We've visited the world of coffee apps before, but as technology will have it, those brew tools feel SO two years ago by now. Here's another roundup of the latest (and strangest?) iPhone apps to help you brew the most leading-edge cup of coffee.
Bloom Coffee Timer ($2.99)
Because Apple's built-in timer or, heaven forbid, a clock, just won't do the trick, scads of app developers have decided what we really need are custom coffee brewing timers, packaged together with all the brewing info you need. Bloom, a specialized timer for making filter coffee, has you covered on a range of brewing devices. Whether you're brewing on a Clever Dripper, Kalita Wave, Aeropress, Chemex, or have recently dusted off your Eva Solo, there's a preset dose, water measurement, bloom time, and total brewing time already programmed for your convenience.
Now, these presets don't account for brewers with multiple sizes—if you've run off and got yourself one of those adorable, antisocial little 1-cup V60s, it doesn't know it—but you can edit existing formulas and add new ones. To not have to look up each different set of ratios is supremely handy, though in the world of bargain-priced apps and the ability to write this down on a piece of paper near your kitchen...is it $2.99 handy? Only you can say for sure.
Nordic Coffee Culture (Free)
Whether you're an Icelandophile or a run-of-the-mill Finn-Fetishist, true nerds know that the coffee culture to idolize is situated in the North. An offshoot of the Nordic Coffee Culture blog, which keeps track of kooky coffee happenings and the latest news, the Nordic Coffee Culture app catalogs the best of the best barista-vetted cafes in Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Finland, and Norway. It's a handy and charming concept, with good information on cafes in the kinds of countries that get away with not opening 'til 10:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning. A must-download for travelers, though it'd be lovely if the administrators would keep it more current.
A little app with great potential, Caffeine has a lot going on but may be overextending itself. That said, its primary goal of cataloging and collecting different coffees from roasters across the United States is a noble one. Caffeine attempts to create a detailed record of coffees, as well as user reviews, and interlace them with each other to help curious drinkers find other coffees that they will like. (It also has a brewing guide, a way to keep track of your "stash", and allows users to somehow "check in" at a coffee.) Though I worry the utility of cataloging scores of your favorite single origin coffees, which by necessity go out of season and availability, may prove frustrating to some, it may be just the kind of memory-trigger brag sheet others would love. And the cross-recommendations are a brilliant idea, if the slightly sluggish interface can evolve to help this part of the app flourish.
AeroPress Timer (Free for a limited time)
And last but not least, for those who love AeroPress preparation, hate looking up multiple-page recipes on esoteric Scandinavian blogs, and really like timers, comes the AeroPress Timer App. Created by AeroPress enthusiast Jarrod Glasgow, the app is now an "officially licensed product" of AeroPress and Aerobie, meaning it sits ceremonially along side flying ring toys and kitchen counters the world over. The AeroPress timer app is beyond simple: it's got nine of the top AeroPress recipes (this is an emerging field of brewing science, you see) and breaks them down into simple steps. You can flip through the basic dose, water and temperature measurements on your own, then allow the app to hold your hand as you go through each part of the brewing process. There's an area to select which units of measurement you prefer, as well: Metric, US or "Simple" (broken down into scoops and shots, for those who like to keep it either really basic or only have shot glasses handy). Though it could use a bit more curb appeal, the app's uber-basic design is somewhat reminiscent of the AeroPress aesthetic itself...so like the brewer, we'll forgive it for simply doing a great job without being pretty.
About the author: Liz Clayton drinks, photographs and writes about coffee and tea all over the world, though she pretends to live in Brooklyn, New York. She is the creator of Nice Coffee Time, a book of photographs of the best coffee in the world, published by Presspop., is the New York City correspondent for Sprudge.com, and contributes to other outfits worldwide.