Meet Jarvis, the Barista Bot from Artly Coffee

We talk with Alec Roig, hardware development engineer at Artly Coffee, as he shares some insight on the company’s barista bot, Jarvis.

BY EMILY JOY MENESES
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE

Photos courtesy of Daniel Lee of Artly Coffee

Introducing a new barista to the team: Jarvis. First launched by Artly Coffee in 2021, Jarvis is a barista bot—an AI barista designed to craft a variety of café drinks by imitating human baristas. Jarvis can even mimic complex actions like pouring latte art. Joe Yang, winner of the 2023 U.S. Brewers Cup Championship and the 2024 U.S. Latte Art Championship, has since hopped on the project; he roasts the company’s coffee beans and teaches a line of barista bots to craft drinks.

While the topic of artificial intelligence in the coffee industry can be polarizing, Alec Roig, Artly’s hardware development engineer, believes Artly’s barista bots can support, rather than compete with, human baristas—especially as the need for efficiency on the café floor continues to grow.

A light blue robot Jarvis is set on a coffee counter.
In 2021, Artly launched their barista bot, Jarvis. 2023 U.S. Brewers Cup Champ Joe Yang joined the company after he saw a demo of the prototype at a coffee festival.

Barista Magazine: Can you share with us when, where, and why Artly got started?

Alec Roig: After Meng Wang and Yushan Chen sold their previous company to Amazon, they discussed the shortcomings of the coffee industry and how technology could play a big role in the new wave of coffee. When demoing the initial prototype at a coffee festival, coffee champion Joe Yang was intrigued and joined the founding team.

In 2021, our barista bot, Jarvis, came to life! Jarvis’ first stint came at Joe’s Portland (Ore.)-based coffee shop. Now, Jarvis is serving perfect lattes—and many other concoctions—in 13 locations around the USA and Canada such as Seattle, San Francisco, New York City, Toronto, and Vancouver.

Jarvis sets down a latte with a design.
Jarvis is designed to imitate human actions, even performing complex tasks like pouring latte art. 

Compared to human baristas, how does Jarvis stand up? What would you say are the benefits of Jarvis versus relying purely on human staff?

Jarvis’ strong suit comes in the form of quick scalability and consistency. Regardless of the location you visit, you will get the same taste and look from our beverages. Using various smart hardware components, AI, and computer vision models, we can fine-tune many parameters in the fine craft of coffee to ensure great quality drink after drink.

The Artly counter with Jarvis behind the glass.
Currently, Jarvis can be found in 13 locations around the USA and Canada, including Seattle, San Francisco, and Vancouver.

Is Jarvis meant to replace the need for human baristas? Can you describe how a café incorporating a bot would run in terms of physical setup, bar flow, etc.?

At all our stores, we maintain a human element by employing Coffee Ambassadors. Rather than being flustered and occupied making drinks, they may focus on customer interaction and service. We believe this mix of humans and robots is the perfect blend of our winning formula! Cafés can incorporate both human baristas and Jarvis to increase throughput while maintaining a lower overhead. With its small size, Jarvis can be fit right next to an existing countertop, acting as a co-worker on the bar line. Jarvis can handle more complex drinks or designs, so the human barista may focus on the recipes they know best.

A blue arm empties an iced latte into a plastic cup.
Artly says its barista bots are intended to supplement, rather than compete with, human baristas. 

How can a coffee shop become a “partner” with Artly, and what exactly does a partnership entail?

Cafés can utilize their existing infrastructure and just a mere four-by-four-foot space to install Jarvis. With the same staff operating the existing store, you can now add a co-worker to expand your capabilities and throughput. Additionally, if you are a well-skilled barista, you can train Jarvis to mimic your latte art creations. Cafés, or other businesses, can either rent Jarvis … or do a profit-split model under the partnership. In a partnership, Artly would handle ingredient orders, maintenance, and other logistics/operations, while the partner supplies the space, utilities, and staffing.

Anything else you’d like to share about Artly?

Thank you to everyone who has tried our coffee and provided feedback. We are constantly listening to our customers and trying to provide the best experience possible. Through updated menu items, new technology, and novelties in coffee equipment, we strive to improve our robots and their capabilities.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Emily Joy Meneses (she/they) is a writer and musician based in Los Angeles. Her hobbies include foraging, cortados, vintage synths, and connecting with her Filipino roots through music, art, food, and beverage.

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