A robotic barista is now serving — really fast

Jon Swartz for USA TODAY:  Something futuristic is brewing in a shopping complex here.

The first robotic barista in the U.S., nicknamed "Gordon," started serving up to 120 coffee drinks an hour Jan. 30— ironically, just several thousand feet away from a Starbucks in the same complex.

"A lot of us spend a lot of time in line waiting for coffee," says Henry Hu, CEO of Cafe X Technologies, the local start-up that created the robot. "And we decided to do something about it."

For about a year, the firm built a toll-booth-sized Cafe X with a sleek industrial design. The automated cafe offers seven drinks like espresso and cafe latte for $2.25 to $2.95 per 8-ounce cup. An app allows for mobile orders. (A quick sample of drinks, each flavored with hazelnut, caramel or vanilla, can attest to quality. The robotic arm moved a cup between several stations — from beans freshly ground to the pouring of coffee).  Cont'd...

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