What Is a Thermal Coffee Maker
A thermal coffee maker is not the same as your traditional coffee maker. Note that the coffee maker that you have on your kitchen counter most probably has a glass carafe and a hotplate underneath to keep the coffee warm.
The problem with this kind of setup is that the longer your coffee sits on the hot plate, the higher the chance of it burning and you will get to taste it. You cannot just turn off the hotplate as it will result in your coffee getting cold, which is equally as bad as getting it burnt. The solution is to use a thermal coffee maker instead.
A thermal coffee maker uses a stainless-steel insulated flask or carafe as the container of the brewed coffee, something like a thermos or travel mug. This eliminates the need for the hotplate, which will also get rid of the burnt taste in your coffee. With a thermal coffee maker, hot coffee goes into the carafe and it can retain the heat for hours.
Benefits of a Thermal Coffee Maker
Prevents the Coffee From Burning
If you are using a thermal coffee maker, you will notice that it does not have a hotplate to keep the carafe warm, and that is because it does not need it. The carafe itself comes with a seal and proper insulation to prevent the contents from cooling down so there is no need for an external heating source. Also, since the coffee is not sitting on a hot plate for hours, you have an assurance that it will not burn.
Saves a Lot of Electricity
A thermal coffee maker is also beneficial in the sense that it saves a lot of electricity. It provides such a benefit because it does not need a hot plate. Remember that the heating elements underneath the hot plate use up a lot of electricity, so not using them will surely lower your electric consumption by quite a lot.
Will Not Crack Nor Shatter
Glass carafes tend to crack due to heat stress from the hot coffee, or just from clumsy butterfingers. Even if you are the clumsiest person in the world, there is no way that you will be able to even crack the stainless-steel carafe.
Can Be Brought Anywhere
Are you tired of walking to and from the kitchen and your office just to refill your mug? You will no longer experience this problem as you can take the thermal coffee maker carafe with you. With that, you will always have piping hot coffee within your reach.
How Does a Thermal Coffee Maker Work
Most thermal coffee makers work the same way as your regular drip coffee maker. All you have to do is to put water in the reservoir tank, put a new filter, and pour in your choice of coffee. After that, you can turn it on and wait for the steaming coffee to drip into the thermal carafe.
However, you can also find others that use the pod system. There are also those that replicate the pour-over method. Some even have complicated dials that let you set every little detail of the brewing process.
Aside from that, you can find coffee makers that come with their own coffee bean grinders and milk steamers, among many other features. Of course, these machines will cost a bit more extra and are usually for true coffee aficionados.
Pros and Cons of a Thermal Coffee Maker
- Keeps your coffee hot for hours. The carafes of thermal coffee makers are vacuum insulated, which means that their contents will not cool down and will remain hot for several hours. You can brew a fresh pot early in the morning. If you want to pour yourself another cup for brunch or a mid-morning snack, you will surely love the fact that the coffee is still steaming hot
- Energy-saving. You can also enjoy significant savings on energy with a thermal coffee maker. It is all thanks to its insulated carafe/pot designed to keep the contents warm for hours without relying on an external heat source
- Prevents your coffee from burning. Here is one downside of leaving your coffee pot on the hot plate for too long – it will burn your coffee. Have you ever wondered why hours-old coffee seemed oddly bitter than it was before? That is mainly because the hot plate is burning the coffee little by little the longer you leave it on. It will not be the case with a thermal carafe because it no longer relies on external heat sources. It just retains the heat of the coffee for hours.
- You can’t see how much coffee there is in the pot. Because of the carafe’s stainless-steel construction, you can’t accurately tell how much coffee is still inside it.
How to Choose the Best Thermal Coffee Maker
As mentioned earlier, not all thermal coffee makers are the same, so you will need to consider a couple of things to prevent yourself from buying something that you do not even need. Some of those you have to consider are the following:
Type of Carafe
When selecting the type of carafe, you will most likely have to choose between glass and stainless steel. However, since you are looking for a thermal coffee maker, it is advisable to go for the stainless-steel option. The glass carafe is for traditional coffee makers and will not preserve the heat of its contents at all.
How many people in your household drink coffee? How many cups does each person consume every day? If you live alone and you have a healthy relationship with coffee, then a carafe that can hold around three to four cups will be more than adequate. Now, if you live in a household full of coffee lovers, then it would be best for you to get the coffee maker with the largest carafe that you can find.
Coincidentally, having a cup of French roast coffee is beneficial for health, so you will always have an excuse to drink. However, before buying that large coffee maker, make sure that you have space on your counter for it. There is nothing worse than getting home all excited about your new appliance only to find out that it does not even fit in your kitchen.
Are you a fan of drip coffee and percolator coffee brewing? Or is pour-over more of your style? Maybe you like using pods? Whatever your preferred brewing method is, there will surely be a thermal coffee maker that will fit your needs. For instance, a pour-over kettle gives you control over the water flow. On the other hand, dual coffee makers brew a lot of coffee fast.
Most coffee makers have a set brewing temperature, which is fine for most coffee drinkers. However, if you consider yourself a connoisseur, then it is advisable to get a coffee maker that heats the water between 195 to 205 degrees F. It is the temperature range that coffee specialists advise to use to get the optimum cup of coffee.
Ease of Use and Convenience
Not everyone needs or wants a coffee maker that comes with numerous knobs and dials for controlling all aspects of the coffee-making process. Some just want a simple machine that does everything with a press of a button, so they get a pod system coffee maker. They usually do not put too much weight on Nespresso vs Keurig pros and cons, or other impertinent information like who makes the best coffee pod holder.
