Note: This is not a sponsored product review. This is a product I have been using for years that I found compelling enough to analyze and discuss. It effectively accomplishes all of its intended functions while having a striking exterior. That being said, I do have a handful of fair critiques that hold it back from having that “near perfect” quality that we all hope for.
The Thermos Stainless Steel King is a product that sells itself. I would argue that this is nearly a “buy it for life” item like others have. I am not writing this review to endorse the Thermos King, but rather, to use them as an example of a level of thought which I hope to see more of in the world. Before ~2011, I only drank coffee on rare occasions, and it was usually sugar with some coffee in it. I wasn't even close to being the cliche of a designer based in San Francisco. In mid-2011, when I started my first full-time job after years of freelancing through high-school and college, I came to the bittersweet realization that I should have been drinking coffee when I was half-asleep through practically all of my academic experience… If only I had a time machine, those years could have been much easier. Being new to coffee, I decided to invest in a nice mug that wasn't plastic swag trash with some unknown company's faded logo on it. I tried a few, but the Thermos lineup caught my eye over the rest for their attractive designs and consistently positive reviews.
The Thermos Stainless Steel King comes in a handful tasteful colors with car paint-like titles including Midnight Blue, Cranberry, Raspberry, Matte Black, and Smoke.
My personal favorite has been midnight blue, although I often work in a dark room on a black desk with dark glass — so I have almost knocked it over while reaching for it several times.
Each new mug comes wrapped with an informational label that downplays how effective it really is.
I appreciate the Thermos slogan, “Hot Matters. Cold Matters. It Matters.” The King is highly effect at both. I am always prepared with warm coffee and cool water while I work. Each with a differently colored mug on symmetrical, opposing sides of my desk. My coffee stays hot for ~5 hours, while my water with ice cubes will go for ~9 hours. I usually have one coffee and three mugs of water each day before rinsing them out with hot, soaps water and thoroughly drying them off to avoid any future water stains.
Look into the container offers endless chromatic swirls.
The lid opening spins indefinitely in either direction. It indicates the current state by showing "OPEN" and "CLOSE" labels which always stand out, even at night.
The lid has a perfectly built-in tea bag hook.
The reflective inner coating provides satisfying eye candy for each and every time you pour coffee into the mug.
The mug that we use positively affects our perception of the coffee’s quality. If you drank from a cheap Disneyland cup that your old roommate’s ex-girlfriend never remembered to pickup, it wouldn’t taste as good as if you are drank from a high quality mug that looked and felt masterfully crafted by engineers. No matter how clever we think we are, the same is true when average quality ingredients are presented as gourmet food at prestigious restaurants. We can’t all afford to drive a Tesla, but more of us can afford a high-end mug to enjoy drinking our daily coffee from. Those small luxuries really count.
It looks chic in all lighting.
With all the positives, I must admit that it scratches way too easily. Even more annoying is how easily the logo sticker can fall off over time. One that I bought several years ago demonstrates both of these issues.
The logo is actually a sticker, and after too many washes, it will peal off. This is the only cheap part of the product. I really wish they would somehow engrave the logo into the metal in such a way that wouldn't wear down over time. Otherwise, this could easily last for a lifetime of use while looking new.
All photos by Tim Silva.
Do you have a favorite coffee mug? Share it in the comments!