Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Divinity of Double Walled Stainless Steel

As I've started drinking coffee more regularly, I'm trying my best to bring my own travel mug wherever I go. Most coffee shops give you 10-15 cents off of the usual price if you provide the cup. But, all travel mugs are not created equal. In fact, most are created quite crappily.

Personally, I feel like our Starbucks-addicted society is piling up used paper coffee cups and those little cardboard sleeves like wastefulness was some kind of fashion symbol (it is - especially when combined with "green" products/propaganda). My reaction has been kinda extreme. These days, I can hardly leave the house without considering if I'm gonna buy a drink somewhere (and how 'bout you, Karen?) and then I'm scrambling to find thermal coffee mugs and keeping wife and baby waiting. If I forgot my mug, I lose my appetite for coffee. Am I OCD about this?

Whatever the motivation, travel mugs are the solution and for some reason, they grow on trees. Well, the crappy ones grow on trees. Quality might not matter to you if you lose yours too often to pay attention to its construction or if you drink your coffee too fast to care if it stays hot. Personally, I want quality 100% of the time in nearly every item I own. It's just a thing for me. That's why I have fallen head over heals in love with double walled steel thermal coffee mugs. The coffee stays hot for several hours (sometimes too long) and they are very easily cleaned (being stainless and all). You've probably noticed that coffee shops keep their dairy products in carafes made of this stuff. Why not coffee? Why not the consumer?

I don't think the double walled is a recent innovation. High priced Nissan brand thermoses have been made of the stuff for a while (not the plastic with glass inside variety). You probably think you're seeing them everywhere. But, if you look a little closer, the aesthetic is imitated as they only use steel for one layer and the inside is usually plastic (or vice versa). Plus, the bigger the gap between the two layers of steel, the better insulated your coffee will be (hot or cold). But, a little homework and you'll find the best mugs on the planet. You can even buy espresso cups that are made of the stuff, which should keep you from getting upset about your cup letting your espresso get cold.

The Verdict:

I have compared a number of brands and found varying quality among the double-walled steel mugs. And I'm not particularly jazzed to be telling you that Starbucks has really gotten it right when they caught on to the efficacy of this model of mug. They sell bombproof mugs and personal french presses (now discontinued) for around $20 a pop. Keep an eye out for them at thrift stores and yard sales, because they last forever. My wife puts two scoops of grounds (and a little cream) in the bottom of her Starbucks french press mug every morning and pours in the hot water before heading out to work. Perfect coffee every day. Who would have thought that one $tarbucks product would prevent hundreds of stops at that chain coffee shop (just bring your home brew with you), acres of felled forests and wasted landfills space, and... dinero, yall.

My favorite use for double walled stainless steel is the thermal carafe coffee pot (or this one for cheap). Don't you hate it when your coffee at the office tastes burnt just because you had to send a couple more emails before you went and poured your cup? The steel carafe fixes that problem. The coffee is not heated from the bottom. It just stays hot for 4-6 hours because it went into the steel carafe that way. Or better yet, how about a 12 cup french press model? Expensive, but probably worth it.

Anywho, I hope this homage helps you incorporate a little more quality in your 2009.


  1. now i have coffee mug envy. ;) ridiculous, but true. :)


  2. Anonymous10:16 AM

    You're a yuppie. Admit it, Boudreaux.

  3. I guess that depends on your definition of a yuppie. Is 34 young? Is Richmond urban? Does my line of work make me professional? All of these are a matter of perspective. I will admit to closely resembling a yuppie in some regards, but also easily mistaken for a garden variety vagrant. Now that we've got that outta the way, what's a Boudreaux?


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