SCAA 2011: A First Look At Coffee Joulies

We love coffee as it cools. When it’s at its sweet spot, which we believe to be around 135-150 degrees, the sweetness, acidity and mouthfeel are at their most balanced and beautiful. So when we found out about Coffee Joulies, a new product designed to keep coffee hot for up to five hours, we were slightly dubious…until we suspended our disbelief and took these Joulies for a showroom floor test run.

Coffee Joulies are coffee bean shaped, Cadbury Egg sized, nickel plated copper (and now stainless steel) doo-dads designed for dropping directly into your cup of coffee. Joulies contain an interior mystery material that melts and absorbs energy from the heat of the coffee, and using the laws of thermodynamics (or something), the inner goo stays warm as the coffee cools, effectively slowing down the cooling process.

We ran into the Joulies inventors Dave and Dave at the SCAA Expo kick-off party. Team Joulies first came to our attention via their Kickstarter campaign, which was an incredible success story that’s earned more than $302,000 for their project as of the publication of this story. The Joulies project also went viral within the specialty coffee community, drawing equal doses of scorn and wonder. We were shocked when Dave and Dave told us that nobody in specialty coffee had actually tried these things out yet, so we decided to change that.

Armed with a sack of Joulies on Sunday, we headed to the Visions Espresso Supply booth and got to work. We had a limited amount of time to experiment, and the only thing we wanted to know was how the Joulies impacted the coffee’s flavor.

Our Materials:

Hario V60 Ceramic Dripper
Hario V60 Paper Filter (prewet)
Digital Thermometer
Timer
Kettle
Scale
11oz glass

We brewed the Hario V60 using twenty grams of coffee and three hundred milliliters of water at around 200 degrees. 30 second bloom, 2:00 total pour, 2:45 brew time. We added three Coffee Joulies to the ten ounce cup of coffee and watched as the thermometer slowly crept down. When the coffee had finished brewing through the V60 it reached a temperature of around 155 degrees – totally drinkable and absolutely delicious. The coffee went down in temperature and hit 140 degrees at around five minutes, staying there for quite some time.

The coffee had a pleasant acidity, silky mouthfeel and fruit notes with a sweet finish – and absolutely no metallic taste whatsoever. The Joulies didn’t result in a coffee that stayed hot hot hot, but rather, they seem to have extended that sweet spot (135-150 degrees) for a much longer time than the laws of thermodynamics would naturally allow. Co-founder Dave Petrillo knew that beverages near 140 degrees were generally accepted as a very pleasant “comfort zone”, but was unaware of the coffee sweet spot – and understandably excited with our results.

To some, this product is an answer to a question nobody asked. But in a very real way, it could be a revolutionary accident. This might even change the way we cup and evaluate coffee. One thing is certain: lengthening the enjoyment of an excellent cup of coffee is a very good thing.

Admittedly, a quick showroom floor evaluation isn’t ideal, but it’s made us Joulies believers. All the coffee geeks out there who might be skeptical should take a look at what their cupping spoons are made of.

Find out more about Coffee Joulies here.

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  10. says

    We have coffee that retains its taste even hours on a warmer. Our company and our partner company do about $100 million/annually at wholesale. We are interested in the potential of your product as a premium. Our coffees are simply the healthiest ever, our process is all natural and doesn’t adulterate the coffee, we are FDA Approved and have extensive documentation for our many health attributes. We are currently a buy-out target of Nestle’s.

  11. Robert says

    With all the detail in brewing, why no detail in the time and cooldown of the coffee?

    “…staying there for quite some time.”

    Doesn’t really help your readers evaluate the product.

    I’d love it if you had a ‘control mug’ and a test mug. Take temps of each every 10 min and record what is actually gained by using these.

    • Randy says

      Hate to be a stick in your craw, Bobby, but that ain’t what Sprudge was lookin’ for when they got their hands on them pearly jewels and got to work. Nobody gives two flying fucks about “control mugs” and temp times. All them boys at Sprudge cared about was if the coffee still tasted good with them doodads all up in their business. Sound ground stayed solid – and stayed warmer longer – it’s a win-win. Now go on home, Bob, I think your mama’s callin’.

