We all know you’re supposed to drink your coffee straight away – but what if that’s just not practical? You may want to choose the best thermal carafe to keep coffee hot.
There are lots of thermal carafes out there to choose from.
We’ll take a look at the features to bear in mind when you go shopping.
And if you need some help narrowing down your options, we’ll review five of the best.
Our Top Recommended
How to choose the coffee carafe that's right for you
1. How big is big enough?
To start with, ask yourself how much coffee your carafe needs to hold. The answer probably isn’t “as much as possible”.
You might want just enough to keep you going through the day – if, for example, the place you work doesn’t have a convenient kitchen.
If that’s the case, don’t get something that’s too big. You don’t want to overdose on caffeine! And remember, you’ll need your carafe to be portable too.
If, on the other hand, you need to keep a crowd of coffee lovers happy, you’ll want something larger.
A tabletop carafe that can dispense cup after cup is great for workshops or conferences.
You might, though, need a trolley to take it from the kitchen to wherever you’re serving.
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2. How long do you need to make your coffee last?
If you want a thermal carafe, you’re probably measuring the time you need your coffee kept hot in hours, not minutes. But there’s a surprising amount of variation out there (1).
Are you looking for something to keep your coffee hot until the latest risers come down to breakfast?
Or are you going to be away from a kitchen and need your beverage kept hot all day long?
Check the specifications so you don’t end up disappointed or paying more than you need to.
Generally speaking, the more air that’s held between the two walls of a thermal carafe, the better the heat retention.
This video from Seattle Coffee Gear illustrates this by putting four different models to the test.
3. Ease of cleaning
Are you the kind of person who can’t enjoy your coffee if the inside of the carafe isn’t sparkling? If so, you’ll want to consider how easy it is to clean.
There may be compromises to be made here. Some of the features that keep carafes well insulated can also make them tricky to keep pristine.
Wide-mouthed openings are easier to attack with a scrubbing brush, but narrower ones usually keep the heat in better.
Some carafes will come with their own cleaning implements. And there are some clever hacks out there too.
Take a look at this video for a simple way to get a great result.
4. One hand or two?
Think about how you’re going to operate the carafe.
Do you need to hold a cup in one hand and the carafe in the other? Is the carafe too heavy to lift, so you’ll need it to stand on your counter?
Some carafes have a button on top. Press it with your thumb and the coffee is released into the spout, allowing you to pour one-handed.
With others, you’ll need to partly unscrew the cap before you can pour.
Whatever you do, don’t unscrew it too far or the lid can come off and splash scalding coffee everywhere.
To be on the safe side, hold the lid in place as you pour. That means you’ll need to use both hands.
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Compared to other bits of coffee making kit, a thermal carafe isn’t an expensive option. There is, however, a surprising amount of variation in what you can expect to pay.
There are popular models at either end of the price spectrum and you could easily pay twice as much for one carafe as another.
Don’t assume that higher price means better quality. Take a look at the specifications so you know what you’re paying for.
The best coffee carafe to keep hot - 2020 reviews
1. Pykal 68 ounce Thermal Coffee Carafe
Similar in looks to the Hiware, the Pykal is a little more expensive. Its shape means the cleaning issues are the same as its cheaper counterpart. So what do you get for your money?
Well, there’s a free cleaning brush for a start!
More importantly, the Pykal features precision German engineering that will keep your coffee drinkable for a massive 24 hours.
That’s double the length of time for any other carafe we’ve found. But bear in mind you’ll only get that sort of heat retention if the carafe is almost full.
Sipping from it throughout the day will reduce that time frame.
The body is 18/10 stainless steel, and there’s a push-button mechanism for easy, one-handed pouring.
And you can be confident your carafe is built to last: it comes with a full two-year warranty.
This is a well-engineered product, with great thermal properties and an almost two-liter capacity.
It’s a bit more expensive than the Hiware, but still represents good value compared to other carafes.
2. Cresimo 68 Oz Stainless Steel Thermal Coffee Carafe (Our Top Recommended)
The Cresimo is a standard looking carafe, but that nondescript exterior belies some seriously good thermal properties.
It uses a double-walled construction with a vacuum between each wall to avoid heat loss. It’s designed to keep drinks hot for an impressive period of over 12 hours.
The same features also mean the outside stays cool to the touch even when it’s full.
That means no worries about burning yourself when you use it, or about children scalding themselves with wandering hands.
The body of the carafe is made from premium grade 18/8 stainless steel, with a brushed finish for a utilitarian look.
It’s designed to be poured using one hand, with a simple button on the lid to open the spout.
Its two-liter capacity is plenty big enough to keep one or two people topped up throughout the day.
If you want to serve lots of coffee lovers, though, you’ll want something bigger.
3. Mind Reader TEMPITCH-WHT Double Walled Thermal Carafe
This funky little carafe will appeal to those wanting something a bit different.
One look shows you instantly what that difference is: it has a whopping great temperature display on the outside.
If you want to know how hot your coffee is before you drink it, this is the carafe for you. It shows the temperature in Fahrenheit in a clear digital format.
That temperature should stay pretty high too. The Mind Reader has double walled insulation, which means hot drinks stay drinkable for up to 12 hours.
Anyone looking for a carafe with a touch of modern style should check this out. There’s a standard stainless steel version, but the glossy black and white options are a class apart.
This is a great little carafe, but it will only hold enough for about four cups.
It would suit one style-conscious person looking for an easy coffee fix throughout the day. But if you’re looking to keep the household supplied, go for a different model.
4. Hiware 68 ounce Stainless Steel Thermal Coffee Carafe
The Hiware has a classically elegant design that wouldn’t look out of place next to your fine china coffee service. But what about performance?
It will keep your coffee hot for 12 hours, surely long enough for even the most relaxed dinner party! And unlike many other carafes, the Hiware is a plastic-free zone.
This not only gives it a classy look, it means you won’t have to worry about chemicals leaching into your coffee.
It will hold a generous 68 ounces, just under two liters. That’s enough capacity to take the contents of a 12 cup coffee pot.
So what are the negatives?
While that stainless steel lid looks great, it won’t stay quite as cool to the touch as plastic options. Make sure no-one grabs it around the neck.
And the opening at the top isn’t the widest, so scrubbing can be a pain. You can avoid that chore altogether by using hot water and a dishwasher tablet.
5. Cresimo Airpot Thermal Carafe
And if you are looking for something bigger, the Cresimo Airpot should be on your shortlist.
Its design will be familiar to anyone who’s served themselves coffee at a conference or training course.
It’s big, it has a shiny stainless steel cylindrical body, and there’s a matt black base, handle and lid.
The three-liter (101 ounces) capacity means it’s too heavy to lift for pouring. When you want a coffee, you simply press down on a lever on the lid.
You’ll need to hold your cup near the spout to avoid splashing, though, so it’s a two-handed job.
The Cresimo’s size makes it a great choice for slaking the thirst of a group of coffee lovers.
What’s more, its thermal properties are almost as good as the Bellemain’s. It will keep hot beverages at a drinkable temperature for twelve hours.
The flip side of its large capacity is that it’s not the most portable carafe out there. If you’re just looking for something for one or two people, look for a different design.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our round-up of coffee thermal carafes. We think the Cresimo Stainless Steel Thermal Coffee Carafe is a great, all-round choice. Or for something a little more unusual, check out the Mind Reader.
We wish you many hours of steaming hot coffee!