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This New Coffee Shop Is Staffed By Robots

Designed by Yves Behar, Briggo is a warm replacement for hospital coffee machines. But unlike your neighborhood Starbucks, there’s not a flesh-and-blood barista to be seen.

If you’ve ever been stuck at a hospital long enough to be tempted into one of those automated cups of coffee–you know, the ones with the poker cards on the cups–you’ve probably come to appreciate a big scary corporation like Starbucks in a new way. But many public areas don’t have room for coffee shops. And even if they do, their hours won’t be 24/7.

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The Briggo Coffee Haus is a consumer-savvy alternative to the coffee models of yore. Staffed by a series of coffee-brewing robots created at Briggo, and designed by Yves Behar and co. at Fuseproject, the Coffee Haus can receive your order via web, iOS app, or a touch-screen kiosk. And from there, it will grind and brew your custom drink on command (or have it waiting for you to arrive at a certain time).


What you’ll notice immediately is that, even though the system is technologically advanced, it’s not designed like a spaceship. The kiosk is wrapped in wood and branded with classic–even retro–typography. It feels made for humans, even if there’s no one to greet you at the counter.

“Good baristas are in good coffee shops, no doubt,” Behar tells Co.Design. “Our experience is not competing with those…Briggo is about good coffee in public environments where a cup is needed fast and consistently. We wanted to give a sense of conviviality and a sense of space…[that’s] warm, inviting, and a place one can spend a few minutes around.”

Indeed, Briggo is marketed as a turnkey solution to any public space looking for steady caffeine drip, and so a dose of shapely wood can create the feeling of a hug in the corner. But it does beg the question: If Briggo has these robots making espresso, brewing coffee, and frothing cappuccino, why wouldn’t they showcase that experience? Why not build the structure out of plexiglass and allow passersby to revel in the spectacle of industrial coffee?


“If there were cool R2D2s or iRobots in there, we would definitely show them!” Behar responds. “The internals are large containers for milk and roasting beans, so it’s not that interesting.”

Instead, the team chose to reveal just a bit of the coffee process in a transparent window–an assembly line that assures a customer their order is being attended to, while the reveal celebrates a bit of mechanized whimsy: A “beautiful” rotating door presents your cup like a magic trick, which undoubtedly beats the old spurting, steaming nozzles that inevitably aim splash damage at your shirt.

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Yet as nicely as the kiosk has come together, its best trick may come after you’re done. A rating system allows customers to give feedback on preparation, calibrating their latte for next time–a bit more milk, a bit less sugar–until it’s always just right.

Briggo

About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company. He started Philanthroper.com, a simple way to give back every day.

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