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~Faithful to Smartcafe~
Way back in 2006 not long after I first joined the review sites I requested the addition of a product - the Smartcafe Hot Cafetiere Mug. I had bought one a couple of months earlier and thought it was probably the cleverest thing I'd bought in a very long time. I wanted everyone to know about it. Now six years later my sister has these mugs, my mum has them and most of my friends have bought them too. Lots of reviews have been written and pretty much everyone agrees that the mugs are indeed a great product. Today I have seven of these mugs - four at home and three in my flat and they are used every day. With that level of enthusiasm, it was inevitable that I would buy the mug's sister product - the Smartcafe Hot Cafetiere Travel Cup.
I've had this product for nearly six years now and only ever used it about three times because sadly it's a dreadful product that's barely fit for purpose.
~It's all in the cup~
The idea behind the Smartcafe products is that you make fresh coffee in the cup. You spoon ground coffee into the cup, pour on hot water, let it stand a minute or two (or a moment or two if you are in a hurry) and then plunge the cafetiere mesh separator into the cup to separate the liquid from the coffee grounds and then drink it. Unlike a standard cafetiere, you don't have to worry about making too much or too little and you don't get left with both a cafetiere and a cup to wash. The standard cup is a marvel. Sadly the travel cup isn't.
Like the standard mug, the cup comprises a thermal cup base which keeps the contents warm and has a plunging cafetiere fixture. Let's start with the cup base which isn't really big enough to be stable in the cup holder of my car. I don't want to have to worry about accelerating and getting a cup of hot coffee in my lap. It also isn't really big enough to give a decent cup of coffee - holding only about half of what you would get in the smallest Starbucks cup. By the time you've left space for the grounds that have been separated out of the coffee, and a bit of space to add some milk, there's not a great volume left.
In the original cafetiere mug the cafetiere mesh is pushed down through a slot on the side of the mug but on the travel mug the plunger is applied through the lid so you have to put the lid on and then depress the mesh to separate the grounds from the brewed coffee. You might think that's not so different but if you take milk in your coffee like I do, then you have to add the milk to the coffee and water before you plunge which I just don't like. I prefer to see how dark the coffee is after plunging and then add the milk to get the right colour. With the Smartcafe travel cup you just can't do that. If you take the lid back off, it's going to pull the plunger back out again. Who said this was such a smart Smartcafe product.
~More reasons to dislike this product~
My final bug bear with the travel cup is the lid which is utterly ridiculous. For a start it's not a screw on lid but a push on type. You need to hold the base of the cup really firmly or there's a risk to send the whole shebang skidding over the kitchen counter and to cover yourself, the counter, the cat and the floor with hot coffee. Like I said, not so smart. And that's not all. The lid does not offer a way to close the cup. Instead there are two holes - one to drink through, the other to allow air back into the cup so that it flows properly. There is no way to close these holes which means that if the cup is full and I accelerate or brake in the car, then it's going to leak. If I make coffee at my flat and want to take it with me I need all the hands I have for carrying my bags, locking the door and so on. With my favourite thermal mug I can close the drinking slot and stand the cup vertically in my capacious handbag and carry it out to the car. With the Smartcafe mug I have to carry it carefully in one of the spare hands which I don't actually have. Since the cup has no handle, it's almost impossible to predict where the holes are - which makes for some potentially dangerous distraction if you're trying to drink and drive.
The final annoyance - I know I said the last one was the final one but I just keep finding more and more things I dislike about this product - is that nobody really wants to be left with loads of cold soggy coffee grounds when they reach their destination. Whilst I have arrangements to dispose of my coffee grounds at home, I'm hardly going to start dumping old coffee grounds down the kitchen sink at work.
~Not so Smart Sebastian~
This cup was designed by someone who just didn't think clearly about how it would be used - and who presumably doesn't take milk in his coffee. My ire is not for an unnamed and unidentified designer somewhere in Smartcafe headquarters. Instead I have a name for this person and it is Sebastian Conran who foolishly signed the base of the cup, probably before realising that he'd just brought the Conran reputation for design excellence into disrepute. I'm guessing he must be the less successful son of Terence and brother of Jasper - neither need worry about the competition if this is anything to judge by.
Juggling the children and work is a hard task , every morning after seeing them of to school getting a coffee and breakfast is a no no, i have to leave for work so eating and drinking on the go style. I love coffee it sees me through the day, starbucks is my favourite place to get a take away coffee but costs a fortune everyday. My husband purchased a travel mug from poundland it was hopeless and leaked, i have one of those cups with a clip on lid made to look like a paper cup also hopeless. I finally settled on the Smartcafe hot cafetiere travel cup and this is one that suited me and is a really great product.
Smartcafe hot cafetiere travel cup cost £10 free delivery from Amazon uk. I wanted this cup because i could buy the packaged coffee from starbucks at a few pounds and make my coffee in the Smartcafe travel cup and save money but still have a great coffee.
Smartcafe hot cafetiere travel cup is made from plastic but gives the impression that its metal because the cup is silver coloured. It measures roughly 8 inches tall and 6 inches wide. This has a clip on black lid with a silicon seal around the edges, the lid is strong and secure when on the cup and takes some strength to get it back of for washing. Under the lid is the cafetiere press with the filter on the end for straining the coffee beans to get clean coffee. The filter is great and i have never had any problems with the beans escaping into my coffee.
