The self-heating Ember Mug 2 actually makes me drink less coffee, ironically

Ember Mug 2 on a wooden table with the TechRadar Smart Ideas tag
(Image credit: Future)

Since 2017, Ember's range of mugs, cups, and recently, tumblers has changed how we enjoy our morning brew. 

Using Ember's app, you can customize the exact temperature you best enjoy your favorite hot beverages, and the mug will maintain the heat. The app has a host of presets to make sure your beverage is never over- or under-heated and even has a timer to make sure your tea is perfectly steeped.

It's a fantastically simple "set it and forget it" style device that blends seamlessly into your daily life – so long as you don't mind hand-washing the non-dishwasher-friendly mug. It's also the perfect accompaniment to one of the best coffee makers.


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However, it comes at a cost. The mug comes in two sizes, 14oz / 414ml (US and UK only) and 10oz / 295ml, which are $149.95 / £149.95 and $129.95 / £129.95 / AU$220 respectively.

A host of brands have jumped on the bandwagon so there are plenty of options out there now, including more affordable self-heating mugs. Ember, however, still reigns supreme as a fan favorite so I was excited to get my hands on one to test a few months ago.

If you're as forgetful as I am, a self-heating mug could be a real boon. I'd say on average, I finish half of the drinks I make. But since trying out the Ember Mug 2 for the last few months, it's made a real difference to how I consume my hot drinks.

But is it enough to look past the lofty price tag?

Coffee takes time, and time is money

Abstract though it may be, a line from one of my all-time favorite poems, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot, speaks to why I like the Ember Mug 2 as much as I do; "I have measured out my life in coffee spoons". 

It's not exactly a cheery poem (none of the best poems are), but in particular, this line notes the time we waste in our life on repeated, menial tasks; and one the first things I noticed when using the Ember Mug 2 as my primary vessel for teas and coffees was how much time I was saving. 

I tend to drink three to four hot drinks on an average day working from home, and considering I end up barely or only half-finishing them, I spend a lot of time rewashing my mugs, making another drink, and even buying copious amounts of coffee to substitute how much of it is wasted on a regular basis.

But it's not just replacing the unfinished drinks that takes time; having the Ember Mug actually makes me drink, and enjoy my teas and coffees a lot more slowly, meaning I've trimmed back to just one or two drinks a day. 

It might seem small, but to someone like me who feels like they lose so much time every day to forgetfulness or repetitive tasks, it can make a world of difference - ten minutes a day quickly turns to hours every month, and even days over the course of a few years.

Ember Mug 2 base on a table

(Image credit: Future)

There's a lot going for the Ember Mug outside of the time-saving aspect, from its easy charging to its slick design and excellent performance. However, it's probably the most expensive mug you'll ever buy at $129.95 / £149.95 / ‎AU$220 – especially if you're a UK customer.

While it's robust, the Ember Mug isn't especially future-proofed; the battery isn't removable, so if it breaks or otherwise expires, the whole mug needs replacing. You can buy a replacement charging plate, but they're pretty expensive too at $39.95 / £39.95 / $70.

There's a few small niggles otherwise; if you leave the last sip of your drink in the mug, it invariably burns, and every now and then there's a brief software issue. I also can't fathom why Ember didn't use wireless charging technology, as the live pins used in the coaster charger are easily damaged or broken.

Ultimately, it depends on how affordable the Ember mug is for you, and then how much time you stand to save or how useful it would be in the long run. One thing's for sure: Ember definitely took hot beverages to new heights when it released its first self-heating devices.

For me, the Ember Mug 2 is almost definitely worth it; a couple of days worth of time saved over a year gives me a whole lot of time to procrastinate doing all the other things I could be doing.

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Josephine Watson
Managing Editor, Lifestyle

Josephine Watson (@JosieWatson) is TechRadar's Managing Editor - Lifestyle. Josephine has previously written on a variety of topics, from pop culture to gaming and even the energy industry, joining TechRadar to support general site management. She is a smart home nerd, as well as an advocate for internet safety and education, and has also made a point of using her position to fight for progression in the treatment of diversity and inclusion, mental health, and neurodiversity in corporate settings. Generally, you'll find her watching Disney movies, playing on her Switch, or showing people pictures of her cats, Mr. Smith and Heady.