Forget Starbucks — Tokyo commuters can now grab coffee from a robot barista

Crown Digital Ella robot barista
(Image credit: Crown Digital)

Commuters in Japan can now grab their morning coffee from a fully automated barista. Ella the robot, an IOT device from Singaporean startup Crown Digital, has been installed in Tokyo and Yokohama train stations for a marketing test until February 2022 thanks to a collaboration with the East Japan Railway.

Whether you prefer a human touch to your morning brew or not, the efficiency of the new system is undeniable. With a five square meter footprint and the precision to produce up to 200 cups of coffee per hour, savings are able to move down the chain to the consumer. Not only is Ella faster than the conventional coffee shop experience, but it's also cheaper with a cup coming in at just $3.

Ella automated barista

(Image credit: Crown Digital)

The machine itself is comprised of an autonomous arm by Techman Robot, coffee maker by De'Longhi Japan, and a recognition and cleaning system designed to detect spills and breakdowns. Plus, the remote order and collection interface ensures minimal points of contact between commuters and the barista. 

Of course, the rise of the robots in our serving industries won't be met with welcome arms by all. These machines are still in their infancy, and aren't cheap enough to hold a place in our every day lives just yet. That said, negotiating the role of the human in food service is certainly going to be a necessary step as we move slowly towards a far more automated industry. 

Until the robots take over, many are still going to rely on the best espresso machines to wake them up in the morning. If you do need something a little more automated, though, we'd recommend checking out the best Nespresso and best Keurig coffee makers for pod convenience. 

Tabitha Baker

Tabs is a deals editor on our sister site TechRadar. She spends most of her time searching for the best prices on top consumer tech, but has also written about everything from flower delivery to mattresses. Happiest with a DualSense controller in her hand, she's also contributed to GamesRadar and T3 and specializes in gaming hardware and computing.