As Katy Franco waited for her morning coffee, passersby pulled out their phones and snapped photos and video of her barista.
A man in his 20s did a double take, recorded the scene on his iPhone and posted it to Instagram. Another woman drifted toward the barista and asked no one in particular: “What’s going on here?”
Franco’s barista was a robot. It’s part of an automated coffee shop called Cafe X — the latest example of the San Francisco’s dual infatuations: artisanal coffee and automated technology.
“It’s incredibly convenient,” said Franco, who has used Cafe X twice since it opened Jan. 30. “And the coffee is really...