Recently, a friend sent me an article about a new automated coffee machine and the threat it poses to Starbucks baristas (and other baristas around the world). A company called Briggo, based in Austin, Texas, has come out with a machine it claims makes better, more consistent coffee than even the best barista champions. The article implied that by removing the inconsistencies and hassles that come with human baristas, machines like the Briggo may replace the barista position someday.
Reading through the article, my reactions were mixed. The first one was, “That’s crazy, you’ll never replace baristas with a machine,” but then I sat down and tried to more calmly think through what evolving technology might mean for the coffee industry.