Ember Mug 2
I had this futuristic drinking vessel at the top of my wishlist for over a year, even before the modestly improved second version was released. So when I received a site-wide voucher for a site that had it in stock, I jumped at the opportunity to get this $100/£100 mug for a decently lower price. I’ve owned it for a year, in which I’ve used it almost every day, so I feel like I’m ready to give an informed view.
I went for the smaller 10oz/295ml version, which is fine for me, though I can understand why many people would want to pay $30/£30 more for the bigger 14oz/414ml version. However, other than the capacity and the way that may affect battery use, everything else I’ll discuss is applicable to all versions of the mug currently on sale (though there are bigger differences with the travel version, though in principle it’s also the same).
What is it?
A Bluetooth-connected app-controlled mug. That sounds crazy doesn’t it, but honestly, once you realise that the app isn’t needed all the time, and you can just rely on the mug to remember your temperature preference and actively maintain it whenever filled, it’s potentially life-changing.
How does it work?
There’s a battery in the base of the mug that’s charged on a main-powered coaster with metal contacts that line up with rings on the bottom of the mug, a bit like a Scalextric power delivery system. This does mean it’s hand-wash (with care) only, but it washes pretty well I’ve found, and as I’m the only person who ever drinks from this cup, I have incorporated a good rinse of it into my coffee-making routine so it’s always ready for use. After the first few uses, the app can be ‘set it and forget it’, as you select the temperature you want drinks to be, and it will raise or lower any liquid in the mug to that exact temperature and then hold it there until the battery runs out.
Why is it so good?
Now my daily mug for almost all my hot drinks at home. Having a coffee with friends at theirs the other day I’d forgotten how quickly my drink would go cold.
I’ve become very accustomed to my drink staying at temperature for at least an hour. The advertised time is 90mins for this version, but I don’t think I get quite that long due to my chosen temperature and the fact that the mug is now a year old.
As for the app, which I run on my android phone, it’s pretty good. For many months, I had almost no connectivity issues, apart from the odd issue if I opened it when I was out of range and the phone then wouldn’t always reconnect straight away the next time. Something then changed, and I had issues connecting to my mug reliably. There have since been a few app updates and about 2 ‘cup-dates’ where the mug’s firmware has also been updated, and I’m happy to say it’s working really well for me now.
One annoyance I do have with the app is that the mug battery level should be shown on the main page, not tucked away in the settings. That’s a relatively minor adjustment that they could easily implement but would result in a huge improvement in the user experience. Maybe even a widget would be nice to pop on the home screen. It does however notify me of things like low battery, as well as to inform me when my drink has reached optimum temperature. When I get notifications from the app on my phone, it also appears on my smartwatch, which never fails to please me.
Who would benefit from this?
Are you a sipper who finds their drink gets too cold before they’ve finished? Or are you someone who likes their drink to be at a particular temperature, but keep missing the sweet spot between it being too hot to enjoy and going too cold?
I’ve found it really helpful to be able to make a coffee and go back to it between doing other things, always finding it at exactly the right temperature. That’s good when you’re busy, perhaps working, taking calls, or as we’re all so often now on Zoom meetings. Maybe you’re a busy parent? One of my friends recently told me how her tea is always cold because she’s got a newborn. This mug would fix that problem perfectly for her. I also discovered a new use for mine, when recently had friends for brunch and found there was a cup worth of room-temp coffee left in the French press after they’d gone, so I poured it into my mug and within about 10 minutes it was back up to my preferred drinking temperature. I’ve hardly ever used it to bring a drink up to temperature, it’s a rarer use for me, yet brilliant to know I can.
Where can I get one?
They’re quite easily available online from a variety of retailers, though the colour and size options vary from site to site, far more than the price does, which seems to be firmly set. Almost all options are available direct from ember.com and they do occasional discounts though nothing that will make it a ‘cheap’ purchase. To get a good deal on the mug, you may need to wait for your preferred retailer to offer a voucher or percentage off sitewide. There’s a good chance this will happen on Black Friday, or Cyber Monday, or in January, that’s when I’d be looking.
The next version should use something like QI wireless charging, there may be some technical reasons why this hasn’t been the approach that I’m unaware of, but if it’s technically possible it would be such a leap forward. Then it would be easier to wash, maybe even dishwasher friendly, and if fully compliant with other QI chargers it would also be possible to charge it on other wireless chargers, which are commonplace for many people, though not something I’ve got myself, I’d love not having to specifically take it back to the included charger after each full use. For now, though, the concept has been more than adequately proven. Without a doubt, I would buy another if this one stops working, and I would upgrade if there’s a significant change in future versions.
I love my Ember mug, and if you’ve read this far, I think you would too!