Thought the heart shaped latte art your barista made you this morning was cool? Tel-Aviv based company Steam CC intends to one-up it with the Ripple Maker, a machine that can print any image or message onto your coffee using 3-D printing and inkjet technology.
With pure coffee extract as its medium, the machine can whip up an image as intricate as a portrait of Miley Cyrus, or print an inspirational message just as clearly as any Hallmark card. Bartistas will be able to choose from a library of images on their website, or customers can upload their own image to the mobile app and send straight to the coffee maker. In 10 seconds, the machine will turn the top of your fancy coffee drink into the image or phrase of your choice. So your marriage proposal, or, say your high school graduation photo can be immortalized . . . for the few seconds before you take a sip of your latte.
“What’s amazing about this medium is that because it’s so temporary, people will have to upload it,” says Sharon Tolpin Topper, head of marketing at Steam CC. In other words, the company is banking on the fact that people will do what they do best with latte art–take a photo and share on social media. This will likely catch the attention of brands who will see an opportunity for drinkable, highly Instagrammable advertisements. In fact, Ripple has already paired up with the German airline Lufthansa, whose first-class lounges will be the first equipped with Ripple Makers later this year.
Dreamed up by two artists from Tel Aviv, Ripple’s business model also has a less sinister side: its long-term goal is to showcase the work of artists and designers through the images available in their library. It’s working with design schools to encourage students to submit original images and are developing ways to feature artists on their site. “We’re still working on some of the details, but we’re planning on creating premium channels that can be subscribed to that document which images coffee shops request most and which are shared the most.” Of course, if your medium is latte art you’ll be out of luck.
Priced at $1,000, the Ripple Maker will be available to commercial coffee establishments this September, and will be delivered with service plans which start at $75 per month.