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Review: The Ember Mug’s Simple Daily Fix Proves That It Is, In Fact, The Little Things In Life

Coffee is a catalyst. Before the London Stock Exchange was an institution, it was a coffee shop. Give a bunch of brits some arabica and they’ll give you an empire. But they had it easy. Give a modern office worker a keurig-cupped Sumatran and, half-an-hour later – after they’ve brought their laptop bingbongingly to life – they’ll give you a sour look. Coffee is a catalyst. Coffee is a comfort. But when it’s cold, coffee is a complaint in liquid form. No wonder the Ember Mug blew up. It’s a personal coffee shop for the age of unread Slack – the age of distraction and dissipated heat. A lot more has been built on a lot less.

Ember’s Initial Spark (Sorry, Had to)

The Ember Mug debuted in April of 2016 after their founder, Clay Alexander, got fed up eating cold, rubbery scrambled eggs in the morning and decided to not accept the status quo laid out by basic nuclear physics. After creating a self-heated dinner plate in the lab, they made their flagship product the Ember travel mug so the product would be as universally applicable as possible. I mean think about it: how many yuppie millennials who can afford a $150 coffee mug start their day with a warm, soy, caramel-infused beverage? Now THAT’S appealing to the masses.

Since then, they’ve only streamlined the design and made it ideal for home use. It’s now a mug on top of a lithium-ion battery, a temperature sensor and a microprocessor. It looks fancier than a regular coffee cup, but far less intimidating than a fax machine to a Gen Z-er. Plus, if you remove it from its little charging pad, it’s just a regular cup.

Courtesy of Ember
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Is It Worth $150?

This is not an exaggeration: the Ember Mug has revolutionized my daily routine. Through silencing the ticking time bomb that’s triggered as soon as you pour yourself anything warm, it makes the whole morning beverage ritual much more enjoyable. That feeling that if you don’t immediately sip at a consistent pace the second half of your drink is going to be lukewarm and mediocre? Consider it gone with Ember as your trusty vessel.

We live in a world of endless distraction, and none of us can afford to let our $7 lattes go cold because our boss decided 7am was the ideal time to Slack you “helpful” reminders that your client’s deliverable is, in fact, due today. If you’re frequently pouring tea or other to-go liquids you paid an arm and a leg for down the drain because they got too cold too fast it’s time to make a change.

The price tag may seem steep, but think about the cost of all the coffee (or tea) that gets poured down the drain. That’s not cheap either. If you’re pouring a half a cup down the drain every work day, that’s an average of 10.81 cups a month at – if you’re doing it right – .54 ounces beans per cup. That’s almost 6 ounces of beans discarded monthly. Put differently, you’re tossing 3.6 20 ounce bags of beans in the trash every year. That’s more than $45 even if you’re buying from Dunkin’.

So while it’s pricey, it’s a long term investment in making a small ritual (almost) everyone does much easier and more pleasant. It also has a few notable specs that give it quite the edge over your niece’s lopsided, hand-sculpted mug she made in a 6th grade art classroom.

Battery Life1.5 hours – 80 minutes depending on size
Temperature Range120°F -145°F
Smart FeaturesSyncs with Ember app, Smart LED indicates when your coffee has reached prime temperature, Auto-sleep function

My Experience With Ember

My experience with the Ember so far has been quite pleasant, and not just because holding a mug of something that’s warm is nice (which it is). I’ve had my Ember for two months, and my biggest takeaway is that it awards you a certain freedom you don’t have with time-sensitive foods and beverages not in expensive, regulated containers.

You can take it outside, sip on it in the chilly morning air and know it’ll still touch your lips with the same warming embrace as it did five minutes ago. I don’t use my Ember for coffee, but rather lemon water (yes, I’m from California) so it’s pretty easy to clean and doesn’t have a lingering coffee smell. Because lukewarm lemon water tastes much less therapeutic during my over-the-top morning routine than warm lemon water, I appreciate its contribution.

The handle is annoying. It’s too small to put all your fingers through to get a solid grip on the mug’s base. It’s not the most ergonomic design, so I’ll still occasionally use a regular mug that has a bigger handle. I’ve mostly switched over to the Ember.

Ember Mug Review: Pros and Cons


  • The temperature range is ideal — any colder and you’re no longer drinking something hot, any warmer and your tongue’s a Brillo pad
  • It makes you look like a washed up techie who used to work at Meta but got out before all the “evil” stuff
  • You can use it to warm your hands like an extra from Les Mis, but it doesn’t cool your drink because of thermal equilibrium, a.k.a something you were forced to learn in middle school alongside your lines in Les Mis
  • Even when unplugged, it’s still a fucking cup. If you leave the charger in a hotel room? It’s not quite the end of the world.


  • The 10 ounce mug is way too small for the price, and for a decent cup of coffee – have some self respect
  • You can’t walk around all day with this thing, it needs to connect to its life force (a.k.a charging pad) every 1.5 hours
  • The handle is small and narrow and while I don’t hate feeling like a giant with a tiny cup for a second, it makes me insecure about the size of my fingers after the 5th or 6th sip

Taylor Galla | SPY

Should You Buy an Ember Mug?

If you start your day with a warm mug of something, caffeinated or no, you will also enjoy its ingenious design, if you don’t then I hope it’s obvious this product is of no use to you.

Is it an absolutely necessary device for a life well-lived? Definitely not, it’s not a Theragun. But if you’re a person who enjoys the little things, and more specifically little elements of your day being made easier by a handy gadget, forking over a little extra cash for this device will pay off in the end.

They also have a new Ember Metallic collection that’s definitely worth checking out. They’re more expensive, but very pretty.