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Cafe X’s high tech coffee bars trade baristas for bots. And they're learning to make cold brew, too.


SAN FRANCISCO - Next time you're seeking a cup of joe in San Francisco, you can now pop into one of Cafe X’s two locations in town to have its bot barista make you one. Because technology!

The company, which launched its first coffee robot inside of the city's Metreon shopping center last year, recently opened a free-standing cafe in the heart of the Financial District.

Now, what exactly is a coffee robot? The tech at the center of Cafe X is a robotic arm that carries cups to and from network-connected espresso machines, which is not a groundbreaking idea, sure. But, the company says the system is efficient enough to sling a drink about once every 20 seconds. And since this method of "hand"-brewing a fresh cup doesn't require any kind of human touch, workers at Cafe X, of which there are 20 or so between the two shops, are tasked with greeting customers, helping them select the right drink for their taste buds and, of course, refilling and perform maintenance on the bots.

Other than the dialed-in swiftness of the bot barista , the other element that helps get you get your drink arguably faster than you would at a mortal cafe is the ordering process, which can be done on Cafe X’s app on your phone ahead of time or the kiosks that sit in front of the robot. Cafe X's two current locations offer around 10 different hot drinks, including a matcha tea latte and hot chocolate. Selections are customized by various bean selections from local brands, or different flavors and dairy or non-dairy add-ins.

The drinks all come in 8 oz sizes and are priced between $3 to $6, or what you’d expect to pay at your typical hip coffee spot.

The company has a new San Francisco location coming soon that will feature its slightly faster, slicker-looking and cold-brew slinging Cafe X 2.0 machine. If you like the sound of all that, even more exciting: With the company including in the announcement of the 2.0 robot that "global demand" for its machines is growing, the next steps for Cafe X could be bringing one of these bot brewers to a town near you.

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