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I tried kopi made by a robot and it tastes exactly the same as the kopitiam uncle's

I tried kopi made by a robot and it tastes exactly the same as the kopitiam uncle's
PHOTO: AsiaOne/ Melissa Teo

Tired of cafe-hopping at the same old spots in Singapore? There's a futuristic new destination that comes with robots that will ply you with precision-perfect concoctions.

The drinks here are all "handmade" by robots. One perk of having your drinks made by a robot? You won't need to worry that they get your order wrong or mix in the wrong ingredients, since these machines can be programmed in a way that people can't.

And they don't just make the usual coffee and tea. These hardworking machines double-up as mixologists too, crafting on-demand cocktails all day, and they are able to whip up more than 60 different types of drinks.

All in the hands of technology

The brains behind Ratio Cafe and Lounge are the same ones behind Ratio in China, where there are three outlets with robots that serve up drinks. The cafe at The Centrepoint, which opened on Nov 2, is their first outlet outside of China.

As the "recipe" for each drink is programmed into Ratio's system, you can be sure that your favourite drink tastes exactly the same each and every time, in the right ratio, hence, the name. If you find something too sweet for your liking, you can also customise your order to have less sugar.

The system also stores your order, so you can easily re-order what you had (and liked) the last time through the app, without having to detail out everything again. This app also lets you make advance orders, so your drink will be ready and waiting by the time you reach the cafe.

If you don't want to download yet another app, drink orders can be made at their self-ordering kiosks or over the counter, the traditional way.

What's on the menu: Traditional brews, innovative mixes and light bites


As Ratio is a homegrown local company, they want to do their part in preserving some of Singapore's unique coffee culture. Hence, they have tied up with Nanyang Kopi to "teach" their machines how to brew cups of local style coffee.

For those who prefer long blacks and cappuccinos, they have that here too. In addition to the regular cafe and coffee shop staples, Ratio also serves up a range of quirky drinks, including cold brew banana latte, cold brew coconut latte and pandan latte, at $5 a cup.

I particularly enjoyed the cold brew banana latte, as it was well-balanced with a distinct banana aroma that complemented the coffee.

If you prefer something with a stronger kick, you'd be glad to know that it's always happy hour here at Ratio — alcohol is served round the clock.

They have the usuals like Gin and Tonic and Lychee Martini's, but if you're feeling a little more adventurous, I recommend that you try the Tom Yum Martini, a bizarrely delicious concoction that zips you straight to Thailand.

My personal favourite is the Nutty Orange, which reminds me of McVities Club Orange Flavour Chocolate, one of my childhood favourite snacks.

Aside from a range of delectable drinks, Ratio also has food items if you need something a little more substantial. These though are made by humans, not robots. 

The Signature Truffled Egg in Multigrain Loaf is Ratio's fancy take of the humble egg mayo sandwich.

On the other hand, the Chicken Lemak, Sambal in Cruffin, which I recommend trying, is a locally inspired dish that's a cross between a cruffin and chicken rendang.

The verdict: I'll be back again, and not just for the robots

The cafe may admittedly come off as rather gimmicky with its use of robots, but it is still rather mesmerising to see the robots brew kopi, the same way your friendly Kopitiam uncle does.

It's also interesting to see how the cafe is using robots not to replace humans, but to make things more efficient and precise. After all, it is comforting to know that your favourite drink will taste the same every single time you order it.

However, it is the offerings that I will be back for again as I enjoyed the drinks and food that I had here and would be keen to try out the other items on the menu.

And with work from home still being the norm for most of us, you might want to pop by Ratio for this other reason - co-working space JustCo occupies a part of Ratio, and any drink purchase will let you use the place for the day.

Address: 176 Orchard Rd, #05-06 The Centrepoint, Singapore 238843

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