- Temperature control, from 120-146F
- Striking LED dot display
- Spinning bottom makes temperature selection easy
- Battery lasts less than 2 hours even under ideal conditions
- Zero insulation results in immediate temperature drop once battery depletes
- Only holds 12 fl ounces.
This was a tough one. I was very excited to try this new, innovative travel mug after seeing the Ember ads plastered all over my Facebook feed. A temperature-controlled, on-the-go mug for my coffee and tea was something I could get behind.
So, $156 later, the Amazon delivery man dropped one right to my door.
Ember Travel Mug Review
On paper, the Ember travel mug and ceramic coffee cup check all the hipster marketing boxes:
- Jammed full of latest smart-tech
- Industrial design by a Jony Ive disciple
- Solves a problem we did not realize we had
As a hipster myself, I must admit I was pleased with myself when I first cracked open the packaging and touched the “Ember” logo. The coffee cup lit up with the words “HELLO”.
At the bottom of the cup, hidden behind the plastic, is a large dot LED display. It will greet you when you turn on the cup, and functions as the menu, telling you what the internal temperature is currently and the target temperature it’s aiming for.
It even shows a battery icon when charging, just like your phone.
Speaking of your smart-phone, the Ember connects to it via Bluetooth. You can then control and change your temperature settings without even touching your cup. Why would you go to your phone to change your cup temperature you ask? Because you’re a hipster. And it just looks cool.
Otherwise, yeah. There is no real reason you would do that.
Ember as a Concept vs. Ember as a Cup
The Ember as a concept is pretty awesome. But I’m afraid in real life, this mug fell short for me at almost every turn.
Will it hold your drink at a specific temperature between 120-146 degrees? Yes.
But it comes with so many caveats, it overruled all usefulness for me.
Things I did not like:
- Battery does not last much past 1 hour to 1 hour 15 min in my experience. Yes, you read that correctly. My mug spent more time on the charging pad than on my desk.
- While the cup itself is quite large, the interior is not. 12 ounces max. Not enough to hold a Grande latte.
- Because the interior lining is filled with lithium ion batteries, electronics and a heating element — there is little to no insulation. Which means as soon as the battery drops to zero, so does your coffee temperature.
- Not dishwasher safe — and after latte milk cakes on it, you immediately regret this thing isn’t dishwasher friendly.
- The phone app is, for all intents and purposes, superfluous.
The funny thing is, Ember seems to understand it’s shortcomings and instead of marketing this as a mug to keep your beverage warm (or cold) for extended period, they came up with a way to advertise it’s strengths honestly. Every ad features it’s “temperature control” feature heavily.
“We will hold your coffee at the best tasting temperature.”
And while Ember hits this feature on the nose, it taught me something about myself:
Apparently, I don’t care if my coffee is at 135 degrees Fahrenheit.
I care that its hot. I care that it’s hot now, and I’ll care that it’s hot three hours from now. I care that it will hold more than 12 ounces.
A $25 Thermos travel mug does the trick for me, and at 1/5th the cost.