Culture

The Best Coffee Cup in Conservatism

Mugged by reality. (Photo: Luther Abel)
Based on a totally and completely very objective study

There are many subjects on which conservatives differ. Foreign policy. Tariffs. Drag-queen story hour. Landlords from Queens. But perhaps the matter most dividing the Right is that of which conservative outlet has the best coffee cup. The titanic struggle for caffeinated supremacy originated with a still-ongoing bout between Ben Shapiro of the Daily Wire and Steven Crowder of Louder with Crowder.

Shapiro, purveyor of the “Leftist Tears Hot or Cold Tumbler,” and Crowder, the face of the “Louder with Crowder Mug Club,” have been good-naturedly sniping at each other’s offerings for some time now. When asked about the status of conservatism’s coffee vessels, Michael Knowles, another host at the Daily Wire, said with a smile that “The Louder with Crowder mug is best used for ashing my cigars in.” While the big dogs of conservative coffee-dom have been at each other’s throats, a couple of other contenders have quietly entered the fray.

Of the multitudinous upstarts, the two most worthy of mention are the mugs of Commentary magazine and National Review. So, how do the various vessels measure up? Which mug can claim the distinction of Best Coffee Cup in Conservatism?

To make this contest as objective as possible, the NR Conservative Coffee Cup Review Committee, of which I am the self-appointed and sole member, has conducted a Consumer Reports–grade study. The vessels have been individually purchased by me to avoid accusations of favoritism, though I suppose I can’t escape my inherent bias as a reviewer writing for and on NRO. The winning institution, wishing to boast of its distinction on its homepage, may thus opt to refer to itself as the Best Coffee Cup in Conservatism (According to an NR Intern).

The study assessed the mugs on the basis of three categories: Appearance, Function, and Heat Retention.* Ratings are on a scale of one to four, with four being best.

(Photo: Luther Abel)

Appearance
Is the cup aesthetically pleasing in color and form, and is the design durable?

Louder with Crowder

  • The Louder with Crowder mug is a visually substantive vessel, wider than it is tall. It has an attractive deep-blue robin’s egg pattern, with lettering in a handsome white and red.
  • The mug would look as comfortable perched atop an executive’s desk as it would in a student’s dorm. It is not antagonistic in word or image and can be used in mixed company without issue.
  • After two years of use, the mug shows no signs of deterioration.

Score: 4/4

Daily Wire

  • The Daily Wire tumbler is everything the Louder with Crowder mug is not from an appearance standpoint. Industrial and spare, with an aluminum body wrapped in black, the tumbler evokes an urbane 20-something in a black turtleneck.
  • The lettering is loud and punchy, reading “Leftist Tears (hot or cold)” round the middle with the Daily Wire logo along the lower quarter. A small leftist tear is all that appears on the other side, an amusing touch.
  • The tumbler does not age well, with staining and spots appearing after a few months of use. Definitely not Yeti quality.

Score: 2/4

National Review

  • The National Review mug is a handsome fellow. Built in the traditional mug ratio, it is as conservative in appearance as the magazine is in its content.
  • The only lettering that appears is “National Review EST. 1955” on both sides, so both the imbiber and observers are aware from whose mug one is drinking. Convenient. For the particular model tested, the body is white, the handle and interior black — subtle and fetching.
  • The mug indicates no wear after three months of daily use.

Score: 3/4

Commentary

  • The Commentary mug has presence, best described as the Louboutin of the bunch, with a glossy red interior flashing out from a matte black exterior. Slightly stockier than the NR option but thinner than the LwC, the Commentary mug may have found the sweet spot aesthetically.
  • If you like a lot of words, and listeners of John Podhoretz obviously do, then this mug may be your cup of tea, as it has more than any other, with “Keep the Candle Burning: The Commentary Magazine Podcast” and the Commentary podcast logo inscribed on both sides.
  • After two months, the mug is still striking, but the nicks and marks already evident in the matte finish are likely to continue to accrue.

Score: 3/4

(Photo: Luther Abel)

Function
Is it comfortable in the hand? Does it travel well? Does it fit in the dishwasher?

