might not otherwise reach.”
Customers can purchase espresso based drinks from the first Cafe X location in the U.S. Menu prices start at $2.25 for an 8 oz cup and varies depending on customer’s coffee bean selection.
Cafe X app can be downloaded for free at the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store.