aecletec wrote:Yeah, seems gimmicky to me.. superautos aren't exactly the quality leaders at the moment - but if using quality beans it will probably confirm TomC's suspicion.
But here's the thing: There's an economic tipping point where a good-enough machine generates more growing profit than the person it replaces. When I was in London a while back, the heavily-used Nespresso machines were churning out hundreds of "free" drinks in the morning, and I'm sure management had done an ROI analysis and concluded they made sense where baristas would not. Of course the coffee was not superlative, but patrons were gulping down Imperial gallons of the manufactured product nonetheless.
There may have been enough coffee science done, in addition to enormous strides in sensor technology, for a robot to be built that will reliably meet or exceed what 90% of human baristas can produce on an espresso manufacturing line (aka a coffee shop), leading to human jobs in coffee becoming more concentrated upstream, from field through roasting.
Now I could be entirely wrong about this, but when I see automation making inroads into much more specialized fields like law, medicine, and accounting, and non-coffee manufacturing areas, I suppose nothing is sacred, or improbable.