Hearts, leaves and swirls “drawn” by talented baristas on the frothy layer of cappuccinos have long wowed customers. But a machine called The Ripple Maker is changing coffee culture with caffeinated masterpieces printed on top of your next drink.
The Ripple Maker combines 3D printing mechanics with art to print customized designs, logos and messages on any foamy drink in 10 seconds with “ink” made of natural coffee extract released through miniature openings.
From a “Good Morning” message to a picture of the Mona Lisa, from a portrait to a logo, your next cappuccino or latte – or even hot chocolate or milkshake – could very well put a big smile on your face.
“Our mission is to add meaning, depth and joy to the coffee experience, cup by cup,” says Yossi Meshulam, CEO of SteamCC, the parent company of Ripples, which makes The Ripple Maker.
This fun product measuring 8.5 by 10.5 inches made a huge buzz in its debut at CE Week in New York in June. Lufthansa, the first company to partner with Ripples, introduced the technology in its first and business class lounges in Germany in late August. And in September, the first Ripple Makers will debut in select US coffee chains.
“We have much more demand than we can provide right now. We have a huge wait list of customers that want it and the ecosystem that wants to be part of it,” Meshulam tells ISRAEL21c. “There’s tremendous demand from all over the place.”
The product – invented by award-winning industrial designers Eyal Eliav and Danny Lavie – is easy to use. Baristas simply choose an image or greeting and then press a button. The company has also successfully tested its $999 machine with hot cocoa.
Meshulam points to hotels, restaurants, airlines and rail companies, among others, that want to use original Ripples drawings for “engagement, loyalty and emotional connection.”
“What surprised us the most is we got a lot of requests from organizations that coffee is not their main business but … complementary to their business, and they see The Ripple Maker as an option to supplement their business and provide messaging and content to support the main image,” says Meshulam.
For example, breakfast at a hotel will be that much more memorable with a “Good Morning” message on a cappuccino.
Artists are also excited by this new venture. Meshulam says the company recently wrapped up a project with students at the WIZO Haifa Academy of Design, in which graphics students created a portfolio of Ripples art (to be exhibited in Israel in the coming months). The company is also collaborating with Israeli and international artists on designs for the Ripples content library.
“We see the platform as a community connection to artists and people from the neighborhood to choose whatever they want on their coffee,” he says. “Latte art is one of the most shared images on social media. We’re taking latte art to a whole new level. When you put something beautiful in someone’s hands, they want to share it. That’s how we’re making a ripple on the world.”
SteamCC, now with 10 full-time staff and 15 freelancers, is based in Kibbutz Einat near Rosh Ha’ayin.