We’ll see you in there.
Connect to customize your food & drink discovery.
It’s official, you can now get a gourmet cup of coffee made by a robot at RC Coffee’s new location, now open in Kensington Market.
After much success from the first robotic coffee machine in Yorkville, general manager of coffee Brad Ford has been slowly planning his Toronto robotic coffee take-over.
"There was no real electronic coffee solutions and there was a need in the market for this kind of thing. Everything was instant coffee or pods with a mediocre product at best," says Ford. "Using the modern technology now available to us, we have successfully automated the process of making an espresso and foaming the milk properly, so that you can enjoy coffee that is on par, if not better, than what you'd get at a café."
The pilot location at 1235 Bay Street was branded as a Dark Horse espresso vending machine, and was the ultimate litmus test for the company. By purposefully installing the first iteration in a low traffic area, they were able to get a better idea of how the industry works, before expanding their presence within the city.
Essentially, these robot-run coffee vendors do everything a barista does, but it is all internalized. Ford worked with some of the world's barista champions to make the robot's algorithm reflect exactly what they do when crafting a beverage.
"The quality is truly amazing. People have been raving and are shocked when they find out there's no barista hiding on the other side of the wall," says Ford.
Similar to the Yorkville location, this new RC Coffee is a free-standing, contactless machine that serves Dark Horse Americanos, cappuccinos, lattés, flat whites and cortados, with the option of customizing your milk and beans (if you prefer decaf). They also serve hot chocolate, or chai lattés and teas using micro-grounded and organic ingredients.
Once they finalize their next addition to the system, you will be able to enhance your drink with flavoured syrups or even choose between cold brew and other iced drinks, which should be available sometime in the coming months.
The Kensington location is equipped with a fully-operational robotic arm that is visible via display window next to the ordering screen, so you can watch the robot working away to prepare your drink! With only half of the machine enabled, it produced over 200 coffees in the first four hours they were open. The goal however, with both arms working at full capacity, is to pump out 120 drinks per hour, as each beverage can be made ready in under a minute after the order has been placed.
If you are on the go, you can also order your coffee in advance on the RC Coffee App, so that your drink will be ready and waiting for you upon arrival. The company is now further developing their app to add GPS capability, so the robot will begin preparing your drink when your location is detected nearby.
The new Robo Café is located at 160 Baldwin Street and is branded in bright yellow and blue, so you can't miss it. More RC locations are also on the horizon for Toronto, including one at Yonge and St. Clair, one in Little Italy, and one near Church and Front Streets, which is slated to open in the next couple of weeks. The hours of operation are currently 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and will eventually increase to 24/7, which will be dependant on the late night demand for a good cup of joe.