Drip coffee makers are the absolute classic of the Americana aesthetic, being the staple of diners, cafes, offices, and many family kitchens. Though no matter how much you may like a drip-style brew, it still has a significant drawback: the temperature consistency.
These coffee makers are generally not as fast as espresso brewers, and when you’re getting a whole carafe filled instead of a single cup, you may end up tasting lukewarm or even cold coffee by the time it’s done.
Apart from brew-pause features that some regular glass carafe brewers offer, there is no other way to preserve the best drinking temperature of the coffee, other than choosing a model with a thermal carafe of course. This overview expands a little bit more on the very best thermal coffee makers and what exactly it is that makes them so.
How to Choose a Good Thermal Carafe Coffee Machine?
It’s common knowledge that a thermal carafe keeps the beverage hot for a long time without affecting the original taste of the brew. Why is it important?
Well, when a brewing cycle is too long, which is often the case with drip coffee makers, it means that sometimes you end up waiting for some time to get a fresh serving. From this perspective, a good coffee maker of this type should be able to not only deliver a richly-brewed coffee but also retain its flavor, aroma, and optimal temperature.
So let’s take a quick look at the several features the best thermal carafe coffee maker 2020 should have:
- Power capacity. This one should speak for itself, really: the larger the volume of the carafe, the more power the appliance itself should be able to generate. A truly effective brewer should generate no less than 1000 watt, though the best option would always be a model with a 1500-watt capacity and higher. If you can’t afford to pay extra for these power-consuming appliance, though, a regular 900-watt model would serve you just fine.
- Coffee extraction system. Another commonly cited disadvantage of drip coffee makers is the insufficient strength or richness of the resulting brew, at least according to coffee lovers who value complexity in their coffee. So the very best drip coffee maker should have an improved extraction system, and particularly a wide-spraying showerhead that infuses the grounds in a uniform manner and with intermittent pauses to achieve better saturation of the coffee.
- Brew strength control. The optimal brewing temperature for coffee is between 200°F and 205°F, so the actual strength of the coffee is not determined by the temperature itself but rather by the amount of water used as well as the length of the brewing process.
- Volume. Though most models in this category are rather spacious, you will still see some variety between top-sellers. Most popular thermal brewers come with 8-cup, 10-cup, and 12-cup carafes, though some offer half-batch settings. To put these volumes in perspective, an 8-cup carafe holds 40 ounces of water or 32 ounces of brewed coffee; 10-cup carafes hold 50 ounces of water and 40 ounces of coffee, while 12-cup carafes can take 60 ounces of water and 48 ounces of coffee.
- Programmability. Customizing entire brewing process is one of the most sought-out features among coffee lovers and is also the mark of a brewer that could be safely called the best coffee maker overall. This usually includes delay-brew programs, time-saving settings, automatic on/off features, strength and temp controls, safe-cleaning cycles, and more.
- Additional functions. Any appliance becomes more versatile if it uses the right enhancements. A coffee maker with thermal carafe and single serve, for instance, would be ideal for small offices or large families whose tastes in coffee diverge greatly. A coffee maker with a built-in grinder, on the other hand, is a true godsend for any coffee gourmet who loves their coffee made from freshly-ground beans.
- Carafe design. It’s not enough for the carafe to simply have thermal qualities; after all, a cheaply-made model will not last long and probably spoil the taste of the coffee. A good example of a thermal carafe would be one with removable parts, dishwasher-safe lid/other parts, anti-drip spout, comfortable handle, and others. However, there are a few fancier options on the market, and quite often you’ll see a brewer with two carafes for two different delivery systems or a coffee maker with glass-lined thermal carafe that combines features of both.
List of Top Thermal Carafe Coffeemakers
|Bonavita BV1900TS||8 cups||1500 watts||View on Amazon|
|Cuisinart DCC-3400P1||12 cups||1050 watts||View on Amazon|
|BLACK+DECKER CM2035B||12 cups||900 watts||View on Amazon|
|Zojirushi EC-YTC100XB||10 cups||1200 watts||View on Amazon|
|Capresso CoffeeTeam TS 465.05||10 cups||1000 watts||View on Amazon|
Review of the Best Thermal Carafe Coffeemakers
A long-time leader on the mid-range coffee appliance market, Bonavita is known for its affordable artisan-grade coffee makers among which Bonavita BV1900TS is an absolute favorite thanks to its premium infusion system, long-lasting stainless steel body and matching thermal carafe.
- Capacity: 8 cups/40 oz
- Power: 1500 watts
- Material: Stainless steel
- Dimensions: 12.40″ L x 6.80″ W x 12.20″ H
- Item weight: 6.13 lbs
- Dishwasher safe
- Carafe with double walls
- Warming plate
What immediately stands out among this model’s features is its power: with a 1500-watt heater, the BV1900TS is capable of reaching optimal brewing temperatures of 195°-205°F in record time and making your coffee routine more efficient.