Do you find yourself on the road most of the time for work? If you are and you also prefer making your own coffee, then you can get yourself one of those pour-over thermal coffee makers. These machines do not need electricity to work. Just pour hot water over the top and wait for it to drip into the thermal carafe.
Of course, a stainless-steel coffee maker produces delicious coffee, but it is also far more durable than those with thin glass carafes. However, it does not immediately indicate that a certain coffee maker can last. It is still best for you to do your own research. Make it a point to read as many customer reviews as you can and invest in the one that has the most positive reviews. However, in general, stovetop espresso makers are known for longevity, so you can use them if you want.
Should you get a coffee maker with its own coffee grinder? Coffee experts say that you should get a separate grinder for your coffee since it would give you more control over the level of your grind. However, if you do not have that much counter space to spare, getting an all-in-one appliance is always a good idea.
The Specialty Coffee Association of America is a club of sorts, composed entirely of coffee connoisseurs. If a coffee maker impresses them enough to give it their seal of approval, then you know it is going to be good. For instance, if you are looking for the world’s best siphon coffee maker, search for the SCAA certification on the packaging.
The rule of thumb is that the longer the warranty period, the better the product is. The manufacturer of the coffee maker will not be giving out five to ten-year warranties if they are not confident that their product will last long. With that said, look for a coffee maker that has a one-year warranty at the least. However, it is always better to go for one with a warranty longer than that.
How to Use a Thermal Coffee Maker
The directions to use a thermal coffee maker will depend on the kind of brewing method it uses, but for convenience’s sake, let us assume that you will be using a drip-coffee method. Here are the steps:
Step 1 – Grind your coffee
It is always best to use freshly-ground coffee beans as they are more flavorful that way. However, there is nothing wrong if you have pre-ground coffee as it is still more convenient anyway.
Step 2 – Place a filter in the basket and pour ground coffee
Some coffee makers come with a reusable coffee filter, and if yours does, then make sure that you give it a good rinse first.
Step 3 – Pour enough water into the reservoir
Figure out how much coffee you will need to make, and pour in an adequate amount of water.
Step 4 – Place the clean carafe into its cradle
Turn on the machine and wait for the coffee to pour into the carafe.
How to Clean a Thermal Coffee Maker
There is no one correct way to clean coffee makers. It is mainly because this machine comes in many different types. For instance, cleaning Cuisinart grind and brew coffee maker is different from when you are cleaning other brands and types. The usual steps, though, include the following:
Step 1 – Remove the used coffee filter and coffee grounds
Never brew another pot of coffee using previously used coffee grounds as it will taste horrible.
Step 2 – Wipe the coffee basket clean
Most coffee baskets are non-removable so the best that you can do is wipe the inside using a paper towel to clean it.
Step 3 – Clean the carafe
Most stainless-steel carafes are dishwasher-safe so you can just place it in there if you want to. However, it is best to hand wash it as it promotes more thorough cleaning.
Step 4 – Wash the water reservoir
Most coffee makers come with removable water reservoirs for easy cleaning. However, you do not need to do this every time. Once or twice a week of cleaning is fine.
Does More Spending Mean More Quality
When it comes to coffee makers, it is not a secret that the expensive ones usually work much better than the ones that are on the lower end of the price spectrum. However, that is not always the case as coffee maker quality is usually subjective.
Why would you spend thousands of dollars on a coffee maker when you only need it every morning? If you are a coffee snob, then you can probably justify getting yourself a professional-grade machine, but for the average Joe, the important thing is that the machine makes great coffee and keeps it hot for a long time.
Do’s and Don’ts With a Thermal Coffee Maker
- Make sure to read the user’s manual first before using the machine.
- Use pre-ground coffee when brewing in a pour-over maker.
- Only use fresh water – It is preferable to go for the distilled or filtered type.
- Empty the coffee grounds container with the machine on.
- Do not add more than two level tablespoons of coffee into the coffee basket.
- Do not put anything else other than coffee grounds into the coffee basket.
- Do not use your coffee grounds more than once.
FAQ About Thermal Coffee Makers
Is a thermal carafe better than glass?
Yes. In many ways, a thermal carafe is a better choice compared to glass. For one thing, the coffee in a thermal carafe remains hot even after a couple of hours. On the other hand, a glass carafe has little to no insulation so its contents will get cold in no time.
Does a thermal carafe keep coffee hot?
Yes, and it is thanks to the double walls of the container. The space between the double walls is a vacuum, which prevents heat transfer from the inside wall towards the outer wall, and vice versa.
How do you keep coffee warm in a thermal carafe?
There are many reasons why coffee remains warm when placed in a thermal carafe. One reason is the presence of the vacuum-sealed double-walls of the carafe. The vacuum between the walls prevents heat from rapidly escaping outside the carafe.
Another reason why a thermal carafe is so efficient at keeping heat inside is its small opening. This results in a slow pour, but that is a small compromise for having hot coffee whenever you want it.
What is a carafe of coffee?
The carafe is the pot where the drip coffee pours into within the coffee maker. The carafe can either be glass or stainless steel depending on the type of coffee maker you have.
With the many benefits of a thermal coffee maker, it is definitely a good idea to shop for one if you are looking for this machine. This machine provides those benefits that you cannot find in traditional glass carafe machines. With that in mind, your research about the best thermal coffee maker that perfectly suits your requirements should start now.
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