RECaf Frequently Asked Questions
- Why should I track my caffeine intake?
Caffeine is a drug. While recent studies have debunked earlier conclusions regarding heart problems, high blood pressure, and other issues associated with caffeine, and some studies have even suggested moderate caffeine intake can be good for you, it’s still important to monitor any chemical substance you put into your body. Knowledge is power.
Caffeine affects different people in different ways. One person may have a sip of coffee at 1 pm and end up staring at the ceiling all night, while another person can drink a pot of coffee and go straight to bed. Learning how caffeine effects you is an important step to understanding your overall health and well-being.
And it’s not just about staying awake and alert. Caffeine can also be a factor in anxiety and depression. It can lead to headaches if you’d had too much (or too little). This is another good reason to understand your daily habits and track your intake over time.
Recording data every single day is an important first step. It will take some time to develop that habit, but in the end, you’ll be better equipped to understand your body and how it processes this substance.
- How is RECaf different from other caffeine tracking apps?
RECaf was designed to make caffeine tracking as simple as possible, while being powerful and flexible enough to satisfy the diverse needs of many different caffeine regiments.
Unlike many caffeine apps that focus mainly on coffee, RECaf is just as powerful for tea drinkers, those who take caffeinated medications, energy shot enthusiasts, soda drinkers, and more. No matter how you get your caffeine, RECaf will help you record it.
While many apps out there try to track everything you eat, or combine water tracking with caffeine, RECaf was built with a singular purpose—caffeine recording. We believe this leads to a more streamlined experience. You don’t want to be hunting through several screens just to log a morning tea. You need a tracker that lets you tap a button and move on with your day.
While many other apps out there can record caffeine intake, they never seem to learn much about you and your specific habits. Unlike heart rate monitoring, step counting, or sleep tracking, we have not (yet) developed the technology to automatically detect when we’ve ingested caffeine. That means it’s up to us to develop the habit of tracking our caffeine manually. And that takes effort. RECaf helps you by making your most frequent caffeinated sources available in a single tap, by sending you reminders at times you are most likely to have had caffeine, and by being available in your pocket as well as your wrist. You can even use Siri to track caffeine with your voice.
A caffeine tracker that never gets used is not worth much to the customer. Our hope is that RECaf becomes part of your daily routine without taking up much of your day. Tracking your most common caffeinated sources shouldn’t take more than a second or two of your time, and in many cases won’t even require you to launch the app.
- What if I don’t drink coffee?
RECaf is a caffeine tracker, not a coffee tracker. While many app developers in this category assume everyone using a tracker is a coffee fanatic, we know that many of our customers are tea drinkers, take medication that may contain caffeine, or love drinking soft drinks. There are many sources of caffeine, and RECaf can track any of them. With a fully customizable source list, you can add any of your favorite foods that aren’t on the default list. And with the favorites and frequents panes, you can get to the sources you need without having to wade through a long list of coffee drinks you never use.
- Wait, this web site here says that there’s actually more caffeine in my favorite drink than you have listed. What’s the deal?
Figuring out the exact amount of caffeine in any drink or food item is a bit tricky. When you ask an expert about caffeine content, they’ll often offer a range, such as 40-70 mg per fluid ounce. Well, which is it? 40 or 70? That’s a big difference. Go to a different expert, and you’ll get a different range.
The reason for this is that the amount of caffeine in any particular beverage or food item can vary greatly. Once you factor in steep times, the beans or tea leaves used, and many other factors, pinning down an exact number for each drink becomes next to impossible, unless you test each item in the lab just before you drink it.
When designing RECaf, we needed to settle on a specific number for each source. Maybe that number is a bit less or a bit more than what you’re actually ingesting, but having some idea of how much caffeine we’re taking in, and being able to compare our intake from one day to the next, is better than having no data at all about our intake.
Fortunately, because we don’t assume we know more than you do about the caffeine sources you use, RECaf’s sources are completely customizable. So if you find your specific latte from your specific cafe has a slightly different mg per shot than we have listed in the app, you can easily change it. Just go to your Source List on the More tab, select the item you wish to modify, tap Edit, and then change the amount. RECaf will then use the number you gave it from that point onward.
- Why do I have to pay every year to keep tracking my caffeine with RECaf?
Because we want to be here several years from now, continuing to offer you a great way to track your caffeine. It really is that simple.
