SAN FRANCISCO --Coffee drinkers in San Francisco might wind up asking if they need to tip a robotic barista at the city's first automated cafe.
The world's first coffee shop opened in 1555, and 400 years later Cafe X is putting robots to work to prepare your cup of joe.
A robotic arm prepares and serves many varieties of coffee, made to order at Cafe X inside the Metreon. Coffee served by a robot costs less than java poured by a human; just under $3 a cup.
Founder Henry Hu saw that baristas spent a majority of their time moving cups around while making espresso drinks and decided to make a fully mechanized coffee shop, equipped with robots to cut down on the time and energy it takes to create the perfect beverage.
"So the idea came from spending a lot of time waiting in line at cafes," he said. "So what people are able to get from Cafe X is basically specialty coffee, but being able to get that very consistently and efficiently. You can order from an app, or one of our ordering stations."
Customers visiting Cafe X's first US location at the AMC Metreon are able to order espresso drinks with milk and flavoring from kiosks and their app. There are several choices of beans as well from AKA Coffee, Verve Roasters and Peet's. The only other location is in the Hong Kong Science Park.
The idea is that each new location can source beans locally, creating local flavor for patrons.
Cafe X tells us if you order using its smartphone app, your coffee will be ready when you walk into the store.