3D printing takes latte art to new levels
Ripples 3D-prints designs on any foam-topped drink. (©Steam CC)
Published Friday, July 3, 2015 8:06AM EDT
Forget hearts and leaves: a newly unveiled system called Ripples harnesses the power of technology to print everything from detailed fonts to the face of Elvis on the surface of your cappuccino.
Revealed last month at the CE Week tech show in New York and currently inviting interested parties to sign up to a waitlist for release details, Ripples is based around the Ripple Maker, a machine that will "print" a customized design on a foamy drink in 10 seconds using "tiny coffee bean drops" as its medium.
That machine, whose 21.5 centimetre by 27 centimetre footprint means it can sit on a counter top, is part of a platform that includes a website and an app, preloaded with a library of designs, or "Ripples," in themes such as greetings, love & happiness and "coffee humor."
Themes can be created or customized via the website, and coffee shops can make the app available to customers, who can send baristas a photo, personal image or message as they order their drink.
Ripples comes from Steam CC, a Tel Aviv-based company, and has been developed by a team of industrial designers. Its first partner is Lufthansa, which plans to introduce the technology in its First and Business Class lounges by year-end.
Clearly geared more toward coffee shops than individuals, the Ripple Maker will sell for $999 and is expected to begin shipping in September.
Of course, latte art purists might have a bone to pick with this mechanized approach to the creative art form. Just last month, Gothenberg played host to the 2015 World Latte Art Championship, which crowned barista Caleb Cha of Australia its champion based on an extensive competition in which finalists were asked to create two identical free-pour macchiatos, free-pour lattes and designer patterned lattes.