It might be April (and almost time for the annual cold brew switch to occur), but listen: I love hot (and I mean scalding hot) coffee, 24/7, 365 days a year. I love it almost as much as I hate gimmicky kitchenware. This is why I was reluctant to get myself the self-heating, rechargeable Ember Smart Mug, even after reading about how useful it could be for coffee-loving people who are always cold (read: me). It wasn’t until my sister gifted it to me over Christmas that I got around to trying it—and immediately changed my tune.
What sets the Ember Mug apart?
With a range of 120 to 145 degrees Fahrenheit, the Ember Smart Mug 2 (the latest version of the gadget) uses built-in convection technology to hold your beverage of choice at a precise temperature. In addition to its heating technology, it also features sensors that track how much liquid it’s holding, so the temperature remains consistent while you sip. You can make adjustments (and customize the color of the mug’s LED light) in the Ember app, which syncs with the mug via Bluetooth. I balked at the idea of fiddling with an app just to get a hot drink, but it connects seamlessly to my mug within moments. It has a super-simple interface, complete with optimal temperature recommendations for different drinks. (I keep mine permanently dialed to the max temperature because it’s the only way I can feel something in the mornings but to each their own.) The app also notifies me when the mug’s battery is low, which happens after about an hour and a half with the 10-ounce size and 80 minutes with the 14-ounce size. When that time comes, I just place the mug on its charging base, cleverly disguised as a matching coaster, and it juices back up with ease.
With all this tech talk, you might be thinking, she seems to have forgotten that simple thermoses exist. And I do have a Zojirushi tumbler, which reliably keeps my coffee piping hot for hours, but it doesn’t have that homey feel I want when I’m enjoying my java on the couch. Ember’s mug, on the other hand, looks like a mug I’d buy as just a regular coffee cup. It has a smooth, modern design with a matte black finish and pleasant weight. Even without the technological bells and whistles, it’s a welcome addition to my cabinet.
Should you buy it?
That said, those aforementioned bells and whistles make it cost a fair bit more than your average mug. If you’re ambivalent about drink temperature, and don’t place a weird premium on it like yours truly, the Ember Smart Mug might not be the gadget you need in your life. But, if you’re someone who knows that tea and coffee have their own sacred temperatures or hate coming back to a tepid drink after briefly leaving it alone, this could make an excellent treat for yourself. Or, in my case, wait until a loved one watches you microwave the same cup of coffee multiple times in the 10 minutes it takes you to gulp it down, and decides you deserve an upgrade with the Ember Smart Mug.
If you like the sound of rapid temperature control but want it for cold coffee, seek out the Hyperchiller iced coffee maker. As for me, while iced coffee season is here and everyone else starts making cold brew by the batch, I’ll still be here with my Ember Smart Mug, living like the roof of my mouth doesn’t exist.