The Gimmicky Holiday Gift That’s Actually Made My Life 10% Better

updated May 3, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit:

I am a naturally tired person. Therefore I love coffee in the mornings, tea (and sometimes coffee) in the afternoon, and coffee with Bailey’s in the evening. One thing I do not love about drinking warm liquids is that sometimes they are mean and tricky fiends. They hurt you if you’re too eager! They turn cold if you take your time! How rude!

This is not really a Problem, but it is an Annoyance. Every time I burn my tongue on too hot liquid, first I think “Hmm… Ouch!” but then I think “Hmm… It would be nice to live in a world where this doesn’t happen.” Ten moments later, when I go to drink my coffee and my coffee has suddenly become Tepid Milky Bean Water or Iced Tea Sans Ice without my consent, I think, “Hmm… Time, you tricky devil!”

So when I first heard about Ember—the $80 ceramic Bluetooth mug that keeps your coffee at the ideal temp for as long as you please—I said, “Hmm! Someone understands and validates my plight!” I was sent one to try out, I tried it, and I thought, “Hmm this is Very Nice.”

(Image credit: Amazon)

Here’s how it works: You get the mug, you plug it in, you download an app, you sync it via Bluetooth, you pour your liquid, and you set your mug to the correct temperature that corresponds to the liquid you’re drinking on the app. They have presets for lattes, cappuccinos, coffee, black tea, and green tea.

Just hit the button and it will start heating—it sends you a notification when your liquid has hit the optimal temperature. How Nice! You begin to sip at your pace, and it will remain the same temperature from first sip to last.

And unlike a mug warmer (which are also terrific inventions), you don’t have to remember to turn it off; Ember’s heater will stop heating when you’ve finished your drink (it can tell!). It also runs on a battery, so you can take it off of the charging saucer and it will still remain heated—very useful when you have hour-long meetings!

Additionally, if and when it’s Tea Time, there’s also a built-in tea timer so you don’t mistakenly end up drinking green tea that’s way too grassy that it makes you gassy.

I did not realize until after I had been using the Ember for a week, how little coffee I actually drink. I realize I’d usually pour a full mug but only get 25 percent of the way through before it got cold. On top of the Paradox of Warm Liquids (more you drink, the cooler it gets), I like to leisurely sip. this means drinking hot coffee is a losing game. I could go and nuke it, of course, but the kitchen is on the other side of the office and I like to try to only get up from my desk four to five times a day. So even though I usually pour two cups of coffee in the a.m., I usually only get through half a cup. No wonder I’m so tired all the time!

Post-Ember, I am drinking a lot more coffee! I am a lot more awake! Is my life so much better? No. But am I maybe 10 percent happier and potentially even more productive? You betcha, Dan Harris.

Drinking hot coffee in the morning is one of the few things I love about mornings in the winter (there is not a lot to love in this hellish season), and removing some of the annoyances has made it that much nicer. I actually have stopped toting a Thermos to and from work each morning because I know the experience with my Ember mug is that good. I’m thinking of buying an extra one for home, too, because my living room and kitchen are on the opposite ends of a very, very long hallway.

I know, I know, you’re probably thinking: Why is she shilling out for this expensive coffee cup? Well, because I know a lot of people are probably flirting with the idea of getting an Ember for their friends/family members for a holiday gift or even putting it on their own list. And I want to provide my testimony to say: It’s one of the rare little niceties I’ve used that I consider worth it. As someone who used to work at Best Buy and also did a good amount of consumer tech reporting, Ember is one of the rare tech devices that doesn’t create a problem to solve. It’s not something you “didn’t know you needed,” but instead it’s something you didn’t know you deserved!