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Zipwhip CEO John Lauer showing off the Textspresso machine at the company's Seattle office

Seattle is really known for two things: coffee and tech geeks. And I’ve never seen those two worlds collide in such beautiful harmony — like peanut butter meeting chocolate in a Reese’s cup — than the newly-created “Textspresso” machine from Seattle cloud texting startup Zipwhip.

Life around the office coffee pot may never be the same if this crazy invention takes off.

Essentially, the contraption — and there’s really no better word for it since it is comprised of nearly 300 different parts in a hacked up Ikea cabinet — allows individuals to place a coffee order via text message and have the machine automatically make it.

That means a Zipwhip employee who is driving into work, coming back from lunch, taking a bathroom break or whatever could text the word “coffee” or “latte” to the machine, and voila by the time they arrive at the office the steaming hot beverage is sitting there on a warming tray.

The concept is almost too good to be true, so I stopped by Zipwhip’s offices this week to get a first-hand demo from CEO John Lauer.

Now, to be clear: Zipwhip is not in the business of making “Textspresso” machines. In fact, the reason for this very labor-intensive project (it took about 20 days to build) is to show off the power of the company’s cloud texting platform, which allows individuals to receive text messages on tablets and desktop computers.

We will talk about that later. But, for now, we wanted to see the “Textspresso” machine in all of its brewing glory.

It should be noted that the Zipwhip crew is still working out a few kinks. For example, on my visit a printer filled with edible ink wasn’t quite ready.

Yes, you read that right. Near the conclusion of the coffee-brewing process, the mug is designed to go under a printer so that the person’s phone number and Zipwhip’s logo is emblazoned with edible ink on the foam. After all, you don’t want confusion when picking up your steaming hot coffee.

Here’s Lauer taking us for a spin on the “Textspresso” machine:


Meanwhile, here’s Lauer in an earlier video discussing the edible-ink printing process:

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