Best Thermal Carafe Coffee Makers – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

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The best thermal carafe coffee makers bring 2 significant advantages to your personal and family coffee needs. First, unlike single-serve machines, these models make a substantial brew, thereby eliminating wait time between cups.

Secondly, compared to their other siblings, glass carafe makers, thermal carafe machines keep their content warm without constant heating. This means that your coffee remains fresh for long without developing that burnt taste.

That being said, let’s jump straight into our contenders of the best thermal carafe coffee makers to buy this year.

Our Top Pick: BUNN CSB3T Speed Brew Platinum

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Best For Quick Brewing

Pros 👍
✔ Fast brewing times
✔ Carafe keeps contents hot for long
✔ Holds hot water ready for brewing
✔ Positive feedback regarding durability

Cons 👎
✘ Power button has to stay ON
✘ Water-Tank heater uses a lot of power
✘ No pulse button

The Bunn CSB3T is one of a kind coffee maker with a completely different working mechanism compared to the average coffee machines.

This model measures 13.6’’ x 8.2’’ x 14.9’’ and weighs 7.8 pounds. It features a spray head that thoroughly soaks the coffee grounds for a nicely bodied brew each time.

The CSB3T comes with a 10-cup dual-wall carafe capable of maintaining your coffee’s brewing temperature for close to 3 hours.

Its standout feature is its unique commercial-grade built-in tank that holds hot water for immediate brewing. This means that unlike regular coffee makers that take a few minutes to heat the water, this model jumps straight into brewing since the water is already heated. As such, the Bunn CSB3T can brew 10 cups of coffee in 4 minutes.

Of course, this design means that you’ll need to ensure that the water reservoir is full at all times, and the power button is ON always.

Breville BDC450 Precision Brewer

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Best For Quick Brewing

Pros 👍
✔ Lots of brew options
✔ Auto mode has superb consistency
✔ Good level of customizability
✔ Well labelled large reservoir

Cons 👎
✘ Might be too bulky for some
✘ Level of adjustability may be overkill
✘ It’s on the pricier side

The Breville BDC450 Precision is a Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) certified home brewer. This assures you of one thing: great tasting pots of Joe.

This machine measures 12.4″ x 6.7″ x 15.7’’. So, ensure that you have enough space for it beforehand. It’s big for a good reason, though.

This model has a large water reservoir plus a massive filter basket, both of which allow you to brew a full 12-cup carafe at once. The tank also has handy labels that will enable you to brew just the right amount of coffee that is enough for you.

What we like about the BDC450 is the incredible level of control that it puts in your hands. This model offers you 6 brewing modes to choose from: fast, gold, strong, over ice, my brew, and cold brew.

The Gold preset adjusts the brewing temperature and time to keep your brews within SCA’s guidelines. The My Brew setting, on the other hand, gives you total control of the bloom time, brewing temperature, and flow rate. This customizability means that you get a perfect cup of tantalizing coffee exactly how you prefer it.

OXO Brew Barista Brain 9 Cup Coffee Maker

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Best for Convenience

Pros 👍
✔ SCAA certified
✔ Dispenses 2-4 cups or 5-9 cups
✔ Sleek design
✔ Has brew pause

Cons 👎
✘ Slow brew (over 6 minutes)
✘ Complaints regarding a dripping basket
✘ Single dial is not intuitive

This is yet another SCAA-certified coffee machine that serious java drinkers will find quite irresistible. Measuring 15’’ x 8.3’’ x 17.2’’, the Barista Brain is just as big as most other coffee makers in its class. However, it also boasts one of the most attractive designs that we came across when compiling this list. 

This coffee maker has a large, transparent water tank that holds up to 9 cups of water. Interestingly, a built-in serving size selector allows you to dispense 2-4 cups or 5-9 cups depending on the number of drinkers. 

