There are quite a few gadgets on the market which bring the world “notions” to mind. None have made the term spring into mind quite like the Ember Travel Mug. I’ve been testing one out that Ember sent over and while a little pricy, I’m sold on it being very good indeed.
What is the Ember Travel Mug?
In short, the Ember Travel Mug is a travel mug for coffee and tea. It’ll do that most basic task rather well. The real beauty of the Ember comes from the fact it can also detect the heat of your beverage and keep it at the perfect heat for about three hours.
Traditional travel mugs are generally either just made of simple materials or have some kind of material to retain as much heat as possible. The Ember has smarts inside to actually heat your drink and to keep your drink at the perfect temperature. It’s not about heat retention, but heat regulation and this is the feature I nerded out about most.
What’s the perfect temperature for your drink?
I’m a cappuccino man. I’m not a coffee nerd, but I enjoy a decent cuppa joe. I like knowing a nice bean has been roasted and served to me at the right temperature. The Ember Travel Mug means I can pop into the local coffee shop, order my cappuccino and have my mug actually hold the drink at the right optimal temperature. For this drink, the mug keeps my coffee at 56.5 degrees. You can easily change this in the app or directly on the cup itself and it can reach temperatures from 48.9°C to 62.8°C.
Does the Ember Travel Mug work?
This is nice and simple. Yes. The Ember Travel Mug is amazing at doing exactly what it says on the tin. The perfect example was the day I forgot about my coffee for about an hour after buying it. Thanks to my Ember the coffee was still at the perfect temperature.
There are also some additional benefits with a coffee cup like this. One of my favourite things is that there’s no more burning the mouth off myself when coffee is served too hot. I don’t even think about drinking my coffee until the Ember app tells me it’s at the perfect temperature. I can either trust the app or adjust the temperature regulation myself on the mug.
Another feature I like is rather simple. The lid. The lid promises to be leakproof and lets you drink from every side. The simple things in life make me happy.
While the Ember Travel Mug does have a battery built-in, it also comes with a special charging “saucer”. That means I can pop the Ember onto a spot of my desk where it’ll charge away keeping my coffee warm for even longer.
The downsides of Ember
As much as I love my Ember, it’s not perfect. First of all, when I grab a coffee from the local coffee shop, they nearly always fill it up too high. That’s because the Ember itself isn’t the biggest coffee mug in the world, holding 355ml. I don’t drink Starbucks, but that’s a Tall coffee in Starbucks language. The design of the lid means that you need to leave a lot of space at the top, something baristas seem to have a problem with. As a result, I’ve got to take one or two mouthfuls of scalding coffee to make space.
Let’s be honest though. That’s not exactly Ember’s problem.
A far more pressing barrier to you going out and buying one of these right now is the price. I reviewed the first Ember, which you can buy directly from Apple Ireland for €170. It’s also available from Amazon.co.uk where you’ll also find the newer Ember Travel Mug 2. The newer mug seems to have changed how you manually adjust the temperature with little other changes so if you’re in the market for something like this or want to gift it to the coffee fan in your life, the first version is more than adequate. Yes, it’s very pricey but this is a very new technology. Early adopters always pay a tax.
Ember Travel Mug: The Verdict
It’s a unique product and I love it. Will many see the value with such a price tag? I’d wager not. It’s really cool (pardon the pun) and it works fantastically well but it’s peak notions with that pricetag. I do have to stress that I really love mine and it’s actually got me back into drinking coffee.
While it might not be for everyone, it’s probably the perfect gift for someone and possibly yourself.