Smart mugs: from Rishi’s Ember travel mug to the clever cup that will keep you tea hot for an hour

Working from home means the kitchen is closer than ever but it still hasn’t solved the issue of when you make a really good cup of tea and forget to drink it before it goes cold.

A new generation of clever cups is keeping our coffee hot for an hour or more so it will stay at the right temperature for you to drink whether you’re in a Zoom meeting or trying to fix the UK’s finances.

Ember’s award-winning smart mug syncs with an app on your phone (or Apple Watch) so you can control the temperature and track your caffeine consumption. An LED on the side will warn you if the drink is too hot. There’s two colours to choose from, black or white, as well as two sizes, 10 oz and 14 oz (, from £99.95).

The UK’s chancellor Rishi Sunak is a fan. He was recently spotted using the brand’s travel mug during preparation for his ‘mini-budget’. The £179.95 mug carries up to 355ml of liquid and will keep your drink warm for up to three hours.

The Ember Travel Mug can keep drinks hot up to three hours (Ember)

Ember’s not the only one to watch. Glowstone’s smart cup is hot property too. The British-based start-up has spent two years engineering a mug that can create the so-called perfect cup of tea.

The jury is still out on whether such a thing is objectively possible, but Glowstone’s mug was fully funded on Indiegogo and the result is trailblazing.

It’s a china cup, fitted with patented self-heating technology that keeps your drink between the optimum drinking temperatures of 60C and 65C for up to an hour — which means no more long meetings gulping down tepid cups of tea. (, £129).


It charges wirelessly on its coaster, and an illuminated bar on the side indicates when your brew is ready for drinking.

Droplet’s smart mug is about hydration. The clever vessel is fitted with an electronic base which monitors how frequently you drink water and illuminates or speaks to you when you need to take another sip.

Set the timer to 20, 40 or 60-minute intervals — just remember to turn down the volume before a meeting (, £35).

And Costa’s reusable coffee cup is propelling the contactless revolution forward (or, sideways, at least).

Costa’s Clever Cup features contactless payment technology (Costa)

Its version is a reusable mug with a contactless chip in its base, powered by Barclaycard’s bPay technology and works with most Visa or Mastercards: just top up your balance on the app and swipe away wherever you see a contactless sign.

You can spend up to £45 in one go.

It won’t replace your smartphone or Monzo card, but it’s a smart gimmick.


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