Articles From Whole Latte Love

New Invention Alert-- The Perfect Mug?

Posted: 08/25/09
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Concept for intelligent coffee mug

There's nothing worse than a nice, hot cup of coffee gone cold. But, if the scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany have a say in the matter, incorrect brew temps may be a thing of the past. They have invented an intelligent coffee mug, which absorbs heat from your drink and then slowly releases it to keep the beverage at the ideal temperature for half an hour.

The mugs are made with Phase Change Material (PCM), which is normally used in construction to regulate room temperatures. The substance has also been used as insulation in winter coats. PCM has a sort of waxy texture. Once you pour a hot beverage into the mug, the heat will melt the PCM core, turning it into a liquid—enabling the substance to store thermal energy, which is then slowly released to maintain the ideal drink temps. Since PCMs come in different varieties, it is also possible to make cups which are designed to maintain cold beverages.

According to scientist Herbert Sinnesbichler, teas and coffee taste best at 136°F, while beer should be served at 44.6°F; “So you want to make cups or mugs that have a PCM type that melts at exactly these temperatures.” This means that potential consumers will have to buy different mugs for hot and cold beverages. But, if the cups work, as promised, I can think of a few interested parties willing to make room in their kitchen cabinets.

These space-age cups are still under development, but hopefully they'll be hitting the shelves in the near future. Until then, I'm sticking with my trusty Whole Latte Love Travel Mug!