Press app for iPhone – logging your coffee journey

App IconFirst things first. If ever there were an app icon that encapsulates the predominant themes of this blog — surely this has to be it.

Brilliant. Er…except that I didn’t think of it first.

After coming across Press a few months ago, I have begun to slowly add some coffees into the database for future reference.

As is the case with many great independent apps, Press was borne out of one man’s frustration — from the App developer’s contact page:

I’m Jeff Hatz, the sole developer of Press. I was frustrated with the lack of quality coffee apps on the App Store, so decided to write my own. I hope you love it as much as I do.

Love it? Indeed I do sir — indeed I do.

What is it for?

Press is an app which contains a number of features to assist you in both brewing and logging notes about the coffee you drink:

IMG_4267Log detailed notes about the coffees you drink, and see a world map with pins for each if the coffees you enter. Use the built in brew timers courtesy of Corvus Coffee Roasters, or add your own, to brew a perfect cup every time. Expand your knowledge of coffee in the Resources section.

Features:

IMG_4275In list form, Press has the following features:

  • Coffee Notes
  • Brew timers
  • Map
  • Today Widget (quick brew; last coffee added)
  • Advanced Options
  • Resource page (links to books, blogs etc)
  • Share sheet integration (export and sharing options)

As lovers of all things coffee, I am sure we all have our own methods of brewing with our various devices, so I must admit I have not really used the built-in brew timers.

I would note however these are customisable, and you are able to add your own, featuring the timer name, coffee/water ratio (allowing calculations based on changes in dose), dose, grind, temperature, notes, and brew stages.

IMG_4296IMG_4293

Overall, the app has a really nice UI, which is attractive to look at, yet functional enough to get the job done very smoothly, with a few extras such as Markdown formatting and a custom URL Scheme for users on the geekier side of the spectrum.

Perhaps it is worth mentioning longevity and storage. Although each coffee logged is merely a text file, adding numerous photos I expect would add to the data storage requirements of the app. Were I to use this over a few years, with say, a few hundred coffees and associated photos, I wonder about the storage requirements then, and perhaps cloud support might come in handy. For now, this is not an issue.

In terms of longevity and back up options — exporting to Day One or Evernote works like a dream, with the resulting output reminiscent (minus the associated photo) of some Drafts app templates for coffee logging I have seen around the web.

IMG_4284
Output to Day One

 

My favourite features

There is a lot to love about Press, though my favourite features (and reasons for downloading the app in the first place) are definitely the integrated map and notes sections. Locations of origin appear on the map once the region is added to an entry, allow zooming, and have an info button which changes to a popover noting the particular coffee featured in that location.

IMG_4271

Other great features include the customisable notes fields (through the settings pane), auto-capitalisation throughout the notes input fields, and a next button during text input which avoids the need for scrolling and tapping into the subsequent field.

Beyond the specifics, I’d say it is great to have an attractive, well thought out and extremely functional app which allows me to track coffees I have tasted when out and about, or those I have roasted myself at home.

Photo support was also added in March of this year, and has added a whole new dimension to how I plan to use the app going forward.

As my home roasting involves pencil and paper1 for recording time, temperature and any notes commenting on particular aspects of the roast, linking this IMG_4298data to particular coffees after brewing and tasting involves collating the data together in a spreadsheet — which I admit is not always updated. With the photos feature in Press, I have begun to snap a photo of the roast notes page which I now keep right inside the app with the tasting notes and rating of the particular coffee — perfect!

In conclusion

As you can gather, I do believe this is a great app for logging many aspects of your coffee journey over time.

Yes, I can link in my roast data to the brewing and tasting profiles through the photos feature, but I can also see this used for capturing those moments when sharing a wonderful brew with a partner or group of friends.

Press strikes what I believe is a perfect balance between allowing the recording of “enough” data and the flexibility to add more, in a beautiful and highly efficient way. With ongoing support, the developer has laid the groundwork for perhaps even more features in the future.

Oh and how about that icon?

Press for iPhone is available from the App Store, and is well worth the $AU3.79 you’ll pay.

  1. Currently the Science edition of the Field Notes Arts and Sciences seasonal release, and a Blackwing 602 for those interested. A perfect combination for the purpose I might add.

Wiser Web Wednesday

Wiser Web Wednesday – a weekly link to posts of interest from around the web by those far wiser than myself:

NoteMaker
Although the Melbourne Writers Festival has now come and gone, some interesting insights into the art itself from one of Australia’s best, Nick Earls. Discussion turns to the new novel Analogue Men, and Nick’s penchant for Moleskine notebooks and a good pencil:
Interview with Analogue Man, Writer and Endless Story Starter Nick Earls

Brett Terpstra
Taken some notes as a plain text list and wished it were a mind map? Develop them further by way of a handy script for converting indented Markdown or plain text to a mind map application of your choice. I also love the integration with popclip, a handy Mac application I use heavily for one click copy and paste (which itself now has 126 different extensions):
Converting Markdown to a mind map

The Weekend Edition
In some decidedly local news, Brisbane is set to see the launch (October 1 this year) of the worlds first NEXT Hotel, on the site of the old Lennon’s on the Queen St Mall. Should we be excited? Maybe, maybe not, however sounds as though there is a nice little bit of tech thrown into the mix:

…guests can download the NEXT Hotel Smart App, using it to adjust lighting, room temperature, music and television channels without needing to leave their super comfy bed.

