Kind of the only piece of news anyone is talking about on an otherwise-slow Monday (seriously, World Coffee News is stuck doing the vertical copy & pasteboard thing on Brazilian “Bumber” crops – it’s a slow day) is this weird feature out of pre-hype SXSW land:

There’s going to be a new coffee brewing at SXSW this week.

GE invites you to Brilliant Brew, a new kind of coffee food truck with hi-tech, software enhanced coffee making. Come see two Barista Bots, robots with facial detection software, transform ‘Tonx coffee’ into a custom latte complete with your picture etched in the foam.

advert but first coffee cookbook now available


Stop by one of their changing locations from Friday, 3/8, to Monday, 3/11 for a whole new coffee experience and see firsthand how brilliant machines are changing the world.

bony-tony-tonxThis announcement has been widely shared around the web, but coffee people most likely care the most about the “Tonx coffee” element to the story. What’s cool here is that most, if not all Tonx coffee is unavailable outside of private homes; public service of this Southern California specialty coffee brand is exceedingly rare, as they primarily traffic in mail-order. So chalk this innovative public-facing market gambit as just the latest in a series of outside-the-box “don’t call me viral” marketing schema from the Tonx crew, from last week’s guest shift for Lifehacker to this post on Gizmodo offering a free V60 when signing up for Tonx delivery, to this sponsored post on mommyblog Baby Baby Lemon (“This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Tonx Coffee.”) to this eerily similar sponsored post written by MidLife Bloggers. (“Making the most of midlife together.”)

This robotic coffee service business at SXSW sounds engineered to gain buzz at the Cyberdyne Systems “40 and under” lounge, which we’re imagining as equal parts this and this. In more shocking news, a tech blog has already had a chance to try out the truck, and they aren’t too thrilled by the etch-a-sketch photo it produced:


Read more on that experience in this decidedly unsponsored post over at Digital Trends.

Attending SXSW yourself? You can experience the all the RoboTonx buzz for yourself next weekend.

Robotic Tonx Etching General Electric SXSW Viral Truck:

Saturday, 3/9 10am–4pm 700 Congress Ave (Austin Museum of Art – Made in NY Space)
Sunday, 3/10 11am–6pm 101 Red River St (SXSW Create)
Monday, 3/11 10am–4pm 513 E East Cesar Chavez

All times & places Austin.

New Rules of Coffee banner advertising an illustrated guide to the essential rules for enjoying coffee