Smartcafe hot cafetiere travel cup has two walls on the cup to keep the heat in making the coffee stay hot for longer just like a flask does but the coffee only stays hot for around two hours.
To make the coffee you just add a scoop of the coffee in my case i use the starbucks stuff so its like granules that float on top of the water, i leave the boiled water and coffee for around five minutes to brew then place the lid on the cup. The filter pushes down on the coffee granules as i put the lid on and separates the granules from my coffee ready to drink. The lid when on the cup has a flip up flap where there is a small hole for drinking from the cup. Smartcafe hot cafetiere travel cup holds a good mug full of coffee. This cup also sits well in my built in cup holder in the car.
The Smartcafe hot cafetiere travel cup has made life a lot easier and i love getting my cuppa on my way to work. The cup has not leaked and is very easy to clean due to the lid and filter coming off.
I recommend the Smartcafe hot cafetiere travel cup.
As a dedicated fresh coffee drinker, I was very excited by this product, which my husband bought for me from a service station, I think. It seemed like the perfect quick alternative to brewing a pot of coffee every morning before work - less washing up, less descaling of the coffee machine etc. However, I have been extremely disappointed with the product. It is easy to clean and the mug retains the heat in the coffee well, but these advantages are outweighed by some significant disadvantages.
Firstly, it is deceptively small and barely holds a cup full, let alone a mug full.
Secondly, the seal between the plunger and mug wall is very loose and there are unacceptable amounts of grains escaping into the drink. I grind my own beans and thought I could remedy this by not grinding so fine, but even the coarsest grinds escaped into the drink, which made the coffee very unpleasant.
Thirdly, the seal on the lid is poor and it dribbles when you drink out of it. More than once I have had to spend the whole day with coffee stains down the front of a pale blouse. The first time, I blamed myself, especially as it happened in the car, but after 2 or 3 times, I tried to use it at home in a controlled environment and still couldn't get to the end of the drink without the lid leaking.
Finally, the lack of handle did make it easier to use in the car, but it was difficult to hold and potentially slippery, especially once the outside was wet with dribbles.
I note that previous reviewers commented on these faults, but were not too bothered by them. I disagree. The issues of leaking internally and externally are fundamental to the usefulness of the product and this fails on both counts.
Smartcafe Hot Cafetiere Travel Cup
I have always had a travel mug or two lying around the house, I used to walk into university with my big mug of coffee each morning and then I used it to walk to work with the same requirement of something hot to drink on those cold mornings. That was at least until we moved into our lovely house in the middle of nowhere where there are hardly a few helpful places to walk too. But I still really like to use a travel mug for a few reasons, I take this out on early morning cold walks with the dog. Sometimes I need a bit of motivation to get out of my bed and especially on those cold dark mornings I struggle to drag myself from the duvet let alone out of my nice warm house. However, my waggy tailed friend always sways my opinion and off we go with a mug of hot coffee firmly grasped in my hand.
When I saw this Smartcafe Hot cafetiere travel mug I thought it was a brilliant idea, it meant that I could have a nice mug of proper fresh coffee, which I love without any fussing around or requiring to use any other additional coffee maker. Therefore, less mess, less cleaning up, so of course I was sold.
This is really straight forward and simple to use. All you do is add your coffee to the mug then pour in the hot water, wait a few moments to allow the coffee to brew and then place the lid which is also the plunger into the mug and press down.
This is double walled to help keep your dink hot for longer, and it does work. Unlike a regular mug this really will help to keep your coffee warmer for much longer, which is especially nice on those cold winter mornings. I have used this to walk the dog and I often find that it is a bit too hot to drink straight away but it does keep it warm for up to an hour, if you still have any left by then. The outside of the mug does get rather hot which is nice on cold mornings but I really think that this mug would benefit from having a handle, with gloves on and a smooth surface you have to be careful not to drop this.
This is apparently made to fit in the majority of car drinks holders, however, I have never tried this. I don't like to drink in the car and I probably wouldn't choose this mug if I did want something to drink, because this is not spill proof. When the lid is in place it will stop the majority of spillages but it isn't one hundred percent sealed so it is best to be careful with it and not fill it too full.
The filter plunger that you use to separate the fresh ground coffee beans from your coffee is far from perfect, more often than not quite a few granules sneak thorough. I don't overly mind this, it doesn't really bother me that occasionally I get a few granule bits when I take a drink. However, if this is something that would put you off as it does a few people I know then it is worth bearing that in mind.
This Smartcafe hot cafetiere travel mug was something that I bought more on impulse than really considering whether I would use it and whether it would be something that would even be much use to me. I didn't even realise travel mugs like these existed. I paid £6 for it last winter from a local sports shop. However, I have seen it online for around £10 so it is definitely worth waiting and watching for a bargain, if you want to get one. Personally, I think that for £6 this works fine but I wouldn't have wanted to pay more for it, I just don't think it is worth much more.
This is a pretty average cup and really apart from being quicker and causing less mess in the morning than using a cafetiere then a normal travel mug it doesn't really have that many selling points. Sadly, as far as I am aware this is only available in the one colour, a rather uninspiring grey. Personally, I believe that this only really deserves a pretty average three out of five stars.