Unnecessary Technology: Ember

“I like my hot drinks hot, and my cold drinks cold.” I say as I walk back to my desk carrying an extra-hot-white-chocolate-mocha and an ice water.

When it comes to drink temperatures, I only like the extremes.

My friends and coworkers know this. Which led to me being (re)gifted an Ember ceramic mug after my coworker was gifted one at a conference. [Before I say anything else, I first want to say that I appreciate the kindhearted gesture of my coworker to give me his gift and think of me.] Conceptually, this mug is perfect for me.

If you don’t know what an Ember mug is or why it’s special, well, it’s a mug that keeps the drink at whatever temperature you desire. Cool (or should I say ‘hot’), right? Well, ehhh, I’m not so sure.

the Ember ceramic mug

Since I like to complain about things, let me start off by listing out my issues with this mug:

  • The app doesn’t do anything other than show you the temperature you set your mug at. I don’t really know what more I was expecting it to do, but just having an app to say that I want my coffee at 145 degrees seems like a waste of space on my small and sad iPhone 6.
  • The saucer the mug sits on is technically just a charging tray. Why not be able to plug the mug directly into a power source? Why need the saucer at all? On that note, the mug has a power button, that is literally only used once (to initially turn it on); seems like a waste on a button.
  • It runs out of battery immediately. It seems like every time I take it off that little charging saucer, I get a push notification from the app saying that it’s low on battery (oh yeah, so that’s two things the app is good for).
  • The cord for the charging saucer is insanely long. Self explanatory & randomly weird. Why do I need 10 feet of cord for the charging tray? Where on earth should I be placing the tray that I need that much cord to get back to an outlet? What am I missing here? How am I doing this wrong?
  • The liquid at the bottom of the mug is insanely hotter than the liquid at the top. This just makes sense science wise to me (I’m not very smart when it comes to science). The battery/heater is at the bottom of the mug, so that liquid gets heated faster. It doesn’t really disperse temperature as much as I would expect, and I always take a huge gulp of coffee and burn myself unexpectedly because the bottom coffee is so hot.
  • You can’t put it in the microwave. This is kind of common sense that you can’t put a battery holding product in the microwave, but sometimes I just want my drink hot now; not in three minutes.
  • I keep thinking I’m going to electrocute myself when I wash it. Since there is a power button and a charging piece on the bottom of the mug, every time I get it wet, I think I’m going to die. It’s an irrational fear, I know, but still seems like it’s going to at least shock me or something. (FYI – I have washed it three times, and nothing has happened yet.)

Now that I got that off my chest and all complaints aside, this mug actually works.

As much as I like to complain about small annoyances and first world problems, this actually heats up my coffee and keeps it hot as long as there is liquid in the cup. I now always finish my whole cup of coffee because it never cools down to the point that I don’t want to drink it. And, drinking more coffee makes me feel like I’m being more efficient and less wasteful. I love it.

But, since I complained a lot, I do want to mention the things that I actually like, so let’s bullet those out as well:

  • It’s cute. I mean, look at the picture of it up on my desk in the little corner on it’s little saucer. It’s sleek. It’s a good looking mug.
  • It does what it is meant to do: it keeps drinks hot, or at whatever temperature you want them to be at.
  • I can brag to my coworkers about how technologically advanced I am. I have a water bottle that measures my water intake and a mug that keeps my coffee hot. I totally have the liquid ingestion products covered.

So really, Ember, you may not be unnecessary at all. You completely solved my problem of lame, cold coffee. And even though I get annoyed with you, it’s ok, you have a permanent home at my desk.