The mid-afternoon coffee run is a sacred time, when workers flee the confines of their offices, allow sunlight to caress their skin and savor a brief moment of human contact when ordering from the counter. That last part won't be so much of a factor at Bustler Coffee, a self-service coffee shop opening today on 52nd and Madison. Customers pour their own drinks, add their own milks and flavors and essentially leave without ever having to utter a word if they don't want to. It's an caffeine-addicted agoraphobe's dream.
Bustler sells the same types of drinks you'd find at a regular coffee shop, including iced coffees and espresso drinks that materialize in 30 seconds after pressing a button. The setup sounds a lot like 7-Eleven, including the blended frozen coffee drinks and Kelvin Slush Company options the shop also offers. Almond and soy milks are also on tap and regular cow milk from Hudson Valley Fresh; they'll also have flavor pumps in lavender, cardamom and caramel.
The payment process also eschews the use of language. Color-coded cups indicate whether a beverage is coffee or tea (red) or a fancier espresso drink (cream), meaning the tablet-toting employees "automatically understand the amount owed without asking a guest to relay the order back." Owner Jamie Rogers says this frees up staff to help customers decide what to get, but it's also a clever workaround for not having to practice the dying communication method of speech.