A New Detroit Coffee Shop Uses Bots And Looks Like a Laboratory

January 28, 2013, 8:46 AM

UPDATE: The Roasting Plant officially opens Friday, January 31, according to a press release published Thursday.

JANUARY 27: Detroiters will soon be able to have a cup of coffee made by a robot.

The Roasting Plant, a New York-based coffee company, is doing a soft launch in its Detroit location on the ground floor of the First National Building on the corner of Woodward and Cadillac Square.

Workers are putting the finishing touches on the shop as curious passers-by stare through big picture windows at what looks like a giant chemistry set with touches of a microbrewery. The Roasting Plant opened to the public for a couple of hours on Saturday, and people spilled in, taking photos and asking questions.

Green coffee beans sit in clear cylinders before they are roasted.

Getting coffee from The Roasting Plant is more of a science experiment than a classic cup ‘o joe. Customers can order intricate blends of coffee and watch their personalized bean mix whiz around a series of Willy Wonka-esque tubes on the ceiling.

When a worker tells the computer, called the Javabot, what kind of coffee to make, the bot sucks up the appropriate beans from various clear tubes in the center of the store and sends them through the coffee grinder. The grounds then take a trip around the room, eventually landing in machine behind the counter that takes care of the actual brewing.

The coffee is served in double lined glass cups with no handles. Milk is dispensed out of beer taps.

For the less mixology-inclined, “I’ll have a small black coffee to-go,” is also an acceptable order.

Although an official opening date is has not been announced, the shop opened its doors for a test run on Saturday.

On Sunday, The Roasting Plant tweeted that it will open with limited hours to start as they “ramp up the new operation.”

The Roasting Plant currently has two locations in New York. Their Detroit location is one of Dan Gilbert’s growing portfolio of downtown properties.

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