Warm Up With These 15 Heat-Sensitive Mugs

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iStock

With the cold weather, you’re probably going to be drinking a lot of hot cocoa. Get your drink on in style with these mugs that change when filled with hot liquids.

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1. CONNECT THE STARS; $15.95

What seems like a normal night sky is actually filled with constellations. Some hot water will reveal them to you—since constellations never look like anything without the drawn lines.

Buy on Amazon.

2. MASS EXTINCTION; $15.95

Some hot coffee turns these dinosaurs into fossils, just like that comet did.

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3. WAKE UP; $7.32

This cup will mirror your own face as you drink your morning coffee.

Buy on Amazon.

4. WE’RE ALL MAD HERE (ABOUT THIS MUG); $13.95

Pour in your drink, and the feline from Alice in Wonderland disappears to just a grin, in typical Cheshire Cat fashion.

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5. RECHARGE YOUR MUG; $16.54

This mug tells you when you need to recharge (reheat) your drink.

Buy on AliExpress.

6. FULL HEALTH; $10

Video game lovers will be soothed by the appearance of a full red heart. Just don’t get injured sipping on that hot cocoa.

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7. PAC-MAN; $14.99

Filling up this mug is a lot like putting a quarter in the classic arcade game.

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8. TETRIS; $10

Perfect for video game lovers who have a hard time looking away from their console.

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9. TRAVEL THE GALAXY; $15.95

The TARDIS never stays in one place for long—as you’ll soon discover with this mug. Add hot liquid and your time machine will transport it from an English street to deep space.

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10. PICK A BEAR; $14.02

Empty, this sleepy bear is all black. Full, it becomes an alert panda.

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11. SWITCH TO PROTESTANTISM; $15.95

Once you fill this cup, Henry VIII's wives fade away, leaving only their cause of death.

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12. WINTER IS COMING; $15.94

The Starks know cold, but they also know how to keep warm. Cuddle up with your mug and the Starks' house words of warning.

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13. CAPED MUG CRUSADER; $19.99

What seems like an unassuming black mug is actually a super cool Batman mug in disguise.

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14. SAVE CHRISTMAS; $14.75

Santa can’t navigate his sleigh until you’ve had your morning coffee.

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15. THE NORTHERN LIGHTS; $14.99

The aurora borealis can be elusive in real life, but it just takes some hot coffee to make the lights appear on your mug.

Buy on ThinkGeek.

11 Brilliant Gifts for the Coffee (or Tea) Enthusiast in Your Life

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iStock

Most of us can appreciate a decent cup of joe. Then, there are those who obsess over bean sourcing, brew temperatures, and whether their paper filter is unbleached. For these friends and relatives, a gift card to the local franchise drive-thru probably won’t do. Check out 11 thoughtful gifts for the coffee and tea lovers in your life.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

1. Kombucha Jar And Brew Kit

For the uninitiated, Kombucha is a tea fermented with (good) bacteria that’s believed to be a rich source of probiotics and antioxidants. This brew kit allows enthusiasts to mix up their own exclusive 5-liter batch. It’s also dishwasher-safe and comes with a recipe booklet.

Find It at Uncommon Goods for $65.

2. Fellow Stagg Pour Over Kettle

Pour-over coffee aficionados have taken the time to learn the correct brewing methods using a filter and hot water kettle. Fellow makes the process a little more precise with this stainless steel kettle, which has a built-in thermometer (for monitoring ideal water temperature) and an easily-aimed gooseneck spout for spot-on pouring.

Find It Amazon for $79 and also at these other retailers:

3. MistoBox Subscription

MistoBox

Can’t find a quality coffee roaster near you? MistoBox lets users select flavor preferences and then matches them with a high-quality grind that’s shipped directly to their door every month. An extra $15 upgrades the first shipment to a holiday gift box, including a mug, two coffee sample grinds, and a festive package.

Find It at MistoBox for $20 per month.

4. Hay Clip Clip Spoon

Measuring spoons for coffee can be easily misplaced; bags of grounds can fail to seal properly, hastening a loss of flavor. Why not solve two problems with this brass-colored steel spoon that has a spring clip for a handle?

Find It at MoMA for $10.

5. Merlot Infused Coffee

Cover all your bases by gifting your coffee-slash-wine enthusiast this merlot-infused coffee. The Arabica coffee beans have been aged in oak Merlot wine barrels to absorb the taste and scent of the famous wine. It’s alcohol-free, so they’ll remember to thank you.

Find It at Uncommon Goods for $20.

6. OXO Cold Brew Coffee Maker

Cold brewing is the hot trend in coffee at the moment, offering lower-acidity results than conventional methods. This OXO brewer makes the process simple and still allows the user to serve up their brew warm or chilled. If you prefer the latter, the device's silicone seal will keep it fresh in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Find It at Amazon for $48 and also at these other retailers:

7. Blooming Tea; $21

Find yourself a clear teapot—not included—and watch as a selection of bud packets “bloom” in hot water while brewing to create drinkable works of art. Jasmine, peach, and chrysanthemum green teas are hand-sewn to the buds to create the effect.

Find It at Uncommon Goods for $21.

8. ESPRO French Press P5

Espro promises that the P5 will make some of the smoothest, lowest-grit coffee or loose-leaf tea you’ve ever tasted. The Specialty Coffee Association of America agreed, awarding it the Best New Piece of Consumer Equipment Award for 2016; the thick glass wall ensures better heat retention.

Find It at Amazon for $50.

9. Pure Tea Starter Kit

Single estate teas are presented exclusively from a single supplier, making for better consistency. Silver Needle offers an introductory single estate sampler, along with a glass teapot for premium steeping.

