The purpose of automation is to replace a human being in repetitive and monotonous activities. Is making coffee for them? We have already got used to coffee makers, which at the touch of a button will prepare a latte or other type of coffee for us. However, the robot tested in the Cafe Once Alike is much more advanced. We are dealing here with an industrial arm serving a fully manual professional pressure coffee machine.
Previously, we had already dealt with a similar project in San Francisco called Café X. However, there the industrial frame dealt only with serving cups with a drink prepared by a fully automated coffee machine. Here, on the other hand, Rocky (this is called a barista robot) supports a fully manual coffee machine. The time for preparing a single coffee is from 2 to 6 minutes. Such a long time results from programming a small margin of error, which is allowed during the preparation of coffee. The goal of the project is to achieve a repeatable taste that will attract regular customers back. At the end of the tests, the elimination of errors should allow to shorten the time of coffee preparation to 60 – 90 seconds.
Rocky’s robot will not replace the baristas.
Liam Wilkie is one of the engineers responsible for the whole venture, and at the same time a barista with 10 years of experience. In his opinion, even the most advanced automation will not eliminate baristas, because the human factor is appreciated when making coffee. Designed robot is designed to relieve people from the most demanding tasks. One of them is, for example, the preparation of a thousand lattes during a busy Saturday. The Australian vision is based on the fact that the robot will prepare the coffee, and the man will take care of its artistic finish and serve for the client. Currently, the robot serves free coffee from 7 to 10 am at Once Alike. Tests are expected to last until the end of January next year, and in February a paid service will be launched. However, in June next year, the second version of the barista robot is to be prepared, which is called Rocky II.