Is humanity growing tardier and tardier? It sure seems that way when looking at the coffee-on-the-go market. There's an almost endless supply of travel mugs and vacuum bottles out there, and more and more brew-on-the-go solutions having been joining the fray of late. Some such designs require preheated water or an external power supply, but the Mojoe can operate independently, heating and brewing your favorite coffee thanks to a rechargeable battery.
Unlike some other portable coffeemakers, including the Oomph we recently looked at, the Mojoe, which also makes tea, fully unshackles your brewing. There's no need to preheat water on the stove or plug into an outlet (though you can operate it from a home or car socket). The optional rechargeable battery lets you break free from the infrastructure, truly brewing on the go. Fill the Mojoe with regular tap or bottled water, and the internal element heats it up to 200° F (93° C).
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The Mojoe uses a "VacDrip" brewing process, which combines elements of vacuum brewing and drip brewing. After pouring water into the center chamber and filling the reusable filter with grounds, you turn the Mojoe on via the push button on the side. The element heats the water up and the ensuing steam pushes the water up through the siphon and over the grounds, filling the coffee chamber with hot, freshly brewed joe. The process takes about 10 minutes. You can preload cream and sugar or add it after brewing. The Mojoe also doubles as a travel mug, so you drink directly from it.
The rechargeable 14.5 Wh high-density lithium-ion battery secures to the bottom of the Mojoe mug, with the company planning to offer batteries in packs of three for convenient swapping. Each one is good for a single brew, and charging takes about 30 minutes.
The designers have worked to make the Mojoe as user-friendly as possible, adding an LED light to show when the device is brewing and caution when it's hot, a heat-resistant silicone grip, and a leakproof cap and spout. The power button is recessed within the ABS plastic body and requires a three-second push to turn on, guarding against accidental start-up. The mug is sized to fit in a vehicle cupholder.
The downside of Mojoe's 100 percent on-the-go design is that all that hardware leaves only 8.5 fl oz (251 ml) of space for brewed coffee, about half or less of what you might expect from a regular travel mug. I know I drink a lot more than 8 ounces of coffee on any given morning, and while it's easy enough to brew additional cups (you can even pre-fill the water and coffee while you drink your first cup), we're not sure that doing multiple 10-minute brews is any more convenient than heating water or making coffee at home, especially in instances in which you'll be driving or otherwise occupied.
For that reason, you might want to look at the Hey Joe mug. It also has battery-based brewing, holds more coffee and brews in about four minutes, according to Hey Joe's website. On the downside, that portable coffeemaker/mug relies on coffee pods and only heats up to 160° F (71° C) – the National Coffee Association of the USA supports Mojoe's contention that water under 195° F (90.5° C) can result in under-extraction. Also, it appears Hey Joe Kickstarter shipments just went out this month, over a year later than originally planned, and the mug is still listed as "preorder" on Hey Joe's website.
Mojoe plans to sell its own coffee, creamer and sugar packs for convenience, but you can use any coffee, so you're not locked into buying single-serve packs, which may be expensive and fall short of your taste standards.
The Mojoe may be imperfect in our eyes, but Kickstarter backers seem to like it. Mojoe's campaign has already raised more than US$18,000 of the $20,000 goal since launching on December 14. Given that it runs until the end of January, the Mojoe looks like a shoo-in to reach its goal. The $69 starter kits sold out fast, but a $79 pledge will reserve that same kit with one Mojoe, a reusable filter, and wall and car adapters. The three-battery pack with charging hardware is available as a $59 add-on. Deliveries are slated for May 2016, if everything goes to plan.
The video below breaks down the VacDrip process.