Tea: Brew Your Favorite Beverage

Do you like tea? That’s kind of a vague question, I know, seeing as there’s such a variety of the drink out there. I personally am partial to the herbal infused types of tea with a smidgen of sugar — not too much since that can sometimes override the taste of the tea itself. There are lots of great ways to make a cup of tea, but what happens when you find that perfect formula? Do you store it in a little “tea book” or something?

If you have an iPhone, then I’m going to introduce a fun little app that will change the way you drink your tea — possibly for the better. It’s conveniently enough called Tea, and is developed by Sail LLC. This little app will give you a way to log your weekly — or daily — brewing and rate it so that you can later find what a perfect cup is for you. Keep reading for my full review.

Catalogue That Tea

The first thing you’re going to need to do when opening Tea is tap that little + button in the top right corner. This will bring up the Add New Tea panel, which has four basic information fields: Name, Brand, Type, and Amount. In the first field you should input what the name of your tea is or what you’d like it to display as on the main screen. In the second, you can put in the brand of the tea, followed by the type that it is in the Type field. The Tea app supports a wide variety of tea types, from white and green to herbal infusion and rooibos.

The main screen of Tea and the place where you can add a new tea.

When you’ve finished filling out the first three fields, go ahead and count either the amount of tea bags you have left or the weight of your tea, depending on the type. You can then input this number into the Amount field using the preselected sliders. If you have more than 40 bags however, you’ll just have to make multiple entries. On the other hand, if you have less than ten or some random number that’s not divisible by 10, then all you have to do is modify the entry and change the number.

Once you’ve filled everything out, just press Done in the upper right corner and you’ll see your new listing of tea on the main screen. Go ahead and repeat this for any other stock you have so that everything is ready for when you’re going to start brewing.

Brew the Tea

Now that you’ve organized all your inventory nicely in Tea, it’s time to brew a cup. To do this, first tap the tea you wish to brew. Now you’ll see a screen with four different options; the number of bags or weight, the amount of water, the brew time and the temperature. In the first field, just go ahead and put in how much tea you’re going to be putting in this brew. I typically just put in one bag since I don’t like mine too strong.

In the second field, put in how much water you’re going to have in this brew. It defaults at one cup, but you can change it to any of the supported measurements — cups, mL, oz, L, cc, and g — and Tea will automatically convert it for you. When you’ve done that, go ahead and set how long you’re going to steeping the tea for, followed by the temperature on the bottom right. As with the tea and water amounts, you can change from Celsius to Fahrenheit easily by sliding up or down. The max temperature is 100 degrees Celsius and 212 degrees Fahrenheit.

Waiting for my tea to be finished brewing -- you can see the timer.

All good? Okay, tap Brew in the upper right corner and wait for your timer to count down. The nice thing is, you can even leave the app and come back and the timer will still be going because it fully supports multitasking. When it’s done, you’ll hear a little “ding ding” like that of the glass alert sound in the iPhone’s settings. If you’re not in the app, your phone will still vibrate, make the sound and give you a push notification so that you remember to grab your cup of tea.

When you’re finished brewing your tea, the app will provide you with a little feedback screen that you can use to note how the tea tasted so that you can hopefully make it better the next time. You can also rate it from 1-100 and share the brew on Facebook or Twitter. Even though I do love the sharing features, Twitter’s is currently broken and that’s kind of a bit disappointing since I use it more than Facebook. But not to worry, as the developer has told me there will be a fix out soon.

Modify Some Entries and View Their Details

The first thing you did with tea was add some inventory so that you’d have something to brew. Now I’m going to give you a tour of what each tea’s own info screen will look like when it has been used. First, to get to this screen, tap the little arrow on the right side of the tea you want to see the details of.

First there’s the last time you brewed it, the best rating that you’ve given it, then the percent of stock left with a little status indicator (you can tap this to reveal the amount as well), the number of brews you have left (tap this to show the number you’ve already brewed), the notes for that specific tea, the history of only that tea, an option to add more, a Brew button, and an Edit button at the top.

The Tea details screen and entry modification fields.

If you want to edit an entry, all you have to do is tap the button in the top right corner of the screen and you’ll be presented with the same four fields you were before when originally adding the tea to your inventory. This is nice if you mistakenly brew the wrong one and need to add another teabag or something.

Also, in the little notes field you can either input where you might be able to find that tea again, who you got it from, or something of the sort. One fun little feature, though, is that you can go to the history of that tea, tap one brew that was particularly good, and add it to the main notes. This intelligent little feature will add those notes to the ones you already have on the tea.

Browse Your History

The last notable feature of Tea is its History screen, which stores every brew you’ve ever made. Even though the main purpose of such a list is to let you find good brews, there are quite a few more functions than just that in this feature. Firstly, if you drag down the menu a little, a search bar will appear. This will allow you to search for a certain type of tea or possibly a special note that you left on one of your brews.

Tea's brewing history. I really like Celestial Seasonings' Country Peach Passion.

If you wish to change what you said about a brew, then just tap it and tap Revise Notes/Score. You will then get the same screen that you did when it was finished brewing, which will allow you to fix any errors that you may have made or possibly add some notes after you drank it.

Beauty is in Tea

When it comes to the user interface of Tea, the designers did a spectacular job at creating something beautiful. The wooden background texture, paper-ish look and overall color scheme of Tea is really nice. It fits well with the purpose of the app and also doesn’t hurt the eyes with a lot of unnecessary vividness. I especially love the Set Brew screen when it comes to appearance.

Two examples of Tea's nice interface, one of them being the random scratchpad.

Other elements of the interface include the smooth transitions and the tea timer itself. When you set your brew, there’s a beautiful little timer that comes up and dims the rest of the screen. To me, the elements within it are just really nice and simple — that’s what makes Tea such a great little app.

What Tea Could Use

In every app, there are those features that you wish the developers would include. I really wish there was a way to log how much sugar, honey, or other sweetener I put in my tea because this really seems like a crucial feature. It’s surprising to see that the developer didn’t include it too. Right now, as a temporary solution, you can simply use the tasting notes function to help yourself remember what a good amount of tea is.

Conclusion

If you drink tea, then this app is for you and it’s worth every penny of the $1.99 price tag. There are lots of features to be explored and, for me at least, this app has helped me to brew better tea over time with the note-taking and such. That, combined with the beautiful interface, makes it the perfect app for tea enthusiasts.


Summary

Brew the perfect cup of tea. Every time.

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