Cold coffee sucks. Almost as much as Mondays. When I heard there’s a new gadget that can keep your coffee at the perfect temperature, I knew I had to try it. I’m often up hours before the sun and need my coffee kick to get me going. The Ember mug is a rechargeable insulated travel mug that promises to keep your beverage at what it calls the perfect drinking temperature for hours.
Ember Travel Mug
A travel mug with smarts and power? Sign us up… except the Ember travel mug likely isn’t what you think; it’s not a heating mug, it’s actually a mug designed to cool beverages to a drinkable temperature. That might be great for some hot drink lovers, but not for others.
- Nice Design
- 360-degree sipping lid is genius
- Fits in cup holders well
- Makes drinks drinkable temperature
- Coaster prolongs battery life
- Didn’t keep coffee hot enough for me
- Short battery life
- Very pricey
Ember smart travel mug review
Don’t think of Ember as a heating mug. Instead it’s built for cooling and holding temperature. I initially thought it was going to keep my coffee at stovetop temperature until I was ready to drink it. Not so; the Ember mug is designed to let your beverage cool to a drinkable temperature you select then hold it there.
How Ember works
The Ember Travel Mug uses seven temperature sensors, a rapid cooling system, a microprocessor-controlled heating system, and temperature presets (though you won’t see any of that, just it’s smooth matte black design) to easily dial in your perfect temperature. What’s that temperature? It’s up to you. You can have it cool your coffee or tea to anywhere from 120°F and 145°F, or 50°C and 62.5°C. It holds 13 oz/1 2/3 C of liquid. My old standby Starbucks travel mug holds 16oz/2C by comparison.
Setting up Ember mug
The logo on the front of the mug hides a power button. Just press it to turn it on. Setting the mug up for the first time is easy; you’ll download the free Ember app, then follow the instructions. Essentially you pair the mug to your phone by pressing and holding the Ember logo. Mine was connected about 2 seconds later. Then you can choose a name for your mug to personalize it.
Using Ember travel mug
When you’re ready to transport your beverage pour it in and press the Ember power button. The mug will remember your last preset temperature or you can adjust it tin the app, or by dialing it in using the temperature control ring on the bottom of the mug.
You also use the mug without it being connected to your phone.
How long does Ember to-go mug keep drinks hot?
The built in battery on the Ember keeps your drink at temperature for about 2 hours in my experience. Ember says, “the battery life depends on a number of external factors such as: external temperature, liquid temperature at pour, speed of liquid consumption, set temperature, whether the lid is on or off, and much more.”
Indeed that’s true as I found that with the lid open, my beverage cooled much more quickly.
With the lid closed it would hold my temperature for about 2 hours until the battery started to die.
With the lid open I found the drink cooled much more than I liked. I tested this against my current travel mug, filling both with coffee from the pot.
After two hours of sipping, and with both lids open, I felt as though the coffee in the regular travel mug was significantly hotter.
That was just my perception, so I ran temperature measurement tests too.
Temperature testing – Ember travel mug
I poured boiling water into each mug and sealed them. I measured the temperature after 30 minutes, 60 minutes, 90 minutes and 2 hours.
It wasn’t my imagination. At each interval, the regular travel mug’s drink temperature was hotter — by about 20 degrees F.
- 30 minutes: Ember: 145F Regular travel mug: 170F
- 60 minutes: Ember: 143 Regular: 163
- 90 minutes: Ember: 144 Regular 157
- 2 hours: Ember: 137 Regular: 151
I guess this shouldn’t be surprising, since the Ember mug is designed to cool to a drinkable temperature, not necessarily to keep drinks “hot”.
Use the Ember charging coaster
One way to keep your drink at optimal temperature longer is to use the charging coaster. If the mug is set on the coaster while it’s plugged in, it will hold the temperature for hours. I set it up a supper time with a hot beverage and monitored the temperature. It kept it at my preferred warmth, 62.5 degrees for hours. I finally went to bed and it was still warm. By the time I got up though it had shut off completely. I learned later the Ember travel mug has an auto shut off feature. You can leave it on the coaster and it will keep it hot all day, but you do need to tap the Ember logo/power button about every two hours to reset the time on the auto shut off feature or it’ll call it a day after 120 minutes.
Get alerts to your phone or smart watch
Because because this device is connected you can get alerts to your smart phone or watch when you’re device has reached its optimum drinking temperature. That’s a nice feature since you can pour your beverage and leave it and when it cooled enough to drink you’ll get an alert.
Super-sealing 360 degree lid
A big complaint with travel mugs is that they can leak like a son of a gun. I’ve gone through many travel mugs and many wet lunch bags thanks too poorly ceiling travel mugs. I was pleasantly pleased to see that the 360° lead seals magnificently.
The 360° lid refers to the fact you can drink it from any angle; there’s not just one spelled for opening in the lid, so wherever you grab it from you’ll always get a sip.
You can use this mug in Fahrenheit or Celsius and with iPhone or Android phones.
Who’s the Ember travel mug for?
If you like piping hot coffee, this mug is not for you. As i said before, the idea behind this mug is that it cools and holds temperature, and the top end heat level, 62.5 degrees isn;t what I’d call piping hot. It’s drinkable.
If you’re the kind of person who is forever burning their tongue on scalding liquids, this mug is perfect for you since you can control the heat. No more tentative sips and scalded mouths. With Ember, you’ll always know the beverage you love is perfectly drinkable.
Overall review – Ember travel mug
I love the idea of this mug and found it easy to use and that it operates precisely as it describes.
The two hour battery life is a bit disappointing for me; I’d love a bit more juice out of this mug. But at the same time, 2 hours is all Ember promises. Of course if you need your beverage hot a bit longer, using it with the coaster is the answer.
I realized after this experiment I actually prefer to start drinking my coffee when its much hotter, and the top end temperature of the Ember mug, 62.5 degrees, just isn’t hot enough for me.
With that said, I could see there being all kinds of other helpful applications with the Ember mug; you can ensure children’s drinks are precisely cooled, for example. And the same goes for seniors.
Whether or not you should get this mug depends on the kind of hot beverage drinker you are; if you need your drink piping hot, this isn’t for you. If you will only sip when it’s cool enough, you could get a lot of mileage out of the Ember mug.
The Ember mug ain’t cheap; it sells for about $199US, at Starbucks, Amazon and from Ember’s website.
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