Thursday Salute: The Art of Coffee | Handcrafted vs. Computerized Machines

Nearly every professional in the design community can affirm the importance of coffee in everyday life. From the leisurely morning cup at home, to the oversized thermos in the car, to the habitual trips to the automated machine at work, there is never a bad time for a nice dose of caffeine. Now take a look at how your beverage is made; with the expansion of computers in recent years, the art of handcrafting a cup of coffee is becoming a thing of the past thanks to machines like Keurig, Impressa, and Scanomat TopBrewer, a high-tech machine that takes brewing a cup of coffee to new levels. Are quick, hassle-free machines truly a substitute for your friendly neighborhood barista with years of experience? You be the judge!

Automated Versus Handcrafted Coffee

Contender #1: Handcrafted Beverages

From lattes, to mochas, to cappuccinos, to macchiatos, the smooth taste of espresso has proliferated around the world since it’s debut in Italy in the late 19th century. After years of practice, baristas have not only mastered the art of taste, but the art of design! Latte art was developed in Seattle in the late 1980’s, and involves pouring steamed milk into a shot of espresso to form an elaborate design on the surface of the beverage.

Crafting this delicate form of liquid art involves a careful balance of design and physics. As frothy milk is added in an alternating motion to the creamy brown espresso, the white foam rises to meet the auburn surface, and patterned designs begin to emerge! The two most popular patterns are hearts, which are commonly found in macchiatos, and rosettes, which are found in lattes. We love the idea of handcrafting a drink that is just as beautiful as it is tasty.

Contender #2: Computerized Machines

Choosing to place the emphasis on taste rather than appearance, the Scanomat TopBrewer uses a carefully developed formula to provide users with a perfect cup every time! Who needs a barista when you have a computerized machine in your own kitchen that brew drinks “to barista standards using precision grinders, tamper pressure, pump pressure water temperature”?!

From lattes to juices, espresso shots to iced coffees, the TopBrewer can create your favorite hot and cold beverages with the tap of a touchscreen; there is even an iPhone app! That’s right, users can actually control the machine with their favorite mobile device. After messaging TopBrewer, the machine will message back and dispense your beverage of choice in minutes! No waiting in line is required, and the automated production system ensures consistency.

It’s up to you, do you prefer a beautiful appearance or a perfect taste? Form or function? Interaction or automation? Though handcrafted espresso drinks and automated brewing machines each have their own benefits, one thing is for certain, we all love a good cup of coffee!