Ember Coffee Mug has a lot of positive reviews. And for a good reason, it works as advertised. The real question isn’t whether it keeps your coffee warm but whether it’s worth ten times the price of a standard ceramic mug.
So that’s what HomeGrounds decided to find out in this review. Does the Ember Mug justify its cost? Or is there a smarter alternative for your money? Keep reading to find out.
Summary: The Ember Coffee Mug 2
- Heated coffee mug keeps a hot beverage at any desired temperature between 120 and 145 °F
- Controlled by the Ember app, available for Android or iOs
- Premium build quality – stainless steel with a scratch-resistant ceramic coating
Once I plugged the unit in, charged the cup, and made a cup of coffee, I realized the brilliance of the product. I simply followed the instructions, and it worked perfectly.
The Full Ember Mug Review
This detailed review looks at all aspects of the Ember Mug, from performance to its style to its longevity. We’ll wrap it up by considering its value for money and whether it’s a worthwhile purchase to meet your needs.
If it turns out not to be for you, you’ll want to check out more of our reviews of the best smart coffee mugs.
Design – 4.5/5
The Ember Smart Mug is sleekly designed, with little on the outside to indicate the amount of technology within. It looks like a standard coffee mug, albeit a fancy one. It’s available in three matte colors – white, black, and gray – and 10-ounce or 14-ounce size. The only sign that it’s a smart coffee mug is the subtle LED light at the base, which communicates its status.
Using the mug’s associate app, you can set the LED light itself to a color of your choice. Not only is this a fun way to customize your mug, but if there’s more than one Ember Mug in your home or office, it makes it easy to tell them apart.
The Ember Mug is also offered in metallic gold, copper, rose gold, and stainless steel. These gorgeous, smart mugs, labeled the Metallic Series, would make a fantastic gift for that friend or family member who has everything – and loves coffee gadgets. But be prepared to shell out an extra $40 just for an aesthetic upgrade.
Every Ember Mug comes with a charging coaster plugging into a wall outlet. It would be nice to see a USB charging option, which we’ll possibly see in future product iterations. The charging coaster is as sleek and subtle as the mug itself, and you need only set the mug on the coaster to start charging.
Performance – 4/5
Ember Smart Mugs keep your hot beverages at your preferred temperature, which you can set between 120 °F – 145 °F. You do this via a microprocessor-controlled heating system coupled to four sensors providing constant temperature feedback, and it works exceptionally well!
Independent tests show the Ember maintains its set temperature for the duration of battery life – or indefinitely on the charging coaster.
The Ember Temperature Control Mug has a powerful lithium-ion battery that performs as advertised. The 10-ounce version of the Ember Mug will keep your drink hot for up to 90 minutes, while the 14-ounce model gets 80 minutes.
Factors that influence longer battery life include the external temperature and the desired coffee temperature. But even if you’re enjoying your coffee outside on a cold day, you can expect about an hour of toasty warm java.
In terms of performance, it’s worth comparing the Ember Mug with some less expensive alternatives. It is a big step up from the old-school strategy of reheating your cold coffee in the microwave. Reheating coffee has changed its chemical makeup, increasing the drink’s bitterness (1). It is not a mug warmer; the heating element is in the mug itself. So you can continue enjoying coffee at the ideal temperature no matter where you go.
Ember Mugs fill a niche that no other product quite fits. Even James Hoffman, the world-renowned coffee expert, found himself charmed. It’s a product you don’t know you need until you have it, and then you never want to give it up.
I have been surprised, and a little bit delighted, at the ridiculousness and the wonderfulness of the Ember Mug.
According to the manufacturer, the Ember Mug is not designed to heat cold liquids. But it can! It just requires some patience (it can take between 30 minutes and an hour), and it will drain the battery. So plan on only doing this if it’s on the charging coaster.
Ease of Use – 3.5/5
How easy you’ll find this product to use depends a lot on how you feel about needing a smartphone to operate a mug. But provided you don’t find the whole concept of frustrating, you’ll be pleased with how simple the Ember App is to navigate. It does what it needs to only, without unnecessary complications. And of course, the use of an app allows Ember to add a lot of functionality without disrupting the smooth aesthetics of the mug with buttons, dials, and temperature controls.
You can still use the Ember Mug to keep your coffee hot if you don’t have a smartphone. It comes preset at an optimal temperature of 135 °F; you won’t be able to adjust the precise temperature or take advantage of some other cool features.
What cool features, you ask?
First, it comes preset with suggested temperatures for different drinks. Because any serious coffee drinker knows that the ideal temperature for a latte isn’t the same as for a cup of coffee, a green tea, or a black tea (2), plus, you can customize these presets if you happen to like your cappuccinos extra hot, for example.
