Glass lined insulated coffee carafes may not cost as much as thermal vacuum carafe coffee makers, but of the two, the latter are more worthy of your money. This is mainly because of durability. But, even with that aside, vacuum carafe coffee makers are still far better because of many different factors.
Pros and Cons of Thermal Coffee Maker Carafes
For starters, a vacuum carafe is much more portable. True, you can do that with any coffee carafe, but vacuum coffee maker carafes are also better because they can keep coffee hot longer.
Even still glass lined carafes have their place. They are more affordable after all and they do great at keeping coffee hot for shorter amounts of time… because who really needs coffee to stay hot for 12+ hours. In my home three will do just fine.
Here are a few glass lined carafes we like.
Zojirushi Premium Thermal 1-Liter Carafe, Brushed Stainless SteelZojirushi’s thermal carafes and travel mugs are awesome! They perform so well and they don’t cost an arm and a leg.
This carafe looks a bit like an airpot but it has it’s handle and the push button pour mechanism that you would expect from a good coffee carafe.
This model will keep things hot or cold for many hours and the glass interior is super easy to clean. You barely need to do more than swishing warm soapy water through the carafe between uses.
Copco Chloe 1 Quart Thermal Capacity Carafe, WhiteIf you are looking to buy a more affordable coffee carafe – perhaps a smaller carafe that’s just super easy to use then Copco has a great option for you here.
This carafe holds a quart of coffee at a time, has an all glass interior, and costs very little. If you are making single serve french press coffee then this is a perfect carafe to hold your coffee in between cups.
Why are so Many Coffee Carafes Lined with Glass?
And What Alternatives are There?
A carafe is pretty much similar to a flask in which it is used to hold liquid. The carafe is unlike the decanter (the preferred vessel of wine and other alcoholic beverages) in which the latter is shaped in a way to provide a large area on which the wine can sit. This helps the drink be exposed to oxygen, a crucial process in the development of the wine. This is known as oxygenation. In regards to shape, decanters are commonly bowl-shaped to accommodate oxygenation.
Shapes of carafes thus serve no other purpose than to make the vessel look elegant and sophisticated. This is believed to entice the drinker to have some more of the beverage. Compared to the decanter, carafes are elongated and cylindrical in silhouette. They tend to have a long and small circumference body. This is done to make the carafe take less space on the table. Besides the design choice, the tip of the carafe is designed to have a beak for easy pouring.
Some carafes have handles. Others do not. Of course, one would prefer to have a carafe with handles attached to it as to make the process of pouring coffee more convenient. It would be unwise to hold a glass container with your bare hands.
We also now live in an era where everyone is on the go. This means waking up and getting to the office in a span of half an hour or less. As a result, not everyone had the time to enjoy their brew in the morning. This is where carafes play a major role.
The Need for Carafes
You might be wondering, why are carafes an essential part of the brewing process? Well, back in the old days, coffee was kept warm by means of the heating element always being on. Unfortunately, this was a pretty bad idea since it essentially overcooks the coffee, triggering more loss of flavor. It was then important to transfer the coffee out of the pot and into a container to prevent this from happening.
This solution created a problem for itself wherein there was now no way to keep the coffee warm. Thus, manufacturers have made a workaround by inventing carafes which were able to somewhat greatly hamper the heat loss of the coffee.
As mentioned above, carafes are now designed to become portable, appropriately for this fast-paced lifestyle we all live in now. This increases the importance of carafes in the coffee production process as one can now enjoy coffee wherever she may be.
Types of Carafes
On that note, some carafes have been modified to add value to the coffee making process. An example of this is the stainless steel carafe out on the market. Carafes with a stainless steel lining primarily used to keep the coffee hot for a longer period of time. Take for example the Keurig K2.0 Thermal Carafe. It claims that its double wall stainless steel composition makes the coffee stay 20 degrees Celsius hotter at any given time compared to a plastic carafe.
Stainless steel carafes are mainly designed to keep coffee hot compared to normal, non-stainless steel carafes. This design and technology is applied similarly to Thermos products. Basically, Thermos (or vacuum flask) coffee carafes are able to prevent the three kinds of heat travel or loss. The first type of heat transfer, radiation, is prevented by the silver coating of the stainless steel lining. The vacuum in the double wall prevents the second type of heat transfer, convection. Lastly, heat is always kept in the container by means of a rubber, plastic and even Styrofoam wrapped around the steel container.
In a nutshell, stainless steel carafes are able to keep heat inside the container by removing any means from which heat can escape, which always involves air.
Glass Lined Carafes
Another type of Carafe is the glass-lined carafe. Though much more uncommon compared to its stainless steel counterpart, the glass lined carafe presents some benefits which are not present in its stainless steel counterpart.
The main difference between the glass lined carafe and the stainless steel one is that in the glass-lined carafe, the inner wall, which is the surface the coffee comes in direct contact with, is constructed of pure glass. It is believed that the glass interior does not affect the taste of the coffee and is a much safer alternative to the stainless steel carafe.
As discussed in our previous article on Stainless Steel vs. Aluminum coffeemakers, stainless steel carafes have the risk of ruining coffee’s flavor because the chemicals and components of the stainless steel can seep to the coffee. Many then claim that using stainless steel carafes impart a metallic taste on the coffee. This risk is completely absent in glass-lined carafes.
Glass lined carafes are also much cheaper as compared to its stainless steel counterpart.
Unfortunately, the glass-lined carafe presents its own risks as well. One must handle glass-lined carafes with more care since the glass interior could break. Also, since steel is a much better conductor of heat, stainless steel carafes are noted to keep coffee warmer for longer periods of time as compared to glass lined carafes.
Glass Lined vs. Stainless steel
If you don’t mind the faint taste of metal in your coffee, you are obviously better off with the stainless steel carafe. It is much more portable and keeps your coffee warmer for longer periods as compared to the glass carafe.
Right now, there are hybrid, glass lined vacuum carafes on the market. Though they are far more expensive and the risk of breakage is still present, it is highly recommended that users acquire this carafe as it presents the best of both worlds. The perfect companion to your long office day.
And Finally.. Ease of Use
Another reason why thermal coffee maker carafes are better is because these are easy to use. All you have to do is to fill it with hot water and leave it there for a minute or two. After that, you can empty it and proceed directly to brew your coffee.
Another added benefit of this type of coffee carafe is that you can use it to prepare iced coffee. But, instead of hot water, you have to use cold water. But, you have to take note of what thermal coffee maker carafe you’re using, especially because different models and makes have different features as well.
You need not worry much about this particular detail though, as even if you bought a newer or older model, using them is pretty much the same.
Now, this isn’t to say that glass lined insulated coffee carafes are entirely useless. True, they’re not as useful as thermal coffee maker carafes, but they are still a lot cheaper. And, if you really can’t afford to spend a bit more, a glass carafe model still makes perfect sense because it still fills its function quite well.
All in all, the choice is still up to you whether or not you go for a glass carafe model or a thermal carafe coffee maker.
What’s important is that you make a choice based on your own research and what benefits you the most.