A robot barista in Golden is operating the first automated cafe in Colorado

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GOLDEN, Colo. — What is it that makes a local coffee shop so great?

The owner of Robo Esso in Golden says it all boils down to a great cup of coffee, served the same way every time.

“Everything you would expect a coffee shop to have from mocha to espresso. You name it, we are making it,” said Matthew Jones, the owner of Robo Esso.

There is, however, one notable thing that is different about Robo Esso than other traditional coffee shops: The barista is a robot.

“If a robot can make a car,” it can make a latte, explained Jones. “It is the same kind of motion over and over again.”

After a customer puts in an order through a touch-screen device at the café, the robot gets to work. Just as a human barista selects cup sizes, flavors, coffee types, and temperatures, the robot at Robo Esso follows a programmed chain-of-command.

“In the coffee business, you have to be selling 200 or more cups of coffee per day if you really are expecting to have any profits at the end of the day. For small coffee shops, that is impossible,” said Jones. “With the robot, we could sell 50-100 cups and still make a profit.”

With the recession brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, coffee shops and small restaurants have been some of the hardest-hit companies. Jones says automation does not need to be a tool just used by large corporations, but something that can help the bottom line of small shops as well.

“I think we really need to be focusing on creating business owners and entrepreneurs,” he said. “If we focus on creating more creators, then more jobs will come.”