Coffee is a beverage bound by personal preference. Some take it light and sweet. Others like it black. Still others like it with just a small splash, not a big splash, of almond milk and one-and-a-quarter packs of Splenda, thank you. As any time spent in Starbucks teaches you, coffee is almost infinitely customizable and, because of this, people can be militant in their preferences. I’m not that picky about the particulars. I prefer mine with cream and a bit of sugar, but I’ll take it anyway but black. Black coffee, especially cold brew, makes my stomach feel like I’m drinking battery acid.
What I am particular about, however, is temperature. I don’t want my coffee too hot or too cold. When I pour a cup, I’ll let it sit, steaming, until it reaches what I feel is a sipable temperature. Even if I’m desperately craving a sip, I won’t dare touch it until it settles to a warm-ish degree. If the cup sits too long and falls below this line of demarcation? Into the microwave it goes. It sounds silly — and it is — but I’ve been holding out for a mug that can maintain that ideal temperature for me. In fact, I’ve gone through scores of ceramic mugs to find the one that retains temperature best.
Well, I don’t have to hold out any longer. Recently, I bought the Ember Ceramic Mug, and I’m never drinking out of anything else. An otherwise ordinary-looking handled mug, the Ember has an integrated microprocessor-enabled heating system. Using either a companion app or a series of presets, you dial in the temperature of the 10 ounces of coffee to your personal preference. It has a range of 120°F (50°C) to 145°F, and you can also save presets for different beverages. The Ember even comes with a neat little coaster to keep the battery charged and has a subtle indicator light near the bottom. When it’s not on the coaster, you get about an hour of battery time. It can be hand washed with soap and water but is obviously not dishwasher safe.
Listen, I’ll be the first to admit that this sounds ridiculous. It’s an app-controlled coffee mug! What a silly extravagance! But I do not care. As far as I see it, a good coffee mug is as much an office necessity as a laptop. And besides: the mug works. I dial in the proper temperature (which I’ve discovered is 125 degrees), puddle around for a few minutes, wait for the app to alert me that my coffee has arrived at its intended temperature, and sip away. And when it reaches that temperature? It remains at that temperature. For a desk jockey such as myself, that’s a dream.
There’s a more complex thought process behind the Ember than allowing the neurotic to finally dial in their preferred warmth. As the website states, the average serving temperature for coffee is 160°F (scalding), yet the average preferred drinking temperature is around 135°F. At 135 degrees, you’re able to taste the true flavor of your coffee. It makes sense that, to actually enjoy those coffee beans you buy, you must sip it at that ideal temperature.
Whether due to science or singular preference, the Ember is a game changer for picky coffee drinkers. It gives me the perfect sip every time and frees me from walking over to the microwave again and again. Yeah, it’s $80. But I plan on treating it with the care one shows a sports car. It’s never leaving my side.