NYC robot barista makes you coffee — but it also demands a tip

SCIENCE & TECH: NYC robot barista makes you coffee — but it also demands a tip



Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto.

An android barista kiosk in Hudson Yards is causing coffee drinkers to short-circuit from excitement as the mocha-making machine autonomously handles their orders.

But what this bot really runs on is tips. That’s right, even robots are prompting customers to pay it forward on a tablet screen.

And don’t assume it’s easier to skimp on the gratuity. Despite being a cold, emotionless robot, the HAL 9000-looking mechanical retina can lock eyes with you and still evoke enough guilty pressure to leave 20%.

Meet Jarvis, the AI-powered pal causing a stir at the Japanese home goods store Muji — and yes, it is named after Iron Man’s beloved virtual assistant, maker Artly Coffee confirmed to The Post.

The one-armed mechanical wonder dances, makes eye contact with customers through its sole camera lens as they order on a connected iPad and even compliments the preferences of beverage enthusiasts.

A robot coffee maker at Muji in Hudson Yards is all the rage with customers. Stefano Giovannini

“It was really cool watching the process,” Xiao Chen, a first-time customer from The Bronx, told The Post of her latte order.

A test of Jarvis’ skills yielded a scrumptious $7.40 rose strawberry yuzu refresher in about four minutes. “It tastes better if you stir before drinking,” the droid recommended.

Since being installed last June, Jarvis has been guided by QR codes placed above all items at its workstation as its bells and steam whistles get to work.

Jarvis asks customers to tip. Stefano Giovannini

Those QR codes prompt the bot to pick up a cup and place it under an ice machine or milk froth area. The masculine-voiced machina also projects the customer’s name onto the pickup counter with an approximate wait time before serving a drink.

The novelty of Jarvis’ mechanical mastery alone is enough for customers like Chen to willingly tip on their already pricey orders.

“I thought it was kind of funny since it was just a few cents,” she said. “I just thought because [the procedure] was very entertaining.”

Customers love Jarvis, the robot barista at Muji in Hudson Yards. Stefano Giovannini

Those who pay a little extra forward should be content that their generosity goes toward Jarvis’ human manager, workers explained. Employees sometimes tend to the bot themselves or mix its matcha.

“The commercial equipment Jarvis uses needs regular maintenance, such as daily cleaning routines, to ensure optimal performance,” Artly told The Post in a statement.

In the US, Artly has 25 robots deployed in 12 locations such as Seattle’s Pike Place market as the company “anticipate[s] announcing new locations soon.”

Customers love Jarvis the robot coffee maker at Muji in Hudson Yards. Stefano Giovannini

Artly’s single robot in NYC, though, already has dedicated fans. Columbia robotics student Do-gun Kim is a repeat customer who likes to show off the machine’s mighty abilities to out-of-town friends seeing it for the first time.

Kim has stopped by at least 10 times already out of admiration for Jarvis, which he doesn’t believe threatens the barista industry.

The tech wiz, who has worked on the same model robot, admits people making coffee are still way “more efficient” than the mono-armed machine, which takes orders one at a time.

Columbia robotics student Do-gun Kim has visited Jarvis at least 10 times and loves to take friends. Stefano Giovannini

His companion, computer science student Ryuta Ito from Nebraska, agreed, saying this technology is “positive” because people can spend more time focusing on themselves and their families thanks to easier workloads.

Now, the two pals are nuts — and bolts — for more self-serve robots.

“I haven’t seen another in NYC, but I am looking around constantly,” Kim said. “I want to find more.”



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