It seems like the best reason to own a smart coffee mug is so you can be one of those old-fashioned driving test instructors who says something like, “If that coffee spills, you fail.”
You could make that threat all day with the same cup of hot coffee, but people are apparently buying these for other reasons. Much of the marketing copy around self-heating mugs tends to involve some version of the phrase “We’ve all been there,” and goes on to regale us with woeful tales of abandoned coffee that got cold.
This poor hot cup of coffee is just sitting there, waiting to share sweet caffeinated energy with its owner, and then is heartlessly abandoned and slowly buried under falling snow like the sled in Citizen Kane.
Taking Your Coffee Smart
What is a smart coffee mug, and more importantly, why? Smart coffee mugs can keep your coffee at the same temperature for hours, use sensors for heat and liquid detection, and let you control the coffee temperature remotely and get alerts via an app. “I am still coffee,” it might say, for instance.
Take the Ember Smart Mug, which is a far cry from your regular World’s Best Dad cup. The self-heating mug is able to keep your coffee at a preset temperature for up to 80 minutes, or all day when attached to the charging coaster, in case you’re crossing Antarctica on huskies and need a warm beverage afterward.
Ember Temperature Control Smart Mug
Your coffee is ready, and will be ready for a long time.
The temperature can be adjusted remotely using the accompanying app. So let’s say you find yourself being chased through the office by henchmen for some reason, now you can remotely raise the temperature of the coffee at your desk from a comfortable 120 degrees to 145 degrees, and then quickly grab it and throw it back at them. Look at you, Jason Bourne.
While Ember is going to dominate any online search you do on smart mugs, there are totally other companies hoping to heat your coffee. The Bsigo smart mug gives the impression that a small cat is what’s keeping your coffee warm, and the Bestinnkits smart coaster lets you use your own cup, for those really attached to their Golden Girls “Stay Golden” mug.
Still, none of this has quite answered the aforementioned why. Who are these people (in Seinfeld’s voice) buying a self-heating mug?
Trying to Justify the Smart Mug’s Existence
Smart coffee mugs are one of those gadgets that owners may feel the need to defend, as they can give the impression that you require advanced technology to handle drinking a cup of coffee.
Some people do leave a trail of unfinished cold coffees and teas everywhere they go (that’s how I found my dog when it ran away), and would be unlikely to forget with a smart one. Using a smart mug would also prevent you from repeatedly forgetting about your coffee and reheating it as part of some tragic Sisyphean existence.
It’s just that I rarely forget about my coffee in the same way I don’t forget about a bowl of ice cream. In both scenarios I hurt my tongue trying to down it too quickly. The only electronic device my coffee requires is a freezer to cool it down while I pace outside it like an expectant father.
So when considering whether or not you actually need a smart mug, ask yourself how many times a day you forget about your coffee. If those numbers are in the one to five range, perhaps try the old string around the finger or some sort of Memento-like tattoo that says, “Drink coffee.”
Now, if we’re talking the 10 to 20 range, by all means grab yourself a smart coffee mug like the Ember. It will keep that coffee warm throughout the day and week and year, as civilizations crumble and rise back up again, as the tides overtake the land and sun’s core becomes unstable and kills us all–even then, your coffee will be ready.