There are plenty of jobs that could benefit from replacing humans with robots. This is because robots are more efficient, they never tire, and most importantly they’re consistent. That being said, could baristas around the world start to worry about their job security? Maybe in Australia, because a cafe in Melbourne has debuted its own robot barista.
The robot in question is dubbed Rocky and it belongs to a local cafe called Once Alike. Now we should point out that robot baristas aren’t new per se because earlier this year, a cafe in San Francisco called Cafe X launched its own robot barista. However as Broadsheet points out, the difference is that Cafe X’s robot is more of an arm that fetches cups made by an automated coffee machine, whereas Rocky acts more like a full-fledged barista.
In the video above, you can see Rocky grind beans, tamp them, and even pull espresso shots. It can then pour the drinks into a cup to go, cap it, and be ready for its next order. Unfortunately the downside to Rocky is that it takes anywhere between 2-6 minutes to make a single cup, longer than the average barista would take, a much longer for a more experienced barista.
According to Liam Wilkie who is one of the engineers behind Rocky, “When you’ve been in the industry so long, you realise the most important things are quality and consistency. People want their coffee the same every time they go back to a cafe that specialises in coffee. There are limitations to having a human behind the bar. We get stressed and emotional in busy periods. It’s not fun to make 1000 lattes on a Saturday – it’s really hard work.”
Will this ultimately replace baristas? There are some who argue that a good cup of coffee comes not just from the beans, but from the person who makes it as well, just like cooking where a good chef will no doubt be able to extract more out of their ingredients than a novice.