Second, you can use the app to set the custom color for your LED indicator light. And third, it alerts you when your drink is at the target temperature or if the mug battery is running low.
The automatic on and off functions are nice features that make this mug nearly as straightforward as a traditional ceramic mug. The Ember Mug detects when hot liquid is added and turns itself on. And when you’ve drained your drink, the auto sleep function turns it off.
One noteworthy criticism is that if you leave a small amount of liquid at the bottom of the mug, it won’t shut off. It will keep heating until it runs dry, and then it will enter sleep mode. This is in no way a safety hazard, but it can make cleaning a bit more challenging. The easy solution is to finish your drink.
Cleaning is the one aspect of the Ember Mug that is much less convenient than a standard ceramic mug. It is not dishwasher safe; it is hand wash only – no real surprise given the electronics involved. But it is waterproof when submerged up to one meter, so don’t be afraid to get it wet. Then dry it thoroughly before replacing it in the charging coaster.
Build Quality – 4.5/5
Thanks to its premium materials, the Ember Mug is built to last. It’s made from durable stainless steel with a scratch-resistant, food-grade ceramic coating. This pairing is ideal as the stainless steel protects the electronics within, while the coating ensures it still feels like a regular ceramic mug while you’re drinking – the proven best choice for coffee taste (3).
A rubber base, combined with the extra weight of the electronics in the bottom, ensures it won’t tip over or slide around.
Ember Mug differs from regular mugs regarding longevity, is in the battery’s lifespan, which will begin losing its ability to hold a charge after 2 or 3 years. You cannot replace this battery, so unless you’re very tech-savvy, at this point, you’ll need to buy a whole new cup or keep it on its charging station. The Ember Mug comes with a 1-year warranty, so if you encounter battery issues early in life, you can get a free replacement.
Value for Money – 3.5/5
This is the million-dollar question, isn’t it? Or should I say the $130 question? The Ember Mug is undeniably great, but is it worth more than a regular coffee cup? Or an insulated mug or thermos? Or a mug warmer?
The answer is: yes and no.
For the right person, the Ember Smart Mug is worth its price. If you like to take the time to save your coffee without the risk of it cooling too much, this mug is for you. If you’re easily distracted and frequently find your coffee has gone cold while busy elsewhere, this mug is for you.
This mug is for you if you enjoy a perfect temperature latte or cappuccino. Coffee lovers know that milky drinks aren’t the same when slurped through the hole at the top of a travel mug.
Don’t Buy the Ember Smart Mug If…
You drink your coffee quickly: Not one to save your morning cup of joe? Then don’t waste your money. A normal coffee mug will keep your freshly brewed coffee hot enough for the few minutes it takes to down your beverage and get that caffeine coursing through your veins.
You want something that can travel: The Ember Mug is great for carrying around the home or office, but if you’re venturing further afield, you’ll want a smart mug with a lid. You could opt for the Ember travel mug version, but it is not without its flaws. Instead, HomeGrounds recommends the Muggo, a 12-ounce stainless steel travel mug with an impressive 3-hour battery life.
You want something cheaper: Depending on your needs, there are cheaper options than the Ember to spare you the tragedy of cold coffee.
If you don’t need to move around, check out our picks for the best coffee mug warmers. For a travel-friendly option, the Tech Tools Travel Mug is an affordable choice that plugs into a 12 V car charger. Or consider the ionMug, an Ember Mug knock-off that runs about a quarter of the price – but don’t expect the same quality or longevity.
If you like to enjoy your coffee drinking experience slowly, saving each sip, the Ember Coffee Mug was made for you. Take your morning brew out on your balcony, crack open a good book, and enjoy perfectly hot coffee for 90 minutes of bliss.
Yes, it’s expensive. And no, it’s not for everyone. But if it’s for you, there’s nothing else on the market to match it, and it will be money well spent.
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- Aiken, K. (2021, May 14). Why Reheated Coffee Tastes So Bad, And What To Do Instead. Retrieved from https://www.huffpost.com/entry/why-reheated-coffee-tastes-bad_l_5ea05587c5b6a486d08279fe
- Grant, T. (2019, November 18). How Temperature Can Impact Your Experience of Coffee. Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2019/11/how-temperature-can-impact-your-experience-of-coffee/
- Driftaway Coffee. (2016, October 16). The effect of coffee cup material on taste: Ceramic vs stainless steel vs plastic. Retrieved from https://driftaway.coffee/effect-coffee-cup-material-taste-ceramic-vs-stainless-steel-vs-plastic/