Another rather outstanding feature of this brewer is its superior saturation process. This is possible thanks to the model’s extended showerhead that utilizes smartly-positioned nozzles across its entire perimeter to evenly distribute the hot water across the flat-bottomed coffee holder, fully saturating the grounds for a more full-bodied flavor.
The coffee brew is delivered directly into the thermal carafe that hooks to the dispenser nozzle, but what’s even neater is the carafe’s warming plate sustaining the warmth of the brew for up to 40 minutes and then automatically switching off.
All of these operational parts—filter basket, showerhead, and thermal lid—can be safely rinsed in a dishwasher. The carafe itself also features double walls and its stainless steel structure allows for better temp preservations as well as easier washing.
Another undisputable customer favorite in this market segment, Cuisinart offers a wide range of coffee makers in almost any category, including drip-style thermal brewers the best of which can be found in Cuisinart DCC-3400P1—perhaps the best option in the 3000 series.
- Capacity: 12 cups/60 oz
- Power: 1050 watts
- Material: Stainless steel
- Dimensions: 9″ L x 7.75″ W x 14.25″ H
- Item weight: 10.2 lbs
- Brew-pause option
- Automatic shut-off
- 24-hour delay start
- Light indicators
- LCD display
As a fully-automatic appliance, this Cuisinart thermal carafe coffee maker is designed for fast hands-off brewing as well as highly efficient coffee delivery and warming systems.
However, Cuisinart features several settings for a more customized experience such as reusable filter basket which you can fill with any amount of coffee you want, adjustable brew strength with Regular and Bold options, 1-4 cup size selection, and brew-pause option.
Additional automatic features include a self-cleaning cycle, automatic shut-off and 24-hour delay start, light indicators for decalcification and brew status. All of these functions can be accessed via the brewer’s LCD display with night-time illumination and east push-button controls.
From the mechanical side of things, the coffee maker is made specifically to save you the mess of regular coffee brewing, connecting its stainless steel carafe directly to the dispensing system. The thermal carafe fits 12 cups of coffee enough to satisfy the entire family, and the brewer’s water tank can easily hold up to 60 ounces of water the levels which levels you can always check through the side water window.
One of the best budget options with thermal features, the BLACK+DECKER CM2035B combines the necessary automatic brewing functions and impressive capacity with aesthetically pleasing design and easy digital operation, making it a great choice for dorms, offices, and smaller families.
- Capacity: 12 cups/60 oz
- Power: 900 watts
- Material: Plastic + stainless steel
- Dimensions: 13.25″ L x 7.75″ W x 13.25″ H
- Item weight: 4 lbs
- Drip-free spout
- LCD display
- Size selection
- Strength of the brew
Much like the aforementioned Bonoavita, this Black and Decker thermal coffee maker takes the lead in its segment thanks to its improved showerhead design and better saturation rates, delivering the full flavor of the original coffee grounds as well as preserving the aroma.
Moreover, the thermal carafe, made of durable stainless steel, is complete with reliable vacuum sealing for further preservation of heat, flavor, and aroma over longer periods of time. Plus, the carafe’s drip-free spout eliminates the messy pouring.
You can also check how long has passed from the brew completion on the coffee maker’s LCD display timer. The display gives you access to other features as well, including batch size selection (1-4 cups or full carafe), the strength of the brew (between regular, strong, and bold), and additional programs.
Though Zojirushi EC-YTC100XB is slightly more expensive than the other models on the list, the coffee maker fully compensates for the pricetag with its unique brewing programs, well-balanced brewing and delivery systems, and overall easy maintenance.
- Capacity: 10 cups/53 oz
- Power: 1200 watts
- Material: Stainless steel + plastic
- Dimensions: 8″ L x 10.625″ W x 14.875″ H
- Item weight: 9 lbs
- Hot and iced brew cycles
- Sound signal
- 24-hour programmable timer
First thing to note about this model is its ability to extract the maximum richness of flavor from the coffee grounds as well as preserve the original coffee aroma thanks to the brewer’s extended pre-infusion stage that lets the grounds soak prior to preparation.
Additionally, the coffee maker offers versatile hot and iced brew cycles, with the former one brewing between 3-10 cups in one go and the latter between 4-5 cups, delivering a stronger, richer batch.
There is also the efficient Time Saver setting designed to shorten the brew time—a particularly useful feature for busy mornings. Another time-saving option is the brewer’s 24-hour delay cycle that automatically prepares the required brew at the set time.
The main brewing system includes the stainless steel carafe with vacuum-sealed edges and a removable water tank with clear measurement lines, making refills and cleaning faster, plus it makes monitoring the remaining water levels much easier.
