The Next Generation of Travel Mugs

During the cold State College winter, I frequently enjoy hot beverages like tea or coffee to keep warm. There is nothing like seeing Au Bon Pain in the distance after trekking across campus in a negative degree windchill. The steaming hot cinnamon spice tea from Au Bon Pain frequently warms me up. However, sometimes instead of sipping a hot tea, my drink quickly becomes lukewarm when going back outside.

To eliminate this problem, a startup called Ember has found a solution with a heated mug. The Ember mug has a built-in heating system which a user can control on the bottom of the mug. With a twist of the dial, a person can set the mug to their desired temperature. Ember then does the rest of the work of keeping your coffee at the set temperature.

In addition to the temperature dial, Ember’s Bluetooth capability allows users to use an app. You can be notified when the temperature changes, adjust the temperature by using your phone, and even store presets for your favorite drinks!

The battery allows the mug to stay at the target temperature for up to 2 hours or virtually forever when placed on the charging coaster. The mug holds up to 12 ounces and can be pre-ordered for $129. Eventually, the mug will retail for $149.

Ember is an expensive investment and it is difficult to tell the lifespan of the mug. In addition to the high price tag, it is not dishwasher or microwave safe. I looked whether it can be submerged in water for cleaning but could not find any specific information (it may prove difficult to clean).

In my opinion, I would not pay $129 for a mug that I could possibly lose or forget in the library. Even though it can be disappointing when my “hot” coffee or tea is barely warm, I don’t think I’m willing to drop over $100 on a high tech mug.

Would you spend upwards of $129 on a travel mug to keep your coffee warm? If not, what price would you pay? Do you think this new product will catch on?


11 thoughts on “The Next Generation of Travel Mugs

  1. This is a very interesting article. I like the innovation of a self-warming travel mug. It solved the problem of wasting coffee that is cooled down. I personally drink really hot beverage or tea everyday. Even though I already have a travel mug that clams that would keep my drink the same temperature for a long time, it still at the end of the day cold.
    If this mug does exist, I believe I would consider purchase, because it would keep my drink warm and even reheat the drink.
    I also found some interesting travel mug that the inventor can take a look at it and give it a upgrade on useful function:

  2. This is an interesting post, in that people are no realizing and accepting the fact that our daily products are becoming more and more smart. What I mean by smart, isn’t its mental intelligence, but its consumer usage. Devices now are more focused on delivering a simple, easy way of functioning daily products to a point where an elderly could also operate a smart device.
    I believe that this Ember mug is a smart device in which people will use, but in terms of the price it could be reasonable lower. In my opinion, I believe that whenever people see smart, they always will associate that with daily device because in the current day and age it’s very popular. This invention is considered a successful one because both the looks and its easy usability all lean towards consumers. With the addition of Ember mug apps, it makes it even more easier to monitor your own mugs temperature, and it will allow people to get most updated notifications about the temperature of their mugs. Even though this is an invention that isn’t jaw-dropping, but it’s an invention that will improve society, and makes people understand that smart devices can also be used in daily products.

  3. I definitely think that this is a great idea, especially when we live somewhere that gets so cold. I don’t think I would pay more than $100 for a mug because technology is always bond to break. I think that you could get past the idea of drinking lukewarm coffee if you invested in a good mug, because there are definitely some good ones out there.

    Along with that, I don’t think buying this kind of mug would be necessary because usually we drink our coffee or tea within the first 20 minutes of getting it. Another thing is that it seems really difficult to clean and no one really likes to use hard to clean items. We want something we can quickly rinse or throw in the dishwasher and this product just isn’t easy.

  4. This product has so many different feature that I think work so well for it. I think that the Display is very minimalistic and easy to read. The design also looked to be quite functional and the size close to perfect. The cup appears to be small enough to fit into most coup holders which is a huge plus for me as well as big enough to hold an ample amount of coffee. The design of this mug is really what pulls me in and it solves the biggest issue that I currently have with my mug is that my coffee stays too hot for too long and being able to regulate the the temperature of my coffee sounds very appealing to me.

    However, I do see a few issues with this product and that will prevent me from placing an order. The first and less significant one is complication and clutter, I know for me the last thing that I need in my life is another charger on my desk to clutter it up. I think that technological advancements are really amazing but I am finding that it is difficult for them to be implemented into my daily life with out creating more of a mess and causing me frustration and another thing to worry about. The second and main reason for me being driven away from this product is the fact that it cost $130!!! I use a hydro flask and have 2 and spent $40 on the larger one and with them being double insulated keep the hot hot and the cold cold for plenty long the only issue i have is with my beverages being to hot. This is such an easy fix by simply letting it sit with the lid off until the temperature is tolerable and i don’t know that the issue warrants a $130 price tag. This seems like a really awesome idea and while it will appeal to a very niche market I think that this product has loads of opportunity. If I were to see the price come down and the battery life go up I would for sure be on board

  5. I think tech enabled mugs and other products similar in nature to it are trash. Why do I need a temperature regulating mug? I don’t but it’s opulent so people will buy to say they have one. Nothing wrong with carrying a good old thermos around. If it’s a problem for you wrap it in tin foil or newspaper for an extra layer of warmth. For 129 dollars I could buy Starbucks everyday at 5 dollars per drink for almost a full month. I won’t be surprised if this product catches on. Inevitably its home will be in the back of the cabinet where it is used to collect dust.

