Don’t you hate it when you reach out for an extra cup of coffee and it tastes stale?
I hate that too.
When only the first cup is fresh in your carafe, you need to consider getting a thermal one. That’s how you will drink your coffee the right way — with every cup staying flavorful.
That’s why I’ve prepared my review of the best thermal carafe coffee makers. Read it and find out which one can keep your coffee as fresh as you like it.
|Best Overall – Cuisinart DCC-2750||9||Check current price on Amazon|
|Best Drip Coffee Maker with Thermal Carafe – Zojirushi EC-YTC100XB||8.5||Check current price on Amazon|
|Best High-End Coffee Maker for Specialty Coffee – Ninja CM407||8||Check current price on Amazon|
|Best 12-Cup Coffee Maker with Thermal Carafe – Hamilton Beach Programmable Coffee Maker (46391)||8||Check current price on Amazon|
|Best Value for Money – Mr. Coffee Optimal Brew (PSTX95)||7||Check current price on Amazon|
Our Reviews of the Best Thermal Carafe Coffee Makers
Best Overall — Editor’s Choice — Cuisinart DCC-2750
- stainless-steel thermal carafe;
- 10-cup capacity;
- adjustable shut-off;
- charcoal water filter;
- 24-hour programmability;
- small-batch setting (1-4 cups).
I want to start my review of the best thermal carafe coffee makers with the Cuisinart for one simple reason. This model is a rare find for the money, and it was designed to surprise.
“What makes the Cuisinart stand out among the competitors is the handy Brew Pause feature. It will let you enjoy a cup of fresh coffee without the need to wait for the whole carafe to be filled up.”
If you are looking for a coffee maker that combines all the essential features, then this model would be great for you. The Cuisinart comes with a double-wall insulated stainless-steel carafe that is made to keep your beverage warm and fresh longer. You can control the brew strength, which may come in handy if you watch your caffeine consumption.
Another cool feature of this coffee maker is the showerhead. It’s quite large, which allows it to distribute the water over the ground beans quite evenly, resulting in a more balanced, flavorful coffee. And great news for solo users: you can brew coffee in smaller batches and enjoy it fresh. This feature makes the Cuisinart one of the best 4-cup coffee makers, allowing for versatility when it comes to brewing size adjustments.
Overall, this is a great example of what a good thermal carafe coffee maker should be. The Cuisinart combines quality, functionality, and affordable pricing. To me, that’s more than enough to love it for!
Best Drip Coffee Maker with Thermal Carafe
- 10-cup capacity;
- 200-degree brewing;
- vacuum-insulated thermal carafe;
- permanent stainless steel mesh filter for coffee;
- timer and digital clock included.
The next model I would like to mention in my review of the best thermal carafe coffee makers is the Zojirushi. This stylish model will allow you to enjoy delicious drip coffee, just like in your favorite coffee shop.
“If you really appreciate the quality of your beverages, the Zojirushi can offer something special for you. This coffee maker has a pre-infusion cycle. It wets the ground coffee evenly before brewing to achieve a richer taste and aroma.”
Now, the Zojirushi is a drip coffee maker that uses a mesh coffee filter and brews at the optimal temperature. You can use it for both hot and cold beverages. The water tank is removable, which makes filling extremely easy.
The carafe deserves to be mentioned separately. The Zojirushi uses a stainless steel carafe that is vacuum-sealed. It keeps your coffee hot without a hot plate, thus eliminating that unpleasant burnt flavor. If a 10-cup carafe seems too much, you can use your Zojirushi as a 5-cup coffee maker by simply brewing half of the carafe.
To tell the truth, when I was reviewing this thermal carafe coffee maker, I didn’t expect it to surprise me. It turned out to be able to make a great cup of drip coffee, just like the one I usually order at my local coffee shop.
Best High-End Coffee Maker for Specialty Coffee
- 6 brew size options;
- integrated milk frother;
- 4 brew strength options;
- 10-cup thermal carafe;
- removable water tank.
If you’re really a coffee connoisseur, you’re going to love the next candidate in my review of the best thermal carafe coffee makers. The Ninja is a device that will allow you to enjoy a different beverage every day and master your home coffee making.
“The manufacturer wanted to make the cleaning process effortless for you. That’s why many parts of the Ninja are dishwasher safe, including the flip-top lid, water tank, frother whisk, filter holder, and the brew-through lid.”