      • Ian says

        Hate to be a stick in your craw, Randy… Actually, no, I don’t, since you’re being such a jackass.
        (1) His name is Robert, and your presuming to call him “Bobby” or “Bob” is both condescending and unfunny. Just like my presuming to call you “Miranda” would be both condescending and unfunny.
        (2) So “them doodads” don’t spoil the taste of the coffee? Well, that’s super. But before someone forks out $50 for some stainless steel coffee beans, they might be forgiven for asking what else they’ll do besides taking up space and not tasting bad.
        (3) Despite claiming to be interested only in the impact on taste, “them boys” at Sprudge ostensibly confirmed that the Joulies did in fact work as advertised, when their experiment as it was performed could not have proven any such thing.
        (4) Others have performed, shall we say, more scientific experiments (albeit still imperfect) that point towards a separate, but just as relevant conclusion: Joulies do not work as advertised.Yes, they are pretty; yes, their affect on taste is neutral; no, they do not keep the coffee’s temperature at any “sweet spot” longer than the coffee would stay there on its own. Without a control in the experiment, Sprudge has no basis for claiming otherwise.
        (5) However, since you proclaim to give not “two flying fucks” about this, I imagine you have either already bought or intend on buying some Joulies. After all, what coffee-lover can resist a set of ornamental, oversized, stainless steel coffee beans for the low, low price of $50? Enjoy your purchase, but please understand that some people are less interested in jewellery than you and prefer to save their money for functional objects. Or at least, for jewellery they can wear.

      • Jesse says

        Here’s what I’m hearing: “NYUH NYUH NYUH I CAN’T HEAR YOU I DON’T WANT SCIENCE DISPROVING THIS IMAGINED EFFECT!”

        Wouldn’t you rather know if it actually has an effect or not, or are you perfectly happy in your cave?

  12. CoffeeGoat says

    I also backed Dave and Dave on kick starter and wanted to offer a bit of insight as a home coffee roaster and graduate student in materials engineering. The thing that makes Joulies so cool is they work like a ice cube, and then a reverse ice cube. An ice cube absorbs energy as it melts and cools whatever it is you put it in. A side effect of this is that your iced drink can’t actually warm up above freezing (ish) until the cubes are totally melted and by then the drink is all watery anyways.
    In the case of joulies the “ice cube melts” and absorbs all that energy which cools the coffee down quick like an ice cube. But unlike an ice cube it doesn’t dilute your drink, and at ~140 degrees it resolidifies and gives you back all that heat. So until the gooey center of the joulie is all frozen the coffee sits right at that temperature. You’re trading the time the coffee would be too hot for more time at perfect drinking temperature, which is awesome… And like an ice cube, you can stick it in anything you want.

  13. says

    That’s the problem in drinking coffee you want that warm feeling while drinking,but the problem is, it’s just limited time only. I mean the coffee has almost 5mins of warmness only. When your research will be successful in making coffee hot for 5hrs, that will be a great product. Is there any coffee shop in the country using that kind of product? Please let me know.

    • says

      Five hour coffee? That sounds like a Greek tragedy, not something anyone would want to seek out. Even if you could maintain the temp for 5 hours, who really wants to drink a five-hour-old pot of coffee anyway?

      • says

        It’s not about taking 5 hours to drink coffee, it’s about having the ability to wait 5 hours to drink your coffee, all the while remaining it’s perfect temp.

        I know A LOT of people who get caught up in something else and just don’t have the exact moment to drink their coffee. I’ll get caught up in work and it could take me a couple hours to finish my coffee, so I’d like it to be kept at the same temp. I fill a very large cup full of coffee and any coffee drinker knows that it’s extremely important to keep it at the same temp for as long, or as little as you want.

        This obviously isn’t going to be for everyone. :)

        I LOVE this idea and backed them when they were still looking for backers on Kickstarter. I can’t wait to get mine!

    • Llewellyn Sinclair says

      We spoke to the Daves about this possibility. They said people had tried in the past to incorporate this material into a mug but it was unmarketable. The draw of these little doo-dads is that they can be used in any vessel, from your #1 Grad mug to your double walled tumbler. No one seems interested in buying a mug.

      They apparently work better as individual doo-dads, absorbing more heat/energy piled at the bottom of the cup rather than surrounding the drink in the wall of the cup.

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