Latte art is the pride of professional baristas and the pleasure of Instagram users everywhere. In an attempt to personalize the beauty of the art, the new Coffee Ripples App lets New York City residents (or visitors) print pictures into lattes that print out at select locations around the city. Anyone can select and print images onto a perfectly foamed latte or cappuccino. You can even turn your own photos into latte art, and then take photos of your latte photos.
You can’t buy it for home use (at least, not cheaply), but the Ripple Maker machine is already installed in a handful of NYC locations and will roll out nationwide and to other countries throughout 2016. Since it is fully Wi-Fi enabled, Ripple Maker receives image selections to its interface and prints in “coffee scale,” which is like grayscale but caffeinated. Proprietary Ripple Pods are packed with a concentrated coffee extract, so the machine interprets any image or message into a version that can be printed using the extract as a sort of ink.
Ripple Maker is designed for use in hospitality spots like coffee shops and restaurants, but only consumers with the mobile app get the complete experience. The mobile app includes a library of printable “ripples,” which are mostly images, morning messages, and coffee jokes. There’s also a random function in case you’re overwhelmed with your latte art options. The make-your-own ripple is probably the app’s coolest features. Selecting an image from your mobile phone’s camera roll will let you edit, scale, filter, and even add text to your custom latte art before you send it to the machine.
Coffee shops and restaurants that use the machine will have to pay at least $1,000 for a Ripple Maker machine, in addition to monthly service plan fees starting at $85. Luckily, for coffee lovers and latte art aficionados, the mobile app is completely free. Of course, that might mean that your latte ends up costing twice as much, but the mobile app is also geo-enabled so you can locate your nearest Ripple Maker coffee shop and find out.
Currently, there are four coffee shops within a few miles of our Digital Trends office in Manhattan.