5 years ago
Monday, January 18, 2010
I've been enjoying a few fun, free tea-related iPhone apps recently, in addition to my others:
Teavana has a great new app. I hesitate to promote an app that is created solely to market a particular brand, but (a) it's a good brand and (b) the app rocks. In addition to offering a direct portal to the company's catalog and store locations, it also contains a lovely tea timer (pictured, complete with Asian music and graphics of tea leaves slowly falling to the bottom of the glass) and a nifty Tea Blender that allows you to create your own blends (from Teavana ingredients).
One of my favorite shops, Tea Gschwendner, also has a new app with tea news, catalog access and more — but it's all in German. Ratten!
My Tea Timer has become my go-to steep watcher. On launch, it gives you a brief bit of tea trivia, then it allows you to program your own tea times — and save them in a regular list and a list of favorites. As someone who has a mind like a steel sieve, I've found this indispensable for mastering tricky steep times for delicate teas. Now I no longer have to remember which pu-erh is best at 30 seconds on first steep and which is best for 75 seconds on second water. I simply punch in my time, give it a name (" 'S' Puerh 1st") and get it right every time. There's a sizable library of alarm sounds, too, though I'm not sure what tea lover is going to choose "referee whistle."
Japanese Tea is an app that I don't understand, yet I keep playing with it. It's a game, the object of which is to select the proper values of certain variables (type of tea, amount, taste and water temperature) in order to make the perfect cup of tea. The judge of all this is an adorably grumpy-looking "Grandmaster" who, let me tell you, is difficult to please. I'm still not sure what I'm supposed to be aiming for with the various sliding scales and slot machine-type aspects of the game, but I have managed to please the old man on a couple of occasions and improve my "chado score."