Now, the Ninja allows for superb versatility, so you can easily call it one of the best single-serve coffee makers. You can make specialty coffee for your favorite cappuccinos or other types of coffee shop beverages, which makes this model a good all-in-one coffee maker. Additionally, there are 6 brew sizes, from a single cup to a full carafe, and 4 brewing styles, including over-ice coffee. Plus, the Ninja works quite fast, so you won’t have to wait for your beverage for too long.
Another cool thing about this model is that the Ninja belongs to the best SCAA-certified coffee makers. What does it mean, you may ask? It means that this coffee machine meets the highest brewing standards for home coffee makers. It maintains an optimal temperature for proper extraction and great coffee quality.
The Ninja can easily find a way into your heart if you love coffee. This thermal carafe coffee maker is packed with cool features and can make your kitchen feel like a coffee house.
Best 12-Cup Coffee Maker with Thermal Carafe
Hamilton Beach Programmable Coffee Maker (46391)
- 12-cup carafe capacity;
- immediate shut-off function;
- vacuum sealed carafe;
- 3 brew options.
The next item in my review of the best thermal carafe coffee makers is the Hamilton Beach, or as I like to call it, the Big Guy. This coffee maker is perfect for large families of coffee lovers as it can brew up to 12 cups at once.
“The Hamilton Beach will be safe for your counters. No need to worry about spilling and those nasty water stains thanks to its front-fill design. All you have to do is lift up the lid and add water.”
This model brews coffee in 3 different styles. You can enjoy your beverage regular or bold, or brew 1-4 cups when you don’t need a full carafe. There’s also an automatic shut-off function that turns the coffee maker off right after brewing is done, which makes the Hamilton Beach more energy-efficient. Another cool thing about this model is the vacuum-sealed carafe for improved insulation.
As this is a 12-cup thermal carafe coffee maker, I’m sure that you and all your family members will enjoy using it daily. The Hamilton Beach packs all the essentials and makes good-tasting beverages. To me, that’s a great combo!
Best Value for Money
Black + Decker (CM2035B)
- double-walled thermal carafe;
- 12-cup capacity;
- brewing in smaller batches available (1-4 cups);
- no-drip carafe spout design;
- Evenstream Showerhead for even saturation of the grounds.
Looking for a budget-friendly coffee maker that doesn’t sacrifice quality for affordability? Then the Black + Decker might be the right choice for you. This simple coffee machine comes with an attractive price tag but brews delicious coffee. Plus, it has a few more tricks “up its sleeve”.
The Black + Decker machine allows for customization when it comes to beverage sizes and brew strength. This coffee maker is programmable, so you can enjoy freshly brewed coffee first thing in the morning without much effort. Additionally, this model is super easy to use and would work even for less experienced users.
Now, if you are concerned about the plastic parts and want to find one of the best BPA-free coffee makers, you should know that the company does not state which plastic parts of this coffee maker may contain BPA but says that they are safe nonetheless and meet all the manufacturing standards.
All in all, this model deserves your attention, especially if you want to save a few bucks. The Black + Decker is a worthy find that combines all the necessary features to achieve great-tasting coffee without affecting one’s budget too much.
The Advantages of Thermal Carafe Coffee Makers
So, the main difference between the thermal carafe and the standard glass pot is that the latter needs a heated plate to keep the coffee warm. The thermal carafe preserves the temperature of the coffee with its double walls made of stainless steel. Two layers of steel are separated with the layer of air, which creates a cushion and reduces heat loss from the carafe. This construction has several advantages:
- It doesn’t alter the taste of your coffee and keeps it fresh. When you leave the coffee on a heated plate, you basically boil it, which can make the coffee taste bitter and stale. In the thermal carafe, the brew naturally cools down, just more slowly, which doesn’t alter its taste.
- It won’t break. Steel walls of the carafe won’t crack or break if you accidentally drop it on the floor.
- It feels safer to use. Some people might feel anxious leaving the hot plate unsupervised for hours. Since thermal carafe coffee makers don’t require a heated plate, they’re safer to use as well.
- It’s energy-efficient. Again, you don’t need to spend electricity to keep your coffee warm. Once your pot is brewed, the device will shut off and preserve the warmth of the brew naturally for 2-3 hours.
