These days, there's an app for everything. As popular as coffee is, it's no wonder that there are tons of coffee apps in the App Store, the Android Market and Google Play. We've picked out a handful of coffee-related apps that we use often. Whether you're looking for coffee nearby or want to learn more about the coffee world, have we got an app for you. But first, a note on our choices. Lots of coffee roasters and cafes have their own caffeinated apps that let you peruse their menus, order your drinks and even pay for them. We left those off the list because most of them are pretty regional. Likewise, there are a lot of slick magazines about specialty coffee out there, and a lot of them also have their own apps. We skipped those, too. They're a great way to keep up on the latest trends and personalities in the coffee world, but we decided to only include apps that are -- at least as of this writing -- 100% free. Finally, you'll also notice that we didn't include a single "how much caffeine am I drinking" app. We understand that caffeine is a concern for some people, but we're highly skeptical about any app that isn't getting its information about amount of caffeine from, say, a spectrometer. It's almost impossible to know how much caffeine is in a cup of coffee without actually analyzing every cup. So what did we include? We picked apps that we think most coffee lovers should probably have -- apps that help you discover nearby coffee shops and roasters, apps that help you brew better coffee and coffee apps that are just plain fun and awesomely cool. If they have a "dang, who thought of THAT?" factor, they got double points. And, we have to confess, that while we did dig in and search for new coffee apps, the ones that made our top five list are almost all apps that we own and use.
Coffee CellarEver find yourself trying to remember the name of that amazing coffee you have two months ago? So did we. The thing is, when you start drinking awesome coffees as a matter of course, it's easy to get them mixed up with each other. Coffee Cellar is the only one of our top-5 apps that costs something, but at $.99, it's a buck well-spent. The app lets you record your own cupping and flavor notes for all the coffees you drink, save them as profiles, share them and refer to them whenever you -- like when you want to order more.
Cupping DataCupping Data may be the sweetest, most impressive coffee app ever. Created by an NYU student as a final project in a data visualization class, Cupping Data creates stunning visual maps of more than 700 coffees from around the world. It's based on tasting notes and other information collected from the Sweet Maria database, so the information on each coffee is pretty complete. You can pinch, swipe and flick your way around the world, drilling down from an overview of coffee characteristics for a whole region to the very specific data on individual microlots. It's a great way to learn about the different qualities you can expect from coffees from the many regions around the word.
Find Me CoffeeWhen you've gotta have a cup of coffee right now, Find Me Coffee is the app you want on your phone. There are a few other coffee shop finders out there -- and some of them have some nifty gimmicks (like Coffee Compass, which literally points you in the direction of the nearest coffee shop), we really like the huge database that powers Find Me Coffee. We thought we were pretty savvy about where to find a good cup of joe in the neighborhood, but this sweet little app found half a dozen shops we didn't know existed -- all within 3 miles of the office, and not a chain among them. You can also search by ZIP code, street address or city, so you don't have to let iPhone track your movements around town to get some help finding coffee. // Find me Coffee on Google Play
CaffeineCaffeine takes the Find Me Coffee concept to a deeper level. Conceived by a coffee enthusiast for other coffee enthusiasts, Caffeine will not only find you awesome coffee to drink, it will also point you to the best specialty roasters in your area and -- best of all -- it lets you set up your own "My Stash" tab to store information about the coffees you've tried and your current coffee inventory. You'll never run out of coffee again! // On Google Play.
A Couple of Specialized Coffee AppsMost of our apps are great for just about any lover of fine coffee, but there are a couple that have a more specialized market.
- If you roast your own coffee, Roastmaster is an absolute must. It's not a free app, but it's more than worth the money. It's a timer, profiler, roasting assistant, database and inventory tracker all in one. Oh, and did we mention that it makes the science of coffee blending so much easier?
- Acaia is the timer app that works with the coffee brewing scale we highlighted a few months ago. The Acaia is cool without the App, but it's absolutely unbeatable when you connect them.