Robot Coffee (+ bonus pun!)
They aren’t new; there are a number of these “Robot Coffee Kiosks” (机器人咖啡亭) around Shanghai, and more have been popping up lately. Here’s what they look like:
The little attached tablet is how you order and pay (AliPay or WeChat Pay, of course.)
Around 15 RMB (about USD 2.31) per cup is cheap for Shanghai. I just tried it the other day, and the coffee is… not great. I tried the hazelnut latte, and while the company deserves credit for not making the coffee too sweet, they made the bizarre choice of adding way too much crushed hazelnut topping. I was literally chewing my way through half the latte. That’s a first!
I never ever see people buying coffee from these kiosks. I don’t expect them to be around much longer.
Finally, a pun that learners of Chinese can understand (that’s kind of my thing now):
The text reads:
The world’s “first” cup of robot coffee
So the pun there is using 滴, meaning “drip” or “drop,” instead of 第. The word for “first” is, of course, 第一. The word for “drip coffee” is 滴滤咖啡 (literally, “drip-filtered coffee”).