Humans have been drinking coffee since at least the fifteenth century, and the beverage is only gaining in popularity. Unlike coffee, smartphones haven’t been around since the fifteenth century – but now that we have them, we’ve found interesting ways to use them to aid our collective coffee habit.
Unlike web apps, we can carry around our smartphones when we run from one barista to the next cafe. I tracked down four free Android apps that can teach you to make better coffee, help you roast, and more. Here’s hoping you enjoy these apps just as much you enjoy your brew.
Barista Me is a free, ad-supported app that will help you make sense of the glut of Italian-sounding names for various coffee-based drinks. If you’ve ever wondered about the difference between a Long Black and a Red Eye, Barista Me will be glad to educate. Here’s the page for Long Black:
The part I like best is the inforgraphic showing liquid ratios and pouring order. So now I know that if I want to make a Long Black, I need to pour water before I pour in the Espresso. The explanation text is quite detailed as well:
I can see myself using Barista Me to avoid pestering waiters in cafés, as well as for mixing my own coffee-based drinks with my mocha pot.
Java Mixing Guide
Speaking of mixing your own drinks, Java Mixing Guide is another application dedicated to just that. Much like Barista Me, its main menu consists of a long list of coffee-based beverages, some as obvious as Black and some as exotic-sounding as Galao.
Tapping one of the recipe names brings up a very simple detail page:
No lengthy text explanations here. Instead of showing the ratios and order as parts of a cup, you get proportionately-sized squares showing how much of every ingredient you should put into your beverage. Couldn’t be simpler, really. Here’s another screenshot, just because I like the format so much:
The Java Mixing Guide app is free, and doesn’t have any banners – a nice touch.
Depending on how serious your coffee habit is, you may have experimented with roasting your own beans. This can be a tricky process, with many variables, depending on your beans and your oven. The free Coffee Roaster makes it easier to track the variables involved and iterate until you find a roasting procedure that’s customized and perfect for just what you need. Once you record it using Coffee Roaster, you should be able to replicate the result and enjoy a perfect roast every time without trying to remember what you did last time.
Make no mistake: This is the most serious app in this roundup, and it’s for coffee aficionados who take their art personally. When you tap the Start button, you first need to specify what blend you will be roasting. If this is your first time, you will have to configure a new blend:
Specifying a new blend isn’t just a matter of picking a name. Coffee Roaster lets you record numerous fields about the blend, so you can easily purchase when the time comes, or buy something similar to it:
Once you’ve told Coffee Roaster what blend you will be roasting, you can start the roasting process:
During the roasting process, you’re supposed to track key points and note when they occur, as well as at what temperature. I must admit I am no coffee roaster myself and don’t know why there are two data points for tracking “Crack (begin),” but I’m hoping one of our more serious coffee aficionados would enlighten me in the comments.
Let’s be honest here: Most of us get our coffee outside, rather than roast our own. So, for the rest of us, especially the office-dwelling folk, there’s Coffee Run. This is a free app for recording your coworkers’ coffee preferences so you don’t have to remember each person’s individual order when you go make a coffee run. As you can see above, it’s not just Starbucks: Even Canadians are represented, with Tim Horton’s. Once you pick a destination, you can specify a coworker’s name and select what they want. Item names are customized for each destination, so for Tim Horton’s you get this:
Sadly, my all-time favorite Tim Horton’s item, “Half Double Double, Half Chocolate” is not represented on the list, but many other items are. Then again, if you have a coworker who’s very picky about their coffee, you can also add custom details:
After specifying your coworkers’ preferences, you end up with a clear summary you can give the barista without too much fumbling:
The only problem here is that Coffee Run doesn’t retain the specific names – so it won’t say “Large Double Double” on the order summary. A bit of an oversight really, because these franchise-specific shorthand nicknames make ordering much faster. Other than that, it’s a very useful app.
Did I miss an important coffee-related Android app? Are you already using one of these apps? Tell me in the comments!