At C1 Espresso in Christchurch, New Zealand, you can get a hamburger shot to your table by means of a pneumatic tube. Owner Sam Crofskey’s apparatus, a maze of plastic tubing, air brakes and valves crisscrossing the café’s ceiling, looks like something the mad scientist in Despicable Me might have put together. It wouldn’t be surprising to see a gang of goggle- eyed Minions working helter-skelter behind the bar.
The design at C1 also includes a water fountain made from an antique Singer sewing machine, multiple old-school pinball machines and a front counter built with more than 14,000 Lego bricks. But it was the pneumatic system that took the most design work. “The burgers travel at over 80 miles per hour,” Crofskey explains, “so we had to pioneer a lot of the mechanics involved. This is actually our fourth design. One of the early ones started firing canisters of hamburgers at the line of people waiting for coffee. Bit of a surprise, that.”