Meet The "Bionic Barrista" Whose Mission Is To Terminate Millions Of Minimum Wage Jobs

Tyler Durden's picture

Tired of your barista giving you attitude, spitting in your coffee if you only mention Trump, or misspelling your name on your morning cup of joe? Surely a robot could do better. Well, we are about to find out, because on Monday, Cafe X opened its very first robotic cafe in San Francisco’s Metreon shopping center Digital Trends reports. Promising “precision crafted specialty coffee in seconds, the way the roaster intended,” Cafe X thinks that anything a human can do, its machines can do better. Or rather just one machine. 

Nicknamed Gordon, after a Cafe X employee, this robot mans, or robots, two standard professional coffee machines in order to serve up espressos and lattes. In the San Francisco location, customers can grab a cup of coffee with beans from AKA Coffee, Verve Coffee Roasters, or Peet’s. While the coffee itself may not make Cafe X stand out from the competition, the startup hopes that the robot’s efficiency and utility will.

And it surely will, because while its name may be Gordon, its title is the "bionic barrista" and its primary mission is to terminate millions of minimum wage jobs around the globe, boosting the bottom line for major coffee chains everywhere, whose growth has plateaued and who are desperate to cut on overhead costs. Already the average Cafe X coffee costs more than 10%, or 40 cents less than a similar drink at Starbucks. With greater scale the price will only drop.

While offering clear savings for the business, there will be some tradeoffs - introducing automation and robotics into food service will reduce costs and increase efficiency at the expense of customization and a "human touch." Some companies - and clients - may prefer a personal experience to an efficient one, or a customized product. The company behind Gordon, however, disagrees: “There’s a lot of work that goes into great coffee. The Cafe X system is designed for humans and robots to collaborate,” Cafe X explains on its websites. “Smart robotics and machine learning working autonomously allows our operations team to focus on sourcing and using fresh ingredients, maintaining extremely high hygiene standards, and ensuring a great customer experience with every single interaction.”  According to Cafe X, a great customer experience involves efficiency and replicability. “By being automated, we guarantee every cup of coffee you are served from a Cafe X machine is how the roaster intended you to enjoy their coffee,” Cafe X CEO Henry Hu told CNET.

For clients, the efficiency improvements and passed-through cost savings will likely more than offset any loss of a "human touch" - you can order your cup of coffee ahead of time with the Cafe X mobile app and even schedule a pickup time, if you want. Thanks to the robot’s artificial intelligence software, your pre-orders are taken into consideration alongside walk-in orders to ensure that no one is waiting for too long. And with a single robot capable of making 100 to 120 cups of coffee in an hour, you likely won’t be waiting long at all.

And since bionic barristas not only do not expect a weekly paycheck, but need no healthcare of benefits, the choice for Howard Schultz' replacement is clear. Oh, and to those 10,000 refugees who had hoped to get a job at Starbucks, our condolences.

Watch "Gordon" in action here:

... here:

... and here:

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Ignatius's picture

If this fuckin' thing puts out a tip jar, that'll be the shit, huh.

Fuki's picture
Fuki (not verified) Ignatius Feb 3, 2017 6:33 PM

Robots and migrants are taking our jobs - Affirmative action for Americans now

Pictures are in the comment thread

Croesus's picture

Anyone besides me planning on destroying this garbage when they roll it out?

Basic human social interaction has already been greatly damaged by "Social" media...and this only adds to it.

Tallest Skil's picture

I'd rather not desire continued social interaction with the mindless zombies running minwage jobs. I want them to either die of starvation or to GET JOBS THAT REQUIRE HUMAN INTELLIGENCE TO PERFORM. I want my social interaction to be meaningful. Staring into the dead eyes of someone who wouldn't know a libertarian from a librarian only kills your own soul.

Croesus's picture

@ Tallest Skil:

By that statement, you show yourself to be no different than the "elitists" you rail against on here.

There are millions of extremely intelligent people who work slave-wage jobs. Perhaps by socially-interacting with them, you might someday learn not to look down your nose at them.

