I just discovered a nifty little iPhone app called “Tea.” It allows you to catalog your tea stores and monitor your brewing habits so that you can make your perfect cup every time. Each time you brew a cup, you enter the name of the tea, the type of tea, the amount (in bags or ounces of loose tea), the steeping time, and the temperature of the water. Then, a timer begins and chimes when you should stop steeping the tea. Then, post-consumption, you rate the taste of the tea. Over time, you can deduce from your records the conditions necessary to brew the perfect cup of a particular tea.
I do have a minor off-the-bat criticism of the app; I don’t know about you, but I certainly do not measure the temperature of the water in my kettle before pouring it over my tea. However, when using the app, I enter either 212 degrees (boiling, for black teas) or a non-boiling (for green teas) temperature, if not a an exact value.
When discussing Tea with my boyfriend, an aerospace engineer, he came up with an idea that could really elevate the app. If the collected data could be shared among users, the app could create a series of graphs — one for each type of tea — with points that represent individual ideal cups of tea. The x-axis of the graph would correspond to steeping temperature, and the y-axis would correspond to steeping time. Therefore, if a user observed a clustering of points around a particular temperature-time intersection, the user would have an idea that that temperature-time combination makes a great cup of that particular tea.
Tea is available in the iPhone app store for $1.99.
A more in-depth review of Tea can be found here.