A high-tech new device may spell the end of of painstakingly crafted latte art as we know it: The Ripple Maker "combines 3D and inkjet printing mechanics to perfectly replicate any image onto your latte," says the Daily Dot. The machine, which just made its debut at New York technology show CE Week, uses pods that contain "Ripple Extract" (aka coffee extract) to print high-resolution images onto any foam-topped drink.
As the Daily Dot explains, "Baristas can pick photos from a whole catalog of images in a compatible Ripple App to send to the coffee maker, but customers can also share their own photos through the app to get customized latte tops." The technology to put a Justin Bieber portrait on your cappuccino doesn't come cheap, though: The machine costs $999 and requires a $75 monthly subscription. At least one major corporation has already taken the bait — German airline Lufthansa will debut "the printable latte art in first and business class lounges this year."
Latte art has long been considered a key part of the artisanal coffee culture, but with the automated Ripple Maker on the way and even Starbucks trying to adopt the practice, perhaps hipster baristas will have to find a new way to differentiate themselves from the pack.
See the Ripple Maker in action, below: