I’m a big fan of coffee – but I like to sip my coffee slowly, nursing a cup for a couple hours on my commute, or while I’m at work or relaxing at home.
We’ve all been there, your coffee starts off too hot to drink, then there is a brief sweet spot where it is just the right temperature, and before you know it, your coffee is too cold and you need to re-heat it (usually several times).
When I found the Ember Temperature Control Mug ($150 on Amazon), I thought it would be a perfect solution to the problem of coffee that is either too hot or too cold, allowing me to sip away for hours with coffee that is exactly the right temperature.
Here is my review of the Ember Temperature Control mug and my opinion if it is really worth the price.
Why Purchase An Ember Mug?
If you want to drink your coffee at a constant temperature over the course of a couple hours, an Ember Temperature Control coffee mug seems to be the perfect solution for coffee lovers.
Ember coffee mugs promise to not only keep your coffee hot, at a constant temperature, they are also designed to initially cool your coffee down to that perfect temperature if it is initially too hot.
Unfortunately, the Ember Temperature Control Travel Mug does not really live up to that promise for several reasons.
Ember Mug Design and Aesthetics
The Ember Temperature Control Travel Mug does have a nice modern look to it.
The charging coaster is a little unnecessarily bulky and it comes with a standard wall wart charger, but I’m willing to overlook those minor annoyances.
An ongoing issue I have with the lid is if you put your coffee in while it’s hot and leave the lid closed, coffee will spray all over the place in a little explosion when you open it. This seems to be a common issue with the design of the Ember travel mug lid.
The second problem I have with the lid is that it broke after using the Ember travel mug for about two months. I didn’t put it in the dishwasher or drop it or anything (or really use it that often) – the inner push button just broke off the rim and the lid cracked into two pieces. Again, this seems to be a common issue with the Ember travel mug lid and appears to be a fundamental design flaw.
When you pay $150 for a travel mug, you don’t expect the lid to break every few months.
The mug itself seems relatively sturdy. However, the bottom of the mug twists to control the set temperature. After just a couple of months of use, the twist mechanism has started to loosen up. This hasn’t been a problem yet, but judging by the lid I am skeptical on how it will really hold up.
Finally, the Ember Temperature Control Travel mug is controlled by a finger touch button. I found that the sensitivity of the touch button was very finicky. If the tips of my fingers were not warm and slightly moist, the mug would not respond to my touch. For example, on a cold day I would have to blow on my hands to warm up my fingers in order to get the tough button to register my touch.
I never did use the Ember app. It seems silly to need an app for a coffee mug (unless you have an insatiable need to name your mug…).
Ember Temperature Control Travel Mug Review of Use
Here are a few examples of how I used the Ember Temperature Control Travel Mug:
Scenario One: Make a cup of coffee in the morning and fill up the mug while it’s on the charger. As I’m going out the door I grab the mug (leaving the charger at home) and head to work. My commute is about an hour over which time I usually finish my first coffee.
Then while I’m at work I usually have a second coffee after lunch.
Scenario Two: Make a cup of coffee in the morning to take to my kid’s hockey game to sip at while I’m in the stands watching.
These are both cases where I would normally use a traditional travel mug.
Ember advertises that a fully charged battery lasts on average two hours. However, in both these scenarios the battery only lasted half that.
I consistently found that the battery would last maybe an hour max – if I was really careful to make sure that I only turned on the mug as I was leaving the house I could get it to last for my commute or for most of a hockey game – but the Ember Temperature Control Travel Mug battery life was a major disappointment.
The Ember Temperature Control Travel Mug battery for sure does not last long enough to enjoy two cups of coffee on a single charge.
And forget about simply turning the mug off to conserve battery life. While a standard vacuum walled travel mug will keep your coffee hot for hours with zero effort, without battery powered heating (when the mug is off) coffee in the Ember mug cools down very quickly (10-15 minutes tops).
It appears that the Ember Travel mug does not have any insulation and relies entirely on it’s battery powered heating elements to keep your coffee hot. My guess is that this was a design decision to help the mug initially cool down your coffee to the assigned temperature – but it makes for a very inefficient design when heating.
It also means that your Ember travel mug is useless unless it’s charged (or on the charger).
I should also point out that the Ember mug itself is not dishwasher safe. While this isn’t a big deal – it takes two seconds to wash by hand – it is hugely stressful to make sure that everyone else knows not to put it in the dishwasher (or the microwave while we’re at it!).
Ember Temperature Control Travel Mug Value for Money
This is one of those products that I really wanted to love – but it just fell so short of my expectations in so many ways.
First of all the battery life of the Ember Temperature Control Travel Mug lasts for maybe one cup of coffee on a full charge. Since this is a travel mug, it’s not reasonable to have to think about carrying a charger around just to keep your coffee hot.
I could ignore the issues with the spraying coffee and the broken lid, and the loose twist mechanism, and the touchy touch button, and the hand washing – if the mug actually worked – but it doesn’t.
This mug actually added a significant amount of stress to my life – I was always thinking about how much charge it had, when to turn it on and off to conserve power, how long it would take to charge before I could have another cup of coffee, if someone would accidentally put it in the dishwasher, or if some other part of it was going to snap in half…
A regular good quality vacuum walled travel mug costs what…$20, $30?
After using this mug for a few months, there is no way I can justify it’s $150 price tag. An old fashioned travel mug simply works better and costs a fraction of the price.
In hindsight, I still love the idea of a mug that keeps my coffee at the ideal temperature, so if you mainly sip your coffee while sitting at your desk an Ember Temperature Control Ceramic Mug might still be a good choice ($80 on Amazon).