Thermal Carafe Coffee Makers: 8 Awesome Models To Consider
Tired of drinking burnt-tasting coffee from a glass carafe that has spent one too many hours on the hot plate? A thermal carafe coffee maker is just what you need. This article will help you decide which features to prioritize, and our top picks for 2020 guarantee you’ll find the perfect one.
How to Choose the Best Coffee Maker with Thermal Carafe
Coffee makers with insulated carafes can cost more than their glass carafe counterparts, but several factors, including durability, taste, and energy-efficiency, make the investment worthwhile. So what should you look for when choosing a thermal carafe coffee machine?
Related: See our complete list of the Best Coffee Makers here.
A thermal carafe can keep your coffee at the right temperature, but the coffee maker needs to get it there. For best extraction, coffee should be brewed between 195 ℉ and 205 ℉ (1), but not all drip brewers achieve this goal. SCAA certified brewers go through rigorous testing to ensure they meet a number of standards, including the benchmark temperature. (2)
Another thing to consider is carafe capacity. How many people will you be serving? How many cups of coffee do you wish to brew? Do you want the option of brewing half a carafe or a single serving? If you plan to brew mostly single servings, a coffee maker with an insulated carafe may not be worth your money. Try one of these top single-serve brewers instead.
There’s always a balance between upfront cost and longevity. Some buyers prefer to pay less upfront, knowing they’ll want a new machine in a few years anyway. Others are willing to shell out big bucks for something that lasts. If you’re in the latter category, look for a machine that is well made, with metal rather than plastic components, and comes with a long warranty. The price tag may be a little higher, but you’ll get your money’s worth.
Consider how much you like to tinker with your homebrew and how much feedback you want from your coffee maker. Some come with dozens of adjustable features and settings, offering control over brew strength, brew time, and temperature, while others prioritize simplicity and user-friendliness.
If a delicious cup of coffee is your primary goal, look for a machine that is SCAA certified.
Many coffee makers offer options like auto-brew timers, brew pausing, and automatic shut-off. Generally, more features mean an increased cost, so decide which ones are important to you and budget accordingly.
The 8 Best Thermal Carafe Coffee Makers in 2020
Our round-up of the best thermal coffee makers this year includes something for everyone. Whether you’re prioritizing great coffee, great value, or great design, we’ve got a recommendation for you — each one guaranteed to keep your drink hot for hours.
1. Technivorm Moccamaster – Top Pick
Dimensions: 11.5” x 6.6” x 15.3”
- Weight: 6.0 lbs
- Cup capacity: 10 cups
The Technivorm Moccamaster is the reigning king of home drip brewers, and for good reason. It pairs great coffee with a durable build that more than justifies its price. It’s certified by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), a rigorous standard that prioritizes conditions for ideal coffee extraction. Handbuilt in the Netherlands, the Moccamaster is of impeccable quality and built to last. (3)
New machines come with a five-year warranty, though tend to last far longer, being easy to repair or spruce up with replacement parts.
Its best feature is a unique dual-coil copper heater, which heats the water quickly to the optimal coffee brewing temperature. Hot water is then showered uniformly over the ground beans for the most even extraction. If, however, you’re hoping for a lot of fancy options, like a touch screen or an automatic timer, the Moccamaster won’t deliver. It’s designed to brew great coffee simply.
Black Decker’s low-cost stainless steel thermal carafe offering is surprisingly packed with features for a budget machine, making it a great option for the discerning coffee drinker on a budget. It offers adjustable brew strength, an auto-brew timing feature, and a handy function that lets you know when the last pot was brewed. The sneak-a-cup feature will auto-pause the brew if you need to grab a cup while it’s brewing. And despite all this functionality, it’s easy to use.
Such a feature-rich, dependable, and easy to use brewer at this price point marks exceptional value.
The simple design fits nicely in all kitchens, and the large carafe is plenty for serving even up to 12 cups of coffee. It takes about 10 minutes to brew, a touch slower than comparable machines. The only downside is the plastic construction. It won’t be as durable as metal alternatives, and a number of rinses are needed during the initial set-up to avoid any plastic aftertaste.
3. Breville Grind Control – Best Built-In Grinder
Dimensions: 9.0” x 14.0” x 16.3”
- Weight: 16.0 lbs
- Cup capacity: 12 cups
Breville is known for great coffee makers and great grinders, so it’s no surprise they’ve found success in marrying the two. The Grind Control is easy to use and offers a number of useful features, the most obvious being a built-in burr grinder. The grinder offers four settings, so you can fine-tune it to your needs, but it’s not the same as a stand-alone grinder. You can’t get coarse French Press grind or superfine espresso grind. For more grinding options, check out our complete review of coffee makers with grinders.
The grinder enables freshly ground coffee, even for morning brews pre-programmed the night before.
This machine hits the ideal brewing temperature of 200 ℉ and can brew from a single-serving to a 12-cup carafe. It features 8 brew strength settings and a unique calibration system that optimizes it for your specific coffee beans. This Grind Control is relatively expensive but remains good value if it saves you having to buy a separate grinder.
4. Behmor Brazen Plus – Best SCAA Certified
Dimensions: 9.0” x 9.0” x 15.3”
- Weight: 10.0 lbs
- Cup capacity: 8 cups
Like the Moccamaster, the Behmor Brazen is certified by the SCAA, guaranteeing great coffee. In contrast, however, the Behmor offers numerous features to tinker with. This is the machine for those who want to intimately control the brewing process.
