Bodum Cafe & Homestore
At a glance
16 ounces. Not recommended for hot beverages. Use for iced tea, iced coffee, or other beverages relying on ice. The attractive, clear plastic scuffs easily. The lid's closure and unique contour are gratifying. Hand wash.
I saw these at the Housewares show in Chicago, and just had to have one. The Bodum people weren't offloading anything at the show, so I went searching for these on-line. I decided to buy from the Bodum store in Manhattan, and I ordered 8 to receive free shipping (anything over $50). I received the units within a week, but the packing was terrible and the things were all scratched up. I mean seriously scuffed and abraded. I e-mailed them some photos of the mess and requested satisfaction, and I certainly hope they'll make good on a very careless shipment. Just now, I can't recommend purchasing from this source.
[Next day: the store sent Fed-Ex to pick up the damaged items, and said they'll ship replacements more carefully. These things don't come in a box.]
[One week later: the replacements arrived from Fedex in a carton that was badly crushed. However, in this case it was Fedex at fault, and inside the box the mugs were packed carefully and were undamaged.]
First observation: lame tags. Yeah, those miserable adhesive things that won't come off. Right there on the bottom. It's one thing to do this on glass or metal, it's another to do it on plastic, a substance that's close kin to the adhesives employed on these tags. Evil, evil!
The most obvious thing about the mug itself is its beautiful clear, double-walled construction -- reminiscent of Bodum's award-winning, drop-dead gorgeous (and expanding) line of double-walled borosilicate glassware. Equally obvious is how fragile the polish on this plastic is; it scratches frightfully easily. It's also doubtful whether the clear plastic would survive a solid drop to the floor when full. The lid, on the other hand, seems crafted to last forever.
The overal height is 8 1/4 inches. Maximum width is 3 1/4", width at bottom is 2 3/4". It fits perfectly in a 2005 Pontiac Montana's console -- I mean, perfectly. It will hold 18 oz. of liquid if you overfill it; 15.5 oz. to the bottom of the lid's threads.
The Bodum does not have a foam pad on the bottom, a common feature with many mugs. However, this is common with taller mugs, because the decreased friction shows a preference for sliding on a surface, rather than tipping.
I poured 16 oz. of violently boiling water into the mug, which was at a temperature of 60° F. The surface of the water read 188° (with an IR gun) just before I screwed on the top.
I ran a comparison mug -- my old faithful Aladdin from REI, a 12 oz. form factor that's still available for logo'd promotionals and such (it also holds pop or beer cans perfectly): Also an ambient 60° when it received 12 oz. boiling water, it read 182° just before I pressed the lid on.
(the Bodum's double walled construction is clearly visible here)
After 5 minutes the Bodum's exterior was 127° just below water level, 130° mid-height, and 135° near the bottom. The lid of the Bodum read 170°. The Aladdin's exterior was 110°, and the lid read 171°.
After 15 minutes, I agitated the mugs, removed the lids momentarily, and shot their liquid surface temps. The Bodum's water was 161°, the Aladdin's was 173°.
At the end of 30 minutes, the Bodum's was 153°, the Aladdin's was 164°.
After 45 minutes, the Bodum was at 134° and the Aladdin was at 141°.
That air gap in the Bodum can't match my inveterate Aladdin's foam. But when I pack in the ice, the Aladdin doesn't carry as much iced coffee -- thus my interest in this newcomer.
I did not have a chance to check out whether the mug would "sweat" in a humid environment while filled with ice water, but based on the relatively poor thermal performance of the mug, I presume that a hot Carolina day would do the trick.
Based on observations of external temperature variations from top to bottom, I suspect that iced beverages would tend to melt more at the bottom than the top of this mug. That's potentially a problem, since this would result in increased dilution of the final portion of the beverage (I like my iced coffee strong). Ideally, the bottom of the mug would be the best insulated. In the case of the Bodum, alas, this appears not so -- the consequence of an apparent concession to aesthetics rather than form follows function.
Brewing into the Bodum
Both of these mugs fit the Aeropress perfectly. The Bodum's additional height makes it a bit less stable for pressing into, but anyone not brewing under duress should be able to handle it. The SwissGold Cup O'Coffee also fits perfectly atop the Bodum.
I occasionally drink iced tea, and I suspect I'll try brewing tea directly in this mug in a reduced quantity of water, then add ice.
Drinking from the Bodum
The Bodum's lid closure employs a very satisfying design. It dribbles slightly when the mug is inverted, but it's the most convenient for opening and closing of any thermal mug I've used. The designer obviously knows his labial ergonomics; the rim is contoured to better fit lips pursed for drinking However, sipping hot beverages takes some getting used to; the liquid tends to flow more liberally and more quickly into the mouth. This could be alarming with very hot beverages, but given the mug's poor thermal performance this hazard would be short-lived.
Note the lid's silicon gasket, which is at the top of the screw-on threads. The seal seems effective.
[Next day edit: Drinking hot coffee from this is just hazardous. Most mugs have small holes the coffee just can't pass through very fast, basically enforcing sane-sized sips for hot fluids. This thing is designed to pour gulps into your mouth. Excellent for cold, bad for hot. There's one possible problem even for cold beverages -- the large hole passes some ice. Bodum could have prevented this with some very, very simple modifications to the molding of the lid. Even so, I'm so far satisfied with the mugs performance for iced drinks.]
I'll log some comments after I've put a couple of these mugs through their paces for a few weeks. We'll see how they bear up under everyday use during commutes, at the office, and around the yard.
After a couple weeks: Yah, I like it. Perfect for iced coffee -- which is what I bought them for. Perfect for trips in the van. Thermal efficiency is a bit weak, but a properly brewed iced (for me) always has a bit of chompin' ice left after stretching consumption out to about an hour. All things considered, this mug is a joy to use.