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Revisiting the Robot That Brews Coffee

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The Cafe X robotic coffee station at San Francisco International Airport.
In this return visit to the Café X robotic coffee bar, we find out the station can even dispense cookies.

This year’s trip to DesignCon, fortunately, did not result in travel headaches experienced last year when a cancelled late night return flight forced this traveler to wait several hours in the airport to take a flight home the next morning. The upside of that adventure was the discovery of one of the Café X robotic coffee stations in Harvey Milk Terminal 1 at San Francisco International Airport.


On this year’s relatively uneventful return flight home, I went through the same terminal again, so I was able to revisit the same Café X.  Unlike last year when I actually brought something, I didn’t do so this time as I was pretty well fueled up. But I decided to do some quick filming.

This video shows the robot in action.

This second video shows some of the selections available from the robotic coffeemaker and how to make selections. As you can see, you can even select chocolate chip cookies or brown butter shortbread.

According to the Café X website, there are still three location for the robotic coffeemaker: the one in Harvey Milk Terminal 1 near Gate B20, a second station in Terminal 3, Gate F4 in the same airport, and a third location at the Museum of the Future in Dubai.

The feedback on the website for Café X is favorable, so one wonders if any more of these convenient self-service coffee stations will open up elsewhere anytime soon.

Next time I go through that airport terminal, I’ll make sure I need a jolt of caffeine and film the robot making my order to go.

Spencer Chin is a Senior Editor for Design News covering the electronics beat. He has many years of experience covering developments in components, semiconductors, subsystems, power, and other facets of electronics from both a business/supply-chain and technology perspective. He can be reached at [email protected]

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