Friday Feature: Top 5 Coffee Apps for iPhone

About a month and a half ago, I got the opportunity to have a conversation with Greg Cohen, the creator of the Coffee Guru app for the iPhone. After all these weeks of waiting, it has finally released and is available for purchase in the iTunes app store!

I immediately downloaded it and have been having a lot of fun playing with it, rating cafes, seeing what’s around me that I never knew existed…

But it got me to thinking—what are some other great coffee apps for iPhone?

After poking around on the Net for a while, talking with friends, and searching relentlessly through the app store, I think I’ve compiled a pretty good handful of apps that any coffee lover should look into.

1. Intelligentsia

At first glance, it may seem like the Intelligentsia app is nothing more than a case of vanity.The opening screen is a menu where you can quickly scroll through the company’s current offerings, read more about them, and even purchase them. Which is great if you’re an ardent lover of all things Intelli.

But once you really dive into everything it offers, it quickly becomes a favorite for any iPhone-wielding coffee lover.

Beyond the coffee menu are step-by-step brewing instructions for a variety of methods: Cafe Solo, pourover, Chemex, cupping, siphon, and the French press. It even has a handy dandy brew timer for each method that dings and chimes over the course of a brew to let you know at which stage of brewing your coffee is.

2. Art of Coffee

One reason that I never compete in the latte art throwdowns that New Gotham Coffee Community hosts is that, when I get nervous, my hands get shaky and all my pours don’t turn out so well. The bigger reason, of course, is that I’m just no good at pouring art.

I need all the help, tips, and points I can get.

The Art of Coffee app, indeed, is meant for people like me. This app uses three methods to help baristas learn each design: written instructions, step-by-step photos and video. It also contains four separate sections to aid baristas as they progress: Coffee Basics, Essential Art, Advanced Art and Troubleshooting.

A must have for any novices who need some help or for a seasoned veteran looking for a good challenge.

3. Coffee Journal

Like most coffee lovers I know, I keep a log of all the coffees I drink in a notebook. It has the package that the coffee came in pasted on the page, all of the farm specs that I can find, my tasting notes, contact information for various coffee professionals. It’s my personal coffee journal.

Imagine my delight when I came across the Coffee Journal in the iPhone app store—a digital version of what I’ve already been doing! The app is a bit clunky, to be sure, but its functionality is really helpful. I can type up the long list of roasters that I’ve received coffee from, include every coffee I’ve had from them, plug in farm specs, and my tasting notes. I can even score coffees the way an SCAA professional does with the “cupping” feature.

You may be wondering “What’s the point of this app? If you already have a handwritten journal, why have a digital journal too?” What I love about this app is its mobility. If I’m ever talking with a friend about a coffee I recently drank and don’t have my physical journal with me, I always have my phone with me and can refer to this. Furthermore, I can share my notes with anybody who has an email address directly from the app.

4. Bloom

When I think of “coffee apps for iPhone,” brew timers, methods, recipes, and other detailed information related to brewing coffee. I’m sure the same is true for you, Dear Reader.

Bloom seems to be the ultimate source for all of the above. The thing I like most about it, though, is its flexibility.  Not only does it include a standard set of brewing methods and recipes, the user can also plug in custom methods and parameters to save for later.

With Bloom, you can even tweak your timers for specific coffees and brew methods to meet your own preferences or needs and save them for later.

Then, once you’ve nailed down the perfect parameters for making a specific coffee, Bloom makes it easy to share with your friends via email, text message, or Twitter.

5. Coffee Guru – America’s Best Coffeehouses

Every few months, a brand new “coffee locator” app will release—each one promising to be the best, most comprehensive app on the market. We all thought Beanhunter was going to pave the way; gorgeous interface, very user friendly, you could write reviews and share photos—everything you could want from an app of its caliber. It’s now defunct. Several others have also gone the way of Beanhunter.

After a few uses, they all turn out to be no better than the one before it, and most users end up defecting to Yelp.

Yet another coffee map app has risen from the ashes of its peers—Coffee Guru. I’ve only had the app for a few days but I’ve already taken a shine to it. The interface isn’t all that pretty, but the app works, and that’s what’s most important.

I’ve been playing around with it for a few days now and I already like it much more than any of its predecessors. A few tweaks here and there, and this app could be the ultimate authority for locating specialty coffee providers.

What are some of your favorite coffee apps for iPhone? Please feel free to share them here by commenting below, or emailing me—I’m always on the lookout for a new app to try out!

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