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Brugo is So-So

So, I’m not certain if anyone remembers my post on the Brugo Mug, well a few weeks ago Izzy delivered to me a Brugo that she purchased for me the day after I wrote the post (this is roughly six weeks later), so already Brugo is down on points for customer service.

I’ve spent the last few weeks living intimately with my new mug, and as much as I hate to say this, I have to tell you — this is merely an ‘okay’ travel mug, and is not the end-all-be-all-change-the-world-of-coffee-drinking-everywhere wonder it promised to be. I guess they get an A+ on marketing.

The whole gimmick of the Brugo mug is the ‘PTZ’, or the ‘Perfect Temperature Zone’, where the coffee is not so hot as to be scalding, but not too cool to be enjoyed. The Brugo’s design incorporates a cooling chamber near the lid that can be filled with a tip of the wrist, and in this chamber the coffee quickly cools to the ‘PTZ’, and is then drinkable, but keeps the rest of the coffee safe inside the thermal insulated cup, awaiting the next PTZ tip. In concept, this is a great idea, and was enough for me to want one. In general, my biggest complaint is not that my coffee is too hot (yet, sometimes it is), but that it cools too fast, so I figured this would allow the liquid within to stay at the high temperature longer, while allowing me to drink at temps that won’t burn my mouth. The problem is — the mug is not well insulated, so the coffee cools at the same rate as my complaint mugs. I’m guessing the unit is just a double-wall cup, with no vacuum chamber.

Also, the ‘tip and cool’ technology is a bit annoying to use, as you have to tip the unit significantly backwards (90 degrees when it gets past half-way down the cup), and then tip it forward to sip, with only a small bit of coffee in the reservoir. For me, it means I’m rocking my cup back and forth like a paint mixer on slow-mo. I find most of the time, I’ve got the cup adjusted to ‘sip’ mode, bypassing the special technology. I suppose it would be less annoying if I actually HAD scaldingly-hot coffee in the mug. The problem really is, there aren’t too many places in my daily routine that serve coffee at the scaldingly-hot temperatures necessary to make this cup operate in its intended effective range. So, I start off with hot-but-not-too-hot coffee that cools way too fast. I can keep the coffee in the drinkable range for about 1-2 hours, so I guess I shouldn’t complain too much, but I have been known to nurse my coffee for 3 or 4 hours, and it’s cold by then. I have metal thermos cups that have a true vacuum between the layers, and they keep the coffee warm much longer, but then — you have the scorch-factor.

For aesthetics, I give the Brugo an A, because it really is a nice looking and feeling cup. I like the sleek design, the ergonomic grip, and the lid fits very nicely on the unit. It took me a while to figure out the top and cup need to align perfectly on two small triangles in order for the tip and cool / sip technology to work properly, but once I figured that out, it’s pretty easy to use. The toggle is fairly easy to use, though there’s no strong ‘click’ when you are at the right place for each dial.

The cup pretty much needs to be thrown in the dish washer to clean it properly, because the ‘cooling chamber’ is too deep and to narrow to get a sink sponge into it to clean it. So, unless you have a dishwasher or rinse this thing out immediately after use, you’re gonna collect residue in that chamber. I guess you could use a q-tip to clean it.

All in all, the Brugo is about as good as any of my other insulated coffee cups, with the advantage of having the sip lock, but it doesn’t keep the coffee warm for as long as I would have liked. It’s taken the prime spot in my coffee mug rotation, and likely will be the one I use most of the time for the forseeable future. However, it is not the amazing end-all-be-all of mugs that was promised. I think if they were to combine their lid design with a true vacuum thermos container, maybe a metal cup, they’d be pretty close to perfect.

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