Carol Huang
Sep 16, 2020

'Code brew': A cup of coffee concocted using data

Hong Kong shop sells coffee according to a real-time recipe determined by an 'AI' based on cues from the weather and the day's headlines.

Undercaffeinated people in Hong Kong can now choose to have their needs met by an 'artificial intelligence' that brews up custom cups based on factors such as the weather, the time of day and the mood of the world as reflected in the day's headlines.

The punnily named 'Code Brew Project' is serving up real-time recipes at Preface Coffee, located in the Causeway Bay district. The algorithm controlling the brewing is the product of a month of work by a group of young software developers, aged between 12 and 15.

When a customer places an order, the system gathers information about the current weather, time, and a 'happy index' based on the level of angst in global news headlines. If the weather is hot, the customer gets coffee that's colder than usual. If the customer places the order in the afternoon, the system reduces the proportion of caffeine*. And if the happy index is relatively low, the coffee will be a bit sweeter or may use coffee beans with a more fruity flavour. 

Humans do the actual brewing and preparing. Customers get a cup that's printed with the exact specifications of their beverage, which of course is perfect for Instagram. 

* We're filing this article in our archive of 'WTF' primarily because we can't understand why anyone would ever want less caffeine. 

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