Monday, October 28, 2013

Does Robot Coffee Pose a Threat to Starbucks?

Student tries out the new Briggo coffee kiosk
It's doubtful that a robot will remember how much foam you like on your cappuccino, or that you like an inch of room at the top to add your own cream. But for fast, precise brewing of coffee drinks at drive by pick-up stations (where the coffee you ordered via smartphone will be ready the minute you stop by), the casual coffee drinker who just wants a great quick cup with minimal hassle may have a new option soon.

Now being tested in one machine on the U of Texas campus in Austin, the new technology from Briggo has a lot of future possibilities.  And the reports from users are mostly glowing, with reviews like “love my robot coffee!” and “the most delicious coffee I’ve had in a very long time.”

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
Slate

Link to article: 
Briggo Coffee Robot: Should Starbucks Replace Baristas with Machines?

Excerpt: "Robot-brewed coffee might sound like a bizarre, even retrograde concept in an industry that fetishizes the artisanal and eschews mass production. Anyone who has tried coffee from an office vending machine can vouch for the value of the human touch. But, contrary to what you might expect, Briggo’s goal in automating coffee is not to make it cheaper or more portable. It’s to make it better.

Here’s the concept, as explained to me by Briggo CEO Kevin Nater: 'There’s this unbelievably beautiful supply chain for coffee,' he says, from the way the beans are painstakingly cultivated and harvested in countries like Honduras to the way they’re packed and shipped and roasted to perfection—'and then, at the last step, when you’ve spent all this time and money trying to make the perfect product, there’s a person brewing the coffee. And that has the potential to really just kill the customer experience. So why not automate it?'

As Quartz’s Mims points out, Nespresso machines, which automatically brew a cup when you insert a vacuum-sealed capsule, have topped hand-brewed coffee in tastings. Briggo applies similar concepts on a larger scale. Each 50-square-foot, Yves BĂ©har-designed kiosk is stocked with fresh milk, beans, and other ingredients, and whips up frothy, made-to-order cups according to a process the company developed with the help of an award-winning barista."

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