Tag Archives: Coffee

Coffeebots and the Search for the Perfect Cup

A robotic arm carefully grips the cup as frothy milk cascades onto smooth espresso. It gently places the cup before you.

Coffee is served.

I’m a little obsessed with coffee. I have five coffee makers at home, each for a different style.

But if the next generation of robotics companies has their way, they might all be replaced by a skillful droid.

Founded in 2015, Cafe X makes full-service robocafes that can be found at San Francisco International Airport and elsewhere. Today, they are only sold to commercial customers, but can the home version be far away?

Cafe X’s intelligent robots can make a drink in as little as 20 seconds. It can even make multiple drinks at once!

Best of all, the price is less than half what Starbucks charges.

CEO Henry Hu was inspired by the robotic arms that build automobiles.

A simpler coffee machine could make drinks, but the robotic arm is much more versatile. It can also serve snacks or even be used in restaurants.

The pandemic hit Cafe X hard, but it’s back in service in SFO, Dubai and elsewhere.

The machines cost about $200,000. A quick Indeed search shows most barista positions in the NYC area paying between $13 and $30 per hour.

If the average is even $20 per hour, and a human-staffed store is open perhaps 90 hours a week, it costs $93,600 to staff the store with even one barista for a year.

In an ever tighter labor market, once employers go bot, they may never go back.

Cafe X isn’t the only company bringing Star Wars to Starbucks. In Nashville, Panera Bread is rolling out coffee robots from Miso Robotics.

Unlike Cafe X, Miso’s robot is barely noticeable. It discreetly monitors temperature and time to ensure a perfect brew, but there’s no robotic arm to whisk the drink to you.

The system is designed to assist workers, not replace them.

Miso Robotics also makes Chippy, which fries tortilla chips at Chipotle, and Flippy, which flips burgers for White Castle.

In a white hot labor market, these robots may not cause unemployment. But my concerns about restaurant automation run deeper.

When I go to a cafe, I sometimes chat with the barista and have a little laugh. In a world of sensors and robotic arms, I’ll have no one to talk to.

Those little interactions aren’t the substance of our social life, but they can be enjoyable sprinkles on the top.

Cafe X’s robot amazes me and manages to be cute to boot. But I find a world without anyone to share a brief chuckle with a melancholy one.


Would you try a robocoffee? And what do you think about the future of restaurant automation?

Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

More on tech:

Robot Pizzas and the Future of Fast Food

What if Everyone on Earth Had Super Fast Internet for $1?

Robot Hands, Vertical Farms, and the Future of Food

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Misfits Market

My wife and I have gotten organic produce shipped to our house by Misfits for over a year. It’s never once disappointed me.

Every fruit and vegetable is super fresh and packed with flavor.

I thought radishes were cold, tasteless little lumps at salad bars until I tried theirs! They’re peppery, colorful and crunchy!

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Classic Coffee and Cake in North Jersey

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Mocha cake

What could be more classic than coffee and cake? After a recent dinner out, my wife and I stopped at Paris Baguette in search of this venerable combo.

We found cases filled with some of the most beautiful, artistic cakes I’ve ever seen. They’re so pretty you almost don’t want to eat them.

Almost.

Tiramisu cake

We ordered a tiramisu cake and cappuccino for her and mocha cake and a small coffee for me. They were ready in no time and we sat down at the handsome marble tables, ready to feast.

The tiramisu cake was novel with a deep espresso flavor. But the star of the show was my mocha cake.

My fork sliced through the rich icing into a deliciously moist, crumbly interior. I closed my eyes as I chewed, transported to chocolate heaven.

The finely brewed coffee was a perfect counterpoint to the chocolate. We sipped and relaxed, content as could be.

As we finished up, I noticed my wife furtively eyeing the dessert case. I mean, you only live once right?

So she grabbed a scrumptious twisty donut thing whose name I don’t know, holding it triumphantly in the air like a trophy. Oh, and a mini cheese cake for the morning, too.

Who’s counting?

In addition to numerous locations across northern New Jersey, you can find Paris Baguette in New York City, Philadelphia, and numerous other locations across the country. Stop in for delicious coffee and baked goods in a relaxing atmosphere!

More on food:

Our Man in Hunan

The Best Mexican Food Is In…New Jersey?

Manhattan’s Burger Baron

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Save Money on Stuff I Use:

Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 and returns have been great so far.

More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get your management fees waived for 90 days

Misfits Market

My wife and I have gotten organic produce shipped to our house by Misfits for over a year. It’s never once disappointed me.

Every fruit and vegetable is super fresh and packed with flavor.

I thought radishes were cold, tasteless little lumps at salad bars until I tried theirs! They’re peppery, colorful and crunchy!

I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $10 on your first order. 

The Kings of Cuban Coffee

Last summer, as the lockdowns were lifting, my wife and I sat at a little table on bustling Bergenline Avenue. I lifted a tiny cup to my lips and tasted some of the boldest, most flavorful coffee of my life.

The place was Sweets and Cortaditos in North Bergen, NJ. It sits near the top of the lively shopping street near leafy Braddock Park.

This small shop serves the most outstanding cortaditos and cafes con leche I’ve ever had. The signature cortadito has a deep, rich flavor complemented by the smoothness of steamed milk.

It goes beautifully with a slice of creamy cheese cake or a delectable cupcake.

Originally from Belleville, Sweets and Cortaditos opened its North Bergen location in 2016. From what I can tell, it’s been an incredible success. A steady hum of customers pass in and out, dainty coffees and satisfying treats in hand.

Sitting at the outdoor tables, painted after the Cuban flag, and listening to a street festival play Cuban music made us feel like we were in Havana. At a difficult time for our neighbor Cuba, it’s wonderful to be able to enjoy a bit of their culture close to home.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

More on food and Cuba:

How to Get Internet to Cuba

The Best Mexican Food Is In…New Jersey?

New Jersey’s Jelly Donut Heaven

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This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 and returns have been good so far. More on Fundrise in this post.

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Misfits Market

My wife and I have gotten organic produce shipped to our house by Misfits for over a year. It’s never once disappointed me. Every fruit and vegetable is super fresh and packed with flavor. I thought radishes were cold, tasteless little lumps at salad bars until I tried theirs! They’re peppery, colorful and crunchy! I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $10 on your first order.