Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Robot Coffee Maker

The Starbucks coffee maker is installed and happily making our building's caffeine addicts smile (at least the cheap ones who don't want to pay for an espresso or latte at the coffee bar).

The first picture shows the freestanding unit. On the top are the bins that hold the coffee beans. All those who like messing with the decaf drinkers can still mess with them, but it is a bit harder to do.

You can see my free cup on the foldable shelf at the bottom. It is a very nice cup except for all the writing on it. The cup was in my office on Monday morning with a green piece of paper saying that it was the company's gift to us to encourage us to be green and not use so many disposable cups.

Side Note: There are people I work with that will go through half a dozen paper cups a day getting drinks of water. I have no idea why they can't use a regular glass, although I suspect it is because their mother does not work here and thus can't wash it for them after each use. I have been using the same cup for years. I wash it once every-other month or so if it looks like it needs it. (Mrs Notthat just shook her head knowingly and let out a heavy sigh.)

The best news about this coffee robot is that you can convince it to just give you some hot water, but it's not obvious how and it's a bit stingy with it. (I swear it rolls its eyes, but I have not found its eyes yet. I'll post a picture when I do find them.)

To really test this, I did something that I have not done in years - I drank a cup of coffee. I put my cup in the proper place, pressed a few likely buttons and waited. The machine made lots of interesting noises - and just about the time I was ready to give up, out gushed the freshly ground and brewed cup of coffee. (I was expecting more of a drip action - this thing basically brews the whole cup internally, and only when it is all done does it dispense the coffee with gusto. An improperly placed cup or bad usage of the foldable shelf results in coffee splashing everywhere. It appears, based on the mess around this thing, that this happens a lot.)

How was the coffee? It tasted almost exactly like coffee, which to my tea-drinker sensibilities is not good. Others love it though. It's fairly quick and efficient, although it has a dirty little secret in the little cupboard underneath it. It still uses disposable filters (granted it is just a long sheet reminiscent of toilet paper) and it has to put the used coffee grinds somewhere. It does not provide sugar or cream or anything like that. I've been told that it's cocoa is really good - I'll try that the next hot day when the building's AC tries to actually spit frost out its vents.

The whole thing reminds me of that Nutrimatic Drink Dispenser on the Heart of Gold in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy that Arthur tries so hard to convince to try to make a cup of proper tea. It's efficient and great at what it does, as long as what it does is what you want.

And tea is not what it does.

That's it - move along...

PS: Why am I all tingly? A little fuzzy headed? I can't believe how slow I type why can't I go faster and why to i keep hitting the wrong keeys and man this is pretty cool I'm really being productive and is it getting warm in here and oh my i need to go to the bathroom really badly but it'll just have to wait wihle i type out jsut a bit mmore hrer man can i type fast now wow is this computer slow oh man gotta goo reaaly badly now...


mary ann said...

Interesting. I wonder how much each unit costs your generous company?

notthatlucas said...

MA - Here is the Starbucks link to this thing. You have to either fill out a form or make a call to find out how expensive it is (I wasn't about to do either). Also, I wonder if after you have the thing whether you have to keep buying the coffee from them.

DAK said...

Hah! We've got you now! Just one cup and you're hooooookeed forevver wow oh wow oh wow those colors!

notthatlucas said...

After a good night's sleep I appear to be mostly recovered from the cup of coffee. This morning I tried the cocoa. While it is delicious, there are no marshmallows and no hints about how many calories or how much fat it has. I also do not believe it is made from freshly ground cocoa beans.

I also suspect that if I was a coffee person, I would try making a large cup of coffee and then add a small cup of cocoa to it. (No, cocoa and tea is not even vaguely a good thing to test.)