Food & dining

Double Shot

Overnight Coffee Challenge is a gimmick that works

On Wednesday, after I wrote about coffee thermoses, I got a note from Genuine Thermos Brand.

They had a challenge: They bet they could send me a thermos filled with coffee in the mail. And when I opened it the next morning it would taste fresh.

They call it the Overnight Coffee Challenge.


“We’re so confident in our technology that we ship piping hot coffee overnight to people’s doorsteps across the country,” wrote Tim Holtz, a Thermos brand representative. “When it arrives in the morning, it will still be hot and ready to enjoy. It’s just like if you were to make it at home.”

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This is a gimmick, I thought.

And it is. But it’s a gimmick that totally worked.

When I arrived on Thursday morning, there was a package with a sticker on the outside: “Caution: Hot Coffee.” Inside, cloaked in bubble-wrap, was a 40-ounce vacuum insulated stainless steel double wall beverage bottle (that’s a lot of descriptors that basically mean: heavy duty container that’ll keep stuff at temperature). They pledge to keep beverages either hot or cold for 24 hours.

According to the tracking information, the package was picked up in Portland, Ore., at 7:20 p.m. (ET). Then, it went to Memphis, and, after a two-hour layover, departed to Dulles, Va. After being sorted, it was placed on a truck and, eventually, arrived in Washington at 7:18 a.m.


There’s a warning inside: Point the thermos away from you when you open it. After all, this thing has been in the air for a while. There’s pressure inside.

When I poured my cup, it was as hot as the fresh coffee I usually make. And when I tasted it, there was little difference from fresh ground beans made right then and there.

One of the reasons it works is that they’re using good coffee, from Portland-based Coava Coffee Roasters. Inside my container was Las Capucas, a bean from Honduras.

But there is something unique about drinking coffee in Washington, D.C., that was prepared in Portland, Ore. And if you think pour-overs take a long time to prepare, how about drinking a cup of coffee 12 hours after it was made?

But it’s a feat of technology, transportation — and the ability of Thermos to make a solid product — that makes this coffee tasting so unique.

Matt Viser can be reached at