Things to Consider When Shopping for a Thermal Carafe Coffee Maker
Picking a suitable thermal carafe coffee maker is quite a straightforward task when you know what you’re looking for.
The following factors can help you make up your mind and figure out what you want exactly:
- Capacity. Firstly, you need to consider how much coffee you usually drink. For a healthy amount (which is up to 400 mg of caffeine, or around 4 cups of coffee per day) (1), a standard 8-cup carafe would be more than enough for two users. However, if you are an avid coffee drinker or your whole family drinks coffee too, there are models with larger carafes available, up to 14 cups. Keep in mind that there are dual coffee makers available, which can brew both a full carafe and a single cup, depending on what you need on any given day.
- Features and programmability. Now, the more extra features your coffee maker has, the more expensive it will be. But if you want superb programmability and controls, it will be worth the money. Many thermal carafe coffee makers include such functions as automatic brewing (so that you can wake up to freshly made coffee), adjustable brew strength, cold coffee, built-in grinder, pre-infusion, and so on. Even some of the best coffee makers under $100 aren’t that limited in terms of functionality and may allow for brew strength control (regular and bold) and might even have a programmable timer. However, this can vary depending on the model. Another interesting feature you might keep an open eye for is water dispersion. Some of the top-notch automatic pour-over coffee machines use a special system to saturate the grounds evenly. This results in a greatly improved flavor.
- Temperature settings. Being another handy feature that’s definitely worth your money, temperature adjustments can help you achieve the best tasting beverage. The optimal brewing temperature is considered to be no lower than 195 degrees Fahrenheit (with 200 degrees being ideal) (2). So, you may want your coffee maker to allow you to control that.
- Price. Now, for thermal carafe coffee makers, prices usually vary between $50 and $200. There are also high-end models that come packed with extra features, but you can get all the essentials within the limit of $200. It’s up to you to decide how limited (or unlimited) your budget is.
- Built-in grinder. If you want the freshest coffee, you may need a grind and brew coffee maker. This way, you will be able to not only enjoy freshly ground coffee but also control the size of the grind, which can determine the final taste of your beverage (3). However, if you buy ground coffee, a simpler coffee maker without an integrated grinder would suffice.
- Brew time. Some models brew coffee faster than the others. If your mornings are usually hasty, this may be the decisive factor. In this case, you might want to consider getting yourself a capsule Keurig coffee maker, as this type is usually the fastest one when it comes to the brewing time. By the way, if you’re not pressed with time, you may want to try one of the cool Japanese coffee makers. To use one of them, you need to be patient, but the final brew is worth it.
- Water reservoir. Just like coffee machines come with different carafe capacities, their water tanks may also differ. If you are an avid coffee drinker (or share your machine with someone), you should consider a larger water tank (starting from 50 oz.). However, there’s another option, which would come in especially handy if you don’t want to bother with constant refills. There are many good coffee makers with a water line that can be connected to the main water supply in your home. Such machines do not store water in the reservoir. Instead, they pump the needed amount for each brewing cycle, allowing the users to forget about the refills.
- Portability. Do you often switch homes or travel? Then you may need a smaller coffee maker, something that’s easier to carry. But if you don’t require a more portable device, you are free to choose a bigger model, especially if you have a big family of coffee drinkers. Also keep in mind that a thermal carafe coffee maker would require enough counter space in the kitchen.
- Type of filter. Carafe pot coffee makers can use paper or reusable filters for brewing coffee and eliminating odors and mixtures from water. Single-use filters are cheap and disposable, but they will still end up in the landfill if you do not recycle them. Reusable filters are dishwasher-safe and more convenient to use, but they might not work with the finer grounds, so keep that in mind.
- Warranty coverage. Good warranty coverage makes you more protected in the case of an accident and shows that the company cares for its customers and believes in its products. Look for the warranties that cover at least 5-7 years of use, because you might want to upgrade your brewer within this timeframe for a model with more advanced features.
“If you are an experienced coffee drinker, you probably know that warming the beverage up on a thermal plate can really spoil the taste and reduce the freshness. That’s why a thermal carafe is a good choice. It will keep your coffee warm without exceeding the temperature and giving it an unpleasant flavor. It may also reduce your electricity bills (4).”
Does Material Matter?