My experience tells me, that they are generally a better class of people than the pretentious asswipes I meet at wine & cheese parties.


Someone who isn't above anybody else, and has worked a slave-wage job before.

OfAllElaboratePlans's picture
OfAllElaboratePlans (not verified) Croesus Feb 3, 2017 7:13 PM

I just wanna know if this thing can spin bottles & shakers around like Tom Cruise in 'Cocktail'.

Automatic Choke's picture

meh.    they had these on "The Jetson's" 45 years ago.   i'm still waiting for my gyro-jetpack, though.

Chris Dakota's picture
Chris Dakota (not verified) Automatic Choke Feb 3, 2017 8:18 PM

Tipping will be gone.

Lots of waiters scared

Cruel Aid's picture

tipping will be gone and you can wear wtf ever hat or tshirt you want without getting a lil something extra added to your order.

only a fool would wear a trump hat into a starbucks... unless thats your thing.

Seems like they screen for progressive types

Stainless Steel Rat's picture
Stainless Steel Rat (not verified) Cruel Aid Feb 3, 2017 8:48 PM

Try being burly white male skinhead with a goatee.  You'll get used to buffets.

It seems like every single service industry employee thinks "Now's my chance."  Not realizing that it happens repeatedly, every day.  Shit like the guys at Whataburger hocking lugees as loudly as possible and then poking their head around the corner to make smirking eye contact with me.

Or at the supermarket, did you want the cans on top of the bread, or the chips.

If I go to a restaurant, and my server is black, I just get up and leave.

And in the last 7 months, shit went from bad to fucking ridiculous.

MalteseFalcon's picture

I got coffee out of a machine 40 years ago.

At some coffee shops I have to prepare my own coffee.

What's the big fucking deal here?

Let me know when some fucking robot is going to drink my coffee.

That would be bad news.

PT's picture

Maltese:  You beat me to it.  I was also going to remind people that the COFFEE VENDING MACHINE has been out for a LOOOOOOOONG time now.  So why haven't they already taken over the world?

Oh, but then someone invented "Gourmet Coffee".  "Invented"?  Perhaps the correct word is "marketed".  Or should I just spell out that someone realized they could CHARGE MORE MONEY for coffee if they went through some five minute ritual to make a cup, instead of letting a vending machine do it, although I see no reason why a vending machine could not be built to automate the five minute ritual and even possibly cut down the time back to ten seconds - these are the problems that industry attempts to solve ALL THE TIME!  But what would I know?  I'm just the sucker lined up behind 5 coffee drinkers who just wants to order a cup of tea.  Why do I have to wait???  A cup of hot water, a tea bag and a dash of milk and I'm done.  But no, first I gotta wait for the five minute coffee-making ritual five times for the people in front of me ... I hear that service is good in the States, maybe you guys have that stuff sorted out and this is simply an Aussie problem?

I never understood how Gourmet Coffee allowed service standards to go BACKWARDS.  Didn't anyone think to make a machine that would allow a busy Cafe to make more than one cup at a time?  Or assembly-line the process to allow a cup to be spat out every five seconds instead of every five minutes?  Yes, I understand the millions of personalizations added to a cup of coffee but again, these are problems that industry and computerization solved a LOOOOOOOOONG time ago.

I can only conclude that the sight of a human being taking five minutes to make a cup of coffee is, in fact, a marketing prop to justify the high price of the coffee.  "Look!  A human being had to do all this fancy shit and that is how you know that the coffee tastes good!"  You could chuck that shit in a vending machine and people would whinge that the vending machine was too slow.  You could speed up the process but then the people would whinge that the coffee did not taste as good because no way can you make good coffee that fast - but being a tea-drinker, I'll have to let the coffee drinkers have the final say on that matter.

ufos8mycow's picture

This is going to save me so much money. With a little tweaking I'll never have to buy a woman another drink ever again.

hedgeless_horseman's picture

7. Forget about SBUX, this is the all-stainless-steel-french-coffee press I use every morning.  It is hard for me to imagine life without one

Frieling Ultimo 44 oz French Press, $125

Unlike the glass or poly presses, these last for many, many, years.



