Gacha Gacha Coffee | A do-it-yourself coffeeshop by Maruyama Coffee


A do-it-yourself coffeeshop, created by Nendo Design Studio for Maruyama Coffee In Japan. Although already closed it’s been an introduction to a coffeeshop that didn’t require many staff members. Nendo Design Studio created the almost fully-automated café called Gacha Gacha Coffee. The experience was inspired by Gachapon, a capsule toy vending machines that’s popular in Japan. The pop-up from October till November 2019, located in the observation deck of Roppongi Hills, featured 12 vending machines. At these machines consumers could purchase a capsule filled with coffee beans for ¥500 (USD 4.50). As from that the consumer had to take the coffee to semi-automated stations to brew it themselves. Staff only had to give information and clean up!

The idea behind Gacha Gacha Coffee is to create a coffee experience that makes you choose your beans, take time to watch it brewed and maybe even talk about coffee with a barista and of course enjoy the view at the observation deck! But as Trendwatching (we spotted Gacha Gacha Coffee in their ‘Innovation of the day’-trendletter) indicates it’s a great example on how you can use automation to face labour shortage, which we’re facing in the Netherlands as well.

Gacha Gacha Coffee | A do-it-yourself coffeeshop

Japan’s coffee shops face a labour shortage, and Nendo say they wanted to design a new kind of coffee experience that does not require staff to deliver it. On top of the current condition of not being able to secure man power, employees are expected to have a deep understanding of coffee and possess customer service skills, in addition to having to conduct basic operations such as operating the cash register, cooking, serving and cleaning. Despite all of this, in many cases, the training time and the cost invested in personnel is not sufficient, resulting in the decline of service quality, and eventually leading to customer dissatisfaction. Although it was possible to create an unmanned store that takes full use of technology in order to solve this problem, the café was designed as a self-service type that embodies analogue elements.

Customers that enter the café space located in the observation deck of Roppongi Hills, are first greeted by the orderly lined gacha machines. Customers use these machines which are typically made for buying toys, to buy a capsule that contains coffee beans for one cup of coffee. Not only do the customers have a variety of choices to choose from, some machines contain a mix of a variety of beans, and some even have rare ‘secret’ beans, which adds to the small excitement for the opportunity to encounter an unknown flavour. Next, the customers themselves put the beans that they purchased into the grinder, then the grinded beans fall into the dripper, and lastly, after setting the dripper and the cup on the extractor and pressing the button, the coffee is finally served.

Check out this video by The Japanese Times on how it works! (the text continues below the video)

As ‘Maruyama Coffee’, a popular and renowned coffee store, has selected and roasted the coffee beans, and has also set the grinders and the coffee machines, customers can enjoy the authentic taste and aroma of the ‘freshly ground’ and ‘freshly brewed’ drip coffee to their hearts’ content. By simplifying the operation and asking the customers to take part in preparing the coffee, the role of the employees has been reduced, enabling them to spend that extra time to communicate with the customers. Another important aspect is that by having the customers participate, they were relieved from the stress often felt while waiting in line with frustration for their coffee. In other words, the intention was not to create a completely automated café, rather, it was to provide a comfortable and peaceful time for both the customers and the employees.

Website: Maruyama Coffee

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