Two mugs in one place. Its cold and wet, in fact raining in Missoula tonight. Days and nights like this are the very reason we at Black Coffee Roasting Company set to the task of finding a good insulated coffee mug. In the summer and warmer seasons I often use one my favorite house mugs to transport my coffee along with me. But I am not a fast coffee drinker. Notoriously slow, in fact. Methods learned in minimizing fuel consuption while living in a fire tower. I am oddly nostolgic for room temperature coffees that have been sitting in a nice window sill overlooking mountains for some time to age a little.
But winter is here. It is slushy and my shoes sometimes get wet. Hot is for now, the best way to enjoy coffee.
So we turned to a friend in the business to find the right mug. We tried many. We avoided even more. A mug is a particular thing and needs to fit a specific niche. It needs to be portable. It needs to keep things hot. Ideally, if designed by the right individual it will also carry a certain asthetic. Ugly and functional things are fine, but there is a certain charm to the thing that has both functional value and asthetic appeal. It needs to be durable. There is no reason one should have to buy a new mug every year. And it needs to be comfortable to hold and fit in practical places.
We think we have found them.
The Shorter One: The Nissan Stainless Steel Backpack Tumbler is made by Thermos. Thermos uses a double wall vacuum insulation, utilitizing stainless steel for both the inside and outside rendering this mug nearly indestructable. One of our main criteria was “Sealability.” This one has it. Since getting this mug I have tossed it numerous times in backpacks, in car seats, under car seats, in my back pocket and the pocket of my jacket… never once has it leaked a drop, and I don’t anticipate it ever will. You do have to take the lid off to access the goods inside, but even then it is not threatening, as the inside of the lip sports a splash-deck. You could go horseback riding with th is mug without thinking twice about it.
And it keeps the coffee hot (another one of our top criteria.) We were amazed at how many coffee travel mugs failed miserably at this simple test. In addition to sealing and keeping things warm, this mug also fits conveniently in places, like your bike’s water bottle holder, or your jacket pocket or in the beverage holder of your car, or your backpack. This handy mug has a non-slip, scratch-resistant base and stands under 8 inches high. With a 3.1″ diameter it fits in any just about anywhere in a car, the glove box, between the seats, under the seats, or even in the beverage holder.
In short: This is a great mug.
The Tall One
The second mug we picked, not because the first lacked, but because we think there are at least two distinct capacities that coffee drinkers enjoy carrying their drink in. 12 oz is perfect for a lot of days, but, if for example, I am driving down to Lost Trail to ski for the day… 12 oz is insufficient. I am going to need more. While 4 oz. does not seem all that much, for me, it holds the break even point. Especially since I am prone to have a coffee before leaving the house, the 16 oz. mug works perfect and sometimes even allows me to have a few sips when I get back in the car at the end of the day. And in situations like this, the Sipp Vacuum Tumbler works flawlessly.
It seals completely with the simple push down of the lid, so there is no risk taking while you open it. This mug is a little larger, which many have said is too much for their day to day, BUT, for a lot of people, especially those who are in their car driving the roads out beyond the reach of a parking lot espresso stand, this is a perfect mug. Its a little taller than the Shorter One, standing around 8 inches, but it is very pleasant to hold.
And its number one feature: It keeps coffee hotter than any other mug I’ve had. This “TherMax” technology that Thermos is implementing in mugs is outstanding, truly brilliant. This mug is rugged and can be washed like any other in the dishwasher. And while it costs a little more than the Shorter One, it also offers a little more, if you have the space to spare.
All said and done, these are great mugs. I feel lucky to have found them. In a world filled with so much cheap plastic stuff, it is refreshing to find someone building a product meant to last and to be exposed to the elements, and that can actually deliver on its intended purposes. Drink Great. Be Great.