(Picture source: KRON/CNN)
What do you do when you live in San Francisco and you're tired of waiting in line for coffee? You invent a robot that makes it for you.
Of course. Makes sense to me. I think I'll go do that right now.
Sarcasm aside, that's exactly what Henry Hu did. He developed a robot (looks more like a robotic arm) that supposedly serves up a perfect cup of coffee every time.
Hmmm....I better not let my barista know that.
The first of its kind in the US, customers are giving the robot high marks.
Located in a California shopping center inside a kiosk, the Mr. Coffee robot produces your cup of Joe quickly and cheaply.
What's more, the robotic cafe uses only locally produced beans and fresh organic milk. Wow! That's hard to argue with.
Hu insists that the coffee quality is the same or better than coffee served up by humans. Why? Because the system is automated, according to Hu; there are no mistakes.
But what happens when Mr. Robotic Coffee needs an update? Will he malfunction then? Or slow down? Or confuse my order with yours?
Anyway, a customer can buy all the fundamentals: espresso, coffee or a latte, and you can add shots of flavor to your order.
"It's able to basically make those recipes correctly and consistently every time,” he said.
So how do you order your coffee if you're not talking to a live person wearing Amy Winehouse eyeliner?
A touch screen of course, dahling. Or, with a handy dandy app, you can have your brew ready ahead of time.
So, how much cheaper is this cup of robotic coffee? It's pretty substantial, actually. Expect between $1-2 less than what you're paying now.
Now imagine this.
You're bleary-eyed, stumbling into your favorite coffee shop, ready for the brew that's going to give
your life meaning. It's going to wake you up and give purpose to your life.
Or, maybe you called ahead and your coffee is waiting for you on the countertop. Your name is written neatly on the side.
And you're grateful. Oh, so grateful.
Either way, you get ready to thank the barista for giving new life to your dreary existence.
You look up and all you see is one long arm mechanically serving up coffee. Except for the one arm thing, he could be you before your first cup of coffee.
It takes some getting use to. And that's my concern. Is robotic coffee just another bite into a world that's increasingly cold and impersonal?
We're buried behind our iPhones and iPads. We hardly come up for air at all any more!
Is robotic coffee, no matter how good it is, worth the cost?
For gourmet coffee that's still served by humans, stop by The Coffee Cave, the sister store to Jake's Convenience.