If you’re trying to be good and stop using throw-away cups, thermal travel cups seem like a good idea, that is until you go to drink an hour later and find that it’s still far too hot to sip. Fortunately, technology is here to help, in the form of the Ember Travel Mug. It rapidly cools your drink to your desired temperature, then kicks in a battery-powered heater to keep it at the perfect temperature.
It works brilliantly, looks stylish and is a great present for anyone serious about their coffee or other hot drinks, but it is quite expensive.
The Ember Travel Mug looks and acts like a stylish travel mug, but it is a bit tall
Look at the Ember Travel Mug from the outside and it appears to be a standard travel mug. Available in black or white with a soft-touch finish on both, this is a stylish and easy-to-grip travel mug.
In most respects, it acts exactly like any other travel mug, too. Unscrew the lid and you can fill it up with hot drinks, to a maximum capacity of 355ml, which is marked on the inside. The only minor problem is that standing at 200mm, the Ember Travel Mug is a little on the tall side and won’t fit under all commercial coffee machines easily. At my local coffee place, the barista had to take out the wire rack in the drip tray to get the Ember to fit.
Once full, the lid goes back on and forms a watertight seal around the top. Just press the disc in the middle to open it up and you can drink easily: I didn’t get any mess from the cup when drinking.
When you’re done, the mug can be washed in the sink and you can put the lid in the dishwasher if you prefer, but I found it easier to wash the whole lot by hand.
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Once you’ve got a hot drink the Ember Travel Mug comes into its own
Once your mug is full (and provided you’ve charged it on the provided dock), the Ember Travel Mug starts to show what it’s made of. All you have to do is hold your finger on the Ember logo to turn it on.
Then, you can grip the base of the mug and spin it to set the desired temperature that you want, within the range of 50C to 62.5C. Your last temperature is remembered so that you don’t have to follow this step each time.
Now, the intelligence comes in. Rather than having a traditional insulated sidewall, the Ember Travel Mug is filled with a Phase Change Material, which is designed to draw heat out of your drink quickly, rapidly cooling it down.
Then, the temperature sensors kick in, and the battery-powered heater comes on to keep your drink at the temperature you’ve set. It works brilliantly, too. A hot cafe americano served at 80C was drinkable within 15 minutes, cooled to my preferred 55C. This temperature was maintained from the first sip to last thanks to the heater inside.
You get about two hours of use out of a single charge (the external temperature and set temperature affect this), although if you place it on its charger, you get all-day use out of it. Two hours doesn’t sound like a lot, but I found that it was enough for me to enjoy two drinks per day.
Between drinks, I turned the mug off by holding the touch-sensitive Ember logo for a few seconds.
The Ember Travel Mug has an app, which you can use for your favourite settings
There’s an app that connects to the Ember Travel Mug via Bluetooth. It lets you set the temperature on the mug, and gives you presets for some common drinks including Black Tea (58.5C), Coffee (57C) and Latte (55C). You can override all of these presets with your preferred settings and add your own.
As useful as this is, I found that it was far easier to manually set the temperature using the dial at the bottom.
You can also get a notification from the app when your drink has reached your desired temperature, although I found this feature wasn’t that reliable. Typically, I’d get the alert some time after my drink had hit the right level.
Should I buy the Ember Travel Mug?
The Ember Travel Mug makes more sense, to me, than the Ember Ceramic Mug, which is designed for indoor use only. Inside, I can typically drink a coffee before needing a heater to maintain the ideal temperature.
When I’m out and about, I find that it takes me longer to finish a drink and that standard insulated cups keep my coffee too hot. The Ember Travel Mug solves both of those issues, maintaining my drink at the perfect temperature.
For some people, two hours of battery doesn’t sound like much, but the Ember Travel Mug is designed to keep your drink at the right temperature while you drink it; it’s not a thermal flask that you can use all day to pour out regular cups.
The main issue is the price, and £149.95 for a travel mug is a lot. Yet, nothing else offers the same features and if you want your hot drink at the perfect temperature, the Ember Travel Mug is brilliant.