Innovation

Japan’s Henna Cafe Hires Robot To Serve Coffee

Coffee

In an effort to increase efficiency and entertain customers, a café in Japan now has a robot that makes a nice cup of joe, the AP reported.

At the Henna Cafe in Tokyo, a robot named Sawyer can make a cup of coffee from start to finish. Sawyer grinds the beans, fills a filter and pours hot water over a paper cup to serve up coffee for as many as five people at a time. Each cup costs 320 yen ($3) and takes a few minutes for Sawyer to make. In addition to coffee, Sawyer can serve up six other hot beverages, such as a cappuccino, a hot chocolate and a green tea latte. To ensure customers pay, Sawyer scans a ticket purchased from a vending machine before greeting the customer.

Sawyer helps make the coffee shop more efficient, Masataka Tamaki, a representative for the company that operates the café, told the AP: “An essential point is to increase productivity,” Tamaki said. While the robot café only requires one person to supervise the operation, a regular coffee shop requires several staff members. With less staff, the café can serve higher quality coffee at a good price. And, of course, people get a kick out of getting coffee from a robot. “We want the robot to entertain customers so it’s not like buying coffee at a vending machine,” Tamaki said.

The U.S. has a coffee-making robot too. Patrons at Cafe X, a new coffee shop in San Francisco, can have their cup of joe served to them by a robot as well. Located in the Metreon shopping center, Cafe X customers simply place their order using their smartphones or an iPad kiosk, which then sends the order to the robo-barista.

According to The Wall Street Journal, in less than one minute, the robot, which uses a Mitsubishi six-axis arm to grab a cup, pumps in some syrup, places it in front of one of its coffee-brewing cores and lowers the beverage into one of eight warming stations that can keep a customer’s brew hot for up to eight minutes.

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