The Oxo Barista Brain has 2 unique features that you’ll be hard-pressed to find on other coffee makers in its price range. The first is what our team likes to refer to as a ‘freshness timer.’ This feature keeps track of how long your natural nectar has stayed in the carafe since it was brewed. 

The other brew detail feature is the carafe mixing tube. Precisely, this is a silicone tube that attaches to the lid and helps in pushing the recently brewed coffee to the bottom of the pot. The idea here is to ensure that the brew has a consistent body and flavor. 

Other great features of this thermal carafe coffee maker include a timer, a brew pause, and a warning when the carafe is removed.

Cuisinart DCC-3400 Thermal Carafe Coffee Maker

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Best Affordable Thermal Coffee Maker

Pros 👍
✔ Intuitive control interface
✔ Allows brew-strength control
✔ Can brew 1-4 cups
✔ Relatively affordable

Cons 👎
✘ Non-adjustable brewing temperature
✘ Heavy thermal carafe
✘ Filling the reservoir is a pain
✘ Carafe’s spout spills coffee on the sides

This coffee maker boasts more features than any other model in this list. Surprisingly, it’s almost 3 times cheaper than its most expensive competitor in our reviews. If you are strapped for cash, and you are looking for a reliable coffee maker with a sizeable thermal carafe, we can confidently recommend this one.

What we liked most about the Cuisinart DCC-3400 is its intuitive control interface. Although the 9 control buttons make the interface look quite busy, at least your guests won’t be struggling to use the machine.

Speaking of guests, the DCC-3400 features a large 12-cup carafe for those times when you need to brew as much coffee as possible. There’s also an option to brew 1-4 cups only, though.

Among other exciting features that we didn’t expect at this price point include the 24-hour programmability, optional ready alert tone, and a brew strength control. Also, it has a brew-pause function that allows you to sneak a cup of coffee without waiting for the entire pot to brew.  

Another unique feature of this coffee maker is its clean button. This will automatically clean the system to keep the machine’s performance at optimum performance all the time.

Brew Express BEC-110BS Coffee System

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Best for Direct Water Connection

Pros 👍
✔ No frequent reservoir filling
✔ Consistent coffee brews
✔ Can brew 10 Cup
✔ Has a timer clock
✔ Durable

Cons 👎
✘ Direct water connection inhibits portability
✘ Pricey compared to other models
✘ Might necessitate unplanned plumbing works

If you are looking for a coffee machine that you won’t struggle to refill, the Brew Express BEC-110BS could be it. This model eliminates that hassle by connecting directly to your water line in an easy connection.

This direct water feed makes it a superb contender for use in high-traffic homes and offices. The fact that this model can supply hot water on demand also makes it more ideal for multiple-users in that you can brew anything from coffee to hot chocolate and chai.

The Brew Express has a 10-cup thermal carafe. What we find even more interesting, however, is the convenience of brewing a single cup of coffee, half a carafe, or a full carafe.

Going through the reviews, most previous users seem to like this unit a lot. Most people highlight its direct water connection, while others seem to like its ease of use the most. Also, a large percentage affirms that the BEC-110BS offers consistent brews each time.

Our Verdict

If we had to choose just one thermal carafe coffee maker from this list, we’d go with the Cuisinart DCC-3400. Besides its affordability, we feel that this model has everything a coffee lover would be looking for, including a brew-strength control, a large carafe, a 1-4 cups setting, and a brew pause. We also like its intuitive control panel and programmability.

Thermal Carafe Coffee Maker Buying Guide

What is a thermal carafe coffee maker?

This refers to a coffee maker that brews into a thermal carafe. A thermal carafe, on the other hand, is a container made up of 2 walls with a vacuum between them. Most thermal carafes are made of stainless steel. However, some models combine 2 materials, for instance, stainless steel and plastic, or powder-coated aluminum.

How does a thermal carafe coffee maker work?

The key highlight of a thermal carafe is the vacuum between its 2 walls. Its essence is to minimize heat loss through convection (i.e. heat transfer through the air). This carafe is also thoughtfully constructed so that the walls only meet at specific spots to reduce heat loss via conduction, without compromising structural integrity.

