I was lucky enough to be treated to not one, but TWO new coffee travel mugs for Christmas. I had previously shopped for travel mugs by looking at Amazon reviews, but as often happens, reading all of the reviews paralyzed me and I was unable to decide between the Zojirushi and the Contigo mugs. As fate would have it, those are the two that I received!
The Contigo mug I have is the 16-oz size, which is perfect for me, as I rarely drink more than 12 oz of coffee at one time. This tumbler seems well-designed for on-the-go consumption; it fits well in my car’s cupholder, and it is intended for one-handed operation. To drink, you simply pick it up and press the large rectangular button to release the flow of coffee as you drink. When you are finished, you simply let go of the button and it seals shut to prevent leaks and spills. Easy.
What I was most interested in was this Contigo’s heat retention abilities. After brewing my coffee, I poured it into the Contigo and took its temperature (177 degrees F). I then screwed the cap on and left it to sit for a while.
10:00 am – 177 F
10:30 am – 158 (plenty hot!)
10:45 am – 151 (quite warm)
11:00 am – 146 (still quite warm)
11:15 am – 141 (still plenty drinkable)
11:30 am – 133 (approaching lukewarm)
This mug gave me slightly over an hour of drinkability before the coffee got too cold for me to enjoy it. I think this is plenty for me, as I don’t usually take longer than 15-20 minutes on a cup! However, if I wanted to make hot coffee in the morning and enjoy it several hours later, I don’t think this particular mug will fit the bill. The mug touts its ability to keep coffee “hot” for up to 5 hours, but under real-world use, I’d say you’ve got a drinkability window of about an hour and fifteen minutes. Perhaps if you preheat the carafe with boiling water prior to pouring in the coffee, it will remain hot longer (feel free to try this and let me know!), but this is an extra step that I can’t see myself doing, since the chances of me waiting hours to drink freshly-brewed coffee are typically slim to none. I mean, let’s be real!
I also experimented with brewing directly into the Contigo carafe with my Hario V60. I think if I was VERY careful, it would work, but my ceramic Hario was definitely heavier than the Contigo, and the whole setup felt very precarious. I will stick to brewing in a separate vessel and pouring the coffee in afterward.
Summary: If you’re looking for an attractive travel mug that you can use easily while driving, and you intend your drink your coffee immediately after brewing, this Contigo will be a good choice for you. It’s easy to clean (the lid is top-rack dishwasher safe), reasonably priced, and comes in several fun colors.