Long gone are the days of hurriedly spooning Nescafé into a mug and splashing in boiling water – coffee is now an art form. Whether you’re a fan of cold brew, nitro, filter, pour-over or, whisper it, a sparkly Frappuccino, there are dozens of apps that promise to make your caffeinated life a little easier. We pick out the five best apps for coffee lovers – none of which will cost you a bean.
Coffee Cup Guru (stylised as coffee.cup.guru, of course) lets you embrace your inner – or indeed outer – coffee nerd. Think of it as a digital instruction manual for the perfect AeroPress, Chemex, cupping, French press or Hario V60 brew.
You begin by clicking on one of the brewing method icons and then selecting from a list of recipes. These will include a basic recipe for beginners and then a selection of different processes from experts (or “gurus”). There are some seriously complicated recipes here that will take a while to master – which is part of the fun.
Once you’ve decided which recipe to try, you’re guided step-by-step through the process by beautiful, minimalist animations. They really simplify the brewing, but try not to get distracted by sitting back and watching them.
One of the app’s best tricks is the ability to design your own recipe by clicking the “+” in the top-right of the screen. You can then set the amount of coffee and water, the temperature, range of grind, process and the overall time. It’s a neat tool that will appeal to coffee fanatics who love to tinker.
Best apps for coffee lovers: Coffee Recipes (Android)
Coffee purists, look away now. The Coffee Recipes app is aimed at brewsters who want to have fun with spices, cream, nut
The app couldn’t be simpler: there’s a list of hot and cold coffee recipes, as well as the ability to search by ingredient and, weirdly, jot down a shopping list. Once you’ve found a recipe you like the look of, tap on the listing and read the detailed instructions. In my experience, the methods are very easy to follow – but I’m certainly not a fan of the nutritional information. Who wants to be reminded that their creamy caramel mocha contains 251 calories?
But, as ever, there’s a downside. While there are a handful of free recipes on the app, you’ll need to fork out £1.69 for the “Pro” version, which, considering there are thousands of free recipes just a Google search away, feels stingy.
However, we’d still recommend downloading Coffee Recipes – if only for this ridiculously over-the-top beauty…
The Best Coffee app is an impressive proposition. Just like Untappd for beer, it’s a Pokédex-style guide for finding the best artisan coffee shops in your area.
To begin, tap the “Near me” button to bring up a list of the nearest cafes, complete with user reviews, an (often lengthy) manifesto from the owners, photos and key details such as their make of coffee machine and the bean supplier. If you’re a self-confessed coffee geek in a new environment, it’s a boon and covers major cities such as London, Liverpool, Manchester and Edinburgh, as well as further afield destinations such as Berlin, Honk Kong and LA.
However, if like me, you live out in the sticks, the pickings can be rather slimmer. That said, Best Coffee still identified a couple of great caffeine joints in the buzzing metropolis of Royal Tunbridge Wells – and even the smallest of towns seem to have a half-decent independent coffee shop nowadays.
So, what’s the catch? Well, Best Coffee is an essential resource and, to put it bluntly, just a brilliant app… if you have an iPhone. There is an app for Android, but, sadly, it’s broken: when I tried it, the screen froze multiple times and, after a while, the app refused to open. It’s something the developers have been very apologetic about and are working to fix, but it’s still very disappointing as there’s nothing nearly as good elsewhere on the Google Play Store.
So, if you’re an iOS user who lives and breathes coffee (literally), get downloading immediately. If not, tough beans.
Best apps for coffee lovers: CoffeeTrail (Android)
…but don’t despair yet, Android devotees! There is another option. The trouble is that it’s basic, to say the least. Coffee Trail identifies your nearest café and, rather sweetly, overlays a map with cup icons to make it as easy as possible to find them. And that’s it – no bells or whistles, nor any indication of how good the brew will be once you get there.
There are a couple of glaring negatives, too: first, you can only search within 3km of your location, which is workable in a city but might be a major problem elsewhere. Second, the ads – the constant, in-your-face pop-ups will have you chucking your phone across the room…
Consequently, I can’t really see CoffeeTrail appealing to connoisseurs, but it’s a lifesaver if you’re after an injection of caffeine. Moreover, unlike Best Coffee, CoffeeTrail will work everywhere – it even identified the tearoom in my village – meaning you’re always covered.
Best apps for coffee lovers: Coffitivity (iOS)
Okay, this one’s a bit of a wildcard. With absolutely nothing to do with the making or drinking of coffee, Coffitivity (try saying that after a few hazelnut mochas) replicates the general ambience of a cafe to make you as productive as possible.
So if, like me, the sounds of gentle chatter, the clink of
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