Is an $80 coffee mug worth it?

Do you drink beverages such as coffee, tea, or hot chocolate? I enjoy hot coffee every day, and while I am savoring it I want it to stay hot. Unfortunately, the hot decadence is momentary as it will lose temperature when the cup is around half full (or half empty for you pessimists). To me, the heat and the flavor go hand-in-hand.

Problem: How to keep hot beverages at your preferred temperature?

Until now I have used the following methods:

A plug-in coffee cup warmer. This solution slows down the rate of cooling somewhat. It’s not very effective depending on the design of your coffee mug because it only heats from the bottom.

A thermos. Zojirushi makes a great thermos that keeps coffee hot for hours. The problem with any thermos is that initially, the coffee is too hot. Then as you sip from the thermos, it gradually cools until it reaches a sweet spot. The thermos keeps coffee at the sweet spot longer than the coffee cup warmer. Unfortunately, the coffee still ends up too cool for my liking.

Microwave heating. In the office, there is a coffee machine that grinds the beans and makes a fresh cup on demand. The temperature is perfect but quickly loses steam with each passing minute. I usually put the cup in a microwave for 20 seconds to “overheat” it and prolong the inevitable. The coffee ends up momentarily too hot, and this technique only buys a few minutes. Also, reheating coffee in a microwave degrades the flavor and is a crapshoot to achieve the Goldilocks temperature.

Solution: Ember — The $80 Ceramic Smart Mug

In November 2017 the company Ember released a new ceramic smart mug. It sells online through its website and retails exclusively at Starbucks for $80.
“$80 for a coffee mug are you kidding me?!?!”

Yes, I know it sounds very pretentious. But hear me out. This mug won Time Magazine’s Best Inventions for 2017 award. Although, maybe this does not mean much since magazines have gone out like powdered wigs.

I bought the mug as a Christmas present to myself, and I am going to answer the question: Is an $80 coffee mug worth it?

What’s in the box?

What does $80 buy you? You get a very well-designed white, ceramic coffee mug, ceramic charging coaster, and power adapter. The cup weighs 0.75 lb and has a capacity of 10 oz. Upon unboxing you do two things: place it on the coaster to charge wirelessly, and pair it with your phone via Bluetooth. There is a free app for iPhone (my preference) and Android (if you must).

Turn the mug on via the power button on the bottom, and it is ready for use. It senses when you pick it up and pour liquid, and it goes to sleep when not in use. An LED light at the bottom of the mug changes color to indicate the status. Pulsing red means charging, solid green means fully charged. Pulsing white means adjusting to temperature, and solid white means perfect temperature.

The app allows you to specify the exact temperature of your beverage between 120 and 145 degrees F (50 degrees C — 62.5 degrees C). I discovered that my ideal temperature is 137 degrees F (58 degrees C).

Your questions answered

Still reeling from the price?

Is it really $80? Technically it’s $79.95 plus tax. This is the second product created by Ember. The first product released in November of 2016 is a travel mug that retails for $149.95.

How long does the battery last? It varies based on the preferred temperature, liquid temperature, and ambient temperature. For a temperature of 130 degrees F it will last about an hour. You can always keep the mug on the charging coaster as you drink and not worry about running out of battery.

How long does it take to charge the Ember? Approximately 1.5 hours.

How do I wash it? The Ember is IPX7 rated, which means it is entirely submersible under water. But it is hand-wash only, no dishwasher. And no microwave (not that you would need to).

Is an $80 coffee mug worth it?

The Ember is effective because of its design. There are heating elements in the base as well as the walls of the mug to ensure even heating. After drinking several cups of Bulletproof coffee in the Ember mug, I can confirm it works exactly as advertised.


  • Keeps a hot beverage at an exact temperature to the last drop
  • Sturdy construction
  • Charging and pairing with a phone are a breeze


  • $80!!!
  • While 10 oz is a standard size, a slightly larger mug would be ideal for me.

Is $80 a lot to spend on an admittedly first-world problem? Absolutely. But I drink coffee every day and have not found any other products that deliver the way the Ember mug does.

If you drink hot beverages every day and find it very annoying when drinks get cold, then the Ember mug is for you.

A good life is comprised of good habits. There are many health benefits to drinking coffee and tea. The Ember mug may make this experience more enjoyable, and you can decide how much that is worth to you.

The Ember ceramic coffee mug has made the list of Brandon’s Favorite Things (kinda like Oprah’s Favorite Things but far less popular but somehow more cool).

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