We have some incredible coffee shops in our little 21,000-person town of Ashland, Oregon. It’s a particular blessing that we have two roasters that have won multiple prestigious Good Food Awards, because I work from these havens at least three days a week. But with amazing coffee, ambience, and pastries come some intimidating baristas. I call the ones that look through me as they take my order the surly millennials. (Disclosure: I qualify as a millennial.) A big reason I love the Yeti Rambler 10-ounce Lowball so much is that it was complimented by the surliest of all these millennial baristas.
While grabbing a cup of coffee to break up a stroller run with my daughter, I handed my Yeti to the queen of the grumpy baristas. “What brand is this?” she asked. I flinched. Was she going to call out my bougie cup to her espresso-shot-pulling coworker? Snapchat how lame I was to a private barista group? I meekly answered, “Yeti.” To which she replied, “It is perfect,” without a hint of sarcasm.
And she’s right. As a reusable around-town coffee mug, the Rambler 10-ounce is absolutely perfect. First off, it’s an ideal size. It’s just right for the extra cup of coffee I pour into it as I run out the door. I like my coffee like I like my whiskey (another liquid this vessel is fantastic for)—high quality, strong, and in moderation. Ten ounces is an optimal amount to wake me up for a day in the mountains without sending me into an anxious state or straight to the bathroom.
The lid is also subtly designed but well-suited for my needs. It’s simple, with a hardy gasket that still secures well after myriad drops and hundreds of washes in my dishwasher. On top of being extremely durable, it isn’t fussy. The small coffee-delivery hole doesn’t close, which means it will spill if it falls and it won’t keep the liquid hot overnight. This could be a deal breaker for some sippers but not for me. I’m careful with my coffee, and the double-walled insulation keeps it plenty warm for the hour that it takes me to drink it. I really appreciate that I don’t have to click or twist anything to get coffee into my mouth.
The cup itself is even more durable than the lid. I’ve been using this tumbler almost every day since August 2015, and after four and a half years of heavy use, it still works just as well as the day I got it. The dings and scratches it’s picked up after being dropped over the years just add character, and frequent dishwasher cycles have not affected its utility in any way.
It isn’t all brawn, though. The geometry of the vessel makes it a pleasure to drink out of. Its stout 3.5-inch width has a substantial feel in hand and provides a solid base when I put it down on kicked-up playground wood chips to chase my daughter. I also think the squat look—it’s only an inch taller than it is wide—looks cool as hell.
I’ve grown to expect this level of durability and user experience from Yeti products. I often find myself referring to those two factors when defending its extremely high price points in this column. At $20, though, the Rambler Lowball is competitive with other brands in this space. For a half decade of hard use and a life span that I anticipate being at least twice that, it’s a sound investment. And personally, receiving affirmation from an extra surly barista that I have the perfect reusable coffee vessel makes it worth twice the price.