Allen_H's picture

Great design, I use instant. But I need it done in the way I like it. And even at work places, I make my own coffee.

Mr. Universe's picture

You probably realize that coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world, right behind oil. 5 companies also control 80% of green bean production. Mostly for swill. About 5% of production is "specialty" coffee and the difference between what Charbucks put out (even with all the hoopla, it's crap) and what I roast and brew is like Cheeze-whiz vs. Gruyère. No comparison. Not only that but the farmers actually can make a living rather than being slaves for Nestle's.

It's not hard to make good coffee, start with fresh ground beans, as the aromatics dissipate after 15 minutes. Ground coffee is stale coffee. I then use a Melita pour over cone and filter. The same as I've been doing for over 30 years. A French press makes coffee as close as you can get to what "cuppers" use to judge lots of coffee. I prefer the Bodum glass presses, but stainless doesn't break. However, enjoy your coffee the way you like it, and if it happens to be Charbucks, know that there is much better (and cheaper) out there.

Zarbo's picture

I have one of these.  Bought it in South Korea on business, when a shot of espresso was $4 U.S.  That was about 10 years ago.  Doesn't even look used.  Makes a great fist weapon.

TwelveOhOne's picture

Your link gives a 404 error.  Here's a link that works (I know, I haven't moved away from Amazon yet):

aka_ces's picture

hedgeless, I'm drinking coffee from my Frieling at the very moment I see your entry here !

the only other coffee that this way comes is espresso from my 1933-designed Bialetti --

OverTheHedge's picture

I don't get to take part in "civilization" very often, so I don't know a great deal about the fake culture that is the Starbucks cup of coffee, with all its skinny late made-up language. I have drunk precisely one (1) cup of Starbucks coffee, and I was genuinely expecting something a bit special, having seen all the tv excitement over the years. I was astonished to discover that the coffee was truly appalling - thin, luke-warm dishwasher with no flavour, no aroma, no body. And yet, the sheep were lined up in droves to get their "fix", despite the fact that the product is shit, and it takes forever for the poor, overworked slave to produce such a poor cup of coffee. To me, this just proves my theory that advertising trumps reality, and people will buy all sorts of pointless crap, as long as the marketing budget is high enough. I actually believe that vending machine coffee and Starbucks coffee are of  a similar quality, except the vending machine actually makes the water hot.

Wulfkind's picture

The sheep go there simply because of this one simple bio-chemical fact.....

Sugar is addictive.

The vast majority of Starbuck drinks as well as other mass chain "coffee" operations are dessert drinks flavored with coffee.  The food scientists employed by Starbucks and other fast food chains like McDonalds know PRECISELY how to "weaponize" food in order to induce an addiction.

And most drug dealers will tell VERY.....VERY....profitable.

Chief Wonder Bread's picture

Good points. I don't even drink coffee anymore. Used to be a Starfucks addict. I quit going to fast food etc joints and places like Starfucks. It takes a few months to kill the craving but it is very real. I used a french press for a few months before I went full abstain.

Carpe Tutti Bastardi's picture

"Didn't anyone think to make a machine that would allow a busy Cafe to make more than one cup at a time?  Or assembly-line the process to allow a cup to be spat out every five seconds instead of every five minutes?"  

"to be spat out" Bad choice of word! LOL

wanderer9641's picture

but could be accurate if served by humans - spat out/spat in - close enough.

Mr. Universe's picture

Espresso has been elevated to an art form in Italy and the Barista is an artist. Given the right coffee, equipment, and Barista a perfectly made espresso (or cappuccino) is a special treat that takes but a couple of minutes to prepare. It has no mochafrapaskinnycoconutsugar anything, just coffee, and if you start with crap coffee like Charbucks does, the end result is the same.

