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:

 

 

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