Review

Ember Tumbler review: a high-tech travel mug that can’t handle the heat

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My espresso routine is needlessly fussy however pretty predictable. I wander bleary-eyed into the kitchen, add some water to the kettle, and begin heating it to 200 levels Fahrenheit, grind some espresso beans, get out the Chemex, add and rinse a brand new filter, put the entire thing on a scale, add 40 grams of beans, slowly pour in 600 milliliters of scorching water, pour it into my trusty silver Yeti Rambler, and pad into the lounge to both play with my son or have a look at TikTok on my telephone. It’s a life, you realize?

For the previous couple of weeks, the Ember Tumbler has wormed its manner into that routine. The $199 Tumbler is Ember’s latest product however carries the identical promise as the corporate’s standard mugs: it might hold your drink on the actual temperature you need for hours at a time. Its inside heating system will, by default, maintain your drinks at 135 levels Fahrenheit, however in case you pair it through Bluetooth to your telephone, you should utilize the Ember app to dial it precisely the best way you prefer it.

The Ember Mug was a fixture in my life for a very long time, though two issues about it drove me nuts. It may solely maintain 10 ounces of liquid — objectively not sufficient, fortunately there’s a 14-ounce mannequin now — and it was a typical mug with a deal with, so I couldn’t take it with me on the practice or within the automotive. (Ember’s first-ever product was truly a journey mug, however it additionally solely held 10 ounces. What are we doing right here, folks?)

The Ember Mug was a staple on my desk for years.
Picture: Ember

The Tumbler, in principle, solves all my issues! It holds 16 ounces (about 473ml) of liquid, which is a significantly better quantity. It additionally comes with two lids: one with a sliding piece you can click on open and drink out of and one with a deal with that closes the mug off solely. Its battery lasts three hours, which needs to be loads of time to complete your espresso or tea. On paper, the Tumbler is all the things I’ve needed it to be.

In actuality, it’s a bit of extra sophisticated than that. For my particular use case, which now includes working from house as an alternative of commuting to an workplace, it’s in reality all the things I needed. The Tumbler is a pleasant factor to drink espresso out of each morning. It’s heavy in a great way, such as you’re holding a luxurious object as an alternative of only a mug; it’s good to drink out of with the lid each on and off. Within the mornings, I convey the Tumbler all the way down to my basement workplace, set it on the included spherical charging pad, and my espresso’s scorching for hours. Pretty!

As a journey mug, although — like, for individuals who truly go exterior on occasion — the Tumbler is disappointing. I observed a number of instances that after I wasn’t preserving it on the charging pad, my espresso appeared to get chilly even sooner than with my typical journey mug. So I did some testing, evaluating the battery-charged Tumbler to my batteryless however well-insulated Yeti Rambler. (There are loads of good insulated journey mugs on the market; this one’s simply my go-to.)

Select your fighter: the Ember Tumbler (left) vs. the Yeti Rambler (proper).

First, I poured boiling-ish water into each mugs, and about 60 seconds later (the time it took to discover a thermometer), I measured the temperature in each. This was our management quantity.

  • Rambler begin temperature: 205.9 levels Fahrenheit
  • Tumbler begin temperature: 204.6 levels Fahrenheit

Then I put the lids on each mugs, closed them, and left them alone for an hour. That is the “I made espresso after which one thing got here up” check. Then I measured their temperatures once more.

  • Rambler after one hour: 180.7 levels Fahrenheit
  • Tumbler after one hour: 149.4 levels Fahrenheit

Execs and cons right here. The Rambler does a greater job of holding its warmth, however the Tumbler’s job is to let my drink cool to its ideally suited ingesting temperature — you possibly can set no matter temperature you need within the Ember app on your telephone, however it defaults to 135 levels Fahrenheit, which science (Ember’s app) apparently says is the perfect espresso ingesting temperature, after which makes use of its inside heaters to carry it there. So the speedy decline isn’t essentially the signal of an issue but.

Subsequent, I slid open every lid’s mouthpiece and left them out for an additional hour. That is the “early morning assembly” check.

  • Rambler after two hours: 162.7 levels Fahrenheit
  • Tumbler after two hours: 139.2 levels Fahrenheit

Similar deal! The double-insulated Rambler continues to carry its warmth, however the Tumbler is at an ideal ingesting temperature after two hours. All people wins.

For the third hour, I upped the ante. With lids on and mouthpieces open, I caught each mugs out within the windy 40 diploma Fahrenheit parts of my morning. That is the “heat drink on a chilly day” check.

  • Rambler after three hours: 144.1 levels Fahrenheit
  • Tumbler after three hours: 135.1 levels Fahrenheit

As soon as once more, I’m calling this a double victory. Each are shedding temperature — these are robust circumstances! — however are nonetheless doing their jobs, and the Tumbler remains to be in its candy spot. After three hours, each my drinks are nonetheless very drinkable.

After three hours, each my drinks are nonetheless very drinkable

I introduced each mugs inside, slid their mouthpieces closed, and left them for an additional hour. That is the “possibly this simply grew to become my afternoon espresso as an alternative” check.

  • Rambler after 4 hours: 135.0 levels Fahrenheit
  • Tumbler after 4 hours: 113.7 levels Fahrenheit

For the primary time, we have now a too-cold beverage, and it’s the Tumbler. The battery died proper on the finish of hour three, as marketed, and now, with no heater and never a lot insulation, it’s beginning to lose temperature shortly. In the meantime, the Rambler remains to be hanging on.

My final check was to depart them in a single day, which isn’t precisely a real-world use case, however hey, I’d already poured all of the water. I name this the “I left it out in a single day” check. 

  • Rambler after 12 hours: 99.0 levels Fahrenheit
  • Tumbler after 12 hours: 76.5 levels Fahrenheit

Clearly, each are undrinkable right here, however as soon as once more, the Rambler is doing a noticeably higher job of preserving my drink hotter. The Tumbler is, for all intents and functions, at room temperature.

These assessments confirmed two issues to me. First: the Tumbler does a great job of getting your drink to the best temperature shortly and preserving it there for a number of hours. Rating one for the flamboyant mug! However second: if my objective is to maintain my espresso scorching and drinkable (generally too scorching!) so long as doable, Yeti’s mug is clearly the higher selection. 

The comic Brian Regan has an amazing bit the place he’s strolling round an equipment retailer looking for a fridge. “This retains all of your meals chilly for $600,” the salesperson says to him. “You’ve received this fridge, retains all of your meals chilly for $800.” Then the salesperson walks to the subsequent one, drapes his arm over it, and begins the gross sales pitch: “Test this out: $1,400, retains all of your meals chilly.”

That’s how I really feel in regards to the Ember Tumbler. It does the job, which on this case, is to maintain all my drinks heat. However Yeti’s 16-ounce Rambler prices $30, in comparison with $200 for the Tumbler, and it truly retains my espresso above the too-cold degree for longer. And if I want it to chill down sooner, I can simply take off the lid or throw in an ice dice. I’m rather more considering preserving my drink scorching than in cooling it down sooner.

For those who spend most of your time like I do, shuffling from kitchen to basement with the charging pad by no means greater than a room away, the Tumbler works nice — after I go away it on the pad, my espresso is at or near that magic 135 diploma Fahrenheit temperature all day. It’s an amazing mug, albeit a ludicrously costly one provided that my microwave is simply upstairs. However after I go away the home, I’m taking the Rambler. Thirty bucks, retains all my drinks heat.

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