Look in any coffee shop in any city in America (or perhaps even the world) in the morning and chances are you’ll see people lined up to get their first cup of joe. Pretty soon, however, those people could be lined up in front of a robot that automatically and tirelessly slings custom-made lattes 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Austin-based Briggo is one such company making always-open robo-baristas a reality. The company’s Coffee Haus is an automated high-tech vending machine designed to serve up morning (and afternoon, and evening, and middle of the night) fixes in high-volume areas like corporate campuses and airports.
But Briggo is more than a robotics company: it’s actually a full-stack coffee company, which also sources and roasts its own beans. This farm-to-cup approach to automated coffee was just one of the reasons we wanted to invite Chas Studor, Founder and CTO of Briggo, to speak at our upcoming ArticulATE food robot conference in San Francisco on April 16th (get your tickets today!).
But before he sits down at our show, Studor sat down for an emailed Q&A to tell us a little bit more about Briggo, the whole coffee process and why flight attendants love the Coffee Haus.
THE SPOON: What makes robots a good fit for coffee?
STUDOR: Precision and consistency are essential throughout the coffee supply chain. Some of the best coffees are already processed in highly automated dry mills in origin, and we employ sophisticated automation at the roaster. So why not create automated precision at the final step when the coffee is made.
You also create your own coffee, why did you decide to take this full stack approach.
For the best results, the ingredients and process must be designed in concert. Working with our importer and roaster partner, I spent months developing the Briggo Blend simultaneously with complementary extraction parameters. I could vary the roast level and proportion of the various origins and I would modify dosing, pre-infusion levels, temperatures and several other variables to maximize the intent of each flavor component as revealed through cuppings.
I started the company with the intent of applying emerging technology in a way that could create opportunities from farm to cup. By employing a “direct sourcing” approach, we understand how each step in the supply chain adds value, and then we apply our technology to get the most out of those beans.
In the end, we use technology to reduce waste and inconsistencies in the process, which in turn supports our partners at origin and delivers an amazing customer experience.
You recently launched at the Austin Airport, what makes airports a good fit for Briggo?
There are few other locations where speed, quality, and on-demand services are at such a premium. Being a completely automated solution, we can serve customers long after other shops close and long before they open. As you can imagine, some of our greatest advocates are the TSA agents, flight crews, and road warriors who have early schedules and limited time for coffee lines. Next time you visit the Austin Airport (or SFO later this spring), try using our Briggo app to order as you pass through security, swing past the Coffee Haus to pick up your beverage, and be on your way in minutes. Just like other venues, quality and convenience is often a trade-off, not so much at Briggo!
What kind of stats can you share about your customers? What are they buying, how often, does location impact what people purchase?
- ~90k customers & 470k drinks served to date
- 40% of our registered customers have bought 10 or more drinks and earned their first free loyalty beverage, taking just over 3 months to get there
- 46% of our corporate customers have tried 3 or more unique menu items
- 5 of our most loyal customers have purchased more than 1,000 drinks all time
- 54% of all drinks are customized with either added flavors, dairy types, shots, sweeteners, strength, or even drink temperature
What is your favorite robot from fiction?
Rosie from the Jetson’s. I always liked her sarcasm, and we often get the “Jetson’s delivered” comment.