There are lots of caffeine trackers on the App Store. Most of them fall into two categories: Ones that offer a one-time cheap upfront cost of a few dollars, and ones that are free but are usually owned by some large company that will try to make money by showing you ads or tracking your data to sell to the highest bidder.
The problems with each of these approaches is clear. You get what you pay for. Either the one-time cheap app withers on the vine as the developer can no longer afford to spend time keeping it up to date with all the latest technological advancements, or the free app from the large company that hoped to make money on ads doesn’t make as much as they’d like, so they keep twisting the app to fit their needs instead of yours. You end up watching commercials when you just want to record your morning tea and get on with your day. Or worse, your email inbox suddenly gets filled with spam, and every web page you visit has coffee ads on it.
RECaf is different. Because our customers pay a very modest yearly fee, we can afford to keep the app up to date. We don’t track your data at all, and we don’t have to show you ads. We don’t have to reach a million customers just to stay in business. This is better for everyone involved.
If you log two or more caffeinated items per day with RECaf, the yearly cost ends up being less than a penny per drink. We think that’s a very reasonable price to pay for critical data about your health.
Some may choose to use free alternatives, and that’s fine with us. Those who become a part of the RECaf community will get the benefits of an app that’s built specifically for their needs, with zero motivation to ever betray their trust or to turn the app into something it wasn’t meant to be.
- What if I’m not a subscriber? Can I not use RECaf at all?
RECaf offers a free 14-day trial to all customers. During that period, you can utilize all of the features of RECaf without limitations. That way, you get a risk-free opportunity to determine if RECaf is right for you.
If you choose not to subscribe to RECaf, you can still use it to read your caffeine data from HealthKit. You will not, however, be able to record new data with RECaf. Nor will you get the powerful notification features of RECaf.
You can record caffeine in other apps, or in the Health app itself, and the free version of RECaf will be able to read it. Because those apps don’t record as much detail as RECaf does, however, certain bits of information, such as the name of the source, the category of source, and so on, will not be able to be determined by RECaf. In these cases, RECaf will list whatever elements it can.
- What if I was a subscriber, but I have since chosen not to renew? Can I still see my previously recorded data?
Yes. All the data you record in RECaf (as well as in other apps that utilize HealthKit) will remain in your HealthKit database, so long as you don't erase it. RECaf will continue to be able to read that data, and other apps will be able to see it if you grant them access as well. Once logged, that data should remain in HealthKit indefinitely, provided you don’t delete it.
If you choose to delete RECaf at some point, the system will ask you if you want to keep the data you've recorded in HealthKit. Be sure to save that data, or else it will be removed from your HealthKit database.
If you choose to renew your subscription at a later date, your HealthKit data will be incorporated, including any data that was recorded with other apps while you were not a subscriber.
- How do I use Siri to log items in RECaf?
In order to log items using Siri, you need to record a personal phrase, to let Siri know how you want to log. To do this, visit the More tab, tap on the Source List, then tap the source you wish to log using Siri. For each amount listed for that source, there will be a microphone icon. Tap that, and Siri will prompt you to record a custom phrase to use when logging. You can repeat this as many times as you like with all your favorite sources and amounts. Just be sure each recorded phrase is unique, so Siri knows what you mean. For instance, you may want to say something like "Log…" and then the name of the source. Once you've recorded phrases for the sources you want to use with Siri, you can log any time by simply invoking Siri and saying your phrase. You will not need to launch the app to log those sources.
- My favorite source of caffeine is not listed on the source list. Can I add it myself?
Absolutely. Just go to the More tab, then tap on the Source List, and tap the Plus (+) button at the bottom of the screen. RECaf will walk you through the process of adding a new source. Be sure to give it a unique name, so it’s easy to spot, and add the most common amounts that you tend to use. If you know your tea mug is exactly 11 fluid ounces, for instance, go ahead and customize one of your amounts to 11 fluid ounces.
Once you add your new source, it will appear in your source list and will be available as a source when you add a new log entry. If you make it a favorite, the source will show up on your favorites list. If you log enough entries with it, it will eventually end up on your frequents list.
- I don’t drink my Cappuccino out of a tumbler. Can I change the icon to a paper cup?
Yes! Any source can use any icon on our icons list. Just go to the Source List from the More tab, select the source you wish to edit, then tap the Edit button at the top of the screen. Then tap the change icon button, and a list of available icons of various vessels will appear. Choose any one you like for any item on your source list.
