For those that love their hot drinks, the Ember mug is a highly appealing little luxury
- Keeps things a perfect temperature for an hour
- Nice, simple design
- Capacity could be bigger
- It’s not dishwasher safe
Hot drinks have a limited window in which they’re just right. Dig straight into a scolding mug of tea and you’ll end up with burned lip and a sense of dissatisfaction. Drink it too late and you’re left with an unpleasant taste and a whole different sense of disappointment.
Somewhere between these two states is the vanishingly small window of the perfect cuppa, and it has the kind of lifespan that a mayfly might feel short changed by. The Ember Mug is the technological answer to this problem: an app-controlled Bluetooth mug that can set your drink to your perfect temperature and keep it that way until the last satisfying swig.
Not too hot, not too cold: just right. It’s like Goldilocks – only without the three bears. Or the porridge.
Ember Temperature Control Mug review: Price and competition
Other mugs are available. You’ve probably seen them. You can get a basic mug for under a pound, but it won’t keep your drink warm for very long.
Ember stands virtually alone in this space, but it comes at a price. That price is £80. There are various ways you can justify this to yourself, especially if you’re a three-cup-per-day kind of person, but however you cut it, it’s a lot for a mug. That said, it’s not as much as the one direct rival I’ve seen – the Glowstone mug – which goes for £129.
For understandable reasons, smart thermos flasks are more common. Ember has its own one, which goes for £150, and rival Cauldryn has one that goes for around £100 if you can find it in the UK.
Ember Temperature Control Mug review: What you need to know
If you’re still reading after seeing the price, then you’re exactly the kind of person that Ember is aimed at. And while having a drink at the ideal temperature whenever you want might sound great, it’s actually a more subtle experience in person. You know when you sip a drink at exactly the right moment and are quietly pleased with your luck? It’s like that forever. It’s the kind of thing that you can take for granted very easily: once you try Ember, you may well be reluctant to go back to an inferior mug that’s vulnerable to ambient temperatures.
But let’s back up here. What is it and how does it work?
The Ember mug comes in two parts: a stainless steel mug with a ceramic coating and a saucer. The saucer isn’t designed as somewhere to discard a teabag (in fact you shouldn’t, as you’re not supposed to get it wet). It’s actually a charging pad for the mug itself, as you may have guessed from the USB lead dangling out of the back. That means that if you plug in your mug next to your desk, your drink will stay the right temperature indefinitely. And if you take your mug away, you’ll still get an hour’s heating time.
Fill the mug with your drink of choice, and then select the corresponding brew in the app. Your phone suggests an ideal temperature (although you can change this according to your personal preference) and then pings you a notification when it’s ready. It’ll then maintain that level of heat until the last drop or until the battery runs out – whichever comes first.
That’s pretty much all there is to it, although Ember does have one more trick up its sleeve. If you select a tea via the app, it will recommend how long you need to leave the bag in for, and give you a handy timer to tell you when to remove it. Yes, your phone already has a timer app, but it’s a nice addition all the same.
There are two design drawbacks that I can see with Ember. First, its capacity isn’t enormous. Although the picture makes it look like a large cup, the bottom of the mug is offset a little from the base for the heating element, which means it actually contains less liquid than you’d think. That said, it still works perfectly with a standard Tassimo pod, so its 295ml capacity must be a fairly standard quantity.
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The second point is that, thanks to the fancy circuitry and Bluetooth connection, Ember isn’t dishwasher-safe. So while you’ll be enjoying a technologically advanced cup of coffee, the cleanup process is distinctly old-school and sink-based.
Ember Temperature Control Mug review: Verdict
Make no mistake: £80 is a lot for a mug. My favourite mug before this was a lot cheaper, and it has Derby County’s home kit from 1984 printed on it.
But it does offer the perfect hot drink every time, and if that’s a pick-me-up you enjoy, then it’s hard not to recommend – especially if you get through two or three in a day. Just make sure your colleagues don’t nick it.