Find It at Silver Needle Co. for $50.

10. Coolgear Bru Cold Brew Coffee System

Not everyone wants or needs to brew up a vat of iced coffee. That’s where Coolgear comes in: Their Bru is a single-serve drip coffee maker that brews cold directly into a portable 14-ounce container. It's the freshest coffee you can get while stuck in traffic.

Find It at Amazon for $23 and also at these other retailers:

11. Toast Living Carafe

For coffee lovers who want to keep it basic, Toast Living’s carafe is wonderfully understated. Just add ground coffee to the filter basket and pour over hot water for a minimalist experience.

Find It at Amazon for $50.

11 Thoughtful Gifts For Curious Kids

Indulge inquisitive minds this year by giving the kids in your life gifts that will reward their curiosity well beyond playtime. These 11 options will keep them entertained, stimulated, and might even help them answer a few of their "why" questions on their own.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

1. The Great Treehouse Engineering Adventure Science Experiment Kit

This narrative STEM set lets kids build Pepper Mint's treehouse in the rainforest of Borneo so that she can help on a research expedition. Made for ages 8 and up, the various experiments that kids need to learn to help Pepper make the most of her trip. The projects include making a rotating rain shield, wiring LED lanterns for nighttime, and learning how gears and pulleys can help shift heavy things around the treehouse with minimal effort. And if land-based adventures aren't quite their thing, another Pepper Mint set about an underwater voyage will take them out on the open seas.

Find It at Amazon for $40 and also at these other retailers:

2. TinkerToy Super Building Set

When your preschool-aged cousin has outgrown basic blocks, the next step is building anything with wheels. This giant set of 200 rods, spools, washers, and connectors lets kids engineer cars, buses, bikes … or swords with which to stab you in appreciation. But, even then, imaginative STEM play! The pieces are durable, flexible, and made in a zero-waste green facility in Pennsylvania, so you'll feel less bad when you step on a missing spoke.

Find It at Amazon for $50 and also at these other retailers:

3. Worldwide Buddies Mexico Story Box

This culture-in-a-box set will teach kids all about the customs and traditions that make various countries unique and special. The first Worldwide Buddies kit is full of Mexican treats—it includes a book, bilingual playing cards, a stuffed axolotl toy (the critically endangered underwater Mexican salamander), and various other games and activities that will keep los niños engaged and occupied for weeks. And in January, the Chinese culture package will be debuting, just in time to celebrate Chinese New Year.

Find It at Worldwide Buddies for $39.

4. Kano Harry Potter Coding Kit

When we first learned about this coding wand, we couldn't wait to get it for the little Hermiones and Harrys we know. Kids ages 6 and up can create their own Wizarding World with a few flicks of the wrist while reciting a spell (err, programming the code). It's compatible with Mac, PC, Android, and iOS, so no matter which house they get sorted into, their spells should work flawlessly once they've completed their lessons.

Find It at Amazon for $80 and also at these other retailers:

5. Kidvelope

For adults who want to spend more time bonding with distant kid relatives (and not have to resort to Fortnite or some other video game), try some classic snail mail and silly selfies. Kidvelope is a new activity kit that emphasizes intergenerational communication through mission-based play. Kids and adults will work together, sending messages back and forth through the Kidvelope site and the good ol' USPS to solve puzzles, create secret messages, break codes, and, in this first kit iteration, attempt a rescue mission in outer space. As an older generation might say: Far out!

Find It at Kidvelope for $22.

6. LittleBits Avengers Hero Inventor Kit

They want to be a superhero? Let them build their own gear! Kids 8 and up can design, code, and customize smart-gloves with their own sounds and powers. Voice command? Check! Matrix light design? Obviously. Save the world? One kid at a time.

Find It at Amazon for $84 and also at these other retailers:

7. Nintendo Labo Variety Kit

Created around the concept of "Make, Play, Discover," the Nintendo Labo kits let kids build and customize pre-cut cardboard sheets into items they can then code with the included software for interactive, experimental play. The variety kit comes with cars, a house, a piano, a motorbike, and a fishing rod—so even if your intended recipient doesn't like getting their feet muddy, they can still tell outlandish fish stories with the best of them.

Find It at Amazon for $70 and also at these other retailers:

8. Fishing Boat Model Kit

Speaking of fishing, encourage teens to make model boats the new model cars. This wooden cut-out craft kit from HouhaDesigns would pair nicely with a copy of Moby-Dick. (Just don't let any play-acting destroy the sweet rowboat!)

Find It at Etsy for $15

9. Brio Builder Activity Playset

Let toddlers and preschoolers put their penchant for hitting things to good use by working on their fine-motor skills in the process. Kids can hammer away on these durable nuts, bolts, and wheels as well as practice using a wrench. They'll be ready to help you put together your IKEA purchases in no time!

Find It at Amazon for $70 and also at these other retailers:

10. DIY Fermentation Kit

Kids love helping out in the kitchen, but if they're hanging around too much while you're home-brewing, let them try fermenting something that they can actually sample—like pickles. This kit comes with plenty of recipes for when they're ready to branch out into other condiments (like sauerkraut or kimchi), plus it'll teach them patience. Cukes don't pickle overnight!

Find It at Uncommon Goods for $42.

11. MindWare Pattern Play

Need a quiet-time activity that won't leave crayon marks all over the walls? This rainbow-bright wooden puzzle set comes with 40 distinct pattern cards to master again and again. Kids will be so distracted by the vivid colors and pretty patterns that they won't even realize they're getting a solid introduction to math and geometry concepts like symmetry, congruence, and spatial judgment.

Find It at Amazon for $30 and also at these other retailers:

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