Café X Opens Robot Coffee Bar at San Jose Airport

Image: Cafe X

December 03, 2019      

SAN FRANCISCO – Café X, which designs and develops coffee bars with a robotic barista that pours and serves drinks, announced today its newest location with upgraded new features. The Café X at San Jose International Airport (SJC) will be able to serve thousands of customers arriving and departing from Terminal B.

The new location will use locally-sourced ingredients, including California-roasted coffee beans from roasters such as Ritual Coffee, Equator Coffees, and Intelligentsia Coffee, Café X said. Premium ingredients also include Japanese matcha, Oatly (Swedish oatmilk), and organic milk from Clover Sonoma. The location will also be offering pastries from Third Culture Bakery, creators of the Original Mochi Muffin and Butter Mochi Donuts, Café X said.

Waiting for coffee

cafe x robot coffee bar

The Cafe X robot coffee bar is a stand-alone unit that pours and serves coffee via robotic arm. Image: Cafe X

The robotic barista addresses the pain points of a typical airport coffee experience, with the robot capable of making and serving more than 10 orders simultaneously within minutes, and without mistakes, Café X said.

“I had the idea of a robot making coffee after waiting over 30 minutes for coffee at an airport a few years ago,” said Henry Hu, the founder and CEO of Café X. “It’s super rewarding to now be launching our first airport Café X location. We look forward to entertaining travelers with our friendly, dancing robotic barista while saving them from what seems like an eternity of waiting in line for coffee.”

The company has been operating three prototype machines in San Francisco since 2017, which have served hundreds of thousands of customers. The new café was designed and engineered with insights from those prototypes, the company said. The “welcoming and stimulating interior design, complemented with modern user interfaces, chill hip-hop beats, and a dancing robot create a familiar, yet futuristic specialty coffee experience unique to Café X,” the company said.

The Café X at SJC is open daily from 5:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., and will be operating 24-by-7 soon, the company said. During peak hours, the location will be staffed by Café X’s team of Robotic Café Operators and Coffee Specialists, who provide customer service and product education to travelers at the location.

cafe x robotic barista

The Cafe X robot can serve other drinks and pastries. Image: Cafe X

“With our growing passenger base and a focus on transforming how Silicon Valley travels, we partnered with Café X to serve our passengers traveling through the recently opened Gates 31-36 concourse in Terminal B,” said John Aitken, director of aviation at SJC. “This advanced Robotic Coffee Bar experience is the perfect complement for our state-of-the-art airport and the high-tech region and customers we serve. Café X delivers an innovative solution to meet the demand for coffee service, our customers’ most request concession.”

The food robotics space is expected to grow at an annual rate of 12.7% from 2019 through 2025, reaching a $3.1 billion market by the middle of the decade, according to a report by Meticulous Market Research. A November 2019 report from Grace Market Data said the North American food robotics market will also see $12.72 annual growth in revenue, and 15% growth in shipments between 2019 and 2026, with an addressable market value of $2.89 billion for the next seven years. In the beverage space, Café X is joined by companies such as Briggo, Blendid, Truebird Coffee Co., and others that offer drinks served by robotic arms or other automation technologies.