Coffee-Fueled Innovations of the 21st Century


Coffee. It’s one of those things that make me glad to be born in this day and age, when euphoria is just a press away, coffee breaks are practically staples in the workplace, and my biggest problem is whether to get it iced or blended.
I admit it: I’m more than a little bit addicted. Coffee has seen me through sleepless nights in college and grueling hours at work, even surviving my recent bout of acid reflux. I know I’m not the only one, after all, the world coffee production for 2012/2012 is estimated at a whopping 146 million bags. Starbucks, the biggest international coffeehouse chain, has more than 18,000 stores all over the world, and they’re looking to open 3,000 more outlets over five years.
Yes, this beverage has wormed its way into our hearts—some more than others. Let’s take a look at several innovations that prove that no matter how rapidly our world is changing, coffee will always be there with us for the ride:
Just an App Away
Nowadays, it seems like there’s an app for almost anything. If there’s an app to help you locate the nearest toilet, it makes sense that there’ll be one to point you to the nearest café for your daily fix. Coffee Finder is one app that’s dedicated solely to locating the nearest coffee shops, but if you want something more social, check out Find Me Coffee. Aside from the location feature, it’ll also allow you to check-in at your café and even browse through others’ recommendations.
Of course, you can’t miss out on those nifty how-tos. Barista and Spro are two apps that’ll have you whipping out homemade drinks to rival those served in your local coffee shop. Coffee Art teaches you how to create those stylized designs on top of your latte, making your concoction Instagram-ready. With these apps, you’ll be able to save some extra cash without sacrificing your caffeine fix.
Starbucks + Apple = The Perfect Combination
Starbucks has always had a special place in my bean-loving heart, as overrated as it may be. So when I found out that Starbucks has a partnership with Apple, it seemed like kismet. While some companies create apps that could practically be interchangeable with others, this coffee giant created one that makes it stand out and proves once again why it’s considered to be one of the world’s 50 most innovative companies.
The Starbucks app for iOS does all the basics like locating the nearest branch to you (plus its amenities and store hours), guiding you through the beverage and food offerings and keeping track of your loyalty points (aka “Stars”). It takes it one step further by letting you pay for your drinks and even manage the balance of your Starbucks Card. Then they upped the ante by allowing customers to download their free Pick of the Week music, apps and books straight from their iPhone app. Talk about an awesome twofer: a latte with a side of free Angry Birds.
Coffee Via Cloud
No longer does the word “cloud” only refer to those fluffy-looking things blanketing the sky. This seemingly inconsequential word packs a whole lot of significance in today’s mobile age due to the mere fact that it allows for remote connectivity and productivity. Most of us associate it with online storage and free texts, but one visionary company saw how it could be used to satisfy their coffee cravings.
Zipwhip is primarily a platform that allows you to send text messages via landline phones, computers and Android tablets using your existing mobile number. However, they did something no one else has done—they’ve rigged up their system to a Jura espresso machine, allowing it to take coffee orders through text. In this video from their blog, Zipwhip CEO John Lauer shows us how the robot arm brings a cup to the machine in time for the brewing of your specified beverage, then brings the filled cup underneath a printer that’ll use edible ink to print the last three digits of the your number.
While this machine won’t be available for sale, Zipwhip has confirmed that they’ll be open-sourcing the code and specs for those who want to make their own Textspresso. I don’t know about you, but that Textspresso machine’s something that I’m dreaming to have in my next office.
Do you know of other innovations for the techy coffee addict? Let us know in the comment box below!