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Put Some Joulies In Your Java

By: Andy Simmons
on March 31, 2011 5:00 pm

I’ll come right out and admit that I have an obsession with Kickstarter lately, and with the sorts of brilliant ideas that have been rolling out of there recently, it’s pretty obvious why.

One of the more recent projects up for funding is Coffee Joulies.  What appear to be large, shiny coffee beans are in fact food-grade stainless steel shells filled with a food-safe phase change material (PCM).  The PCM is a solid at room temperature, but when you drop the Joulies into a hot beverage, the PCM liquifies and begins absorbing heat, cooling your joe to a comfortable drinking temperature.  On the other end, when your drink begins to get cool, the PCM begins to re-solidify and releases the heat it has stored, thus keeping your drink warm.  Ultimately, the Joulies extend the window of time during which your hot drink is… well… drinkable.

The funding window for Coffee Joulies is open until May 2nd, and backers can scoop up a set of 5 Joulies in a storage bag for as little as $40 (plus $35 for each additional set), which is a decent savings off of the $50 per set that the inventors are planning to sell them for once they officially go to market.  Considering that the project has already more than tripled its funding target with more than a month to go, I suspect that these are going to do quite well.  I know I’m already in for two sets.

Comments

  1. 1
    BaldSpot says:

    April Fools, right?

  2. 2
    Pam T. says:

    Assuming it’s NOT an April Fool’s joke I forsee a huge lawsuit when someone swallows one of these.

  3. 3
    Andy Simmons says:

    @BaldSpot: Not an April Fool’s joke at all. Note that this article went up March 31st (also, I get so tired of fake news stories on April 1st that I couldn’t possibly bring myself to add to the confusion).

    @Pam T.: the Joulies are approximately 1.5 tablespoons in volume. It would take some deliberate effort to swallow one, so the odds of someone accidentally consuming the Joulies are pretty slim.

  4. 4
    Saxon says:

    You can’t blame us for wondering. You *are* reviewing magic beans after-all. :)

  5. 5
    Jerry Danzig says:

    The benefit of these is appealing, but again I must be the reader here to point out that the price — $10 per “bean” — is stupid. If these sold for, say $25 a set of five, they might be worth the money. Until then, I’ll just wait until my coffee cools off or use a reasonably priced thermally insulated mug to keep it hot…

  6. 6
    Bob DeLoyd says:

    I think it breaks the second law of thermodynamics :)

  7. 7
    BaldSpot says:

    I think it breaks the 1st Law of Economics and the 3rd Law of Common Sense. You have to clean your $10 bean after you’re through with your brew. Whatcha gonna do with that sticky, drippy bean while you are on your way to work?

    I’d rather have an insulated cup (outer wall) with this magic bean stuff incorporated into the inner wall of the cup. But not for $50.

    I still think its a joke.

  8. 8
    thenikjones says:

    @ Jerry Danzig – I don’t see why $10 per bean is stupid and $5 is reasonable, it’s not much of a difference really – had they charged $50 a bean, I’d agree with you.

  9. 9
    Andy Simmons says:

    @BaldSpot: I’m not sure I understand how cleaning the beans is any more difficult than what you’d already be doing to clean your insulated cup anyway.

    Stay tuned… I’ve backed the project, and I’ll post a full review of the Coffee Joulies as soon as I get to spend a week or so with mine.

  10. 10
    Jerry Danzig says:

    Both $5 and $10 a bean are stupid, but somehow $25 for the set of five sounds affordable, while $50 feels extravagant. $20 is, after all, the most popular price point for the junk they sell on TV late at night…

  11. 11
    Julie says:

    @Andy I’m really interested in your review. I tend to make a cup of tea and sip on it 1-2hrs. Several times during that 2hrs, I’ll stick it back in the microwave to warm it up. These little beans might keep me from having to do that…

  12. 12
    Pam T. says:

    I agee with the comment that says why not incorporate the magic stuff in the wall of an insulated mug. Wouldn’t that do the trick nicely?

    @Andy – good catch on the displacement size of 1 1/2 Tablespoon. I misread that to be 1.5 teaspoons when I reviewed the Joulie page.

    Looking forward to your review.

  13. 13
    Andy Simmons says:

    @Julie: I’m exactly the same way with hot beverages of any kind, and my wife likes to give me a hard time about it. When I read about the Joulies, I was sold.

    @Pam T.: I think the reason that they opted for individual beans rather than an insulated mug is that they wanted the product to be usable with beverages of varying volumes. The PCM has to get warm enough to melt and absorb heat, and it would take more heat (which means either a hotter beverage or a larger volume of beverage) to liquify a larger volume of the PCM. That’s why they say that you should use one bean per each 5 oz. of beverage. You can scale the amount of PCM to the size of your beverage, which you wouldn’t be able to do with a mug with the PCM built in.

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