Capresso CoffeeTeam TS 465.05
A true state-of-the-art thermal brewer, Capresso’s CoffeeTeam TS with a built-in grinder and direct dispensation system is a fully-automated bean-to-carafe coffee maker that works as an ideal choice for coffee lovers that value fresh grounds and full-bodied flavor.
- Capacity: 10 cups/50 oz
- Power: 1000 watts
- Material: Stainless steel + plastic
- Dimensions: 8″ L x 10.625″ W x 14.875″ H
- Item weight: 10 lbs
- Programmable functions
- Display with a timer
With its wide 6-ounce bean holder, the CoffeeTeam TS can take enough beans to produce up to 90 ounces of brewed coffee before the need to grind a fresh batch. The grinder also uses burrs instead of blades, ensuring the beans won’t be burned and acquire any unpleasant aftertaste/aroma as a result.
Once the beans are finely and uniformly ground, the resulting grounds are evenly treated with hot water after which the main brewing cycle ensues and the coffee is delivered directly into the thermal carafe.
Of course, you can use already pre-ground coffee thanks to the brewer’s GoldTone filter basket. Regardless of what type of coffee you prefer to use, the water is supplied from the same source—a built-in reservoir capable of holding up to 50 ounces at once.
Additionally, the see-through grinder, as well as its cover and supply channel, are easy to monitor and clean. The control panel offers an easy-to-read display with a timer and programmable functions for the grinding, brewing, and cleaning.
It largely depends on each individual case: whether you need one for your kitchen, dorm, office, or holiday home. Some users may require something more powerful but not as capacious, while others need as much water tank space as possible.
In terms of more affordable choices, one of the best coffee makers with thermal carafe is Bonavita BV1900TS that offers plenty of heating power, ensures long years of operation, and brews excellent coffee to boot. Meanwhile, the best cheap coffee maker in this category would be BLACK+DECKER CM2035B that makes up for its medium power with its large tank+carafe capacity.
The best thermal carafe would be a stainless steel carafe of any size as long as it’s equipped with double walls and vacuum-sealed nozzle. In addition, it must have a comfortable design, more importantly, an easy-grip handle with a protective coating.
When choosing a brewer with an integrated carafe, be sure to always look at the handle. It may seem trifle but a badly-made handle can significantly affect the entire process of brewing, whether it’s because of the heat transference of the cheap plastic or poor design that doesn’t fit your hand.
Furthermore, it is best to get a carafe with a drip-free spout that minimizes the chances of liquid escaping when you pour the coffee, saving you time and effort on unnecessary cleaning of your counter space.
And of course, the carafe should be easy to maintain, meaning the cleaning process should be as fast and effortless as possible. Apart from allowing a quick rinse thanks to its stainless steel interior, a carafe that is easily-maintained would have a wide neck and removable parts that can be washed in a dishwasher.
In terms of reliability, a thermal carafe is definitely miles better than a glass one. This is mainly due to the fact that glass is more breakable and more susceptible to damage caused by drastic temperature changes. Moreover, a thermal carafe retains heat longer: almost all coffee makers that come with thermal options have shown longer retainment of original brew temperatures, often up to several hours. Brewers with glass carafes, on the other hand, can only maintain hot temperatures with the help of warming plates and not all models have those.
If that wasn’t enough, many coffee lovers note that the preservation of temperatures with warming plates significantly changes the original taste of the brew. In order to keep the beverage at optimal temperatures, a glass carafe has to be constantly, albeit slightly, heated, whereas thermal carafes maintain the original temperature of the beverage by means of thermal insulation which also preserves the rich flavors from the extraction process.
But glass carafes have certain advantages, mainly related to the ease of maintenance and overall use. Given that glass is a transparent material, a see-through carafe makes it easier to see how much of the beverage remains. Many people prefer this property of a glass carafe over preservation qualities of thermal carafes considering that drip coffee makers are quite slow and often people need to see the process of coffee dispensation.
And of course, one of the main advantages of a glass carafe is that it is very easy to clean and, unlike many thermal carafes, it can be washed in a dishwasher. And there’s also the factor of appearance: many people simply prefer glass carafes on an aesthetic level.
Yes, and it does so rather well. The manufacturers of drip coffee machines with thermal carafe ensure that your beverage remains hot for several hours in a carafe of this type.
But it’s important to pay attention to the exact type of the carafe—often a coffee maker will have a simple stainless steel carafe without any thermal qualities, so you might as well have gone for a glass carafe instead; a real thermal carafe is meant to preserve temperatures with its double-walled design often found in traditional thermal mugs.
At the same time, thermal carafes won’t affect your electricity bills in the same way that brewers with non-thermal carafes might since those types of appliances tend to use warming plates that use more power to keep the carafe hot. As such, thermal carafes make for a more ergonomic and energy-saving choice.