Discover the Top Thermal Carafe Coffee Makers That Keep Your Brew Hot and Flavorful
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When seeking out a new coffee maker, it won't take long for you to spot the two carafe types: thermal and glass. While glass carafes are more common and budget-friendly, with the added bonus of showing the remaining coffee at a glance, thermal carafes have the advantage of being long-lasting and keeping your coffee warm for longer.
Thermal carafes are also more flexible, as explained by Heather Calatrello of ShedLight Coffee Roasters: "Coffee brewed into a thermal carafe can be removed from the coffee maker and placed on your dining table, desk, or bedside table (no judgment). Another strong selling point for the thermal carafe is that it won’t impart a burned taste onto the coffee, as you may experience with a glass carafe that has been ‘cooking’ for hours on a hotplate."
Due to these benefits, thermal carafes are perfect for large-capacity brewing, whether for entertaining, fueling an office, or keeping a personal mug full throughout the morning. Highlighted below are some of the best thermal carafe coffee makers available on the market, along with our thoughts on each.
Advantages: Sleek design, solid performance at a reasonable price point and suitable for brewing a single cup.
Disadvantages: Not programmable.
OXO once again earns our nod for best overall thermal carafe coffee maker with their 8-cup model. The sleek design is appreciated, as is the certification from the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA). The coffee maker features a rainmaker head that evenly distributes water, brewing delicious coffee that drips into the double-walled thermal carafe. And if a full carafe is too much, you can choose to brew a single-serve portion.
This unfussy machine is not programmable, but it's easy to use, has a stylish appearance and consistently produces great coffee.
Current price: $200
Dimensions: 10.5 x 13.5 x 7 inchesBrew Capacity: 8 cupsProgrammable: NoWarranty: 2 years.
Pros: Generous brewing capacity and programmable function.
Cons: Bulky design.
For the value-conscious consumer, Black Decker's thermal carafe coffee maker is a recommended choice. With a reputation for durability in home appliances and other tools, Black Decker has impressed again with the ability to cater to large capacities. Our top pick for best large capacity brewer, this programmable machine continuously improves with each use. It has a 12-cup brewing capacity and the 4-layer thermal carafe maintains heat for extended periods. An added bonus is the brew strength selector and auto-clean feature, making this machine perfect for frequent use, especially in offices and workshops.
Price at time of publish:
Dimensions: 13.2 x 9.4 inches Brew Capacity: 12 cups Programmable: Yes Warranty: 2 years
Pros: A top-notch thermal carafe coffee maker with superior performance.
Cons: A tall stature, making it cumbersome for some spaces.
Whether it's coffee enthusiasts or seasoned baristas, Moccamaster has remained a brand of choice worldwide. The KBGT model is particularly favored by connoisseurs like Calatrello. What sets this machine apart are its standout features that Calatrello endorses. The first is its unbeatable brewing speed, which brews 40 ounces in just 4-6 minutes. Second, it is equipped with a special copper heating element that heats the brewing water up to 196-205 degrees Fahrenheit, then automatically shuts off once the reservoir is empty. Calatrello loves how this device duplicates manual brewing and confirms that the thermal carafe keeps coffee hot for hours with its travel lid.
Price at time of publish: $280
Dimensions: 6.7 x 11.5 x 16 inches Brew Capacity: 10 cups Programmable: No Warranty: 5 years
Pros: Single-serving brewer with a sleek design and no capsule required.
Cons: No special features, minimal space saver compared to multi-cup coffee makers.
Hamilton Beach's The Scoop single-serve coffee maker is perfect for a small desk setup. It brews right into its included thermal travel mug and does not require capsules, which is a nice added benefit. Though there are no special features and it won't save as much space as multi-cup coffee makers, for those who prefer a single serving, this is a solid choice.
This French press is built with a stylish and easy-to-clean stainless steel design. Although it is not a programmable machine, you can still select between regular and bold brewing strengths. At less than forty United States dollars, it offers great value for its price.
Price upon publication: $37
Dimensions: 6.7 x 8.35 x 8.67 inches Brewing Capacity: 14 ounces Programmable: No Warranty: 1 year
Pros: Double-walled insulation feature and available in three color options.
Cons: Cleaning the press filters can be a hassle.
We prefer this thermal French press as it has a sleek design, available in three colors, and is relatively portable. Crafted with enduring stainless steel, it's perfect for use at the office or on road trips.
As with most French presses, this Mira product is straightforward to handle. You need to add coarse coffee grounds and hot water, let it steep, then depress the filter and pour. Although it doesn't have unique features, it is a perfect and affordable French press that retains coffee's heat.
