Tue, Dec 04, 2018 - Page 14 News List

Robotics revolutionizing the humble takeaway coffee
咖啡機器人 煮杯咖啡僅需三十秒

A robotic coffee-making assistant is pictured at a FamilyMart technology concept store in Taipei.

Photo: Yang Ya-min, Liberty Times

As we approach an era of staff shortages and high staffing costs, unmanned coffee shops and restaurants are no longer the stuff of dreams. Whether in Taiwan, the US or China, the food and beverage industry is enthusiastically testing out self-service options using robots and robotic arms to serve coffee and dishes to customers.

Three years ago, a Chinese entrepreneur living in the US developed an unmanned coffee stall using robotic arms costing US$25,000 (approximately NT$770,000) each. Consumers placed orders and paid using an app on their smartphones. Soon after, they would receive a notification to collect their order and an order number. The robotic arm would make cups of coffee for customers, taking on average one minute to brew three cups.

In Taiwan, convenience store operator FamilyMart has set up a technology concept store in Taipei on the intersection of Chongqing South Road and Wuchang Street. It is the first convenience store in Taiwan to introduce a robotic arm-powered “coffee-making assistant.” In Taiwan, the market price of a robotic arm is NT$480,000 (not including the cost of the coffee machine).

Customers place an order and pay at the checkout counter and are then given a receipt with a QR code, which they place in front of the robotic coffee assistant to be scanned. Then robotic arm then starts to brew the coffee. If it runs out of coffee beans, milk or sugar, it emits an audio notification for staff to replenish the missing ingredients.

A convenience store coffee machine takes about 46 seconds to brew one medium sized cup of latte coffee, whereas a robotic arm takes only 30 seconds. During the entire process no assistance is required by store employees, which saves about one minute’s worth of service time for staff.


1. no longer the stuff of dreams phr. 非夢事 (fei1 meng4 shi4)

2. robotic arm phr. 機器手臂 (ji1 qi4 shou3 bi4)

3. concept store phr. 概念店 (gai4 nian4 dian4)

4. checkout counter phr. 收銀台 (shou1 yin2 tai2)

5. rush hour; peak period phr. 尖峰時段 (jian1 feng1 shi2 duan4)

6. conveyer belt phr. 輸送帶 (shu1 song4 dai4)

FamilyMart says that the concept store’s robotic coffee assistant makes approximately 200 cups of coffee every day, the majority of which are made during morning and afternoon rush hour. According to FamilyMart, the robot’s greatest asset is its ability to reduce the length of customer lines during peak periods.

Meanwhile, the popular restaurant chain Hai Di Lao Hot Pot, which operates on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, last month opened its first “smart restaurant” in Beijing. After diners order at their table, an order number is created, and a robotic arm then springs into action behind the scenes and starts preparing ingredients. A conveyer belt sends the ingredients to a food delivery hatch at the customer’s table and, finally, another robot delivers the dish onto the table without the need of a human server. From start to finish, the whole process can take as little as two minutes.

(Liberty Times, translated by Edward Jones)


在美國, 三年前便有華人以每支造價約二點五萬美元(約台幣77萬元)的機器手臂,開發出無人咖啡亭,消費者以手機APP下單付款,緊接著會收到取餐通知和序號,機器手臂會把一杯杯消費者點購的咖啡煮好,平均一分鐘可煮三杯。


顧客在收銀台點購咖啡並完成結帳,就可獲得一張 QR Code 小白單,將小白單拿到咖啡助理前,掃描QR Code後,機器手臂就會開始煮咖啡,牛奶、咖啡豆、糖沒了,會主動音通知店員補充。




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