The brewing temperature, strength, and pre-soak time are all adjustable via an easy-to-use LCD screen, and the machine will even take into account your altitude’s effect on the boiling point of water. (4) For even more control over your brew, the Behmor Connected is a near-identical “smart” model that’s operated through voice commands or an app.
The water tank is stainless steel, which avoids any plastic taste and increases durability. During brewing, a pulsed water flow from a showerhead style dispenser ensures the most even extraction from the grounds. The 8-cup carafe is smaller than many, and some users have found that it only keeps the coffee hot for an hour or two.
5. OXO On Barista Brain – Most Advanced
Dimensions: 14.5” x 6.8” x 17.2”
- Weight: 7.8 lbs
- Cup capacity: 9 cups
The OXO On Barista Brain, which is newly certified by the SCAA, has all the features expected of a high-end home brewer, including an auto-brew timer, a pause feature, and a timer to let you know when the coffee was made. But what qualifies it as the most advanced is a microprocessor-controlled hot water distribution that saturates the grounds in timed cycles, mimicking the perfect pour-over. A unique silicone mixing tube in the carafe ensures uniformity inside.
The Brain can brew 2 to 9 cups at the ideal SCAA-mandated temperature, with the latter taking just 7 minutes.
At 17 inches, this is the tallest machine on the list, a consideration for small kitchens, and it doesn’t offer many adjustable brew features. Just as you would trust the barista’s brain at a coffee shop, you’ll have to trust Barista Brain for that perfect cup.
6. Mr. Coffee Optimal Brew – Easiest To Clean
Dimensions: 13.1” x 8.7” x 14.3”
- Weight: 9.7 lbs
- Cup capacity: 10 cups
User-friendliness is the guiding principle behind the Mr. Coffee Optimal Brew, and it shows. For a low priced machine, it features a number of make-life-easy features, including a brew timer, a freshness timer, an auto-pause, and an auto shut-off. The carafe is made of stainless steel.
The water reservoir of the Mr. Coffee is easily removable for filling and cleaning, and the filter features a unique lift-and-clean design for easy access. It comes with a water filter that will both improve your coffee’s taste and decrease the frequency of descaling. When it’s time for a clean, the Mr. Coffee Optimal Brew will let you know, and you can execute its self-cleaning cycle.
The taste of the coffee is not the priority here, with no SCAA certification or control over brewing parameters. This is a machine for those who want easy and good, not great, coffee.
7. Cuisinart DCC-450BKC – Best For Small Kitchens
Dimensions: 6.7” x 8.7” x 11”
- Weight: 4.0 lbs
- Cup capacity: 4 cups
This Cuisinart coffee maker is small and inexpensive, the perfect entry-level machine for a compact kitchen or a dorm room. It wouldn’t even be out of place on an office desk.
Naturally, this machine is not packed with features, as its diminutive size and price would suggest, but it does have a few handy functions. An automatic brew-pause lets you grab a cup while it’s brewing, and it shuts off automatically after 30 mins, a great safety and power-saving feature.
It also dispenses hot water showerhead style to ensure even wetting of the grounds and best extraction, impressive attention to detail for such a basic model.
All pour-over brewers, with their spare design and smooth curves, tend to have an architectural appeal. But Asobu’s insulated version, available in four stylish colors, is a true work of art.
Beyond its sleek exterior, the borosilicate glass Asobu also brews a mean cup of coffee. Pour-over coffee takes some practice and requires a separate means of boiling water, but it yields fantastic results once mastered. (5)
Pour-over accentuates intricate flavors when compared to other brewing methods. This makes it a popular choice for single-origin coffees since it allows the flavors and aromas to shine.
The double-wall stainless steel insulated carafe is copper lined, allowing it to keep up to 32 ounces of coffee hot for 12 hours. And unlike the other brewers on the list, it’s portable. A leak-proof lid turns the carafe into a thermos you can take anywhere.
A thermal carafe coffee maker is a worthwhile purchase if you plan to save brewed coffee for later, improving in both taste and sustainability over glass carafes, and each of the brewers on our list is a great option, offering a top-of-the-line defining characteristic.
In our opinion, the Technivorm Moccamaster is the all-around winner. Its SCAA certification ensures consistently delicious coffee, and its high-quality, handbuilt construction guarantees years of enjoyment.
The best thermal coffee maker or any great machine with thermal carafe keeps coffee hot for up to 12 hours, but 6 hours is a reasonable assumption for most.
A coffee thermos will usually keep coffee hot for longer, and it’s portable. If you often take your coffee to go, a glass carafe paired with a coffee thermos might be your best bet. Here are our picks for the best coffee thermoses.
The ideal temperature for brewing coffee is between 195 ℉ and 205 ℉, so the best drip coffee makers aim for that range. If you have an affinity for extra hot coffee, a French press or a percolator will serve you well.
- Ideal Brew Temperature and Time. (n.d.). https://www.motifcoffee.com/brew-your-best/home-brewing-essentials/ideal-brew-temperature-and-time
- SCA Certified Home Brewer Program. (n.d.). https://sca.coffee/certified-home-brewer
- Hof, K. (2019, January 22). The Making Of A Master: Inside The Technivorm Factory. https://sprudge.com/the-making-of-a-master-inside-the-technivorm-factory-137235.html
- Molina, A. (2018, October 11). How Does Elevation Affect Your Ideal Coffee Brew Temperature? https://www.perfectdailygrind.com/2018/10/how-does-elevation-affect-your-ideal-coffee-brew-temperature/
- Soque, N. (2019, January 5). Everything You Need To Know To Brew Great Pour Over Coffee. https://www.perfectdailygrind.com/2019/01/everything-you-need-to-know-to-brew-great-filter-pour-over-drip-coffee/