Consequently, the brew in the carafe remains piping hot for 2-4 hours. Most of these coffee makers do not require the heating plate that glass carafe coffee makers utilize to keep the contents warm.

Why do I need a Thermal Carafe Coffee Maker?

Thermal carafe coffee makers utilize the same process that flasks use; keeping the content hot, without necessarily heating it. Precisely, most thermal carafes hold the coffee at the optimum temperature of 195-205 degrees for over 2 hours.

Since there’s no continued heating, the risk of over-extracting the oils and flavor in your coffee and making it bitter is highly reduced. 

How to Choose a Thermal Carafe Coffee Maker

Consider the capacity of the carafe

Thermal carafes come in sizes ranging from 4 cups to 12 cups. If you are buying the coffee maker for personal use, a smaller pot of 4-6 cups might be ideal. However, if the machine will be serving a family of coffee purists, it might be necessary to go for the largest pot available.

Brewing Temperature

This is a critical aspect of the coffee-making process. You want a machine that can brew at an optimum range of between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit. Overly hot water can burn your coffee, giving it a bitter taste, while colder water may lead to under-extraction. This makes your coffee weak or even sour.

Consider special features

Different thermal carafe coffee makers boast varying features depending on the price range and functionality. So, consider a model with features that suit your needs without overstretching your budget.

For instance, if you are targeting a large carafe coffee maker, you might want to consider a model with a brew-pause function. This is a convenient feature that allows you to pause the cycle and grab a cup when time isn’t on your side.

If you can barely do anything before a hot cup of coffee in the morning, a programmable machine that makes your coffee automatically may be extremely valuable.

Thermal Carafe Coffee Maker FAQs

Are thermal carafe coffee makers better than glass?

Well, each of these has its merits and demerits. Thermal carafes maintain the optimum brewing temperature for a longer time than glass carafes. On the flip side, these models are slightly pricier, and the carafe is not dishwasher-safe.
On the other hand, glass carafe coffee makers are slightly cheaper.

Their pot can also be washed in the dishwashing machine, which is quite convenient. Unfortunately, the glass carafe has to be on the heating plate to maintain the ideal temperatures. This leads to over-extraction of coffee flavors and loss of oils, thereby leading to a burnt or bitter coffee. Also, keep in mind that glass breaks easily.

How do you clean a coffee maker’s thermal carafe?

To clean a thermal carafe, you’ll need at least 2 effervescent tablets and a little dish soap. Fill the carafe halfway with cold water and add the 2 tablets. Let it sit for around 15 minutes.

As the effervescent tablets dissolve, they will emit carbon dioxide, which causes an agitation. This agitation helps in cleaning hard water stains and residues on the interior lining of the pot.

After 15 minutes, pour the water and fill the carafe halfway again, this time with hot water. Add a little dish soap and swirl thoroughly. Lastly, give it a good rinse, and you are good to go.

What are the benefits of a thermal carafe?

✔ It only requires a sealed lid to keep the brew hot for hours on end
✔ It keeps your coffee’s freshness intact since there’s no over-extraction of flavors
✔ Most of them are shatter-resistant

Tips for Making Coffee in a Thermal Carafe

  • Always consider brewing a full pot- carafe coffee maker’s brewing mechanism is designed for the maximum capacity. If you brew less coffee, then you are not getting the best.
  • Avoid setting the coffee too early as it loses its flavors and aromas quickly when exposed. If you are a real coffee purist, consider using coffee that was ground 15-20 minutes ago.
  • Always clean the carafe regularly- water residues and stuck coffee grounds in the pot may impart your brew with unwanted flavors. So, consider cleaning it every 2 weeks or sooner.
  • Use filtered water to protect the internal water workings of your coffee maker from scale buildup.
  • Use a medium grind- medium coffee grounds are said to be the best when the brew time is relatively faster.