Which coffee carafe is best?
A coffee carafe is a container commonly found in a drip coffee machine, though some people also call the coffee pots that come with coffee makers carafes. Modern carafes have innovated on the original concept to be more durable, insulated and even portable.
The best option for coffee and tea lovers alike is the Tomakeit Airpot Coffee Carafe.
What to know before you buy a coffee carafe
Uses and benefits
One of the biggest benefits of traditional coffee carafes that come with drip coffee machines is that they help you prepare the right amount of coffee. You can use one to pour the exact amount of water needed to make the perfect cup of java.
Another benefit of these containers is their ability to store coffee for later consumption. If you have other coffee-making equipment, such as a handheld coffee press, you can use it over a coffee carafe to store the beverage.
Even though they’re primarily meant for coffee, carafes can also work with other liquids, such as black, white or herbal tea.
Design and material
Most carafes have a convenient carrying handle and a spout that lets you easily pour the liquid into a mug. The spout is usually narrow and designed to ensure nothing spills while tipping the container. It also makes it easy to pour the liquid gradually so you don’t risk overfilling a cup.
Coffee carafes designed to work with their respective coffee makers usually have a lid, too. It has a small opening that lets the coffee drip into the container until the machine is done.
In general, carafes are either glass or made from a combination of metal and plastic.
- Glass: Carafes meant for drip coffee machines usually consist of a thin layer of glass. They aren’t as durable as containers that are double-layered with a vacuum between both walls. Similar to thermal designs, double-layered carafes are less breakable and weigh more.
- Metal and hard plastic: Most thermal carafes are made from stainless steel and have two walls to trap heat. The outer wall often consists of hard plastic, rolled steel or powder-coated aluminum. The inner wall is usually stainless steel. Some of these also have a vacuum between the walls.
If you’re looking for a long-lasting carafe that will keep your coffee hot for hours and is easy to transport, consider getting a stainless steel or thermal one. But if you want something thinner and lightweight that you can use at home, glass is a good choice.
Regardless of the material, most carafes share the same general design. They usually have a rounded frame and come to a point at the top where the lid and spout are situated.
Care and cleaning
Generally, you should not put a coffee carafe in a dishwasher. If you do, it will probably crack or break. Instead, wash it by hand using either:
- Warm water and distilled vinegar: A 4:1 solution of water and vinegar can remove odors and clean the container
- Liquid dish soap and warm water: A few drops of liquid dish soap combined with tap water can handle most messes and help prevent stains.
Due to their design, coffee carafes can be difficult to open and clean inside. One way to make cleaning them easier is to use a brush or scrubber with a long handle, which can fit into small spaces such as carafes, baby bottles and narrow flower vases. Using one on a carafe can help ensure the container gets fully cleaned without having to disassemble it.
What to look for in a quality coffee carafe
The overall capacity of a coffee carafe primarily depends on its size. They usually come with either even or odd cup sizes, such as:
- 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 or 12 cups
- 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 or 11 cups
Each cup refers to a specific number of ounces per regular cup of coffee. For example, a single cup could produce either 12 or 16 ounces of coffee. Most manufacturers list how many ounces the carafe can hold. Traditional glass containers also usually have fine lines or other markings to indicate how many cups they can hold.
Some carafes, especially those made from stainless steel or thick glass, offer great temperature regulation and thermal control. This is particularly true for those that have a double-wall design with a vacuum between each wall. The vacuum separating the walls cuts down on heat transfer, since the air doesn’t circulate through the inner wall. This keeps the coffee hot for hours while protecting your hands from getting burned.
Carafes that don’t have a double wall or that are made from thin glass tend to become hot very quickly. If you get one of those, make sure it has a durable handle you can hold to avoid getting burned.
Some coffee carafes come with a pump. This extra feature can make it easier to pour the drink, since the container stays upright as you press the pump without you having to hold it.
Popular accessories to get with a carafe include:
- A heating plate to help keep your coffee warmer for longer. Some come separately, while others are included with a drip coffee machine.
- A coffee grinder for those who like to prepare their coffee fresh from the bean.
- A specialized coffee cleaning kit with brushes and other accessories that make cleaning the container easier.
How much you can expect to spend on a coffee carafe
A simple glass or insulated coffee carafe costs $20-$50, on average. Larger containers or those with add-ons such as pumps are usually $50-$70.
Coffee carafe FAQ
How long can a carafe keep coffee hot?
A. This depends on how well the container retains heat, but most thermal ones can keep coffee warm for at least an hour or two after making it. If you use a heating plate, you can keep it warm even longer than that.
Does using a heating plate with a carafe burn coffee?
A. It can, but it depends on the heating plate and the carafe’s material. If you have a reliable thermal carafe, you shouldn’t need to use a heating plate with it.
What’s the best coffee carafe to buy?
Top coffee carafe
What you need to know: This large carafe consists of durable stainless steel that’s insulated with a double wall and vacuum, making it perfect for keeping beverages hot or cold for long periods.
What you’ll love: Capable of holding up to 102 ounces of liquid, it features a convenient lever that dispenses coffee and other liquids in controlled amounts. It also comes with a base that swivels around, making it easier to pour from any angle.
What you should consider: It can be difficult to clean inside.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top coffee carafe for the money
Cresimo Stainless Steel Thermal Coffee Carafe
What you need to know: This standard thermal carafe consists of high-quality stainless steel and can keep hot beverages at a consistent temperature for up to 12 hours.
What you’ll love: It can hold up to 68 ounces, or 2 liters, at a time. It’s also lightweight enough to pour using one hand. It has a durable handle and a button that opens the spout. Plus, it has a large mouth that makes cleaning it a breeze.
What you should consider: It might drip a little when pouring.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
Fellow Stagg Double-Wall Coffee Carafe
What you need to know: This handblown glass carafe works well with manual coffee makers and fits on any kitchen counter.
What you’ll love: This 20-ounce, double-walled container can hold hot or cold beverages. It has a small lid and a convenient pouring spout. It also is more durable than other glass options.
What you should consider: It doesn’t keep coffee hot nearly as long as thermal designs.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Angela Watson writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.