Have you heard of Ember before, the digital coffee cup? Well, they’ve been around for some time, I’ve never tried one of their temperature-controlled cups before and I always thought, what’s the point. If I’ve made a nice cup of coffee, tea or another hot drink, why am I not drinking it within 10-15minutes before it gets cold? At home, It wouldn’t happen, I’m drinking that coffee, but in the office, you get distracted, start chatting to people, and your drink could get cold. Anyway, I have their new 6oz or 180ml Ember cup here, I’ve been using it over the last couple of weeks and here are my thoughts.
Let’s start at the beginning and in its simplest form, this cup has a heating element at the base of it, that you can control and adjust, with the aim of keeping your hot drink hot for a more extended period of time when compared to a regular cup.
Out of the box, it looks like a regular cup, although plastic, not china and it doesn’t include a handle, which I’m a fan of. This is the 6oz model, which will hold about 180ml of liquid but if that isn’t enough, Ember does a 10oz and 14oz version too. Matte black finish throughout with some subtle branding and there is also a copper edition available if black isn’t your thing. The cup roughly weighs about the same as a china cup, maybe a little bit more or if you’re used to using glass cups, it will feel quite a lot heavier. On the underside of the cup, you’ll see a single push button used to turn it on and then around the outside, two metallic rings which when connected to the base plate, charges the cup. The base plate looks like a QI charging dock, it too is black and needs to be plugged into your socket on the wall with the provided transformer. This is a specific power lead, not USB, so you cant plug this into your PC if you wanted the dock on your desk, you’d have to find a socket.
If like me, you’re probably thinking how is this safe with liquids, how do I clean it and so forth. Well the cup itself is fully waterproof and can be washed in the sink like any other cup and you don’t need to worry about the button or power rings. However, this cannot be put in the dishwasher, nor would I leave it to soak in a sink of bubbly water. Use it, clean it, dry it. The baseplate cannot be washed, but it shouldn’t need washing, it’s purely a charging dock. With electronics inside the cup, it cannot go in the microwave, the components will get fried if it does.
Before using the cup for the first time, you need to charge it fully, then download the official Ember app and connect to the cup. Charging isnt the quickest, it takes well over an hour to charge and you’ll know it’s charging or fully charged by the colour of the indicator light on the cup. Green means it’s fully changed and ready to go. Once charged, you can pair your smart device to the cup via Bluetooth and you will have to create an account with Ember to use the cup.
Out of the box, the cup will keep your drink at 57c for an hour and a half. However, this can be changed within the app. When in the app, the cup knows if it’s got liquid in or not, and what temperature said liquid is. From there, you can set your desired temperature and when or if your liquid gets to that temperature, the cup will already be warm enough to maintain the liquid at the set temperature. For example, I put a fresh coffee in and it says 65c, the app will note this, but then I’ve just used the cappuccino preset which is set to 56c, so when my coffee naturally cools down to 56c, the cup then takes over and keeps my coffee at that temperature for up to an hour and a half. You’ll be notified by the app when the temperature has been met or If you walk away from your smart device, the indicator light on the cup will stay solid when the target temperature has been reached.
That temperature figure can be adjusted manually or a number of default presets can be used and/or adjusted to suit. Presets include latte, cappuccino, coffee, black and green tea, all with slightly different temperature figures varying between 55 to 59c. These can be renamed and adjusted or you can create new presets. Below the presets, there is a tea timer and the idea is to put your hot water in and tea, set the timer and then when the alert goes off, your tea has brewed and is ready to go. Again, these can be modified to suit your preferences. Manual temperature control starts at 50c and goes up to 62.5degrees.
Within the app you can do a few other bits too including changing the colour of the indicator light, viewing battery level, changing the units from Celsius to Fahrenheit and also pushing out firmware updates, which I had to do upon first use and it was a breeze.
So what’s it actually like to drink from, to use and does it keep your drink hot. Yeh, it does and it does it surprisingly well. For two weeks, at least one coffee a day, sometimes more, I used the cup and in some instances, I drank it too quickly for the cup to kick in but in others, I left it and it remained hot for a long time. Temperature-wise, It’s fairly accurate, I think, within a degree or two difference between what the cup and app are telling me, versus a traditional thermometer put into the coffee. I left the cup for well over an hour and a half, and the temperature was consistent until the battery ran out, and it did. I got a notification on my phone saying the battery was low, aka time to drink your drink. The battery lasted for longer than stated and far long enough in my opinion. If you think the coffee will stay warm for maybe 10 minutes anyway or it’ll take that long to get down to the set temperature, then add on another 90 minutes, that’s quite a long time.
As a product and the tech involved, I think it’s fantastic. The app is intuitive, very easy to use and it just works. The cup is just about big enough for a coffee or tea, it’s well constructed and insulated, so even if your drink is 70c, you can still pick the cup up and not think, it’s too hot to hold. I like the appearance, and the modern look but the matte finish shows my fingerprints easily and there is a warning in the instructions that the coating can be scratched. Cleaning wasn’t a problem but I was careful and the longevity of the project is questionable, I’ll keep using this for a year and see if the battery life and temperature control diminish at all.
This is a small cup, a small amount of coffee, why am I not drinking this within 10 – 15minutes of making it? I had to purposefully leave my coffee, just looking at it, waiting for it to cool for the cup to kick in. For me, I cant see myself leaving a drink long enough to use the cup, and that’s something you need to consider too. Ember do a mug and a travel cup too, which makes more sense to me as both will have a larger quantity of liquid, meaning more chance of it being left or it getting cold. The Ember Cup retails are £99 here in the UK, so this is an investment and if you feel you’d use this daily, it could be great, it could save you throwing away lukewarm drinks and making new ones, or you might drink it too quickly and never really use it…
For more info and to purchase, head over to the official Ember website.
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