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One day in the near future there may be as many 3D printing shops as there are ink and paper printing shops. If the owners of these shops are smart they’ll offer coffee and snacks so people will hang around to chat and talk shop. When they’re ready I’ve got just the coffee maker for them: Pour Steady.

Pour Steady is a 2-axis robotic pour-over coffee maker that can make five pour-over coffees at a time. The makers behind this buzz worthy machine are Benjamin Cohen, Stuart Heys, and Mark Sibebac. The New York-based trio created Blink Steady, a bike light/Kickstarter hit that turns on and off as the light changes and as the rider moves.

Assuming it makes good coffee, the Pour Steady seems like a good fit in any cafe, not just just a 3D printing shop. If you’re going to World Maker Faire in New York next month you taste for yourself. The Pour Steady crew will be there showing off what the robot can do.

“If you’ve been to Maker Faire before you know that the coffee line can be really long,” says Benjamin. “We hope to help with that.”

The copper-tipped nozzle of Pour Steady slides along a rail to deliver water into waiting coffee filters in a precise spiral pattern. Benjamin says the bot knows when to pause to allow the water to properly saturate the coffee and let the CO2 bubble off to achieve the right “bloom” or extraction. The machine is powered by a smooth-moving servo that slides from filter to filter with great speed.

“We were all surprised how fast it goes,” he says.

The coffee-powered team is the real deal. Benjamin runs a collaborative artist and design studio in Brooklyn called The Gowanus Studio Space. Stuart is an engineer and machinist with a shop called The Manufactory in Bedford Stuyvesant. Mark is an electrical engineer who designs controls for robotic medical instruments and works with Stuart on research projects for NASA and the Navy.

While Pour Steady existed as a long running joke in the minds of its creators, Benjamin says there could be commercial applications. He and his partners stopped by Blue Bottle Coffee in Williamsburg, Brooklyn the other day and ordered a round of pour-overs.

“It just took an eternity and it was like five bucks,” he said.

Is the era of the robotic barista upon us?

Stett Holbrook

Stett Holbrook is editor of the Bohemian, an alternative weekly in Santa Rosa, California. He is a former senior editor at Maker Media.

He is also the co-creator of Food Forward, a documentary TV series for PBS about the innovators and pioneers changing our food system.


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