The Ember mug on my desk next to my water bottle, microphone and keyboard. It's on the left hand side of the desk.

Figure 1: The mug on my desk


I was recently whining to a friend about how my Honeybush Tea always ends up cold and I end up always going back to warm it up over the course of a day. They mentioned they were gifted an Ember Mug (link) recently and suggested it is actually worth looking into. Despite my initial hesitations, I’m not upset by the purchase. When the nerds that avoid smart tech admit they were wrong, it’s something worth looking at closer.

It seems we both were wrong.

What the hell?


Note the ‘almost always’.

The Ember mug is one of these times. It looks like a wildly silly idea on paper (trust me, I still think it’s absurd and I’m drinking from one I bought of my own volition with my own money as I type this). Despite looking silly, it works. It works really, really, really well.

It keeps the contents of the mug warm, at temp and gets the hell out of your way. It also works as a ‘dumb mug’ that’s decently insulated too so if it fails I still have a servicable mug I can use.

Why do I want one?

There are two big reasons:

  1. It tells you the temp of the liquid inside the mug. No more burned mouth.
  2. If you sip on a warm liquid like honeybush or rooibus tea all day, you likely want it warm. I don’t care for cold honeybush tea so I try to keep it warm all day as I sip on it.

The Ember mug solves that problem. It keeps liquids warm and in a pinch can warm liquids up to temp if you’re willing to sacrifice some battery to the cause.

Tea/Water At Scale

Since this is my blog and few reading this will know my liquid consumption habits: I drink a minimum of 64oz of liquids a day. That’s a minimum, it can be as high as 128oz if I’m particularly thirsty.

Thats a lot of liquids. You’re basically always sipping away at something during the course of a day. Because of this fact you learn real quick which liquids are safe to sip on all day long. My picks are water and Honeybush tea from Upton Tea (link).

Now that you know I consume large amounts of liquids and the general volume, let’s talk about why the hell I’d be writing about a coffee mug with electronic brains. That’s so far out of character it’ll make my mutuals heads explode.

Honeybush Tea

One perk to preferring honeybush tea is that it can be steeped for 18 hours straight safely. Basically in the morning I refill my tea ball, drop it in a travel mug and add boiling water. As I drink all day I keep refilling it as needed.

This stuff fuels my liquid intake so much I buy honeybush tea by the /kilo/gram.

Daily Use

My daily use of the Ember is the same as any other travel mug with a big exception: I no longer always seek out hot water. If there is enough battery I can add any water to the mug and over time it’ll get up to temp.

I also have charging pads at my work desk, couch end table and night stand. The three spots I’m most likely to be sipping on my tea most often.

The best part is that if the battery dies it’s just a simple travel mug. I can continue on with my life like a non-event happened.


I have used my mug with coffee. It works fine. My only issue is that over the course of a day you still have to refresh the coffee or you’ll end up with a mug full of concentrated coffee.


Tea works as good as coffee for the ones that can only be steeped for limited periods. Teas that can steep all day are a huge win with the Ember. Especially the rooibus and honeybush varieties.

I’d suggest: use the Ember for teas that can steep all day without getting too strong. It’s as if the Ember was designed to have a tea ball in the bottom and then topped off all day long. “This changes everything”

Battery Life

Honestly. I haven’t bothered paying attention or caring much. If my drink is warm enough, I don’t notice. I’m also almost guaranteed to be by a charger once a day. I just charge it on the pad whenever I’m by one.

Mobile App

The mobile app is a temperature control and updater. There is also a way to lock the temperature so the touch controls for temperature have no effect. This is the extent of my poking around the app.

I don’t use it outside of firmware updates and to lock the temperature so it can’t be changed by accident.


A number of updates were laying in wait for me upon pairing my mug. I only applied them as I don’t trust heaters. I’d prefer get updates in case anything in the firmware related to safety pops up.

Touch Controls

The touch controls are nice. They work better than most, are documented and straight forward and easy to remember.

I really only use the controls for power and seeing the current temp after adding boiling water.

Final Thoughts

If you think the above fits your desires or you sip on a tea (or similar!) all day: definitely consider an Ember.

It’s silly. It works great. Does it matter?

See also