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Ember's Heated 6-Ounce Coffee Cup Is a Great Endorsement for Its Other Cups

We go hands-on with Ember's newest, smallest heated cup...to figure out who exactly this thing's for.

6oz ember cup in black
Henry Phillips

In the decade or so since they launched their first app-controlled, heated travel mug, Ember has quickly become the iPhone of coffee mugs. The Travel Mug and the more sedentary Mug and Mug 2 (which we reviewed last year) have been staples oF coffee lovers' wish lists because of their noble purpose — keeping coffee at just the right temperature for well over an hour — and their serious prices of $130 and up.

Ember has so far offered 10, 12, and 14-oz sizes — but they recently introduced the Ember Cup, a petite, 6-oz version made for smaller espresso drinks like lattes, cappuccinos, and cortados that retails for a slightly more approachable starting price of $100.

Immediately upon learning about Ember's new Cup, questions arose. How long could it possibly take to consume six ounces of coffee? Why not spend the extra $30 and get the 10-oz mug?

Sensing I was about to go down a deep hole of speculative hater-ism, I figured it was time to get an Ember Cup to test. After a week of daintily sipping 135-degree Fahrenheit cortados, lattes and milky coffee, I regret to inform you, that while the unalloyed dunking-on is not strictly warranted, it's still tough to recommend the baby Ember.

Gear Patrol
Ember Cup
ember.com
$99.95

  • Works with same charging dock as other Ember products

  • You should just get the larger mug

What's Good About The Ember Cup

Keeps your coffee (and other beverages) hot

At its core, the Ember Cup is the exact same product as the much-lauded Ember Mug2. It's incredibly attractive, the accompanying app is hyper-intuitive and it works super well. The Cup heated coffee from room temp to 135 degrees in just a few minutes; it held said coffee at 135 degrees forever when left on the included charging coaster; and it kept drinks hot for juuuust shy of an hour and a half when removed from said charging coaster.

So, the Cup does exactly what it says it should do — and it does it phenomenally. As a nice bonus, cleaning the Cup proved to be easy — even slightly easier than the mug, in fact, given the lack of handle and diminutive size.

ember cup latte
One area where the Ember Cup does excel: Latte Art. It’s just the right size for a well-adorned espresso drink.
Ember

Any Ember Mug or Cup shines with drinks where you have to add cold milk to hot coffee, but for espresso drinks where you're dealing with relatively small quantities of liquid that can get cold quite quickly, the Cup allowed me to take a bit longer to drink my morning latte instead of my normal routine of gulping it down like a madman once it's cooled to the right temperature. As a fringe benefit, it uses the same charging coaster as the 10- and 14-oz mugs, so you could use them interchangeably.

What's Not Good About The Ember Cup

How slowly do you drink your coffee?

Elephant in the room time. What does the six-ounce Ember Cup do that the 10- or 14-ounce Ember Mug doesn't? Nothing.

That's not quite fair, since the Cup comes in at a slightly more palatable $100 price, but I can't help but wonder why you wouldn't spend the extra money for an infinitely better product. In my week of testing, I couldn't find a single use case where the Cup did better than the Mug, and there are many situations where having an extra four-to-eight ounces to play with would've been welcome.

There may be an argument for an Ember power user with a big mug for drip and a little cup for lattes. But why not just get an excellent latte cup — like these fantastic, $10 Acmes — and call it a day?

ember cup
At a diminutive 6oz size, the Ember cup is a solution looking for a problem.
Henry Phillips

The Ember Cup: The Verdict

Initial reviews of the original Ember Mug often took on the thesis of "It's so expensive, but it turns out it's really useful and great." The Cup takes all that's good about Ember's technology and — in bringing it to a more approachable price — turns it into a tchotchke. Best case, nobody buys it. Worst case, thousands of well-intentioned grandmothers are lured into buying this thing as a gift because of the savings when, for $30 more, they could give something truly excellent.

If you're the niche coffee drinker who prizes the aesthetic aspects of making an espresso-based drink and takes more than a few minutes to drink it and you have no interest in using your three-figure vessel for drip coffee or travel, the Cup is for you. For the rest of us, the $150 14-oz Ember Mug (which, for what it's worth, is frequently discounted to $130) is truly the perfect Ember product. It holds enough coffee to justify its existence, it works wonderfully ... and it will hold six ounces of flat-white just as well as the Cup.

Gear Patrol
Ember Cup
ember.com
$99.95

  • Works with same charging dock as other Ember products

  • You should just get the larger mug

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