A Tokyo Café's Robot Barista Thinks It’s Better Than You

Sawyer can make freshly-ground filter coffee and cappuccinos.

By Ethan L. Johns
February 02, 2018

Image: The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images

When the machine apocalypse arrives, at least there will be coffee.

A coffee-making robot is the centerpiece of the new Henna Café that opened in Tokyo’s downtown business district on Thursday. Following the trend of naming robots and computers after classic literary characters (hello, Watson), the coffee robot, which is comprised of a jointed arm and an opposable grip for coffee cups, is called Sawyer.

Sawyer operates as follows. After customers purchase a drink from a vending machine, they receive a ticket which they then present to Sawyer. Sawyer greets the customer, arm-a-twisting and digital eyes-a-looking, reads the ticket and begins to whip up the necessary beverage.

The machine can either make pour-over coffee from start to finish, or it can operate yet another machine that brews up cappuccinos, lattes and hot chocolate. In the case of the pour-over coffee, it grinds the coffee, puts it in a filter and then pours hot water to brew it.

A filter coffee costs $2.90, while the cappuccinos and other machine beverages cost $3.45.

For Masataka Tamaki, the general manager of planning at H.I.S. (the travel agency that owns the café) the robot is as much about entertainment as it is about efficiency, according to the Associated Press. It elevates the experience of vending machine coffee and turns it into an event.

Pretty nifty, we would imagine, though Sawyer might need to reign in its cockiness level a bit.

“Would you care for a delicious coffee?” it asks. “I can make one better than human beings around here.”

Still hungry? Follow Genius Kitchen on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for even more fresh food news, served daily. Use #GeniusKitchen to let us know what you're sharing!

Got a smokin' hot tip? Contact the GK News Desk at gkeditteam@gmail.com with story ideas.

get the Food.com app.

Watch on your iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Android, Roku, or Fire TV.

Learn More

About Ethan L. Johns

Ethan is the Food News Writer at Genius Kitchen. An expert on the Parisian bistrot, he likes bitters and salted butters, and is no fan of dessert unless it's made with fruit. His hobbies include reading up on the history of borscht and attempting to roll perfect couscous by hand. Twits & Instagram @EthanLJohns