Louder with Crowder

  • Ergonomically, the LwC mug is a man’s mug. It would have to be a two-handed affair for many to sip safely out of this thing. The combination of its heftiest-in-class weight (16.6 oz), capacity (16 fl oz), and broad build mean that much of the liquid’s gravitational pull will be far away from the handle. That handle itself is about three fingers tall, and the mug will naturally lean away from the handle when picked up.
  • Questions of practicality also obtain in the dishwasher. The width of the mug makes it a space hog in the top rack.
  • To its credit, the LwC mug performs best-in-class as an oatmeal or ramen vessel.

Score: 2/4

Daily Wire

  • Ergonomically, the Daily Wire tumbler is middling. The lightest of the bunch (9.8 oz) and holding 16 fl oz comfortably, the tumbler is best in the car or anywhere else a covered beverage container is preferable.
  • Unfortunately, it has neither a handle, grippy matting, or exterior finger grooves, making it unpleasant to hold for any length of time. It’s like grasping a slightly bloated drinking glass; those with carpal-tunnel issues would do well to avoid it. Also, the lid is cheap, with no way to close the drinking port.
  • Being the size of a bloated drinking glass, the tumbler fits fine in the dishwasher and is explicitly dishwasher-safe. The spotting that appears after a few months, as noted above, may be due to the dishwasher, so those who worry about such things may want to handwash instead.
  • Where the Leftist Tears tumbler dominates is in keeping your coffee hot. The other three, with their open tops and non-dewar construction, weren’t even competitive. Additionally, it’s the only vessel that is safe for use on a wooden desk in warm weather sans coaster, as the container doesn’t sweat.

Score: 3/4

National Review

  • Ergonomically, the NR mug is well-balanced for hands of any size. As the expression goes, “Mug manufacturers stand on the shoulders of giants,” and NR’s adherence to tradition redounds to its benefit.
  • Second-lightest at 12.6 oz and just barely able to contain 12 fl oz, the mug stays upright in the hands when full. The handle is slim enough for comfort’s sake but still substantial. It’s the best tabletop-to-mouth drinking experience in the field.
  • NR’s mug is suitable for any dishwasher, as its width allows it to nestle in the glasses domain without any encroachment on the bowl district.

Score: 4/4

Commentary

  • Ergonomically, the Commentary mug suffers from many of the same issues as the LwC option. Because of the cup’s short and stout stature, the handle necessarily bulges out, meaning that when one holds the handle loosely, the mug tilts away from it, risking coffee spillage.
  • Second-heaviest at 13.4 oz and holding 12 fl oz., it is not uncomfortable and provides a feeling of solidity. Not great, but not bad either.
  • While it does work in a dishwasher’s top rack, the fit is snugger than NR’s. Moreover, the handle’s bulge can make it difficult to slot in compared with the sleeker alternatives.

Score: 3/4

(Photo: Luther Abel)

Heat Retention
Most like it hot: Does the cup keep it that way?

To ascertain which coffee conveyance keeps a user’s “hot brown” hottest for longest, the reviewer boiled water and poured it into the four vessels. Every five minutes, said reviewer took temperature readings with a meat thermometer. The Daily Wire’s “Hot or Cold Tumbler” delivered excellent heat retention. NR and Commentary effectively tied, while LwC’s behemoth came in last. Points were awarded to reflect the vast gap between first and second place.

Temp Loss over Time 

Competitor °F@5 min °F@10 min °F@15 min
Louder with Crowder 154 137 126
Daily Wire 187 182 179
National Review 157 142 131
Commentary 156 142 131

Daily Wire: 4/4
NR and Commentary: 2/4
Louder with Crowder: 1/4

(Photo: Luther Abel)

Conclusion

Score Tallies

Competitor Appearance Function Heat Retention Total
Louder with Crowder 4 2 1 7
Daily Wire 2 3 4 9
National Review 3 4 2 9
Commentary 3 3 2 8

In conclusion, all the coffee cups acquitted themselves admirably. The National Review mug technically tied for points with the Daily Wire tumbler, but ties reek of capitulation and soccer. Thus, we of the objective NR Conservative Coffee Cup Review Committee award the NR mug the crown. However you like your coffee, it’s best enjoyed in an NR mug, pairing beautifully with an NR-Plus subscription. The science (excuse me, the Science) is settled.

You want fairness? I’m sure the contest for best progressive mug is more equitable.

*Note: Because three of the four coffee cups are available only to subscribers of the attendant publications, prices were not comparable and thus not used as a category in this sophisticated scoring system.

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