My morning doesn't start until I whip up a fresh cup of matcha (not the latte, nor the sweetened kind you get at Starbucks — just plain, straight-up matcha), before I move on to a strong cup of Irish Breakfast tea. After lunch, I'll enjoy a minty green tea before eventually transitioning to herbal varieties; I rotate among chamomile, turmeric-ginger, and peppermint. The point is, I'm a round-the-clock warm beverage B. And I just leveled up in a major way, thanks to Ember — the brand behind a hero range of high-tech, temperature-regulating drinkware, and more recently, baby bottles for the discerning bébé. As someone who takes hot bevvies very seriously, I had to see if the cozy season favorite was truly worth the hype.
Not too long ago, Ember announced the Ember Mug 2, a new and improved version of its bestselling temperature-regulating mug. (Modifications include a sleeker design and longer-lasting battery.) My first impression of the mug was that I was surprised at how much it felt like a regular mug — not a clunky piece of home tech. The smooth ceramic exterior felt like something you'd find at ABC Home & Kitchen, and the entire mug felt light and easy to hold. (The heating mechanism appears to be in the base of the mug, but doesn't add a ton of weight.)
Unboxing the Ember Mug was like unpackaging an iPod. The box was super sleek, and perfectly nestled everything from the mug itself to the charging coaster. (The Sandstone colorway is extremely chic, and feels very Japandi, IMO.) It even came with a set of stickers, which for those who've ever unboxed any Apple products, felt very Apple. The instructions told me to start by charging up the mug and the charging coaster to full battery. While I let that do its thing, I downloaded the Ember app on my phone — this is how you can control the temperature of your beverage down to the exact degree. (You can also customize the color of your LED light on the mug, which is a fun, albeit not very useful feature.)
After pairing my mug (the whole process took less than five minutes, even with me messing up twice before getting it right), I filled it up with what was left of my morning matcha that I'd made an hour before. Using the app, I toggled the dial on my phone to 120°. The temperature read when I poured the lukewarm tea was hovering around 85°, but it crept up over the course of maybe three minutes. I got a push notification on my phone when my desired temp had been reached and picked up my mug for a sip. It tasted as though my Love Island beau had just fetched it for me while I got ready. (FYI, the Ember Mug has a temperature range of 120°F to 145°F.)
Next, I brewed a fresh cup of tea directly in my Ember mug. After pouring the boiling water, I got a piping-hot read of 204° and set my mug to maintain the temperature at 130° after it had cooled down a bit. Unlike most of the other mugs in my collection, the exterior of the Ember wasn't so hot that I couldn't comfortably hold it. Even as I took breaks to write this review, the temperature never dipped below a comfortable, warm sip. According to the brand, the mug maintains the chosen temperature for up to 90 min with the 10 oz mug or 80 min with the 14 oz size. (Alternatively, you can leave it on the included charging coaster to hold the temperature indefinitely — but who takes that long to finish a cup of coffee?)
A product like the Ember Mug is one that you kind of need to try in order to "get" it; after a week with mine (which was graciously sent to me from the brand for testing), it's become a part of my daily routine. It's eliminated the problem of tea getting cold, and even my coffee snob fiancé admitted that it was pretty cool. (Since he is a constantly on-the-go doctor, I'm considering Ember's travel-friendly Tumbler for an A+ holiday gift this year.) At $149.95 for the 14-ounce Mug (or $129.95 for the 10-ounce), it's a luxury product at a luxury price. Is it a necessity? Absolutely not. But is it my personal life upgrade of the year? I'd be lying if I said it wasn't...
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