Two years ago, I was running around New York City, ducking into nearly every Starbucks shop in NYC searching for an Ember Travel Mug ($150). The company behind the innovative thermos was running an exclusive partnership with Starbucks, so you literally couldn’t get them anywhere else. They weren’t selling them online for whatever reason, and, actually, pretty much every brick and mortar store was sold out. It was like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
Well, I eventually got my hands one and after a few weeks, I was pretty disappointed. The purpose of the thing was to keep my hot coffee at the perfect temperature “from the first sip to the last,” and it could do that, but it needed to be connected to its charging coaster. Take the thing away from it and its battery depleted so quickly that you could blink and miss it. Basically, I couldn’t travel or commute with it, which is the whole point of a thermos. Damn.
So when it came to the company’s follow-up product, the Ember Ceramic Mug ($80), I wasn’t too optimistic. In fact, I was skeptical. But the fact that it was a lot less expensive and it was picked up by the MoMA Design Store, made me want to give it a go. And I was glad I did.
The Ember Ceramic Mug, in my opinion, is a much more practical product because it doesn’t depend on a great built-in battery. The whole purpose of the thing is to keep your coffee or tea the perfect temperature, but you’re not supposed to travel with it. Instead, you just pick up the mug, take a sip of your coffee, and then place it right back down on the charging coaster. Done. It’ll keep your drink hot for however long as you like.
The way it works is super simple. After using the app to set your perfect beverage temperature — mine is 135 degrees — you simply pour your hot beverage into the mug. It’ll detect that there’s something there and your phone will get an alert it has reached your perfect temperature. It’s easy and kind of brilliant.
The mug only holds 10 ounces, which is fine, but I usually go through my first cup of coffee in less than 15 minutes, and that’s not enough time to appreciate the temperature control ability of this mug. My second (and sometimes third) cup of coffee is really when this mug comes in handy. I’m a serial microwave reheater — I take a few sips of my coffee, then, unhappy with its temperature, I throw it back in the nuker for 25 seconds. With this thing, I’m no longer a reheater.