About this project
If you missed our Kickstarter campaign, come on over to our website at http://joeveo.com to find out what we're up to and to order a mug! You can also keep up with us on our Facebook page, Twitter feed and on Google+.
-A project brought to you by hot beverage experts Dean Verhoeven & Logan Maxwell-
Is your coffee or tea too hot, and then too cold? Then the Temperfect mug is for you.
This project was born of my frustration with not being able to drink my carefully-brewed, but too hot, coffee right after I made it, and it then getting cold before I had time to enjoy it. I wanted it just right.
I thought about this problem and had an inspiration: why not take the excess heat out of the too-hot coffee, store it in the wall of the mug, and then use it later to keep the coffee at a pleasant drinking temperature? I realized that this could be done simply by adding an extra layer of what I call active (“Temperfect”) insulation to a standard mug
This extra insulation layer absorbs the excess heat from your drink, and brings it quickly to a comfortable temperature. Later, it slowly releases that heat back into your drink to keep its temperature just right.
I spent months calculating and modeling and researching appropriate materials for the mug's components, followed by 15 years of making, testing, and improving prototypes.
Thinking I would make the mugs myself, I learned all the processes involved in creating vacuum-insulated drinkware out of stainless steel.
This work was completed several years ago, and I now have mug prototypes that work smashingly. I can finally enjoy my coffee or tea right after brewing it, and for hours afterward. Ahhh...it is hot beverage bliss.
The trouble is, I can only supply a tiny part of the market for these mugs when I make them one by one, by hand, and my efforts to find a manufacturer to partner with have led nowhere. That's where this Kickstarter project comes in. In order to have the mugs made affordably and in large quantities, they need to be made by a factory with experience in manufacturing mugs. These factories require up-front payment for the tools necessary for production. It's the tools needed to make the mugs that I'm funding with Kickstarter.
I designed this mug based on my own research and on input from many connoisseurs of hot beverages. It's a 16 oz. travel tumbler which fits in car cup-holders. It has a shutter on the lid/cover to keep your drink from sloshing out. The shutter may be operated with one hand (one finger, in fact.) The rim of the cover is designed to have a pleasant lip feel, like that of a ceramic mug. The tumbler has a grippy silicone sleeve for easy holding. It has a polished stainless-steel interior so that it may be easily hand washed, and so that it doesn't retain any odors or taste from your last beverage. The tumbler body is not dishwasher safe because of the insulation used. However, the cover is easily disassembled for cleaning in the dishwasher.
I plan to use a “bi-shoring” process to make these mugs, getting part of the mug made in the stainlessware factory I've chosen, and doing the final assembly here in Wake Forest, North Carolina. The various special finishes (bead blasting, black oxide, titania) will be applied at suppliers' shops in NC, VA and MA.
About five months ago I met Logan Maxwell, who was introduced to me by a fellow mug-maker, Aly Khalifa. Logan had just finished a degree in Chemical Engineering at NC State University, and for his senior design project, he and his cohorts had an idea of developing none other than a temperature-regulating coffee mug based on the same science as mine! Logan wanted to see this shared idea through to fruition, and so he decided to join me. We are in this mug project together now, and we'll both be working hard to produce excellent products.
So there you have it–the mug project in a nutshell. What we need to make these mugs a reality is financial support to get the production tooling made. Pick out a pledge level on the right or click the green "Back This Project" button above to order yourself a mug, and we'll make it happen together. Thank you, and thanks to my friends who have done so much to support this project!
The Javabliss Temperfect mug
The Javabliss mug has a brushed stainless steel exterior (with polished stainless steel on the interior surfaces), a glossy white cover, and a grippy bright orange silicone sleeve. We use high-grade 304 series stainless steel for all metal parts of the mug.
Javabliss mug with optional colors
This version is like the one above, but with your choice of a lovely rose or intense cobalt blue sleeve.
In addition to the brushed stainless versions above, We're excited to be able to offer some interesting, beautiful, never-before-seen-on-mugs surface treatments for our Kickstarter backers: black oxide and Titania.
Black oxide mug
This version has a beautiful, smooth brownish-black sepia finish, the result of a chemical reaction between the stainless steel and an alkaline aqueous solution. It is a robust finish that resides in the pores of the metal, not on the surface like a transparent lacquer. It has an interesting, somewhat mottled appearance, changing depending on the light, like no other mug on earth. It's also hard to photograph and render. The darkness and color of the samples we have are somewhere between those of the photograph and of the render in the image above (see also the photo of the engraved version below). These mugs will have a bead-blasted droplet logo, and no sleeve (though we'll be glad to furnish one). The cover is high-gloss white.
