Zipwhip's Espresso-making Robot

A Seattle start-up takes its coffee to high-tech heights.
| FROM THE PRINT EDITION |
 
 

What began as a search for a better coffee machine in a local start-up’s break room has evolved into the perfect Seattle combo: coffee and robots. Last winter, the employees at ZipWhip (zipwhip.com), a Queen Anne-based company focused on “cloud texting” (i.e., taking text messaging beyond the bounds of mobile devices and onto all Internet-connected devices), were faced with both an inferior coffee pot and the challenge of promoting their new cloud texting app. The result was Textpresso, a Jura Impressa XS90 espresso machine souped up with tech to accept text-messaged coffee orders. Using the Zipwhip app, staff members can text in their coffee orders (from standard Americanos to special orders).

The Textspresso then reaches out its robotic arm, grabs a cup, concocts the requested brew and tops it off with a personalized label written in the foam with edible ink (so Smith in marketing won’t steal it from Martinez in development). If you’re jonesing for a Textspresso coffeemaker for your office, good news: Zipwhip recently made the plans and coding for the machine available online as an open-source document, so enterprising addicts can build their own automated baristas. Just be warned: CEO John Lauer reports the Textspresso has increased coffee consumption at Zipwhip, and even converted a tea drinker or two. 

Watch a demonstration:

 

Related Content

From Boomers to Millennials, Seattle's generations need each other, especially as we all face the challenges ahead

A local union organizer and writer talks about his new book and the need for a revitalized labor movement

Although pay equity for women has improved, men are still paid more for the same work. Why is the problem even worse in King County than elsewhere?

Reflections on Black History Month, the advancement of civil rights and the lingering specter of racism; yes, even in progressive Seattle