If you've been on Instagram lately, you've probably seen at least one of your friends post some latte art. No matter how many times you see the shape of a heart, leaf or even Homer Simpson's face made out of white cream and sitting atop one of these caffeinated beverages, you can't help but be pretty darn amazed.
As you can see, you can theoretically make anything out of latte art, although you usually see something like a ripple shape just because it's easier to make than other shapes. If you wanted something a bit more unique, fun or surprising on the top of your latte, you could either take some classes to become a latte art master, watch some YouTube videos or just buy stencils.
Well, those used to be your only options anyway before Steam CC debuted Ripples during CE Week in New York Wednesday. This new system lets consumers make their own customizable latte art called Ripples using an app, which then gets transmitted to a Wi-Fi-enabled device that prints their creation right onto a latte.
Customers can choose an existing Ripple from the hundreds of images and messages in the library on the app or create their own from the camera roll on their device. If you choose to create your own Ripple, you can also edit its contrast, brightness and crop it exactly how you would like it to appear in the mug. Once you've chosen your Ripple, it then gets sent to the Ripple Maker, which prints your design in about eight to 10 seconds.
"It's a holy relationship between you and your cup of coffee," Sharon Topper, head of marketing for Ripples, told Tech Times at CE Week Wednesday. "We want to make sure we are enriching it."
Coffee extract acts as the ink to print your Ripple, which can be basically anything that you can capture in the app, from heartfelt messages to selfies to a scandalous photo of Miley Cyrus. The Ripples platform has somewhat of a social aspect to it as well, which isn't too surprising considering how popular latte art is on social media. Users can submit their designs to Ripples' editors to be considered to be added to the platform. New content is uploaded to the cloud in real time.
"It really is a new canvas, as we see it," Topper said. "Everyone looks better in foam."
The Ripple Maker is intended as a B2B product right now targeted at coffee shops, hotels and events, Topper said. Ripples also announced at CE Week that Lufthansa will be its first global partner. The Germany-based airline will serve its first- and business-class passengers drinks made using the Ripple Maker starting later this year.
"It's another way of personalizing service to customers," Topper said.
The Ripple Maker will retail for $999 with service plans that include access to Ripple Pods, maintenance and content starting at $75 a month. It is scheduled to ship in September.