#themuglife - Iron Bean Coffee Company
Bean 2.0


When most people think of coffee mugs they don’t really give them a second thought. To many, they’re merely a vessel to hold their (usually inferior) coffee. To those who have been initiated into #themuglife, they’re something more. . .

It certainly makes a difference that Iron Bean’s coffee mugs are handmade. There is just something inherently special about a handmade piece. Each mug specially crafted and unique in its own way. The level of thought that goes into each design is also a factor. Iron Bean’s mugs are conceptualized by Fred and Chanell and then brought to life with the help of Joey Hetzel and Sunset Hill Stoneware. It’s likely psychological but I’ve even noticed that coffee somehow seems to taste better in handcrafted stoneware! I remember reading an article a few years ago about how the color of a coffee mug can affect the taste. So likely it’s not just in my mind alone, the stoneware mugs do add something more to the experience!

Stoneware mugs have garnered quite a following, which has been affectionately dubbed The Mug Life. There are several groups on Facebook where fans of various companies gather to show off their mugs, sell some off or even trade with other members. Communities have formed and real friendships have been made from people coming together over coffee mugs. The excitement of the hunt and sharing of collections builds true camaraderie. When I tell people from outside the groups about it they really seem surprised. Those on the outside usually can’t imagine such a community forming over mugs. It is really something special and unique, just like the mugs themselves.

Over time as new mugs are made some of the older mugs become rare and quite sought after. What amazes people on the outside the most is what some of these older and/or rarer mugs go for. Some can get quite costly! To the collector the price is worth it, to finally add that missing coveted piece to the collection is such a good feeling. Some of the collections out there are simply amazing!

Like any collecting habit, it’s easy to get caught up in wanting to have them all! There’s nothing wrong with that at all. As long as you’re having fun, go for it. Over time I’ve seen people’s collections get insanely huge and they eventually are forced to sell some off. I’d recommend sticking to only those mugs you truly want, the must-haves. If you don’t though, there’s likely someone who will want the mug, so extras are always nice to have for trading within the mug communities.

Most of the Iron Bean mugs are very limited so once they’re gone they’re gone. It's important to note that the collector's market is created by the consumer, Iron Bean's mugs are not made toward this end. The mugs are created because they're amazing pieces of functional art. Iron Bean always strives for customer satisfaction but demand is a tough thing to guess at! Iron Bean will always try to have enough mugs for everyone who wants one but keep them limited enough so that they still have that element of rareness to fuel that collector's drive!

If you’re interested in finding some of the older Iron Bean mugs or other handmade mugs a great place to start is the Iron Bean Nation page on Facebook. Collectors there can lead you in the right direction for good mug collecting groups and help you find that one mug you’ve just got to have at a fair deal.

The Mug Life is definitely a unique force in the coffee world. Iron Bean’s coffee would be just as good without the cool mugs but the mugs add another level and help to promote this great company.  They really draw attention and help to pique interest; the mugs are what made me initially take notice! Iron Bean's mugs also often tell a story, one of the factors that make them even more special. Nori and Dylan's story is being told through the art on some of the pieces. The last edition of the story was the Fourth of July mug, which showed Dylan and Nori's first date.

Fourth of July - Blue Swirl

I anxiously await the next chapter and the next coffee mug ;)

It's always exciting to see what Iron Bean will come up with next!

1 comment

  • Suzanne Tallman

    I think I’m going to have to get in to the #muglife

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