Chief Wonder Bread's picture

Very true. Starfucks baristas usually make a terrible shot of espresso. Quality is very spotty. Either a charred taste or like dishwater. A few can do it consistently well (even in supermarkets Starfucks) without much training, others can work in their full-service stores for years and never get it right. They disguise the poor quality with all their sugary drinks.

But I quit going to Sf and don't even drink coffee products anymore, partly so as not to support a business I don't agree with and partly for cost-savings. Don't miss it a bit now.

aka_ces's picture

I've always thought the thin sour heat-burn coffee at sbux is an entirely deliberate marketing ploy to compel people into the sugar-drink revenue stream.

apocalypticbrother's picture

It is a cup of coffee. Not art a all. Sorry

Mr. Universe's picture

A cup of coffee is indeed just that and what I drink 99.9% of the time.

I've roasted thousands upon thousands of pounds of some of the finest specialty coffees in the world. While my palate is not as developed as some, I could still identify what country a coffee came from more often than not. Bali Kintamani roasted to city level does indeed make for a sublime cup of coffee...but I digress. What is an art form is pulling a perfect shot of espresso, believing any different is certainly your right, but you are sadly mistaken. 

PT's picture

Believe it or not, sometimes I am not within a convenient distance of home.  Amazing, I know!

duo's picture

I really like those machines in the AA Admirals Club. It makes a whirring/grinding sound when you push the button, then clear water comes out, some dark liquid, and there's your espresso. It tastes like instant coffee because it is. The grinding sound is fake.

Mr 9x19's picture

luckily handjob will remain manual

apocalypticbrother's picture

I will keep walking by the Starbucks 

Urban Roman's picture

Long EMP weapons.

Die, you hydraulic fluid spewing scum!

Allen_H's picture

I remeber machines already 10yrs ago that could dispense alcohol to the barman, in shot sizes. And in a 3rd world country. All it took was a swipe of the card, and to push a button. So that was stock count taken care of. What can they do now ?

chiquita's picture

Give me Rosie the maid...  (and don't say anything about Roomba--not nearly comprehensive enough--I want the full deal with all the cleaning, cooking, everything)

Semi-employed White Guy's picture

What you never realized was that Rosy was not the housekeeping-bot. She was actually George's sex-bot.

Wulfkind's picture

Wasn't Rosie the name of the maid Arnold Schwarzenegga boned and produced that love child that broke up his marriage ?

cbxer55's picture

I agree with you man, that asshats attitude is definitely not Zero Hedge material.

And I myself will never do business with a joint that uses robots in place of real people.

Never been in a starbucks, never will. I fix my own coffee at home, don't need no over-priced java.

logicalman's picture

I refuse to use the 'self-checkout' machines.

A while ago I was in a queue of about 3 or 4 people at a checkout with a real person in attendance

The bod suggested I use one of those annoying terminals.

I pointed out that what I was trying to do was keep the aforementioned bod in a job.

I got a smile and a thankyou.

What the hell happens when all jobs are replaced by robots?


PT's picture

After they get rid of the check-out chicks, shop-lifting will go industrial-scale and then retailers will start hiring SECURITY GUARDS.

How do I know this?

Well, in the good old days we used to be able to get on a bus or train and buy a ticket from a guy called a "conductor".  But they sacked that guy, gave us bus and train ticket vending machines and now SECURITY GUARDS roam the trains.  They WILL fine you but they WILL NOT sell you a ticket.  This is our supposed "Progress", from a relaxed, friendly society and into a Police State.

RogerMud's picture

so in effect, the odds of hooking up with the cute barrista making my cappuccino just went from 0.000001 to zero?

wanderer9641's picture

You can practice on the female repair techs

logicalman's picture

Give it a little time and save up for a sex bot!


LA_Goldbug's picture

I do the same thing.

As for these coffee machines. I would avoid these places. Lets hope others do the same.

turing's picture

I agree, but there is a basic economic point. The people who design,manufacture,install,repair and maintain robots earn more than a barrista. Also, any hardware such as this becomes obsolete after a few years and has to be replaced. When it breaks down where is its temporary human replacement? There are a long line angry potential customers trapped when this thing takes a crap.