Price upon publication: $24
Dimensions: 6.89 x 4.53 x 8.66 inches Brewing Capacity: 34 ounces Programmable: No Warranty: n/a
Pros: Six grind settings and fully programmable.
Cons: Costly and challenging to set up from the box.
Calatrello advises that “if you prefer a grind-and-brew coffee machine, the Breville Grind Control is our top pick. It is equipped with six grind settings and stainless steel, flat burrs. It's fully programmable and can brew directly into a mug, thermal carafe, or a travel mug.”
Aside from its versatility, the Grind Control delivers genuine quality. Calatrello appreciates that the machine “delivers a consistently delicious cup.” Although the Breville is expensive, it's an ideal choice for those who prefer to grind their beans, yet do not fancy having a separate grinder. Alongside its programming capabilities and ample 12-cup capacity, this is undeniably the best thermal carafe coffee maker with a grinder.
Price upon publication: $350
Features of Coffee and Espresso Machines
Dimensions: Measuring at 8.5 inches by 12.5 inches and 16.3 inches, the versatile Occasions coffee and espresso machine is perfect for at-home personal use. The Zojirushi Fresh Brew machine has dimensions of 18.6 inches by 16.6 inches and 11.2 inches, making it the ideal choice for brewing hot or cold coffee. The programmable Occasions and Zojirushi Fresh Brew machines offer a 12-cup and 10-cup brew capacity, respectively.
Pros of the Occasions Machine: For a reasonable price, the Occasions machine provides an all-in-one coffee-making solution. It features a milk frother and a thermal carafe perfect for 10 cups. The machine is compatible with K-Cup pods, and a smart water system automatically dispenses just the right level of water needed for your particular brewing method. The removable drip tray also makes clean-up breezy.
Cons of the Occasions Machine: Unfortunately, this coffee machine does not reach the luxe quality of the higher-end machines, but it gets the job done.
Price: You can purchase the Occasions Coffee and Espresso Machine for $260.
Pros of the Zojirushi Fresh Brew Machine: Looking for something to help you level up your iced coffee game? Look no further than the Fresh Brew machine. With special settings geared towards brewing the best iced coffee, adjusting the grounds-to-water ratio to avoid watering down your coffee before it ever hits the ice. It has a thermal carafe to keep your hot coffee warm and an anti-drip feature making clean-up even easier.
Cons of the Zojirushi Fresh Brew: Some have complained that the Fresh Brew machine is slightly loud.
Price: You'll have to pay $184 to purchase the Zojirushi Fresh Brew machine.
Five-year Warranty: The programmable Technivorm Moccamaster machine comes with a five-year warranty, making it one of the few machines backing the quality of its appliance by such a long time.
When it comes to finding the perfect coffee maker, you'll want to consider factors like price, design, and brewing capability. The OXO Brew 8 Cup Coffee Maker stands out as our top overall pick, thanks to its sleek appearance and high-quality brewing ability, all for an affordable price. If you're in need of a coffee maker with a larger capacity or better value, consider the Black Decker 12 Cup Thermal Coffee Maker instead.
Of course, it's important to keep in mind the limitations of your kitchen space when shopping for any small appliance. If you're making coffee for a crowd, a high-capacity coffee maker like the Black Decker 12 Cup is a more efficient choice than a single-serve machine like the Hamilton Beach 49981A Coffee Single.
Decide which brewing method you prefer, whether it's pulling shots of espresso or sticking with the low-tech French press. Programmable coffee makers are ideal for those who want to wake up to a fresh pot of coffee every morning or have the option to switch between brew strengths and serving sizes.
When it comes to cleaning, machines with removable water reservoirs tend to be easier to maintain. Drip trays and automatic flow stoppages can also help prevent coffee messes.
If you're wondering about thermal carafes, they're typically made of insulated stainless steel and keep hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold. A thermal carafe relies on the initial heat of the coffee to keep it warm, rather than an external source like a hot plate, resulting in fresher-tasting coffee. Depending on the insulation quality of the carafe, coffee can stay hot for a few hours to over an hour.
To care for your coffee maker, rinse and dry the components after use and descale the machine monthly to remove residual oils and mineral buildup. Proper coffee storage is also crucial for optimal freshness. Whole-bean coffee should be kept in an airtight, stainless steel container and ground before brewing. Ground coffee should be stored in an airtight container away from light and air.
This article was written by food and travel journalist Summer Rylander, who conducted research and consulted with a coffee expert to provide comprehensive and personal insights on the world of coffee-making.
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