Ember Mug 2 Review

Pure unashamed extravagance meets pure unashamed joy.

Why does tea only have a 2 minute window where it’s the right temperature to drink and enjoy? It’s a question I’ve asked myself and those I’ve worked with far too many times before. We’ve all been there, you make a tea and promptly forget you’ve made it, only to discover an ice cold mug on your desk half an hour later.

The Ember Mug 2 is the solution to that problem, the latest generation of the brand’s self warming smart mugs that aims to stop you ever pouring another cold coffee down the sink. It’s not a cheap solution though, starting at £129 it’s the very definition of a luxury purchase but is it all worth it for the perfect cup of coffee every time?

simply put

For hot drink aficionados who can stomach the cost, the Ember Mug 2 is a game changer that’ll keep your hot drinks hot all day.

the good bits

Flawlessly holds drinks at temperature
Reserved but elegant design
Comfortable to hold
Clever automatic on/off functionality

the not so good bits

Overwhelmingly expensive
Not dishwasher safe
Charging coaster could be improved

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Ember Mug 2 Temperature Control Smart Mug


For a mug with so much going on inside, from the outside the Ember Mug 2 is a pretty simple affair. It’s a mug that looks exactly like a mug, but that’s to its credit. There’s always a risk that smart devices will insist on forcing their smartness on you with pointlessly outlandish designs or out of place RGB lighting; thankfully that’s not the case with the Ember Mug 2. 

If anything, the Ember Mug 2 strays towards the other end of the design spectrum. With a simple, timeless shape and only one subtle Ember logo on the side, you’d be forgiven for thinking this was a standard mug. Just one small LED status bar subtly glowing towards the base of the mug starts to give away the tech magic that’s going on around your brew. That’s not to say the Ember Mug 2 is boring though, particularly if you opt for one of the punchy Metallic Collection finishes instead of the standard white, black or grey ceramic coated options, it’s just classy and understated. 

You’ll find two sizes on offer and although the 414ml option will set you back an extra £20 on an already eyewateringly expensive mug, I’d recommend it. I’ve been road testing the 295ml variant and while it’s not too small to the point of being an issue, it’s smaller than I’d like for a standard latte or tea. For reference, a medium latte from Costa clocks in at 340ml so while I know it’s expensive, just get the bigger one.

The Ember Mug 2 is wonderful to hold though, the finish of the black ceramic version I’m testing feels luxe and suitably premium with a handle that’s just the right size and shape to comfortably fit three fingers in for a secure grip. The base of the mug houses a large power button that you’ll likely only ever press once along with a pair of contact charging rings and a rubberised outer ring that nicely softens the impact of placing it down on a hard surface. Everything about the design of the Ember Mug 2 is really nicely considered.

Whichever colour you choose you’ll also receive a charging coaster in the same finish. The quality takes a downward turn here though and it feels at odds with the high class finish of the Ember Mug 2 itself. It’s an all plastic affair for the coaster and it feels distinctly hollow and lightweight in comparison to the solid sturdiness of the Mug 2. I’ve also found the matte black finish is an absolute fingerprint magnet, something that thankfully doesn’t affect the Mug 2 itself. You’re limited to using a mains wall adapter and there’s no USB charging capability, an odd choice for a device that’ll likely spend most of its time next to a computer.


The Ember Mug 2 isn’t supposed to be a pleasant paperweight though, it’s got a job to do and given the £129+ price tag it’s a job it needs to do incredibly well. And here’s the thing, as far as keeping hot drinks hot; the Ember Mug 2 does its job incredibly well.

I’m exactly the target market for the Ember Mug 2; I make a tea, think ‘oh I’ll just write this paragraph while it cools’ and then 800 words later my tea remains cold and untouched. Not anymore. In fact, I made a coffee just before sitting down to write this review and two thirds of it is still in the Ember Mug 2 on the desk beside me at exactly the same temperature it was when I started. It just works and I’m very impressed. The relatively small volume of this 295ml does catch me off guard quite often though, a thick base on the Ember Mug 2 means it always looks like you have more drink left than you actually do. It’s always a small moment of disappointment thinking I have a few good sips left but look down to a now empty mug.

There’s a certain magic feeling about this everlasting hot tea but the execution of getting there is incredibly simple. Since first turning on the Ember Mug 2 to set it up for the first time I’ve not had to use it any differently to a normal mug. It knows when I add a hot liquid and turns itself on to keep it at 57 degrees and it’ll turn itself off again when it’s empty. It’s not recommended, but the Ember Mug 2 will even reheat beverages below your target temperature and hold them there too. At its most basic functional level I can’t fault the Ember Mug 2, it does exactly what it says on the tin.

Ember says it’ll take around two hours for the Ember Mug 2 to charge from empty but in some casual testing I found this tended to fluctuate pretty wildly. Sometimes it seemed to rapidly charge in around an hour and other times the percentage barely seemed to move. Battery usage was more consistent, though perhaps a little less than Ember’s 1.5 hour claim. Keeping it on the charging coaster offers all day heat though and despite Ember’s own claims to the contrary I found it would happily charge while also keeping my drink hot. I’m a little nervous about the lifespan of the two spring-loaded pins and would rather have seen some kind of Qi wireless charging solution, but so far I’ve had no issues aligning the mug on the coaster. Even without paying much attention to where I’m placing it down, the relatively deep cutout in the Ember charging coaster meant the Mug 2 largely self-aligned itself in the base; neatly done.

The Ember app is charmingly laid out and simple to use with a lack of clutter and intuitive interface across each screen. It’s not technically required, the mug itself comes preconfigured to detect liquids and keep them at 57 degrees but it’s worth having the app installed, even if it’s just to keep an eye on battery levels or play with more custom temperatures. The only issue I encountered with the app was unreliable notifications for my drink reaching my preferred temperature, sometimes they worked and sometimes they didn’t; not that it’s a huge problem because the mug held my drink at the same temperature anyway.

The quest for constantly hot coffee is not without a few other quirks as a result too, most of which we can thank science for, but they’re little irritations nonetheless. On a couple of colder days I noticed a thin skin had developed on top of a milky drink that had been in the Ember Mug 2 for the best part of an hour, a bit like a caffeinated rice pudding, which is not really what you want to be drinking. I also found the last 15-20% of any drink appears to become noticeably hotter than the app reports, never to an undrinkable level but enough to raise an eyebrow. You’re also limited to handwashing only and while it can be fully submerged in a bowl of washing up this just didn’t feel right to me so it’s been a solo hand wash for this Ember Mug 2 so far.

summed up

The Ember Mug 2 is the concept of first world problems come to life in a physical form. It’s an unashamedly extravagant item that nobody really needs but having now used for a few weeks is an item I’d be disappointed to have to live without. 

There is room for improvement in a couple of minor areas, faster charging and an all-round upgraded charging coaster being the main items on my wishlist, but with one job to keep hot drinks hot, it passes with flying (largely brown) colours.