It is a pleasant Tuesday morning in end-February when I step into the Chaayos outlet on Golf Course Road in Gurugram. I enter my phone number in the tab placed on the counter while an attendant takes down my order — “Adrak tulsi masala chai with cardamom extracts”, I say and pay. Sounds the usual, right? Now here’s where the unusual starts. There is no one rushing to make the tea as per my requirements. Nor is it poured into a cup from a flask. Instead, the order is automatically passed on to a fully automated machine that kicks into action. Water is poured into a bowl placed on an induction stove. As it boils, there are multiple pipes pouring in milk and the required extracts — as per the customer’s order — and soon, the tea is ready to be served.
Meet Chai Monk, an IoT-powered chai robot that has fully automated the process of making tea. “This is a 100% indigenously designed product by a team of three people. All Chaayos outlets in the north are equipped with this technology. And it will soon be incorporated in our stores in Mumbai,” says Nitin Saluja, founder and CEO, Chaayos. The technology, which has been under works since December 2015, was rolled out in July last year.
Similarly, at Chai Point, technology has crept into the tea and coffee making process through boxC, an IoT-enabled vending machine that is installed at over 900 corporates across 10 cities and provides freshly made tea and coffee at the tap of a finger. Rolled out in 2016, Chai Point has installed about 2,500 boxC machines that constitute 38% of their total revenue. Along with dine-in and deliveries, boxC is a channel that the company is betting big on.
And this is just the beginning. Chai Monk and boxC join the long list of innovations, additions and changes that two of the biggest players — Chai Point and Chaayos — in the tea-café sector in India have been introducing over the past few years. While both have a uniq