A new way to cool your coffee - but are these gadgets worth investing in?
Photo courtesy of Dave & Dave
Artisan coffee enthusiasts like myself don't always like to admit that most coffee drinkers are slightly more utilitarian in how they take their coffee than we are. In fact, it's relatively rare in the coffee world to see an innovation that would appeal to the mass consumer market.
Coffee Joulies are small, coffee bean-shaped stainless steel beads filled with a material that stores heat. When you drop them into a cup of coffee — or any hot liquid, really — they're supposed to lower the temperature to drinkable levels three times faster, then keep the temperature at that level twice as long. In my mind, they're especially well-suited to commuters who pour a large travel mug and want it to stay warm as long as possible.
As a barista and general coffee geek, I'm optimistic about how Joulies could change how the average consumer drinks coffee. A lot of people may find that adding cream is no longer necessary, freeing them to enjoy their coffee black. If we're lucky, this could make artisan-style brewed coffee less intimidating, and lead more people to drink black coffee for taste.
Plus, Joulies make some of the bad habits that can outright ruin the taste of coffee — I'm thinking of adding ice and microwaving — less necessary. (Seriously, though, they ruin your coffee. Watering down coffee with ice can actually make it taste more bitter by breaking up the oils, and microwaving causes a lot of the chemicals that define flavor break down.)
On the other hand, there are settings in which these would be inappropriate. Most artisan coffees are served in portions too small for Joulies to really be necessary, and, really, they'd have no place in most espresso drinks.
Also, one facet of coffee tasting is how the flavors change as the drink cools, and anything that controls temperature artificially would affect that part of the experience. It would be interesting to taste a cup of coffee with Joulies in it over a period of time to see how, if at all, taste is affected.
The Kickstarter campaign has been a spectacular success and has, by now, become more a way to order a set at a 20 percent pre-sale discount than a fundraiser.
What do you think? Are Coffee Joulies worth investing in, or would you rather let your coffee cool off the old-fashioned way?