A recent study by ExxonMobil Corp. found that a whopping 83% of drivers regularly consume a beverage while operating a vehicle. That beverage is very often coffee. The habit of drinking coffee while driving is so widespread, in fact, that it lends itself to the title of a popular cable TV show, “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” now in its seventh season. The experience has thoroughly woven itself into the fabric of our lives. It’s convenient, it’s a cultural touchstone and it’s a way of life.
Gear List: The Travel Mug
If you’re serious about coffee, you might want to get a coffee travel mug. You likely have only two priorities: heat retention and liquid retention (i.e., no leaking). It’s also a plus if your mug doesn’t topple easily.
A recent exhaustive test by Bloomberg revealed some of the best buys in travel mugs:
The Old-School Reigning Champ: The Michael Jordan of thermal mug companies, Thermos, isn’t slowing down anytime soon. You can find their outstanding 16-ounce Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Double Wall Direct Drink Bottle for the impressive price of $23.
The New Kid in Town: Contigo makes an excellent contribution to the travel mug industry with their West Loop Stainless offering, which refused to spill even a drop of precious coffee even when subjected to a number of vigorous tests, and even when held upside down!
What really makes it stand out, however, is a clever locking mechanism that only dispenses liquid if one actively pushes a button conveniently located within one’s natural grip. If—as during an accidental drop—the finger should release the button, the mug locks up, making spills nearly impossible. And it’s a bargain at just $17.
Another advantage of having your own mug? Refills at the coffee shop are often free, or available at a discount.
Gear List: Serious Buyers Only
And now for the gear one is hard-pressed to call necessary: There are numerous choices of car coffeemakers for those who simply must brew their joe in the car. But if you really want to live large, today’s Coffee-In-The-Car industry has you covered with the latest life-changing gadget: the portable Handpresso, powered by your car’s 12-volt cigarette lighter, which operates at 16 bars of pressure (necessary to create that lovely layer of crema atop your shot). This fine example of engineering is not for the faint of heart: it retails for around $300. On the other hand, that is a seriously impressive party trick when you are driving and you ask your passengers if they care for a “house-made” shot of espresso.
What to Know About Car Coffee: Safety
It’s worth mentioning that coffee tops the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s list of most dangerous foods and beverages to consume while driving, mainly as a result of its near-boiling temperatures—a spill isn’t just inconvenient, it’s potentially very painful and thus highly distracting. So please use common sense and wait for your coffee to cool before enjoying!