Customers have been waiting two years for a mug that promises to solve a problem every coffee drinker understands.
Now the Temperfect mug is rolling out of production and into the homes of people who are tired of setting down their steaming-hot morning beverage and returning later to find it cold. The mug, created by Triangle inventors Dean Verhoeven and Logan Maxwell, claims to keep coffee or tea at a “drinkable” temperature of 140 degrees for hours.
“Worth the wait!” one person commented on the mug’s Kickstarter campaign.
“I’m so very happy I backed you,” another wrote.
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When Verhoeven and Maxwell launched the online fundraising campaign for their project in 2014, they didn’t anticipate how long it would take to get their product to customers who pledged money.
“There have been a lot of unforeseen roadblocks,” said Maxwell, 26, who graduated from N.C. State University with a degree in engineering. “But now it’s finally happening.”
It was tough to find a manufacturer that could make the mugs in large quantities at an affordable price. After finally selecting a manufacturer in China, Verhoeven and Maxwell sent off the design plans.
Verhoeven, a 55-year-old research and computer programming consultant who lives in Wake Forest, even visited the factory twice to ensure the mug was being made correctly. But when the first products arrived at his home months later, they weren’t right – and the team’s backers on Kickstarter were waiting.
The two had to find a different manufacturer and decided to have part of the tumblers made overseas and finish the assembly in Wake Forest. Stations for each stage of assembly were set up in Verhoeven’s basement.
Then, during a storm in 2015, a large tree fell on Verhoeven’s workshop, further slowing production.
Verhoeven’s beverage dream dates back to 1995, when he began exploring materials and researching patents and the perfect beverage temperature. He created and tested more than five prototypes, some of them in the basement of his home. He even designed pieces of equipment required to create the products.
“I wanted to enjoy it and have it be just right,” Verhoeven said.
In 2013, he teamed with Maxwell.
Their efforts led to the Temperfect mug, and they also launched a drinkware company called Joeveo.
The Temperfect mug has three layers – the outer layer is a vacuum, while the inner layer is filled with a “phase-shift” material that turns from solid to liquid at 140 degrees. The material absorbs excess heat, melts and then releases the heat back into the beverage before returning to a solid.
To raise money for design tools and manufacturing, Verhoeven and Maxwell launched a Kickstarter campaign that raised nearly $270,000 – more than 11 times the initial goal of $23,500.
Now they are working through their Kickstarter backlog and pre-orders, Maxwell said. In the spring, they hope to be up-to-date on orders and sell the mugs on Amazon.
In the meantime, customers can order Temperfect mugs through an Indiegogo page. Sixteen-ounce tumblers cost between $40 and $45, and tumblers with a fancier finish range from $160 to $400.
Verhoeven is still working on a patent for the mugs.
“It’s been a struggle, lots of ups and downs, but I think now we’re over the hill,” Maxwell said. “We can look back at it now and say, ‘It all led up to success.’ ”
Madison Iszler: 919-836-4952; @madisoniszler
Want a mug?
For now you’ll need to take part in the Indiegogo campaign. $40 gets you one mug in an orange sleeve with an estimated March delivery. Go to http://nando.com/4et to find out more.