A carafe pot in your brewer can be steel, thick glass, or plastic.
Which one is better?
The answer boils down to your personal preference because each material works nearly the same in terms of keeping your coffee hot. However, there are a couple of differences in function, and we will address them below.
A steel carafe keeps your coffee warm similarly to a double-wall glass or thermos. Two metal chambers are separated by the space filled either with air or with insulating material. Insulation slows down heat loss and keeps your coffee warm longer.
Culinary-grade steel doesn’t react with food, so don’t worry about the metal aftertaste in your brew. However, you might need to clean your steel carafe more frequently because its surface can collect sediment, such as oils and particles of coffee grounds, and this sediment can make your coffee taste weird.
Carafes made of thick glass are the second most common option. Glass takes more time to heat than steel, but it also holds the heat longer and can keep your coffee warm for hours.
Like steel, a glass carafe won’t alter the taste of your drink. Plus, since the surface of the glass is smooth, it will less likely make the coffee oils and grounds stick to it.
The apparent drawback of the glass carafe is fragility, so be sure to keep your brewer away from counter edges and closer to the wall.
Finally, you can purchase a brewer with a plastic carafe. Plastic is a cheaper option, and it won’t keep your coffee warm as long as a steel or glass carafe would.
Avoid purchasing brewers with clear plastic carafes, and choose opaque or dark-colored ones to minimize your exposure to BPA or Bisphenol-A. BPA is proven to have many adverse health effects, and it’s very volatile, so be sure to stay away from poorly made coffee machines.
How long will my coffee stay hot in the thermal carafe?
Generally, the carafe can keep the temperature for 2-3 hours. Having passed that time, your brew will start to cool down for an additional hour or two.
Is the thermal carafe different from a coffee thermos?
The coffee thermos is designed to be portable: it has a compact cylinder-shaped design and a leak-proof screwing lid, so you can put it inside your backpack. Plus, a thermos can keep coffee hot for longer: 5-7 hours compared to 4-5 hours of storing it in a thermal carafe.
Will my coffee taste bad if I leave it in the carafe for hours?
No. A thermal carafe won’t alter the taste of your brew unless you leave it for the whole day and allow it to cool down completely. If that happened, it’s better to discard the coffee and brew a new pot.
Why it’s better to use filtered water?
Filtered water doesn’t contain any particles or mixtures that can alter the taste of your coffee, such as chlorine, odor-causing microorganisms, or algae spores. Plus, it’s free of scaling agents, which, aside from messing with the taste of your coffee, can build up on the coffee machine gear and clog it.
What is the best grind size for the thermal carafe coffee maker?
You can use the same grind size as for drip coffee makers, which is medium for medium coarse. Note that if you change the coffee blends frequently, you may want to readjust the grind to get the best results.
Now you know that enjoying a fresh cup of joe every morning doesn’t require much effort on your part.
You just need to pick the right coffee maker. And luckily, you have 5 top models to choose from!
When I was reviewing them, I could clearly define the champion. I’m talking about the Cuisinart DCC-2750. This little guy has a lot of potential. It brews delicious coffee and allows users to control the process. It also comes at a very attractive price, which may surprise you given its high functionality.
Do you think it’s worth a place in your kitchen? Or have you picked another favorite? Let me know in the comments!
- Mayo Clinic Staff (2020, March 06). Caffeine: How much is too much? Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/caffeine/art-20045678
- Catherine Santore (2007, February 15). Secrets of the Perfect Cup. Retrieved from http://www.bu.edu/articles/2007/secrets-of-the-perfect-cup/
- Taylor Martin (2015, December 22). Coffee grind size: Why it matters and what you should be using. Retrieved from https://www.cnet.com/how-to/coffee-grind-size-why-it-matters-and-what-you-should-be-using/
- Doityourself Staff (2009, September 23). Comparing Glass and Stainless Steel Coffeemaker Types. Retrieved from https://www.doityourself.com/stry/comparing-glass-and-stainless-steel-coffeemaker-types
My name is Yurii Brown. I am a passionate coffee geek and, concurrently, a certified coffee specialist.
I’ve been learning about coffee for a long time, testing various devices and practicing in home coffee brewing. I like to share my experience and insights with fellow coffee lovers so that my readers could enjoy the real taste of quality-brewed beverages.