Jan 11, 2016 | By Tess

When ordering a latte or cappuccino, it always brightens my day a bit to receive a cup that features a pretty heart or flower motif drawn with the coffee into the foam. Now, imagine being able to receive that same coffee decorated with almost any image you can think of, from a personal message, to a team logo, and even to a picture of your own face! Earlier this year we reported on Israeli startup Ripples, a company that has developed a way to use 3D printing and inkjet technology to make this a possibility, allowing baristas and coffee consumers to essentially print any image onto a foamy coffee drink.

Recently, Ripples, a Steam CC venture, has made it big in the news again as it has not only launched their mobile app, allowing consumers to digitally send images or photos to a Ripple Maker machine at a cafe or restaurant, but has also won the Last Gadget Standing contest at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

The Ripple Maker functions using a patented technology, which, as mentioned, combines elements of 3D printing technology with inkjet printing in order to create images out of a coffee extract. Essentially, the coffee extract, which functions as a sort of filament, is kept in Ripple Pods inside the machine, and is released from the pods through nozzles onto the coffee’s foam in the pattern of the selected image. Because the image is printed with a small amount of coffee extract, the taste and aesthetic of the coffee being printed on is not affected at all.

The Ripples App now lets consumers choose what image they want printed onto their coffee from their own mobile devices. With the app, coffee drinkers can choose from the existing images in Ripples’ image library, or choose from their own photos, and can easily edit, scale, filter or add text to the image. From there, the barista simply has to press a button and the image will be almost instantly printed onto the foam.

Image credit: Guo Rong Zhi

The app is currently available for iOS devices, and will be soon launched for Android devices -the launch date is reportedly set for February 2016. And if you’re not sure where you can order a special Ripples’ designed coffee, the app is able to locate and tell you which nearby cafes or establishments are using the Ripple Maker.

For establishments interested in using the Ripple Maker to entertain and please their clients, the machine is available through a service plan which costs about $85 a month. For consumers, the Coffee Ripples App is free of cost.

Yossi Meshulam, CEO of Steam CC, says of the product, “The reaction to the Ripple Maker from coffee shop owners, baristas and the general public has been as extraordinary as the coffee art they have collectively created. With the addition of the extensive content library and robust consumer app, we look forward to offering the Ripples experience to many more countries and venues around the world.”

Considering the innovation and mass appeal of the Ripple Maker and its capabilities, it is no surprise that the technology brought home first prize for the Last Gadget Standing online contest at this year’s CES, which showcases the very best of consumer electronic innovations.

“Latte art is one of the most shared images on social media,” explains Meshulam. “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.”

We are sure that the Ripple Maker will continue to make bigger and bigger waves in the coffee world, and we look forward to seeing all the amazing 3D printed images and personalized coffees that coffee drinkers everywhere will share.

For a demonstration of the Ripple Maker at CES see the video below:



Posted in 3D Printer



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