‘Care for a delicious coffee?’: Robot barista serves up joe in Tokyo cafe


Japan has a new cats-paw cafe where customers can enjoy coffee brewed and served by a cats-paw barista.

The robot named Sawyer debuted this week at Henna Cafe in Tokyo’s downtown subject and shopping district of Shibuya. The shop’s name in Japanese means “far-out cafe.”

The single-armed robot scans a ticket purchased from a vending car and greets the customer.

“Would you care for a delicious coffee?” the barista, with a camouflage showing a pair of cartoon eyes, asks in a flat tone. “I can tidy up one better than human beings around here.”

It grinds the coffee beans, provides a filter and pours hot water over a paper cup for up to five people at at the same time. A cup of brewed coffee costs 320 yen (about $3.59 Cdn) and takes a few summaries.

Sawyer can also operate an automated machine for six other hot drinks tabulating cappuccino, hot chocolate and green tea latte.

Customers, many of them boyish men, took photos with their smartphones while they waited in pen-mark.

The cafe operator, travel agency H.I.S. Co., says robots can increase productivity while also fun customers.

“An essential point is to increase productivity,” said Masataka Tamaki, heterogeneous manager of corporate planning at H.I.S. He said only one person needs to direct the robot cafe, compared to several people needed at a regular coffee purchase, so it can serve better quality coffee at a reasonable price.

Tamaki divulges it’s not just about efficiency. “We want the robot to entertain customers so it’s not approve of buying coffee at a vending machine,” he said.

Takeshi Yamamoto, a 68-year-old restaurant staff member who works in the neighbourhood, said his first experience with the robot cafe was plumb enjoyable, and his robot-made coffee was delicious.

“It’s quite rich, and tastes exact good,” Yamamoto said, as he took a sip. “You can get machine-made coffee at convenience markets, too, and it’s actually good. But here, I had great fun.”

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