A perfect place to stay (awake) after the next Strauss coffee cupping evening:
World’s first NEXT Hotel launches in Brisbane

A Penchant for Paper
Although I certainly don’t need an excuse, here are 10 reasons to use pen and paper and get writing by hand. Sketching always seems such a noble and therapeutic undertaking, however it is such a pity I have the exact opposite to a ‘dab hand’, for such an activity:
10 Ways To Use Your Pens and Write By Hand More Often

The Clicky Post
Although perhaps not an everyday colour, the Iroshizuku Yama-budo (Crimson Glory Vine) ink looks fantastic in this Pilot Custom Heritage 92 Demonstrator. A great review by Mike Dudek, and as usual, great photography to match:
Pilot Custom Heritage 92 Demonstrator Fountain Pen – M Nib

Pens! Paper! Pencils!
Speaking of fantastic looking inks, there aren’t too many more striking than the subject of this post by Ian Hedley. If you like your orange with a good measure of substance, check out the link, or alternatively search for “deep orange ink” in Ian’s fantastic new pen blog search engine, Pennaquod:
Diamine Cult Pens Deep Dark Orange ink review

Finer Things in Tech
David Chartier with an elegant piece on…well, the inelegant state of inter app communication and integration courtesy of the walled gardens currently in existence:

But even on OS X, where apps have always had ways to work together, I had to manually copy and paste the title and body of this piece from the Evernote, erm, note where I scribbled my initial ideas into Write. Like an animal. As much as I am a fan of Evernote, it’s a tedious, hindering experience that makes me curious about alternatives.

This is hopefully all about to change with iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite – not long to wait now:
iOS, Mac App Extensions offer some hope for walled gardens

Austin Kleon
Not commandments per se, though a list of ten nonetheless. Manifesto?, Declaration? Creed? Call it what you will, though Notes to self was the author’s choice. My picks – numbers 1 and 10:
Notes to self

Quotebook 3 for iOS

The sign of a great app? It does what it sets out to do, does it reliably and efficiently, and looks great while doing it.

Icon SmallWhen news of a major update to the iOS app Quotebook appeared in my Twitter feed recently, it made me realise what a great app Quotebook is. Why? Because it fits all the above criteria, and made me immediately think “an update, that’s always most welcome, but it didn’t really need one”. Further, though I was happy to retweet this news noting it was one of my “favourite apps”, I could not recall specifically the last time I had used it. Oh, it will never be deleted, and contains some of my favourite quotes, however again the sign of a great app – it is there for a purpose, and there when I need it.

What initially drew me to Quotebook (probably a couple of years ago now) was the specificity of it’s purpose. Sure, I could have saved some quotes in a notebook or with a tag in Evernote; kept them as text files in Dropbox or Drafts; or even tabled them in a spreadsheet, which I have also done in the dim distant past. Quotebook seemed like the perfect solution to keep these pieces of text together with their author and source if necessary.

I admit, at times specificity in an app can be limiting, however in this case it is spot on. Look at what you need after all: the quote; the attribution for the author or speaker; the source; and tags to group quotes should you desire. Add a great looking interface and seamless syncing between my iPad and iPhone, and there you have it – a favourite app. Remember, that was before the update.

We now welcome Quotebook 3, which has been completely redesigned from the ground up, by developer Lickability:

Quotebook 3 is our biggest release ever. We’ve completely redesigned and rewritten the app, making it easier than ever to collect your favourite quotes and give them context and personality.

  • Fully rewritten iCloud syncing
  • Add images and descriptions to authors and sources
  • Information about your authors and sources is automatically downloaded from Wikipedia
  • Auto-complete authors, sources, and tags from within the app, your contacts, and your music library
  • Import quotes from your Tumblr posts and Facebook profile
  • Tap into any author or source from the quotes screen to see more quotes from them
  • Discover and save random quotes from the app’s main screen
  • Share quotes to Tweetbot, Tumblr, and Day One
  • Improved Auto-Detection of quotes on your clipboard (including from iBooks)
  • x-callback-url support for the Quotebook URL scheme so other apps can add quotes seamlessly
  • Simplified settings

As you can see from the above list, the update is indeed a big one. I must admit the most pleasing thing I have found in using Quotebook 3 in the couple of days since the update is the fact that it works equally as reliably and consistently as the previous version, but is faster, looks better, and I agree, has a little more personality, to quote the developer. Although I guess consistent and reliable only gets you so far, as (searches Quotebook):

“Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.”
— Oscar Wilde

See – there when I need it, just like I said.