  6. This mug instantly caught my attention as I was scrolling through the blog. I am an avid coffee drinker, and love the idea of never having to worry about having cold coffee on the go.

    I have always used travel mugs so that I can enjoy my coffee and tea while I walk to class or even to do errands. I tend to drink my coffee slower when I am out walking around. By the time i take my last sip from my mug, the coffee is lukewarm and cold. I would very interested in having a heated mug, but the price is very discouraging. As a college student, spending $129 on heated mug is very unrealistic. The mug could easily be misplaced or dropped. Also, with all the hardware inside there really is no way to safely clean the mug without risk of turning it into a “normal” mug. I use my current mug for tea and coffee, and I would hate to have leftover coffee in my tea because I was unable to rinse out the mug. You also have to remember that regardless of how great this product seems, Ember is a brand new product. I am sure that it has been tested but I have never spent money on an expensive product without reading the reviews. There is no way of knowing the lifespan of the mug and the issues that consumers will have with it. Until the product comes to market, I would not preorder it. I would wait to read the reviews and then decide if I want to purchase it or not.

    I think that that design of this mug is great and the idea of having a heated mug really interests me. It will be interesting to see how well the product delivers what is promised and the reviews that consumers will write.

  7. As one who can’t drink my coffee after my thermos has failed time and time again to keep it warm, I am PUMPED about this invention. I agree with my peers that this could definitely be deemed unnecessary in the ultimate scheme of technological advancement. Though there is a certain innocuousness surrounding a supposed “technological breakthrough” of a travel mug, but the convenience it provides is a staple of everyday American life.

    I definitely agree that technological development time could be used for bigger, more revolutionary items, but one could easily make the argument about the purpose of advancement. I would argue that the main purpose of always fighting for more technological achievements is to make every process as convenient as possible. The price is a bit astounding, but for something on the brink of a field, that is to be expected. There hasn’t been anything such as this in terms of technology. Because the technology is so new, and only just hitting the market, it is understandable that the technology is almost upward of $200. If the price came down just a little bit, I would most definitely buy it.

  8. I think this ties in well with previous conversations we’ve had in class about the internet of things and design thinking. As technology like this becomes cheaper I think well see more and more everyday objects being updated this way to incorporate new features and convenience. A travel mug is a particularly novel device to network with phones and laptop devices – its something people use everyday and directly affects quality of life. I noticed in the video above that the companies message and image is very geared to presenting a “designer” vibe for the device. They emphasize often the design and engineering that went into making the mug, which is interesting because I think most people view travel mugs as a commodity (for the most part, a mug is a mug). I dont think specific temperature control in my travel mug is something I would pay a hundred dollars for at this point in my life, but I imagine theres a market for this sort of thing among successful professionals who enjoy having all the latest gadgets. In coming years, Im sure technology like this will only become more accessible, and one day, this could even be the new normal!

  9. This is definitely an intriguing idea that appeals to a very large population. I often run into the same problem when I’m driving long distance: if I bring myself some coffee I find myself drinking it rather quick, otherwise it’ll get cold. A mug like this would solve that problem, along with the example of being outside on a cold day, however a lot of risks arise in it as said.

    The thing that concerns me the most is cleaning it. If it’s not dishwasher safe or microwave safe I see a lot of accidents occurring. Especially for me, I might not realize what mug it is and throw it in the dishwasher to clean and not realize it before it’s too late. The same might happen in the microwave, especially if someone else in my house grabs it without knowing what kind of mug it really is. I personally also don’t find the Bluetooth capability necessary. It is an interesting idea, but I just don’t see a use in it. How many people are going to check the temperature of their coffee on their phone when you can easy just test it my having some? To me it just seems pointless, especially if all these things can be controlled on the mug itself.

    While the idea is interesting and appealing, the overall price of the item I think is a little overpriced. For what it is, I feel that there’s no reason this should be over $100. Especially since, with the way technology goes, if other companies start producing something similar it will drive the price down. I’ll just stick to the cheaper mugs for now that can still get the job done until something more cost efficient is made

  10. This travel mug is definitely amazing for people who usually bring mug every single day. With this technological mug, people do not have to worry about liquid’s temperature in cold winter. Furthermore, it has Bluetooth capability, which allows users to use an app so that we can easily notice when the temperature changes. With its great function, I would like to buy and use this innovation without worrying about drinking lukewarm liquid. Furthermore, its design also looks good to make people want to buy one.

  11. This is definitely an amazing invention. I bring the travel mug with me everyday. Although my travel mug is still in good status, as time passes by, travel mug loses its ability to keep the liquid inside warm. With this technology, we do not have to worry about the situation above, and we can even set the temperature we desire anytime and any place (since it is connected to the exclusive app).

    However, as you mentioned in the last part of your post, I would not pay for a high-tech mug for over a hundred dollars either. Although the average mug loses its warming function as time passes by, it is still cheaper to buy the general one and replace it every 1 to 2 years.

    In this website (, I found other 5 kinds of different high-tech travel mug, one of them even combine the speaker that you can enjoy your coffee and listen to your iPod in a cozy morning.
    Technology has been growing, but are those new devices necessary? Or will people pay more for a bit more convenience? There are still issues to be discussed.

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