A realistic photo of a vintage midcentury robot drinking coffee

AI is Coming to Specialty Coffee… and It Looks Exciting


Picture this.

Your customer, an online subscriber to the coffees you roast, just opened their latest order and is having a cup. They open Messages on their phone, and reply to your business with a rating, their opinion of the cup. Two weeks later, you’re releasing a few new offerings, and your system notices that one of those is perfectly suited to your customer, and notifies them. They order a few… and they’re delighted.

How does this work? There’s an AI behind your website, learning from every coffee offering, every customer’s taste profile, and it’s learning more every day. It has a superhuman ability to know when a new coffee will match a customer’s profile. And it knows how to communicate directly with them.

One of the latest developments in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) is ChatGPT. This is one of a number of LLM-based AI tools. In this blog post, we will explore what AI can do, how it works, and what some of those acronyms stand for.

What is this stuff?

ChatGPT is an advanced large language model (LLM) developed by OpenAI. It understands and generates human-like text, making it useful for customer service, content creation, and product recommendations. It is one of many chat-like services that support conversational AI interactions right now.

Large Language Models are AI models that specialize in processing and understanding human languages. They are trained on vast amounts of text data through pre-training and fine-tuning. Pre-training teaches the models the structure, grammar, and patterns of language. Fine-tuning helps them specialize in specific applications, such as customer service or content creation.

With ChatGPT and other LLMs, coffee sellers can enhance customer interactions and streamline sales processes.

AI could be trained on your store’s products and customers

With sufficient data on your coffee products, LLMs like ChatGPT can be trained to provide tailored assistance to your customers. To achieve this, you must provide the LLM with detailed information about each coffee variant in your inventory, such as origin, roast level, flavor profile, brewing recommendations, and a lot more.

The more information you provide, the better the model can understand your product lineup and offer accurate recommendations. When properly trained, ChatGPT can become a powerful tool for helping customers navigate your coffee offerings and make informed purchase decisions.

AI could be used to help customers pick coffees

Integrating an AI like ChatGPT into your online store or customer service platform can revolutionize your customers’ shopping experience. Here are a few ways that an AI system might help your customers:

  1. Personalized Recommendations: By understanding the customers’ taste preferences and needs, an AI can provide tailored product suggestions that cater to their individual requirements. If a customer is logged in to your site, it could be learning from their past purchases and feedback.
  2. Interactive Learning: An AI can engage customers in interactive conversations, asking them questions about their preferred roast level, flavor profile, and brewing method. These conversations help the AI understand the customer’s preferences, leading to better recommendations.
  3. Language Support: ChatGPT’s language understanding capabilities enable it to provide assistance to customers in multiple languages. This feature makes your store more accessible to a diverse range of customers, removing language barriers and ensuring a seamless shopping experience for all.

AI could help improve the subscription experience

Many coffee enthusiasts enjoy subscribing to curated coffee selections that introduce them to new flavors and blends. AI systems like ChatGPT can enhance the subscription experience in several ways:

  1. Tailored Selections: An AI can use the information it gathers from customers’ preferences to curate personalized coffee selections for their subscription. By offering customized choices, you can ensure that your customers receive coffee blends that match their taste, increasing their satisfaction and loyalty.
  2. Proactive Communication: Your site could text or email customers, requesting them to rate their most recent coffee order, and learn from their preferences. If the AI is trained on all of your offerings, it could do an excellent job of recommending the next coffee for them to try, or improve the profile of their personalized tastes.
  3. Enhanced Customer Support: ChatGPT can act as a first point of contact for subscribers, answering their questions and addressing their concerns. With quick, accurate responses, customers can enjoy a superior support experience, leading to increased satisfaction and loyalty.
A realistic photo of a vintage midcentury robot drinking coffee

Can I use this today?

While there are numerous services that exist to help with product recommendations, they are not quite up to realizing the full vision of what is possible for a comprehensive e-commerce experience.

However, things are moving fast, and it will certainly not be long before we can build every feature idea mentioned here into a website. We can’t wait to share with you what’s possible.

P.S. And yes, if you were curious, we did have ChatGPT help us draft this article, and we did use AI image generators for the illustrations.

Raymond Brigleb

Creative Director, dreamer, partner, father, musician, photographer. Has been known to ride the rails. Pulls one heck of a shot.