As a bonus, this icon change will also be reflected on past log entries.
We do recommend, however, that you don’t use the same icon for most of your favorite sources, lest it becomes more difficult to distinguish between the different sources.
- My favorite icon doesn’t appear on the icons list. Can I get it added to the app?
While there are many different icons from which to choose, you may not find the exact one you need. Feel free to send us a request that an icon representing your favorite source be added to the app. We can’t guarantee that we’ll add your specific item, but we’ll make our best effort to accomodate.
- I love RECaf, except it’s missing this one feature I really want. Would you consider adding it?
We love hearing from our customers, and we take all feedback very seriously. If you go to the More tab and scroll to the bottom, you’ll see an option to send us an email with your thoughts about the app. Feel free to write us with suggestions. We can’t guarantee that we’ll be able to add everything you request, but we will certainly listen and try our best to make our customers happy.
- What does the up arrow mean on the today stat?
On the History tab, there is a today stat, which shows the number of items you have logged today, as well as your total mg. If that total mg is over the average intake you’ve logged in the past 30 days, an upward-pointing arrow will appear. This arrow will also appear on Apple Watch complications and app view, as well as on the Today Widget. It’s a nice way to see at a glance if today has been a light or heavy caffeine day.
- What does the thumbs up icon mean on the elapsed time stat?
On the History tab and on Apple Watch, you can see how long it has been since your last log entry. Scientists have determined that once you ingest caffeine, it takes about ten hours for it to leave your system. So once ten hours have passed, any caffeine you’ve ingested should no longer be influencing you. The thumbs up icon is a quick way to see at a glance that your body is no longer under the “spell” of any caffeine you’ve previously ingested.
- Can I see the elapsed time on my Apple Watch?
Yes. By default, the app on Apple Watch will show today’s stats at the top. If you twist the Digital Crown, you can see the elapsed time since your last entry instead. This will be remembered the next time you launch the app on Watch, so you can always see elapsed time by default in the future.
Larger complications, such as the one on the center of the Modular clock face, will show elapsed time as well. So you can always see your elapsed time at a glance.
- My Apple Watch complication only shows number of items I’ve logged today. Can I show the total mg instead?
Yes. If you visit the More tab on your phone, go to App Settings, then scroll down the settings list, you will see an Apple Watch section. There is a setting for the small complications that allows you to switch between showing total number of items and total mg for the day. Select whichever one you prefer.
Larger complications, such as the one at the bottom of the Utility watch face, or the center of the Modular watch face, will continue to show both the total items and mg.
- Why do I have to grant RECaf access to my HealthKit data? Doesn’t that mean you and Apple are spying on me?
Apple’s HealthKit is an amazing resource for compiling all sorts of data about your health. Because it is made by Apple, it was designed with your security in mind. All data that you enter into HealthKit, whether from RECaf or anywhere else, never gets sent to Apple or to us. The only time it leaves your device at all is to be synced (in an encrypted fashion) to Apple’s iCloud servers. This is to ensure that your data is backed up, so you don’t lose it if you lose your phone or upgrade to a new device. Neither Apple nor anyone at RECaf can read this data.
Therefore, utilizing HealthKit in RECaf is more secure and better for your privacy than if we kept the data ourselves. This way, we the makers of RECaf never get any data about you and your caffeine intake, which is how we like it. The app itself never stores your caffeine intake—only your preferences for using the app, such as your custom sources, notification settings, etc.
Another benefit of having the data stored in HealthKit is that you can then read it in other apps, including the Health app itself. That way, you can compare different kinds of data and get an overall picture of your health. How does your caffeine intake effect your sleep, for instance? If you are tracking sleep in another app, you can make these comparisons for yourself.
- If I buy a new phone or Apple Watch, will I lose all my data?
Not if you are syncing your data with iCloud. By default Apple syncs all your HealthKit data over iCloud. So that data will make it to your new devices when you upgrade. In order to ensure your custom drinks and preferences also stay backed up and in sync with new devices, you can enable free iCloud sync of your RECaf preferences as well. To do this, just go to the More tab, tap on App Settings, scroll down to the iCloud section, and turn on the switch for iCloud sync. Your preferences will be securely synced to your other devices running RECaf. This data is stored on Apple’s servers, not ours, so the folks at RECaf will never see any of your critical private data.
