Ember is a travel mug with a built-in temperature regulation element, and the most useful smart device we’ve gotten our hands on in a long time.
Coffee and tea are obviously meant to be brewed at much higher temperatures then they’re meant to be consumed, but fill your favorite travel mug with freshly brewed coffee and you’ll probably still be leaving the lid open to vent heat hours later.
Similarly, once you’ve vented your beverage of choice to ideal drinking temperature, it’s not going to stay that way for long. Ember will cool your drink to your temperature of choice and then keep it that way, actively.
Ember’s temperature setting is controlled with a rotating ring at the bottom of the mug. Touching the logo activates the display, which is only on when in use, so no one will know your travel mug is smarter than they are. You can use your smartphone or Apple Watch to check in on your drink, but unless you’re going to save presets this is a more of a fun bonus.
The Ember’s lid is almost as exciting as the mug itself, with a push-to-open design that doesn’t spill and is a pleasure to drink from from any side.
The obvious question then is battery life, which clocks in around two hours for continuous operation, though it only takes a few minutes to heat your drink back up to the desired temperature from the Ember being turned off. The bigger concern is the Ember’s proprietary charging dock, which uses an AC adapter.
The ideal then, if you plan to have Ember become a part of your daily commute, is to have a second charger at the office. They cost $40 and yes, I’m going to buy one.
Ember is fully submersible for cleaning purposes, but you’ll want to keep the mug itself out of the dishwasher to protect the finish, and also pick up a bottle brush. The lid is top rack dishwasher safe.
Coming in at around fifteen times the cost of your favorite travel mug, Ember is likely to price out the more casual coffee and tea drinkers among you. On the other hand, and charging concerns aside, it’s the best travel mug, and offers real, tangible benefits- a rarity for smart devices.
Ember, make your next dock USB-compatible and also sell a version with an external battery pack built in.
Update 11/9/17: Around a year after we covered Ember’s Travel Mug, they’ve introduced their new Coffee Mug, which comes in around half the price of its predecessor.
The Coffee Mug is beautiful and fully submersible, though not dishwasher safe. It’s also heavy for a coffee mug, and frustratingly still uses a proprietary charging stand and AC adapter combination, which was our biggest criticism of the Travel Mug.
You can control up to three Ember products with one app, and the Coffee Mug has all the temperature regulation abilities as its travel-focused sibling, just with less efficiency because of the lack of lid.
The Embers are obviously the best products in their category, and they better be given their prices. We’re excited to see what comes next for Ember, but what comes next better include a USB-C charging stand.
Update 5/28/18: Now in black!