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Probably my favourite aspects of the update include the complete overhaul of the user interface, which is elegantly minimal; direct sharing to Tweetbot and Day One through the standard sharesheet; the ability to see information and other quotes from an author, or the information popover from the source (see screenshot below); also, the functionality of the clipboard auto-detection seems to have improved. A nice touch is also the ability to save random quotes now appearing on your main screen.

Quotebook_pop

Quotebook 3 is a beautiful, yet highly functional app which appears to be in for the long haul. Lickability have added enough bells and whistles with the new update to please many a power user, however have repackaged and improved the robust and delightful features that worked elegantly and efficiently all along.

3

Developers say many things in press releases, however on this point from Lickability I most certainly concur:

Lickability has been and will always be concerned with all the small details that make apps great.

Must save that quote somewhere…

 

Also be sure to check out the review of Quotebook 3 by Federico Viticci at Macstories.

Quotebook 3 is available on the App Store for AUD$6.99, and is a universal app for both iPad and iPhone.

Wiser Web Wednesday

Wiser Web Wednesday – a weekly link to posts of interest from around the web by those far wiser than myself:

A little more digital than analogue this week, perhaps I’ve caught September fever

The Newsprint
I wrote some of my thoughts on the iOS note taking app Vesper a little while ago, however here’s a better review with some beautiful photos to match:
Vesper

The Sweet Setup
I found this tip to be quite helpful if you have a desire to get rid if those pesky contact suggestions showing up in Messages – particularly those you have already deleted from your Contacts:
Quick Tip: Clear unwanted contacts from Messages

Macstories
Dispatch is my iPhone email app of choice at the moment, and though I don’t use many of the app integrations, the few I do certainly are handy. Federico Viticci outlines some new features added in the recent 2.1 update:
Dispatch 2.1 Adds “Export as PDF”, Bulk Edit, More App Integrations

While at Macstories, well worth a look is the updated guide to iOS automation using Launch Center Pro. Sure, I don’t use even half of the actions, though for reference, nothing beats this guide by Alex Guyot, or @The_Axx to his Twitter peeps:
Automating iOS: A Comprehensive and Updated Guide to Launch Center Pro

Scribomechanica
A pen and pencil blog I have recently come across, and having received my own Pilot Metropolitan Fountain Pen (which I m loving) from Jet Pens in the mail last week, a timely review:
Pilot Metropolitan M nib Fountain Pen Review

Relay FM
The triumphant return of Myke Hurley’s voice to the podcasting airwaves. Whilst many of the faithful have eagerly awaited this new joint venture by Hurley and Steven Hackett, if you are considering delving into the fascinating and entertaining world of podcasts yourself, this is the place to start.

With topics ranging from Apple to pens and paper, Relay FM brings together some of the most influential — and unique — voices on the Internet together to create powerful content, each and every week.

Being a bit of a pen nerd, my favourite of course is The Pen Addict, though my subscription runs the gamut of every show on the network. Browse the shows and have a listen – you won’t be sorry.
Relay FM

Wiser Web Wednesday

Wiser Web Wednesdaya weekly link to posts of interest from around the web:

Study Hacks
Although specifically referring to mathematical proofs, there are enough hints here for broader applications. My favourite? Idea 1 – sometimes we just need to be specific, have clear aims, and deal with it:
How to Read Proofs Faster: A Summary of Useful Advice

1Password for iOS Tip of the Day
Along came this little gem in my Twitter feed recently – swipe right on 1Password (iOS) entries to copy the password. A cracker. It appears many others needed a little reminding about this great feature I was unaware of:
1Password Status

The Sweet Setup
As someone with less than 12 months Mac experience under my belt, tips like these come in very handy:
Quick Tip: Enable Hot Corners on OS X

Pens! Paper! Pencils!
Nothing wrong with a little tech, but where are the pens and ink? Why here for starters:
Diamine Ochre ink review

Hastily Written
Lately I’ve been drawn to the red/orange/brown spectrum of ink colours, however on the opposite side of the rainbow, am also in need of a new blue. Food for thought here:
Ink Drop: July 2014

Office Supply Geek
If a little colour in a notebook is your thing, Brian takes a look at the turquoise Rhodiarama hard cover. Same Rhodia quality – just a little louder:
Rhodiarama Notebook Review

The Atlantic
Did you read my previous post on penmanship? Maybe a slightly different tangent from such an idea (which by the way wasn’t written this quickly):
How to Write 225 Words Per Minute With a Pen

Still Drinking
Of course punctuation matters, however as much as we think it does? Need I say more:

English is a mutt of a language, inheriting ludicrously contradictory spellings and grammars from other languages.

Nobody. Understands. Punctuation.

Barista Magazine Blog
I’m all for someone having a stab at the often elusive “where did this originate?” – perhaps the Dutch Traders in the South Pacific were the lucky souls that invented out of necessity. Although this low-acidity brew is not new, and something I have written about before, I’m interested to see how the trend has caught on in the modern Cafè scene. This series might be one to follow:
Completely Cold brew: Part 1 of a series