A NEW mobile application has been designed with Nelson Mandela Bay's growing tribe of coffee lovers in mind. The Coffee Culture app, offering a comprehensive list of Port Elizabeth's top coffee shops, is available on Apple, Android and Blackberry smartphones.
Coffee Culture allows subscribers to explore Port Elizabeth's coffee shops by browsing through menus, looking at pictures and participating in promotions. Users can also benefit from a special loyalty programme.
Created by Ryan le Roux and Heather McEwan, of Port Elizabeth- based Snapp Mobile Technologies, the app was developed with local coffee lovers in mind.
"I had been in Europe for a while and when I returned to South Africa I realised how much coffee culture has taken over," Le Roux said.
"Coffee shops did not want to develop their own apps because of the cost. "So we decided to add them to a directory with all their various menus. Coffee lovers normally rotate between three or four places anyway," he said.
Once the free app is downloaded, it allows users to find the location of coffee shops by using GPS maps.
It also gives easy access to the shops' websites, Facebook pages or Twitter handles.
"This is targeted at any coffee lover with a smartphone. Most people want to know what is on the menu before trying a new place, so this makes it easier."
While the app was developed with Port Elizabeth in mind, there are plans to expand it to the rest of South Africa.
Le Roux said more than 1000 people downloaded the app within the first three days of its launch earlier this month.
"We are proud to have started it here, as we are a Port Elizabeth-based company."
Coffee industry veteran Shaun Aupiais, who works throughout the Eastern Cape as a barista trainer, had also joined the team and shared his insights for the app, Le Roux said.
Aupiais said: "It is all about educating the consumer and bringing coffee shops together. Johannesburg and Cape Town are more advanced in terms of the coffee culture, but we are catching up fast."
He said coffee was the second biggest commodity after oil and more than 150 million people were employed in the coffee industry worldwide.
"A lot of people underestimate the coffee industry but it is the second most consumed beverage after water.
"The app will also have an information bar about the history of coffee, the types of coffees and other facts."