This is something I have been wanting for years, ever since the Ember Travel Mug hit the internet. I couldn't justify a $149 travel mug (still can't) so I was excited to see Ember offering a cheaper, albeit less portable option at $80. My dad sent me an Amazon gift card for my birthday (thanks dad!) so I decided to treat myself!
Setup of the mug and charging coaster is easy, but prepare to wait for the cup to fully charge, about an hour and a half, before first use – maybe it's an old fashioned habit, but I believe you are supposed to fully charge electronics before you use them. The battery life of the mug depends on many factors, including how hot you are trying to maintain your drink; the website suggests a 1 hour battery life with the temp set at 130. Good thing the charging coaster is a natural place to leave your mug, making sure it is fully charged when you step away from your desk for quick meetings or refills.
I was so excited to use my mug, I immediately poured half a cup of lukewarm coffee in and set it to the preset "perfect" coffee temperature of 135 degrees. Ember read the initial temperature at 80 degrees, and quickly brought it to 135 degrees; I forgot to time it, so for testing purposes I raised the temperature another 10 degrees to the max temp of 145, which took about 5 minutes.
Reviews on Ember's site mention a lot of dissatisfaction with the capacity of the mug – I personally feel that it holds exactly as much as it should at 10 oz. Yes, my favorite non-Ember coffee mug holds a shitload more, but it also doesn't heat it up. I used to constantly be refilling or reheating my cups of coffee. Since switching to Ember, I am refilling my cup less often and weaning myself off of a 6-cup-a-day habit – no need to get yet another refill (or worse - hit the microwave) just to have hot coffee!
On that note - why the hell would anyone need this fancy ass mug when you could just pop the cup in the microwave? To be honest, this objection is what kept me from buying the mug for so long. As I cautiously went to take my first sip out of my Ember, I realized I have so much microwave trauma – burning my lip on the cup, burning my tongue on the coffee, hot ass cup and lukewarm liquid, dropping the hot cup and spilling everywhere, and more. None of that shit here – the max temperature that Ember will warm liquids up to is 145 degrees, and the mug itself stays safe to touch. Every single time I pick up my mug and take a sip, I get a little jolt of excitement at its perfect temperature and taste.
The Ember mug and charging coaster take up very little space, and happen to compliment my desk accessories. The coaster also helps to make the mug harder to accidentally knock over – I pushed the mug many times to try to knock it over, and while it's a little tippy while freestanding, it definitely requires a deliberate shove if it is on the charger. I have a self-imposed rule that I have to use cups with lids at my desk, so I am grateful for this small design element. It is a really sexy design – not something I ever thought I would say about a coffee mug, but it's true. The mug itself features a smooth, eggshell-like finish, and I love the way the rim of the mug and edges of the handle are refined but not too sharp.
Cleaning the mug seems to be a little confusing to many people based on reviews on the Ember site, but it's actually fairly simple.
The mug is controlled via a Bluetooth connection to an app on your smartphone, however you do not need a smart phone to enjoy the mug. The app connection allows you to customize the temperature between 120-145 degrees, and lets you pick a custom LED color, but if you don't have the app connection the mug will simply run at 130 degrees right out of the box. The app allows for the connection of multiple Ember devices, and comes with some helpful presets for specific beverages and a fun tea timer. There is only one button on the bottom of the mug, the power button, and only one light hidden in the base of the mug to indicate charging, temperature status, and more, so having the app really makes this mug the most useful.
The newest app feature from Ember is what also makes it a must-have. Ember now allows a connection between its app and the Apple Health app to monitor your caffeine intake – perfect for those like me who are desperately trying to kick a 6-cup-a-day habit. It takes a little more work, like identifying the brand of coffee you're drinking, but this feature is an amazing bonus!
I now have a need for another one of these mugs at my house, or at least the travel version, since this traditional mug style is absolutely not a feasible portable option. I do wish that both this version, and the travel version were less expensive, but I absolutely see the value in the device.
The capacity of the mug is not a problem to me, but I do wish the handle was a little larger. It fits my hand, but I wouldn't say no to being able to get a more secure grip on it. The battery capacity, however, could be better – an hour is simply not long enough, in my opinion.
I would recommend this for anyone who is particular about their hot drinks, and anyone who works at a desk. It's a pretty simple setup of the actual device and the app, so it's ok to give to those who are less tech savvy than most.
Ember is available on Ember's website, and through exclusive 3rd party sellers including Amazon, Starbucks brick and mortar stores, and just announced this October – Apple Stores!
Through no fault of my own, the charging pins in my Ember charging coaster got pushed down and would not pop back up, ensuring that there was no way for me to charge the mug. If your Ember mug is doing the same thing, check your pins!
Ember Customer Service was awesome about replacing my coaster once I could prove the defect. I really appreciated their friendly service and prompt shipping to get me back up and running.