From a business perspective, there are numerous reasons why a robot would make a better barista than an actual barista. It’d be able to make and serve coffee faster than an actual person. It’d be able to do everything — crush the beans, brew the coffee, serve specific recipes, discard the used filter and replace it with a new one, and then wipe down the counter after it’s all done — without any human interference. And the robot would likely pay for itself in the long run. More coffee, fewer people waiting, and a better bottom line.
That’s the dream that Bubble Labs, a Beijing-based technology company, is pitching. Granted, the company’s faucet-looking robot, named Drip, isn’t quite that complete a package yet. It still needs a helping human hand to do basically everything a normal coffee maker would do, such as grind the beans and pour it into the coffee filter. It also doesn’t have a dexterous arm to grip things, so it can’t pick up or move a mug or paper coffee cup, either.
As the company describes it, Drip is “an under-the-counter system that delivers water at precisely the right temperature and flow-rate.” The way it looks and works, hiding and then emerging from your countertop, is both brilliant and kind of creepy. Basically, if you’re really into pour-over coffee, this is the “grail” home installation for your kitchen.