The Quality of Your Coffee May Soon Be Determined by a Robot

The days of experts gathering in a sealed-off room to sip coffee and grade beans on their color, aroma and taste may be numbered. From a report: An Israeli company has developed a handheld device that is able to scan beans to determine their quality. The machine, powered by artificial intelligence, will need a human to input the quality parameters first, but after that, it will be able to classify coffee before it's even roasted. The company has completed a pilot program with Carcafe, the Colombian division of Volcafe, one of the world's largest coffee traders. A shift to computers would upend the traditional way coffee has been graded by humans, known as cupping. The well-paid and trained examiners, or Q graders, at the ICE Futures U.S. exchange in New York conduct the laborious task of determining the quality and value of the coffee beans received by the bourse. Trading houses and roasters also usually have their own graders. Cupping is an involved process, not unlike that undertaken by wine sommeliers. Q graders weigh the coffee and grind it into a cup. They sniff the dry grounds, taking notes on the fragrance. Water heated to 200 degrees Fahrenheit (93 Celsius) is poured over the grounds and the graders smell the wet coffee. After 4 minutes, the crust that forms on top of the cup is broken and grounds and foam are removed. After waiting 15 minutes for the coffee to cool, and only then is the coffee slurped up in a spoon. "It's the human that establishes the sensorial part," said Oswaldo Aranha Neto, a coffee industry veteran who just joined Demetria as a board member. "You need to teach the robot what to do." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

The Quality of Your Coffee May Soon Be Determined by a Robot
The days of experts gathering in a sealed-off room to sip coffee and grade beans on their color, aroma and taste may be numbered. From a report: An Israeli company has developed a handheld device that is able to scan beans to determine their quality. The machine, powered by artificial intelligence, will need a human to input the quality parameters first, but after that, it will be able to classify coffee before it's even roasted. The company has completed a pilot program with Carcafe, the Colombian division of Volcafe, one of the world's largest coffee traders. A shift to computers would upend the traditional way coffee has been graded by humans, known as cupping. The well-paid and trained examiners, or Q graders, at the ICE Futures U.S. exchange in New York conduct the laborious task of determining the quality and value of the coffee beans received by the bourse. Trading houses and roasters also usually have their own graders. Cupping is an involved process, not unlike that undertaken by wine sommeliers. Q graders weigh the coffee and grind it into a cup. They sniff the dry grounds, taking notes on the fragrance. Water heated to 200 degrees Fahrenheit (93 Celsius) is poured over the grounds and the graders smell the wet coffee. After 4 minutes, the crust that forms on top of the cup is broken and grounds and foam are removed. After waiting 15 minutes for the coffee to cool, and only then is the coffee slurped up in a spoon. "It's the human that establishes the sensorial part," said Oswaldo Aranha Neto, a coffee industry veteran who just joined Demetria as a board member. "You need to teach the robot what to do."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.