I Tried Ember’s Self-Heating Mug For Two Years — & It’s Changed The Way I Drink Coffee

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Amy Biggart
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After years of slowly sipping coffee only to toss it out or heat it up in the microwave when it gets cold, I’ve been burned (metaphorically) by lukewarm drinks one too many times. So, when I came across the idea of temperature-regulating mugs like the ones launched by Ember, it seemed like a perfect solution. Not so perfect? The price tag. For posterity’s (and your budget’s) sake, I decided to try out the Ember mug and find out for myself whether this high-tech mug could be worth its $100 price tag. For the past two years, I’ve been drinking coffee every day out of my Ember mug and here’s my unbiased Ember mug review.

When it arrived, the first thing I noticed about the mug is the sleek look of the design. It comes in a variety of colors, like the matte black and white (linked above), and metallic silver, copper, or gold. I opted for the black Ember Mug 2, the 10-ounce design. And, my first question after opening it: How do you pair the Ember mug? After charging it on its charging base which also doubles as a coaster, it was ready to sync via Bluetooth to the Ember app on my phone. Open the app and select your mug or thermos (Ember also makes a smart travel mug), then push a button on the bottom of the mug and the light in the base will blink blue while it connects. Within seconds, the mug was synced, and I was ready to start programming it to my desired temperature.

The Ember Mug 2

How does the Ember mug work?

The Ember mug draws its power from the saucer or coaster underneath it. That plate has a charging cord that plugs into your outlet and channels electricity into the base of the mug, which then heats your drink. You control the temperature using Ember’s app, which allows you to choose between a variety of settings or customize to your liking.

After having synced my mug to the Ember app, I found it easy to use and was grateful to see a lot of the user-friendly features there. For example, the Ember app provides a bunch of pre-set temperatures designed for different types of drinks. While scientific research says the ideal temperature of a hot beverage is a hot (but not too hot), 136 degrees Fahrenheit, the Ember’s default temperature is 135 degrees Fahrenheit.

However, at the touch of a button you can change the temperature to pre-sets like “latte,” “black tea,” or “espresso.” You can also create your own pre-sets for each of these drinks if you have a different temperature you prefer.

You can choose from Ember’s temperature pre-sets or create a custom one for your favorite drink.Ember App

For my first drink, I made a latte in the mug and immediately chose the “latte” pre-set temperature within the app. The current temperature of your mug is displayed clearly, and I watched as the temperature climbed to 131 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition to the exhaustive pre-sets, you can create your own preferred temperature and save it as a customized pre-set, ranging anywhere from 120 to 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

The real benefit to me as a coffee drinker is that no matter where you move, the mug stays the temperature you set. While other mug warmers usually function as a hot plate for your favorite drink, the Ember mug heats your coffee from within the mug itself, so if you take your drink with you to a conference room or from your home office to your kitchen, you won’t have to worry about it slowly getting colder. You can also monitor and change the temperature within the app if you brew a new drink or finish drinking your beverage.

And if you commute, Ember also makes a slightly more expensive travel mug, which would be perfect for anyone sitting in the car for long periods of time, or negotiating a lengthy subway ride every morning.

The Ember Travel Mug 2

Once I finished my drink it was simple to turn the Ember mug off. The mug will continue to run until it is empty, and once it’s empty you can clean it and return it to its coaster. I leave it there to charge so it’s ready to use the next time I brew my morning coffee, evening cup of tea, or other hot beverage of choice. I’ve found the battery life to be fairly good, lasting a few hours when the mug is off its charging base. It definitely buys me enough time to finish my drink, and lasts long enough that I can bring it with me to meetings, and it’ll stay hot until I’m back at my desk to charge it.

But this unbiased review wouldn’t be complete without a few drawbacks I’ve noticed in my past two years of using this mug. First, and most noticeable to me, is the size. For me, 10 ounces is a rather small cup of coffee which required quite a few trips for refills throughout the day. While at the time I purchased it there were no larger sizes, Ember has recently launched a 14-ounce mug that is a pricier $130. Depending on your preferences, it may be worth it for you to invest in the larger size.

And, as with any kitchen tech, this mug can be a bit finicky. In my two years of using it, the mug has needed to be reset or has disconnected from the app a few times. However, each time I’ve found it easy to reset and reconnect it within a few minutes, so I wouldn’t let this deter you if you’re contemplating this investment. The color-coding light system at the base of the mug is helpful, but there are a lot of colors to keep track of. There are different meanings if it is blinking red or solid red, blinking blue or solid blue, blinking white, or blinking green. I’ve found Ember’s support content to be super helpful in determining what the color flashing on my mug means and how to resolve any issues.

One final note that may be a red flag for you: Due to the electricity in this base, this isn’t dishwasher-safe. However, I’ve found my mug is incredibly easy to clean by hand and, in the two years that I’ve used it, it still looks brand new.

Should you buy the Ember mug?

After two years of using the Ember Mug, I struggle to remember what it was like before I had it. It has been a complete game-changer for my day-to-day coffee consumption, and I wholeheartedly think it’s worth the money. For warm beverage loyalists, this mug is a fantastic investment.

A Cheaper Solution That I’ve Also Used

Now, if the plight I’m describing to you sounds familiar, but the $100 price tag on the Ember mug seems a bit steep, this mug warmer was my solution before I took the plunge and invested in the Ember mug. This mug warming plate works like a hot plate for your coffee. It won’t give you the ability to adjust the temperature of your drink, and when you pick your mug up, it will immediately start cooling down. But, for a cheap solution to a very frustrating problem, this mug warming plate will do the trick for less than $20. Ultimately, whichever solution you decide is right for you, I wish you luck in your battle against thermodynamics. Godspeed.

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