The App Store is full of unique ideas which cover a whole lot more than mobile games. Angry Birds is always fun, but app developers are focused on building software that can help people in many different ways. And as some of us know already, coffee is a popular topic amongst the tech crowd.
Barista was created by Glasshouse Apps as a mobile guide. Beginners and experts alike will enjoy this handy pocket reference to brewing your own espresso right at home. If you’ve ever had an interest in brewing your own morning buzz, you’ve got to check out Barista.
When first launching the app you’ll notice the layout is based on a 5-tab bar setup. This makes navigation a breeze and you can easily switch between different topics of study.
On the first view you have a collection of different recipes you may follow. These are written in a step-by-step instructional format to make the process as easy as possible. Some examples include making a cappuccino, americano, macchiato or even more extravagant beverages like a caffè mocha.
If you wish to get more into detail, you can time your extraction process for each brew — although, I have to admit that it’s unlikely you’ll be able to work with the timer all while prepping the espresso machine and milk and other ingredients. Still, these are neat features that you can’t find on any other similar application.
The Video Basics
Moving over to the next tab, we have a wonderful collection of video tutorials. The library is small, but each video can be powerful to somebody completely new in the field. Brewing espresso is an art and will surely require careful attention to the finer details.
The videos feature a wonderful intro section with some comforting background music. The tips are split into different portions so you can watch how to proceed with each step in the process. Overall, I feel the ideas are a little basic, but that’s the whole point of Barista. It’s a way for anybody to start extracting and brewing on their own espresso machine.
The first video titled, “Espresso machine basics” will cover the most important stuff you need to know. This runs about 4 or 5 minutes long, so it’s best to pay attention or even follow along at home. Even watch it over a couple different times to make sure you understand each step.
The other two videos are more presentation-based than anything else. They run about 30-60 seconds and behave more as a “quick-tip” video tutorial. It would be nice to see some more content added in over time, especially because the layout is so user friendly. Video tutorials are the easiest way to learn since you can physically watch the process unfold from beginning to end.
Friendly Tips & Tricks
Although there isn’t as much video content as you may expect, Barista more than makes up for this fact in their tips section. Beginners who are new to the process will need to read through mostly all of these ideas. They are practical and targeted specifically for folks who do not speak much coffee lingo.
The major sections include coffee bean preparation, extraction, milk texturing and the art of pouring. Each header section contains multiple tips which are a few paragraphs in length. I am especially pleased with the small graphics and icons dropped inside the layout. It gives off more appeal and a custom branding to the natural Apple-style lists.
The first three sections are the most important to go through. They contain information that anyone using an espresso machine should understand. A lot of this pertains to extracting espresso shots for your drink and mixing together in just the right amount of time. The only way you’ll fully cement these ideas is through repetition.
The last section about pouring is more about practicing your skills in producing latte artwork. It’s a widely accepted trend in coffee shops across the world where baristas will leave artistic visions mixed into your beverage. If you have the patience you should try out a couple of the tricks and see if you can make up your own.
Did you know that the word “latte” literally translates to “milk” in Italian? So the phrase “latte art” quite simply means “milk art.”
The Coffee Talk
I really find this last glossary of terms to be the most helpful I’ve ever come into contact with. Of course, people who have never used an espresso machine will need to follow along with the original tutorials, but for those who have been brewing for a while, you may enjoy reading through a couple of these terms in the list.
If you had been going through the tutorials or recipes and gotten completely lost with the terminology then this is where you should start. The glossary references concepts such as blonding and tamping which you should understand when operating your own espresso machine.
Many of these terms I have heard before but never took the time to put them together. It’s another reason that Barista is so valuable because even somebody who knows nothing about espresso can get started quickly. You don’t even need to know very much about coffee in general. The “Coffee Talk” section includes descriptions for Arabica and Robusta coffee beans, along with the fairly specific extraction process.
I really like Barista and highly recommend it for a number of reasons. The icon and user interface alone are fantastic and very pleasing to work with, but also the app contains vital information following through the process of making your own espresso beverage. This can be a wonderful experience for anybody interested in getting into brewing at home.