You can listen to my reviews every Monday on Moore in the Morning at 6:45 am and follow me on Twitter here for more great apps.
You just want a place to rest, to sit down with a hot drink and let your body catch up to the day. Beanhunter uses the GPS in your phone to locate independent cafes and coffeehouses in your area. Each listing comes with a photo and a map while reviews from users fill in the details on atmosphere and service.
Unfortunately, to get results on a map you’ll need to do a general location search, like “Toronto” or “Canada”, and with users filling in the details results can vary depending how active your town is. There are enough hidden, out-of-the-way cafes listed to make it worth using and its global reach means Beanhunter can be handy if you’re travelling.
Barista is a guide to crafting café-quality espresso at home. Compared to other preparation apps this one stands out for its step-by-step instructions, built-in timers and video tutorials. There’s a variety of drinks including iced coffees, lattes, and even babyccinos.
You’ll find extra sections devoted to texturing milk, selecting and grinding beans, and creating latte art. It includes a glossary for all those cool espresso terms and a camera feature to snap pics of your best creations. Hard to believe this is free.
Caffeine Zone 2
Developed by researchers at the Applied Cognitive Systems Lab at Penn State University, Caffeine Zone will help you understand the amount of caffeine in your body from drinking tea or coffee and what the resulting psychological effects are. If you need to get an early night’s sleep, it will work out when your last coffee for the day should be. If you’re hard at work on a project and need to stay focused, it can remind you when you’ll need to grab a coffee to maintain your current work state. It’s not about quitting coffee, but consuming it more wisely.
As apps go it’s a bit raw in design, with its graph and settings menu, but the controls are quite simple and not that different from using an alarm clock. Once you use it a few times, you’ll get a real education about the way caffeine affects your body. It’ll change the way you think about coffee.
The next time someone enjoys a cup at your house, it’ll taste better with this app. Tea has brewing recommendations for more than 200 types of tea, but more importantly, includes a tasting journal and brewing tools to help you experiment and create your own personal settings. With each brew you can record the time, temperature, and tea quantity along with tasting notes to help you adjust and improve your approach for the next brew.
The app includes a timer, inventory tracker, and unit convertor too. The tasting journal makes it easy to browse through the history of your notes and, with connections to Facebook and Twitter, share your discoveries with friends online. Brewing and enjoying tea should be a ritual. This app makes it easy to keep that approach regardless of how many different teas you bring home with you.
A Second Serving….
On the radio we only have time for a few apps, but here on my blog I can keep pouring. Here are some more recommendations.
More than a store locator, you can use the official Starbucks app to both order and pay for drinks. It has a full catalog of their brews and all their food. With a drink builder you can share your favourite drink recipes with friends online.
The official Tim Horton’s app will help you find nearby locations and keep track of the balances for up to five Tim Cards. There’s also a notepad, which may seem simple, but is handy to have for jotting down orders if you’re sent out to make a run for the office.
A nice guide to creating espresso drinks at home, Baristame uses very clever graphics to show the ingredient layers and covers the basics for different machines. Recipes are well organized and include built-in timers.
Art of Coffee
From rosettas and hearts to tulips and even Pheonix birds, this app will teach you how to pour fantastic latte images into your cups just like the professionals. There are 30 different designs to master with beautiful photography to guide you, all from the expertise of two Latte Art Champions from Australia.
Feeling adventurous? Planning to experiment with new coffees at home? With this journal you can record and keep track of tasting notes and brew settings. It offers a very extensive list of criteria to make notes on and thankfully keeps them all well-organized with scroll wheels and slider bars.
Great Coffee App
Using beautiful photography and inviting music, this coffee table app explores sixteen very popular espresso recipes, with cross-sections of cups to reveal the layers of ingredients within. Unfortunately it doesn’t offer specific brewing instructions. The hope is that you have enough experience to work out the recipes from the pictures alone.
Another guide to brewing Espresso at home, but this one’s from coffee-seller Intelligentsia who uses their own blends and machines for the instruction. Thanks to some great instructional diagrams and a smart timer, you can use the guide with any brand of espresso products.
An in-depth guide to brewing fourteen of the most common espresso drinks, Spro uses a very attractive mix of simple graphics and step-by-step instructions. The app does its best to include as much information as it can, including a history of the drinks, pronunciation tips, and a 101 class on Barista basics. Other guides aim to help you brew like a Barista, this app aims to actually turn you into one.