Ember Mug review: A worthwhile splurge for coffee and tea fanatics

Honestly, it changed my coffee drinking habits.

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It’s fascinating how little, everyday frustrations can stick in your brain forever. Like why isn’t there an apparatus that breaks spaghetti in half without throwing shards of raw noodle all over your kitchen? Or why aren’t there half-size spaghetti noodles? Anyway, a few weeks ago, I got a product that spoke to the very heart of me. It spoke to the part of me that has always hated tepid coffee.

A quick aside: I’m a coffee guy. I’ve written about coffee and coffee accoutrement many times for PopSci. As such, companies that peddle stuff for hot beverages often send me things to try out. I never promise coverage, and I’ve never written anything about the products individually because there’s never been one that I’ve had a shout-it-from-the-rooftop kind of love for. What you’re reading about now is the exception.

The Ember ceramic mug changed the way I’ll drink coffee, and it can do the same for anybody who hates lukewarm swill and the flavor of overcooked coffee sludge. Here’s the deal: within the mug, a microprocessor-controlled heating system gathers information from four separate temperature sensors and activates its adaptive dual heating mechanism. This means no more unintentional cold brew.

I’m a total coffee snob, but even the best cups of coffee end with a few gross sips at the bottom. That doesn’t work for me. I want to taste the flavors that the roasters assure me are in their beans until the very last drop touches my tongue. The Ember ceramic mug allows you to set your ideal temperature preference—to the degree—and keep it there.

Most serious coffee drinkers know that the correct temperature for brewing falls between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit depending on the brew. Any higher and you will over-extract the coffee. Lower, you’ll under-extract, leaving the coffee sour and weak. The temperature at which you drink it, however, is much more subjective and is based on personal preference. The Ember mug allows you match your tastes.

There are other methods for keeping coffee warm, but they have their flaws. Hot-plate-style warmers generate uneven heat from the bottom. Vacuum-sealed, double-walled containers leak heat constantly, despite their best efforts to hold onto those precious degrees. The only thing a hot beverage has to be is not cold.

The Ember mug (10 oz.) is made of reinforced stainless steel and coated with a white ceramic. It comes with a matching coaster that acts as a charger—the cup holds a charge for about an hour—and has a built-in LED light to notify you when your drink is at the optimal temperature or running low on batteries. The LED light even has color options for multiple users or drinks.

Unlike the brand’s previous product—the Ember Travel Mug, which has an adjustable dial on the bottom of the device—the new mug connects to your smartphone or Apple Watch to adjust the temperature. It senses when there is no liquid inside, puts itself into sleep mode when not being used, and then uses a three-axis accelerometer to recognize movement and wake the mug back up.

I understand that not everybody cares to download an app to ensure the optimal temperature for their coffee. But if you’re a person who really enjoy coffee, it’s worth it.


Billy Cadden Avatar

Billy Cadden

Senior Director of Commerce

Billy Cadden is the Senior Director of Commerce for the science, tech, and outdoor group at Recurrent. He began working as the Commerce Editor at PopSci in 2017, where he spent 5 years diving deep into every product he could get his hands on. Cadden splits his time between Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, and Woodstock with his dog Wanda. He spends his time seeking new coffee shops and writing for his solo music project