Tea ($2.99) by Samuel Iglesias is a tea timer and journal for your iPhone.
Do you love tea? Do you love your iPhone? Chances are, if you're reading this, then you answered yes to both of those questions. Now how about if you combine both your loves into one app? That's what you get with Tea.
Tea is a beautiful and gorgeous app to manage your tea inventory and collect your notes on each brew. When you open up the app, you will probably notice how the app pays close attention to every detail. The developers truly put time and thought into creating this app. I have just started to drink tea, and I have to say that this app adds more fun and value to the experience of tea time.
Now, before you can get any real use from the app, you'll have to add in your various teas into the app. Tea will ask you for the name of the tea, brand, type, and amount. There are 12 different types to choose from, so you don't have to worry about it. The amount can be in grams, kilograms, pounds, or ounces. I'm previewing a beta build that will support bags in an upcoming release.
When you have your tea inventory in the app, they'll show up all together in the main listing. Tapping the arrow that accompanies any of them will take you to the Inventory Viewer, where you can see the best rating of the tea and stock remaining. Any notes about the stock can be viewed in the middle of the screen, and the bottom buttons allow you to view History of a tea, Add More, and Brew.
If you choose to brew a tea, you can do so from the inventory viewer as mentioned above, or you can just tap on a tea from the list. Either way, you'll get to the same Set Brew screen. This is where you pick the amount that you want to brew (according to what amount you entered in the beginning), how big the serving will be, how long you will steep it for, and the temperature of the water.
When the brew is started, you get a big timer that will countdown until when the tea should be done. Of course, with multitasking, you don't have to keep that timer on the screen the entire time. If you aren't in the app and the timer is done, it will send you a notification. At this point, you can enter in some tasting notes and a percentage rating of the brew, which you can also send to Twitter or Facebook to share with your friends. The rating slider is nice, but sometimes it's a bit tricky to land on the precise percentage that you want.
If you drink a lot of tea in one day, and choose to brew another cup of a tea that you've brewed earlier (within 90 minutes), you can also choose a Fresh Brew or Next Infusion. This is nice to completely micromanage your inventory in the app.
Tea also has a "tea scratchpad," accessible from the main screen, that allows you to keep some tea-related notes around. It's free to use however you want - I'm going to use mine as a kind of "tea shopping list" for my next trip to the store.
A complete history of all the teas you've brewed is also available from the main screen, and not limited to just each specific brew. History view shows when you brewed it, rating, steep time, amount, and water temperature.
Tea has a couple of settings, which are accessed from the main screen from the gear icon. You can control the order of teas by sorting Oldest Teas First, Least Brews Remaining First, or Reverse Alphabetical Order. A toggle for grouping by brand is there, if you prefer it that way. This is where you would also input your login settings for Facebook and Twitter.
For an app that just recently came out, Tea is very polished and promising. However, as other users have suggested in iTunes reviews, I think that there should be more added to the app. Information on tea, recipes, and the ability to take photos of your tea for keeping notes. There can still be a lot done with this app, but overall, it's very promising.
If you're a tea lover with an iPhone, then get Tea. It's beautiful and meticulously crafted, and can only get better with due time. Don't worry, support for bags is coming.