By January 19, 2012

Coffee Joulies(tm) Beverage Cooling Beans Review

You know I love coffee. Like, I’d marry it if it were legal in the South kind of love it.

I’m also a big stickler for brewing coffee at the right temperatures, and I prefer to drink my coffee on the “hot” side, usually at around 160°F.

This usually puts me in a game of chicken with my favorite beverage. Coffee is usually 190°F when I first pour it into a ceramic mug. I have to wait at least 90 seconds to two minutes to start sipping, but then I only have about ten minutes total before my coffee is colder than I like. At fifteen minutes I make a gas face and hand the mug over to Sedagive?.

When I received the Coffee Joulies™ beans as a gift this Christmas I was hopeful that they would keep my coffee warm and extend my drinking time.

I discovered that the Joulies just speed you towards that “barely hot enough” zone before plummeting the temperature off a cliff. Here’s my review.

What are they?

Coffee Joulies are supposed to cool your coffee down to a drinkable temperature, and then maintain that temperature for a “reasonable” amount of time. Coffee Joulies are coffee bean-shaped and made out of stainless steel. The stainless steel is the same grade used in eating utensils. They are 2.14″ long by 0.68″ at their widest point.

They look really neat :)

How do they work?

Joulies have a food-grade edible goop inside the stainless steel shell. The mystery chowder melts at 140°F. When the coffee is hotter than the Joulies, the stuff absorbs heat and melts. When the coffee is cooler than the juicy Joulies core, the Joulies release the heat back into your beverage.

Cool concept, right?

How well do they really work?

Keep in mind I got these as a gift from my most loved of loves, and it’s been hard to be harsh about the Joulies. But frankly, they don’t work. At least, they don’t work as claimed, and definitely not as I expected them to.

I used the Joulies for about a week before deciding that my coffee was overall colder and less enjoyable to drink whenever I used the Joulies. The coffee got too cold too quickly, and stayed cold. I decided to break out the thermometer and do some testing.

Testing methodology


I used my trusty Upton electric tea kettle (hard to believe that thing is over four years old) to bring water to a consistent 200°F.

I poured eight ounces of water into a ceramic mug. I then measured the water temperature at 0, 1, 5, 10, 15, 25, and 35 minute intervals using a candy thermometer.

The cup was allowed to return to room temperature (68°F) before the next test.

I tested a mug with no Joulies as a control, then one Joulie, then two.

Test results

# of beans0 Min1 Min5 Min10 Min15 Min25 Min35 Min
0 beans190165150130120105100
1 bean165160125125120110100
2 beans16016514513511010095

One thing was immediately obvious — the Joulies cooled the hot water very, very rapidly. A single Joulie dropped the temperature of the water from the kettle by 35°F. The control mug only lost 10°F of heat immediately.

After a minute, it didn’t matter how many Joulies were in the mug, or if there were any at all.

Once five minutes passed things got weird. One Joulie apparently couldn’t return heat back to the water fast enough. My tests indicate you’re better off with either 2 Joulies or nothing at all at the five minute mark.

Something unexpected happened at the 15 minute mark — the no-Joulie and single-Joulie tests were the same temperature, but the double-Joulie subject was 10°F cooler.

Overall, the Joulies had a negligible effect on keeping the water warmer longer than if there were no Joulies at all. In most cases, Joulies kept the coffee cooler than just a bare ceramic mug.

Conclusion

The Joulies were a huge disappointment. I didn’t really need any help cooling my coffee down faster. I like my coffee hotter than most. What I wanted was something to keep my coffee at a drinkable temperature for a longer period of time. The Joulies actually accelerated me into the “this is too cold” zone instead of keeping my coffee in the “this is the best drink ever” zone.

Apparently the company that makes them will give you a refund if you send them back. I’m not one to return a lot of stuff — and I have bought and reviewed a lot of weird shit. However, the Coffee Joulies fail to meet my expectations so much we may try out their refund policy.

Not recommended

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9 Comments on "Coffee Joulies(tm) Beverage Cooling Beans Review"

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  1. anastasia says:

    If you love hot coffee throw out all ceramic mugs, they suck the heat out. Bone china is the only way to go.

  2. frank says:

    As an FYI, they recommend using a covered, insulated mug (i.e. a travel mug).

  3. Randy G. says:

    As with so many other reviews of Joulies you have seemingly missed the point. Beyond the fact that the graph is invalid for a number of reasons:
    1 – varying time spans per graduation
    2 – it is not possible for the liquid to get warmer (the “2 beans” test) just by adding Coffee Joulies.

    The Joulies are best used in a well-insulated, closed container such as a thermos. They drop the coffee to a drinkable temperature very quickly and then keep the coffee within a drinkable temperature range longer than if they were not there. Their effectiveness is greatly negated when used in a non-insulated vessel and when the liquid is exposed to the air.

    For a more accurate evaluation please see my review here:
    http://www.frcndigital.com/coffee/joulies.html

    • redheadedrob says:

      In my opinion the test you ran is much more valid.
      I’ve used those candy thermometers and they can be inaccurate.

      • DrFaulken says:

        While the candy thermometer may not be accurate, the same thermometer was used for the entire test. You may not like the precision, but the results were the same:

        Coffee Joulies aren’t worth it.

  4. Janet says:

    I tried my joulies with a covered insulated mug as suggested and found no improvement it temperature hold up time. The effect, if present, is negligible in most circumstances. They do look cool though.

  5. MNC says:

    Why are the labels on the axes the wrong way round?

  6. DrFaulken says:

    Probably because I was a history and English major?

  7. Brett says:

    I just got 5 Joulies as a birthday present. I am very sensitive to hot drinks and usually have to wait a long time for them to cool down to where I can drink them without burning my mouth. its hit and miss, in that if I wait too long, its too cold. I just used the Joulies two times with 2 cups of coffee. the coffee off the pot is 175F. the Joulies worked great! within a few seconds I could drink the coffee and it stayed at a drinkable temperature longer since the cool-down was faster and some of the heat was retained in the Joulies.

    I can understand how someone who likes hot drinks would not like the Joulies. but for me, they, I think, are going to change the way i enjoy my hot beverages.

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