The Italian way of drinking coffee is espresso, which is typically prepared in 20 to 30 seconds and consumed nearly as quickly. But for those who prefer to savor a tall mug of filter coffee, you’ve probably dealt with more than a few cups of lukewarm coffee. In fact, it can seem like the first sip of a cup of coffee is way too hot but by the third sip, you’re drinking tepid bathwater. For a long time, the only solution was a thermos or other vacuum-insulated container. Their ability to keep drinks piping hot for a long time is their major appeal, but it’s also part of the problem; your coffee or tea can be undrinkable without taking off the lid. And if you leave the lid off for too long, you’re back to square one. That’s where smart mugs come in.
Smart mugs allow you to control the temperature of your drink to within a few degrees, so you can have it just how you like it, whether you prefer your drinks steaming hot or just north of lukewarm. The leader in smart mugs is Ember, and the Ember mug gives you the ability to control the temperature of your drink using your smartphone.
If you’d rather keep your coffee hot without the need for yet another app, there are other smart mug options to consider. Our favorite alternatives to Ember basically work like small hot plates — they heat the bottom of your mug, keeping it warm as you drink it. Some options, like the one from Cosori, come with a mug and feature temperature controls. Others, like the Mr. Coffee mug warmer, are simply designed to keep your coffee warm or even warm it up, without the flavor-sapping effects of the microwave. These are the best smart mugs to buy.
1. Ember Temperature Control Smart Mug 2
An app for your coffee mug might seem a little ridiculous at first, until you realize how revolutionary it is to be able to have your cup of coffee or tea at the perfect temperature from the first sip to the last. The coaster stays plugged in and allows you to keep your coffee hot all day, but you don’t have to be tethered to one spot. That’s because the mug itself has a built-in battery. The LED light also notifies you when your drink reaches the desired temperature. The sleek design also makes it a great gift.
Pros: Sleek design. Battery-powered mug means you don’t have to be tethered to the charging coaster. App allows you to fine-tune your drink to the exact temperature.
Cons: Expensive. May not keep warm as long off the coaster as the advertised 80-minute battery life.
2. Cosori Coffee Mug Warmer & Mug Set
This smart mug from Cosori includes a mug and a matching hot plate. The mug itself has no electrical components, but its steel construction and flat base are specifically designed to retain heat. The hot plate has an LED display panel that allows you to set your desired temperature, and it transfers heat to the inside of the mug. The mug and warmer have a stylish stainless steel look, making this a great gift option.
Pros: Features a hot plate that allows you to adjust the temperature. Stylish stainless steel design.
Cons: No auto-shutoff, so you’ll have to be mindful for the sake of fire safety.
3. Mr. Coffee Mug Warmer
Mr. Coffee makes their affordable coffee makers with groggy mornings in mind; they’re made to be unfussy and easy to use. The same goes for this mug warmer from Mr. Coffee. It has a single on/off switch and a simple indicator that lets you know when your drink is hot. Unlike the other options on this list, no mug is included. You can just use a regular mug from your cupboard.
Pros: Easy and intuitive to use. Small enough to take on the go. Works with most regular ceramic mugs.
Cons: Mug itself is not included.