Why I'll only drink coffee from this $150, Android-connected mug

How much would you pay to keep your coffee hot for up to two hours? If you said $150 — well you're a little crazy. But that's what I spent on the Ember Mug. (OK, I spent more than that. I'll explain in a minute.)

Here's the gist: Ember Mug is, first and foremost, a mug. And it's a really good mug. (Damn well better be for $150.) The feel of the thing is great, from the soft-touch coating to the position of the "shoulder." And the 360-degree, spring-loaded lid is brilliant.

That's not what makes this thing $150, though.

No, what makes the Ember Mug ridiculously expensive for a coffee mug is what's tucked into the bottom of it. Mainly, a battery, heating element and Bluetooth radio.

This is a smart mug.

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OK, here's the real gist. ... Ember Mug has this "phase change cooling system" thing that helps bring it down from scalding to something more survivable, and then keep the temperature wherever you choose. Well, between 120 degrees and 145 degrees, anyway. You tap the logo on the mug to turn it on, then twist the bottom of the mug to set the temperature, with a little hidden dot-matrix-style display showing you what's what.

Me? I'm liking things at about 135 degrees. Some quick (unscientific) testing at home points to the mug being accurate within a couple degrees or so, which is good enough for me.

By the way — yes, the mug will heat room-temperature water just fine, but it's not terribly quick about it, and that definitely eats at the battery. This really is meant to keep hot things hot, not to reheat cool things.

Yes, this is more than a little bourgeois. But it's also very good.

And of course there's an app. (Because how did you ever drink coffee without an app, right?) The app has presets for various drinks — coffee, tea, latte, etc. And you can use it to set a custom name on the mug, and to update the mug's firmware. (Because how did you ever drink coffee without updated firmware, right?) It's the same experience on Android (opens in new tab) as it is on iOS (opens in new tab). Or you can forget the previous sentences and just drink hot coffee from your $150 electric mug like a semi-normal person.

One sort-of major headache with this thing, though. If you want to use your Ember Mug at more than one location — say, at home and at the office — you're going to need a second charger, right? The good news there is that Ember sells spare chargers for exactly this purpose, for another $40. That brings you up to $190 for the mug and a spare charger. (Plus the $18 in shipping I paid for said extra charger. WTF.)

On the other hand, if you're the sort of person who has to have a $150 smart heating coffee mug in the first place, maybe that's not so bad.

You can pick one up inside of a Starbucks store, at Ember's site (opens in new tab), or at the link below.

See at Amazon

Phil Nickinson
  • No no I'm good..
  • +1
  • For those wondering, it holds 12 flozzes (350ml) and weighs just over a pound (475grams) when empty.
  • And I thought the $30 YETI tumblers was crazy.
  • You gotta be kidding! And I'm not! 🙄
  • I love gadgets, and toys, and it's cool that this was posted because I'd a of never known about it. But I have a $10 Contigo cup that keeps coffee hot for 4-5 hours and warm for another 3-4. I cannot see a big market for this. But still, it's cool and I love that Phil loves it lol.
  • I had a Stanley thermos that would do that, and it got driven over on a jobsite and still worked for years. Cost $20
  • Yeah I've had a few of those - with the stainless steel liner - not the glass ones - the glass liner always broke.
  • I would use this if someone got it for me. I would never buy one for anywhere near that price.
  • Wally from Dilbert invented this a few weeks ago.
  • Phil has more $$ than sense lol so please phil send me a s8 + when you feel the need to splurge. Lol.
  • I'll second that, anytime your pocket/wallet feels too thick just send a few dollars this way :)
  • I know it is still April but wasn't the 1st 12 days ago?
  • Ye Gods! What will they think of next!?
  • Sounds like Festool owns Ember. As much for accessories as for the tool.
  • This is starting to get outta hand
  • Just buy a vacuum sealed tumbler keep hot beverages hot and cold beverages cold for up to five or six hours
  • Phil is looking great! Lost some weight. Good to see :-)
  • You guys are missing the best feature! Coffee can be tongue-burning hot for an hour in those other thermos type containers. This COOLS IT DOWN to the perfect temperature! I'd pay 20 bucks for it.
  • Ever go through a drive up Barista - drive off - and take your first swig of coffee and ten seconds later - feel a flap of skin hanging down from the top of your mouth ? Damn that was some hot scalding coffee... Yes sir...
  • I'll stick to being a peasant, thanks!! I have another method for this it's called "Leave it to cool down before you drink it", anyone can use this and it doesn't require a $150 glorified coffee mug to do it!!!!
  • SO what we REALLY need is a lid that will replace the lid on the $10 Contigo mugs, with the sole purpose of cooling it down to a respective temp, letting us know, and then letting us drink it without it being in the way. Someone go do that. I would pay $20 for the lid that does this.
  • Exactly, $150 for what is just a coffee mug is for those with more money than sense.
  • I will stick with my sensible priced Contigo mug....
  • So what household appliances are left that are still not connected to our phones? I call dibs on the Blu-Broom brand name:
  • Smart water closets are well on their way. One company in seattle is trying to introduce smart tampons to the market as well.
  • To reach their own. I don't even like coffee or tea so I cannot honestly pretend to understand how important the temperature is for the drinkers of these beverages.
  • What about hot chocolate/cocoa?
  • Not a fan, but if $150 mug does it for you, then congratulations. $150 is a lot cheaper than $5K for a device(s) that people grow tired of having. Personally I'm a fan of tossing disposable cups in the trash instead of cleaning therm. Just as sure as I am that someone will be along shortly to criticize my admitted anthropogenic contributions, I'm also sure I've spent well over $150 on these. I'm sure if you were to peer into my life and look at some of the costs I've sunk into comfort items, there would definitely be items that would appear ridiculous at face value.
  • Is Bluetooth actually key to how it functions? Sure you can update its firmware but why? It would be much cheaper if it didn't have Bluetooth, and didn't have an app, and just kept your coffee warm.
  • can't live without tea and coffee,
    and my idea of multi-tasking is drinking coffee while using a mobile.. but i can't get past wtf... no no and definitely no.
  • My Zojurushi will literally keep ice ice for 3 - 4 days with very little melt. It'll keep hot things hot for a full day, easily. It cost me less than $30. I'm good. :-) Though, this thing *IS* neat. If it were $150 and came with heading AND cooling, then maybe I'd be insane enough to buy it. Hahaha....
  • Came here to post the same. Love my Zojirushi mug!!
  • stupid
  • Phil, I know there's plenty of smh...omg...wtf...comments on here about the mug, and its price. But, I've got an ACTUAL question about it - I saw in the video how you can "easily" set the temperature on the mug by spinning the wheelie thing on the base of the mug. But, this also looks like something I could easily spin accidentally, like while taking it in and out of the cupholder in the car. So, can you "lock" the temp somehow, once you've set it?
  • Seems like they should have just put a USB-C port in the bottom of the mug so we could just charge it with whatever charger we wanted. Probably would keep the costs of the overall package down.
  • I think that I'll stick with my $11 RTIC mug that keeps my coffee perfect for a solid 3 hours and tolerable for 4 hours.
  • This is ridiculous. Get a bloody thermo cup for 10 quid
  • Love the shirt. The WWW is my favorite podcast!
  • The problem is, it doesn't take that long to drink a cup of coffee. I mean, so what its at 150 degrees on the last sip, a temp you seriously don't want when you chug the last sip. You spent 150 dollars for the privilege, and I don't think so. Who priced this thing, HTC? Anyway, I love my coffee and my 17 dollar Contigo seems to be doing my coffee just right. I'll pass.
  • No statement on whether it's dishwasher safe?