- Why is my favorite stat on the history tab all the way at the bottom? Can’t I reorder the stats to my preferences?
You can. Just tap and hold any stat on the History tab, and then you can drag it into any order you wish. Your preferred order will be remembered the next time you launch RECaf.
- Why is there a frequents section and a favorites section? Isn’t that redundant?
Frequents and favorites are different in a number of ways.
The frequents pane is generated automatically based on the items you log. Up to three of the top most frequent items you log will appear on this list. This list will also appear as quick shortcuts on the Today Widget, in the app icon shortcut menu when you 3D Touch the app on your home screen, and on Apple Watch. This gives you many fast ways to log the items that you log most frequently.
Favorites are for those items you like but that you don’t necessarily log very often. If you only occasionally have an espresso after dinner, for instance, or you enjoy a bowl of coffee ice cream for dessert about once a week, marking those items as favorites will make it easy to access them without having to go through the longer custom entry process.
Note: for any item you mark as a favorite, the amount that will be chosen by default will be the first amount listed in the source’s amounts list. You can reorder the items in this list by dragging them on the source’s edit details page. That way, if you always have a double shot of espresso, for instance, you can move the double shot amount over to the leftmost slot, and it will be used in the log entries created when you tap on that favorite on the favorites pane.
- How do I change the time of my After Hours notifications and stats? 3 pm is not late for me to be drinking espresso.
If you go to the More tab and tap App Settings, you will find the Notification Preferences section. In that section is a switch for After Hours notifications, and a time button you can tap to change the time that RECaf considers After Hours. Once you change that time, RECaf will recalculate the number of After Hours logs that you’ve made over the last week, and your notifications will only fire when you log after the newly designated time of day.
- I messed up and logged the wrong amount or set the wrong date. Can I edit or delete a log entry?
Absolutely. As long as that log entry was entered using RECaf, you can edit or delete it using RECaf. If you go to the History tab and drag up or tap on the Show All Log Entries button, you can find the log entry you wish to delete or edit on the list. Tap on the item, and a full page of details will appear. Tap on the Delete Entry button at the bottom of the page to delete the item entirely. Tap on the Edit button at the top right, and you can alter either the total amount or the date.
Due to limitations with HealthKit access, RECaf cannot edit or delete items recorded by other apps. You can check to see if the app you used to record the item can perform edits, or you can delete the item from Apple’s Health app itself.
- Wait, if RECaf isn’t sending my data to you, how does it know when to remind me about logging caffeine?
Whenever you launch RECaf, it reads the caffeine data from your HealthKit database and surmises, based on the times you tend to log your caffeine, when the best times to remind you about logging should be. This is done entirely on your device and involves no servers of any kind. If it’s Tuesday, for instance, and on the past six Tuesdays in a row you had a 12-ounce coffee around 8:30 am, RECaf might remind you at 9:12 am that you have not yet logged a coffee that morning. If you have logged a coffee already, RECaf will forego that particular reminder. The more you use RECaf to record, and the more consistent your logging, the more likely the app will gather enough data to know when to send you a reminder. This is why it’s important to get the dates and times correct when logging.
Of course, if you’d prefer not to be reminded, RECaf’s notifications can be switched off. In the More tab, under App Settings, there is a section devoted to notifications from RECaf. You can tailor the notifications to your specific needs or switch them off entirely if you wish. We recommend keeping the notifications on, however, especially if you have trouble remembering to record your intake.
- I’m in a country that uses the metric system. What’s with all the references to fluid ounces?
RECaf should automatically detect your phone's system locale and use the correct measurement system. Since caffeine is universally measured in milligrams, it will always be milligrams, no matter which system you use. But items measured in fluid ounces should appear in ml, and ounces will appear in grams, depending on which region your phone is set to.
- Something in the app is misbehaving or not functioning the way I think it should. What’s the best way to get help?
Inside RECaf is a link to send us an email with any feedback or problems you are having. You can find it by tapping on the More tab and scrolling to the Feedback section. Send us a clear description of the issue, with as much detail as possible, and we will do our best to help you get to the bottom of the issue. You can also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, if you prefer to type it on a computer, rather than your phone. This is by far the best way to get assistance.
- Do you offer telephone assistance?
Not at this time. We are a very small independent software company that cannot afford to staff a call center. We do respond to all emails, however.