Is a smart mug worth it?
The holidays are here. Thoughts have turned festive with food, gifts and celebrations. However, one of the best parts of the winter season is getting to drink more of those yummy beverages that warm your tummy. While coffee is popular all year round, hot chocolate has a season. It runs roughly from November to February.
To be considered hot chocolate, the beverage actually has to be hot. That can be a problem in the winter because the colder air temperatures can quickly cool the beverage in your mug. Popping your hot chocolate in the microwave every few minutes is one way to keep the temperature high. But a far better and safer way is to use a smart mug.
Why are hot beverages so satisfying?
Drinking a hot beverage is an immersive, mindful experience that helps you slow down and relax. You drink it slower, so you have a moment to yourself, and breathe deeper as you blow across the surface to cool the beverage. As the hot chocolate enters the body, blood vessels expand, circulation improves and muscles relax. Also, the hot mug warms your hands as you hold it, and the chocolate smells so good. Scientists have even performed studies showing that holding a hot beverage in your hand makes you friendlier.
Lastly, it’s not just the imagination that makes hot chocolate taste so much better. When the temperature of a food or drink is higher, the taste buds send a stronger electrical signal to the brain. This means hot chocolate delivers a more intense flavor experience.
How hot should hot chocolate be?
According to the National Library of Medicine, the preferred drinking temperature of hot beverages, such as tea, hot chocolate and coffee, is roughly 140 degrees. If the temperature drops below this ideal, the beverage will provide less satisfaction when drinking. However, if hot chocolate is served at 140 degrees, it will quickly drop below that optimum temperature. For this reason, hot beverages are often served between 160 and 185 degrees. As it cools down, it becomes the perfect temperature to create maximum pleasure. Unfortunately, 160 degrees is hot enough to cause significant scald burns if you sip your hot chocolate too soon.
What is a smart mug?
A smart mug is more than just an insulated thermos that reduces temperature exchange between your beverage and the surrounding air. A smart mug is a powered device that can keep your preferred drink at a constant temperature indefinitely. The main benefit is you do not have to heat up your hot chocolate and wait for it to cool down, only to then heat it up again. With a smart mug, you can set your desired temperature and know that every sip will be perfect.
Features to consider when shopping for a smart mug
If a smart mug doesn’t get as hot as you desire, it won’t satisfy you. Make sure the model you are considering keeps your hot chocolate hot enough.
Not only is precision important for getting to the temperature you desire, but the mug you choose should be able to hold that temperature without fluctuating up and down.
How do you control the temperature of your smart mug? While it can be cool to select a temperature by tapping your phone, it’s much more convenient to have a temperature control right on your mug. However, be warned, this is a rare feature, so you will have to pay extra for it.
Another feature you won’t find on too many smart mugs is a display. When you can see the temperature on the mug, you know, even before you sip, that your experience will be sublime.
For safety, consider getting a mug that has an auto-off feature.
If you will be taking your mug with you on your morning commute, having a model with a spillproof lid is essential.
If your mug has its own built-in power source, you want the battery to last long enough for you to consume the entire mug. If you take 2 hours to finish a cup, but the battery only lasts 90 minutes, you will not have the experience you hoped to have.
Best smart mugs to buy
The Ember mug has a built-in battery that can keep the temperature of your beverage consistent for up to 80 minutes. If you prefer all-day convenience, simply use the included charging coaster. The temperature range of this mug is 120 to 145 degrees.
This self-heating coffee mug has an LED temperature indicator built into the mug, so you always know the precise temperature of your beverage. Battery life is roughly 90 minutes, with all-day warming when using the coaster.
Sold by Macy’s
The Lomi smart mug warmer puts a spin on the mug-warming coaster idea. When you are not using it to keep your hot chocolate at a precise 122 degrees, you can use it as a wireless charging pad to power up your Qi-compatible devices.
Sold by Macy’s
Cosori’s approach to the mug warmer also gives you a little something extra. While the stainless steel mug is designed to retain heat longer than the typical mug, the warming coaster is actually a hot plate with a maximum temperature of 230 degrees. You can use it to warm up your favorite beverage or to keep a side dish hot.
Sold by Amazon
If budget is your primary concern, this offering from Mr. Coffee does not come with a mug, so it is more affordable. The coaster features an on/off switch with an indicator light, and it can warm up your mug of chocolate in about 2 minutes.
Sold by Amazon
If you take your hot chocolate to go, this high-end Ember is a great option. It has a temperature range of 120 to 145 degrees. It also has a battery that lasts up to 3 hours and comes with a travel mug with a leakproof lid.
Sold by Macy’s
This 15-ounce travel mug is specifically designed for use in your vehicle. It plugs directly into your 12-volt power port, and has a non-slip bottom and a non-spill lid. While it doesn’t give you the option for precise temperatures, it does give you five settings ranging from low to max.
Sold by Home Depot
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Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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