Foodie Tuesday: Great Coffee App

Do you really need another coffee app? Probably not, but I’m not talking practicality here, I’m talking about passion, flavor and the appreciation of the perfect espresso shot — I’m talking about the Great Coffee App. It’s a short introduction to 17 of the most popular espresso-based drinks, with attractive photos depicting the layers of coffee, milk, foam, etc. and demo videos outlining the process for making each drink.

This is an app for coffee lovers and those just learning to appreciate the beauty of the crema. Use it as a quick reference when you come across an unfamiliar espresso drink or just enjoy perusing the stories for interesting coffee trivia and watching the video demos. The thoughtful app design and artistic representation of each cup will leave you with a greater appreciation for the barista’s art. Great Coffee App does one thing many instructional coffee apps fail to do — it inspires!

Want to explore the world of espresso drinks? Keep reading to learn more about this unique coffee app.

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Getting Started

Launch the app for the first time and it walks you through a demo of the various motions needed to navigate through each screen: swipe down to view the menu, swipe left to browse through the drinks, tap the mug to view a more detailed diagram, swipe up for a full description, etc. Some apps just expect users to figure it out organically, but the guidance is helpful in getting you on your feet, ready to explore with a bit more confidence. Browse through the 17 most popular espresso drinks by swiping left, or have a look at all the drinks on the Great Coffee Menu, which is the grid icon that appears at the top of any screen when you swipe down.

Browse through the 17 most popular espresso drinks by swiping through each drink, left, or have a look at them all in the Great Coffee Menu, right.

Browse through the 17 most popular espresso drinks by swiping through each drink, left, or have a look at them all in the Great Coffee Menu, right.

The toolbar also includes options for turning off the music, sharing the app on your social networks, replaying the introductory tutorial or changing the language preferences. From a basic espresso to the elaborate Vienna coffee, the drinks follow a natural progression from simple to complex. If you’re trying to figure out the world of espresso-based drinks you’ll appreciate the variety covered in this app, like the nuanced Espresso Lungo, everyday Latte and multilayered Irish Coffee. The first impression of Great Coffee is a modern, fresh, beautifully designed app that’s a pleasure to use.

The Drinks

Each espresso drink is beautifully photographed, displaying the layers of each drink so you can see the ratio of coffee to milk or foam or whatever else. Tap the screen to zoom in on the cup and view a labeled diagram of each layer. This design feature is fun and does a great job utilizing the visual capabilities of the mobile phone. Swipe up to read more about what defines the drink and how best to enjoy it. Drink descriptions are thoughtfully written and often include a bit of backstory you may have been unfamiliar with, like the Americano, a term “coined during the Second World War when American soldiers diluted espresso with hot water trying to satisfy their preference for more sips in a cup.” The app needs more stories like these to flesh out the content. At a price of $2.99 it can feel like you’re paying for design and left wanting a bit more substance.

Each drink is beautifully photographed and accompanied by a short yet thoughtful description and backstory.

Each drink is beautifully photographed and accompanied by a short yet thoughtful description and backstory.

It’s nice to see that since its release in September 2012 the app has been updated several times with improvements and new features. The latest addition of videos demonstrating the espresso methods was a great idea. Again, the videos are beautifully shot; each with a unique music score, but it’s more about the art than giving users detailed instructions for achieving the perfect cup.

Tap the screen to zoom in on the drink layers, left. Swipe upwards to find a video demonstrating how to make each drink.

Tap the screen to zoom in on the drink layers, left. Swipe upwards to find a video demonstrating how to make each drink.

Videos download quickly if you’ve got a good Internet connection, and it’s nice to see the elevated design feature of icons users can tap to view only certain steps in the process. While the video plays, written instructions appear at the bottom of the screen. As apposed to a sterile video demonstration with audio, this silent style is refreshing and in keeping with the artistic, visual nature of the app.

Conclusion

This app reads more like an appreciation of fine coffee than how-to manual, so if you’re looking for a reference tool you’re in the wrong place. You’ve got to appreciate the Great Coffee App for what it is — an inspiring, eye-opening introduction to appreciating the art of pulling a shot and creating a delicious drink. To me, it’s a Renaissance app, with great attention given to the experiences, sensations, and stories behind the drinks. Some criticize this app for “not being useful enough,” but I say there are plenty of useful coffee apps out there — if the creators want to give users more bang for their buck they should keep expanding the storyline. Add more interesting features, like an interactive timeline of coffee evolution or more cultural tidbits, like how Italians only drink cappuccino in the morning.

It’s obvious the creators are passionate about coffee. Check out their “Making Of” video and it all makes sense. Every detail is lovingly attended to, from the professional photography and videography to the thoughtful app design to experienced barista input to the creation of an original music score for the app. If you’re just getting to know espresso you’ll fall in love, if you’re already a coffee aficionado you’ll appreciate this unique app dedicated to the crème de la crema.


Summary

Great Coffee App is a unique artistic introduction to the most popular espresso drinks with video demonstrations, thoughtful descriptions and attractive diagrams of drink layers.

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