Looking like a cross between a phone booth Superman would change in and one of Lex Luthor’s robotic minions, a small start-up company has unveiled what it calls a fully automated boba bar.
Boba tea of course is one of the fastest rising drinks on the planet. The simple combination of tea, sweet milk, syrup and tapioca give bubble tea an iconic look, delicious taste and insatiable appeal.
Whether served in dedicated bars, pop up shops or as bubble tea kits, people can’t seem to get enough of it, with an estimated global market value of £4bn.
The robot bar’s makers, Bobacino aim to take the drink where no boba bar has truly ventured; middle America. Since its invention in 1988 in Taiwan, it has taken Asia, Europe and the coasts of the United States by storm, but hasn’t made its way inward at the same rate.
They decided to attempt automation, to see if the mix of lower operating costs and the unique novelty of a robot barista would win the unconverted over.
Bubble tea is perhaps a perfect test for robot baristas in general, as all you need is for your robot arm to be able to dispense the four indispensable pillars of bubble tea.
The robot arm takes your order from a tablet screen, then takes the boba balls from a dispenser in the ceiling, before using the three taps for teas, milk and sweeteners respectively, before finally sealing the drink and placing it at the pickup window.
Whilst it is unlikely to replace the boba bar experience, especially once things return to normal, it is a fascinating novel way to bring boba to even more people.