Often when you hear the word coffee, what exactly does come to your mind? Is it that energizing warmth of winters, or the refreshing aroma you simply find irresistible? Whatever it may be, the app we’re about to review has nothing to do with your daily dose of caffeine. Coffee is an open-source portable application for Windows that allow you to associate different applications with a single file type (based on its extension), so that you can easily open any file of that type with either of those applications without having to use the ‘Open with’ entry of the right-click context menu. To keep things simple, you can assign two different apps to a single file type, allowing you to open a file in secondary app whenever needed by holding the ALT key while double-clicking it. This can be extremely useful if you have a set of portable applications that you want to use for opening files on the go; you can simply carry Coffee on the same flash drive as those apps and run it first on the computer you’re using, and it will open your configured file types in the apps you have associated with those files in Coffee.
Coffee sports a very lightweight design and resides in the system tray area, quietly running in the background. You can right-click its notification icon and choose your desired action from the context menu. These include pause, refresh, quit the app, execute Type and Run (more on that later), change language, assign applications to file types and so on. Almost everything that the context menu offers can also be accessed via hotkeys, which makes using the app even easier for keyboard junkies.
Assigning custom applications to any type of file is also fairly easy, and works absolutely like a charm if done properly. To do that, head over to Preferences in the app’s context menu and click ‘Extension Configuration’. First, you need to specify the extension for the file type to which you want to add an application association. You can do this by simply typing the extension in the top text box, or by browsing for any file of that type on your computer. For example, you can type .TXT or .JPEG, or click the ‘…’ button to select a text file or a JPEG image from your computer, and click Associate to add the extension to the list. Once added, you can associated primary and secondary programs with that extension. Simply click the browse button under Main and Alternative applications to specify your desired programs to use for opening the file, and click OK.
Now when you will double-click any file of that type, it will open in the main application that you have specified for it, regardless of what’s the default program set for opening this file on the computer you’re using. Similarly, double-clicking it with the ALT key pressed will open that file in the alternative application specified by you in Coffee.
Coffee also makes it possible to specify programs upon double-clicking any file type on your computer for the first time after installing Coffee. However, this feature can also nag you in your workflow, as getting this association prompt for each unrecognized file type you open can end up being quite annoying.
In case the location of a previously assigned application is changed, you can always specify the new path by opening the Application Path Configuration console from Preferences, which displays a list of all the associated programs.
The ‘Type and Run’ feature I mentioned earlier can prove to be extremely useful for launching apps by using keywords. You can assign a specific keyword or phrase to a file so you don’t have to type the full name or path or browse to its location every time you need to launch it; just enter its keyword n the ‘Run’ field and click ‘Run’ or ‘Run Alternative’ to launch it in its associated main or alternative application respectively.
All in all, it’s a versatile application that gives you a lot of flexibility and control over launching files on your computer in different programs. It works on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8. Testing was carried out on Windows 8 Pro.