Titania coated mug
Titanium dioxide, or Titania, is a coating used in industry for insulation from extreme heat (in gas turbines, for example) or for parts that need an extremely wear-resistant coating. It is a ceramic, and it is applied with a plasma-spray process in which it is heated above its 3,400°F melting point and sprayed onto the mug surface, building up a layer of material from 0.003-0.007” thick. The finish has a fine roughness, like that of bisque-fired ceramic or slate, and even when wet it is not slippery. Because of the roughness, it builds up an interesting patina of scuffs with use (not scratches, it's too hard for that), so it is not a coating for someone who wants perfect uniformity. This is also a chameleon coating that appears to change color depending on the light, surroundings and observer. It can appear to be black, dark blue, gray and all colors in between.
On these mugs the droplet logo and base are masked during the spraying process so that the underlying stainless steel shows through as in the rendering above. The cover is high-gloss white.
Black oxide mug with hand-engraved artwork
We are offering a select, artistic version of the black oxide finish mug, with hand engraving by a local Raleigh, North Carolina artist, Dustin Walker. Dustin is a metalsmith who makes unique designs, and for this project he will be creating a different, beautiful engraved pattern for each mug. The engraving will be applied to the surface of the mug in a band encircling the bottom as shown, and each of his designs is exclusively one of a kind.
As noted above, we already have a factory lined up for the production of our mugs. As soon as our campaign reaches its goal we can give the go-ahead for production of the tooling necessary for their manufacture. Considering the factory's production time estimate and estimated shipping times, we expect to receive the mugs here for finishing in March-April, 2014.
In February we should have pre-production samples in hand for optimization of the processes used for finishing the mugs. This finishing involves putting the Temperfect insulation layer in place, welding shut the insulation envelope and cleaning. We've tested these processes on prototypes here, and we expect to be production-ready when the mugs arrive from the factory.This will give us plenty of time to do the finishing and ship the mugs to our backers for our July estimated ship date.
Connect with us!
You can keep up with our latest news by following our Facebook page, or our Twitter feed, or connecting through our Google+ page. We also have a website, at joeveo.com, which offers an e-Newsletter sign up.
Show us the curves!
OK, for the technically inclined, here is what this project is about in graphical format. First, the statement of the problem:
As the plots show, a normal ceramic mug doesn't keep your drink in the comfort zone for long. A vacuum-insulated mug keeps it too hot for too long. This is the problem we set out to solve.
And this was our solution: these are the measurements for an early prototype of our mug:
The coffee temperature gets to a comfortable temperature quickly, and stays there for a long time. Finally, here is the performance of the latest prototype, which uses a different combination of insulators:
The temperature-time curve for the mug we will be making with the funds raised during this campaign will have the flatness of the early prototype curve and the length of the latest prototype one.
The starting coffee temperature for all these curves is 78°C, which is the average serving temperature we have measured at coffee houses and from home coffee machines.
Can I put it in the dishwasher?
As noted above, The tumbler body is not dishwasher safe. The reason is the high temperatures in a dishwasher, particularly during the heated dry part of the cycle, during which I suspect the mug will get well above the boiling point of water. This is particularly true if the mug is near the heating element at the bottom of the dishwasher. These high temperatures will degrade the vacuum insulation with time, and possibly also the Temperfect insulation layer. The cover is dishwasher-safe, and is designed to be easily disassembled for cleaning.
Does the lid provide a leak-tight seal?
This lid is not designed to be leak tight, it is intended to keep your drink hot and to keep it from sloshing out when you are walking with the mug, or when the mug is in your car (during rally driving, for instance). If the mug is inverted with coffee in it, it will leak. A leak-tight lid is something I've been thinking about, but it's a real challenge.
Risks and challenges
I've made and used a number of prototypes of these mugs. They work well and are durable: mine has been in daily use since 2007. I spent 6 months finding and vetting factories that will be able to manufacture the design I created for this project in larger quantities. The factory I have selected has many years of experience in making vacuum-insulated stainless-steel travel mugs, and the samples I have from them are of excellent quality. They have already successfully made prototypes of the 3-wall assembly which distinguishes this mug from standard mugs.
That said, I've never before worked with a factory to get something made. I'm sure that problems will come up, and I have no doubt that they will be solved, but how long will that take? The only real question in my mind is timing. I have done enough big projects to know that they always take longer than expected, and I've allowed for that by setting the expected delivery date 7 months in the future. We will do our best to get the mugs to backers sooner.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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