The 6 Best Thermal Carafe Coffee Makers for 2023, According to Our Tests

Keep coffee hotter for longer.

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The Cafe Specialty Drip Coffee Maker

Food & Wine / Will Dickey

When browsing for a new coffee maker, it doesn’t take long to notice that there are two types of carafes: glass and thermal. Though glass carafes are more common and tend to be more affordable — and they have the advantage of showing you exactly how much coffee is left with a quick glance — thermal carafes are more durable and can keep your coffee hotter for longer.

Thermal carafes offer increased versatility, too. “Coffee brewed into a thermal carafe can be removed from the coffee maker and placed on your dining table, desk, or bedside table (no judgment),” says Heather Calatrello of ShedLight Coffee Roasters. “Another strong selling point for the thermal carafe is that it won’t impart a burned taste onto the coffee, as you may experience with a glass carafe that has been ‘cooking’ for hours on a hotplate.”

For these reasons, thermal carafes are especially great for large-capacity brewing. They’re handy for entertaining, fueling a busy office, or just keeping your own mug full all morning long. If you’re in the market for a thermal carafe coffee maker, we’ve tested countless coffee makers over the years, and these are our six favorite models with thermal carafes.

Best Overall

Café Specialty Drip Coffee Maker

Amazon Café Specialty Drip Coffee Maker


  • Elegant design and SCA-certified performance at a fair price.

  • Experienced coffee brewers will get the most out of this machine.

Certified by the Specialty Coffee Association for its ability to brew a top-quality cup of coffee, this Café drip coffee maker impressed us with its programmable capabilities and sleek design. An easy-to-understand user manual had us up and running in no time, and we found the machine intuitive to work with, even with multiple brewing modes. Our coffee was nuanced in flavors and aromas depending on the brew cycle, and the thermal carafe did a nice job of keeping coffee hot.  

If you’re content to buy pre-ground coffee from the grocery store, this machine will do it as much justice as possible — but coffee aficionados who buy whole-bean coffee to grind before brewing will likely get the most benefit from the Café thermal carafe coffee maker. As with most coffee machines, its ability to extract optimum flavor is best paired with a medium-grind.

Price at time of publish: $199

  • Dimensions: 7.3 x 12.5 x 14 inches
  • Brew Capacity: 10 cups
  • Programmable: Yes
  • Warranty: 1 year

Best Splurge

Technivorm Moccamaster 79112 KBT Coffee Brewer

Amazon Technivorm Moccamaster 79112 KBT Coffee Brewer


  • Performance matches the prestige of this top-notch, quick thermal carafe coffee maker.

  • Tall (and wide) stance may be tricky for some spaces, and programmable functions are limited.

Moccamaster coffee makers are revered by coffee enthusiasts worldwide, and the KBT is a favorite of Calatrello, too.

“There are several features that make this machine stand out,” she says. “First, it’s lightning-fast — it’ll brew a full 40-ounce carafe in just 4-6 minutes. Second, it features a unique copper heating element that rapidly heats the water to the ideal brewing temperature of 196-205 degrees and automatically shuts off when the reservoir is empty.” 

Calatrello appreciates how the Moccamaster KBT mimics manual brewing, and she confirms that the thermal carafe keeps coffee hot for several hours when capped with the included travel lid. 

This coffee maker impressed us during our tests, too, consistently brewing well-rounded coffee that stayed hot and took no fuss to either prepare or clean. With Moccamaster coffee makers, you will not be receiving any of the specialty features like programmable settings or a keep-warm function, so bear that in mind with this price point. 

Price at time of publish: $339

  • Dimensions: 6.7 x 11.5 x 15.25 inches
  • Brew Capacity: 40 ounces
  • Programmable: No 
  • Warranty: 5 years

Best Small

Cuisinart PurePrecision 8 Cup Pour-Over Coffee Brewer

Amazon Cuisinart PurePrecision 8 Cup Pour-Over Coffee Brewer


  • This is an easy-to-use coffee maker that delivers great results.

  • It performs noticeably better with quality coffee grounds.

We appreciate the modest footprint of Cuisinart’s thermal carafe coffee maker, which is also SCA-certified and has brew options for mild, medium, and bold-flavored coffees, along with hot or extra-hot temperature controls. We found this machine straightforward in operation and effective at keeping our freshly brewed coffee nice and hot.

As with other coffee makers on this list, as quality in brew control increases, so does the gap between inexpensive pre-ground coffee and higher-quality, freshly ground beans. We didn’t love the taste results with mass-produced coffee brewed in our Cuisinart, but we don’t consider this a dealbreaker — just a good excuse to buy better coffee.

Price at time of publish: $180

  • Dimensions: 14.5 x 13.75 x 9.5 inches
  • Brew Capacity: 8 cups
  • Programmable: Yes
  • Warranty: 3 years

Best Single-Serve

Hamilton Beach The Scoop Single-Serve Coffee Maker

Amazon Hamilton Beach The Scoop Single Serve Coffee Maker


  • A cool design that brews single servings without capsules.

  • No special features.

If you’ve ever thought about getting a small coffee maker to keep at your desk, The Scoop from Hamilton Beach just might be the one. This is a single-serve coffee machine that doesn’t use capsules and brews right into the included thermal travel mug. 

The stainless steel design is sleek and easy to wipe down, and while the machine is not programmable, you can choose between regular or bold brewing strengths. Pricing out right at $50, this is a value that’s tough to beat.

Price at time of publish: $50

  • Dimensions: 6.7 x 8.35 x 8.67 inches
  • Brew Capacity: 14 ounces
  • Programmable: No 
  • Warranty: 1 year

Best French Press

Espro P7 French Press

Amazon Espro P7 French Press


  • Features double-walled insulation and is available in a variety of finishes.

  • It’s quite pricey for a French press.

We like this thermal French press for its slick design and easy portability. With a French press made of durable stainless steel, you can easily take it to the office or even bring it along on road trips and other travels.

Like most French presses, this one from ESPRO is pretty straightforward: Just add coarse coffee grounds and hot water, let it steep, then depress the filter and pour. This pretty press yielded smooth, well-rounded coffee in our tests and kept coffee hotter than most of the other thermal French presses it was up against. We also love how easy it is to clean and how durable and well-constructed it feels. It’s worth the price.

Price at time of publish: $150

  • Dimensions: 6.37 x 4.68 x 10.4 inches
  • Brew Capacity: 32 ounces
  • Programmable: No
  • Warranty: n/a

Best with Grinder

Breville The Grind Control Coffee Maker

Amazon Breville The Grind Control Coffee Maker


  • Six grind settings and fully programmable.

  • It’s not a budget-friendly buy, and it can take some time to get acquainted with its functionality.

“If a grind-and-brew coffee maker is more your speed, our favorite is the Breville Grind Control,” says Calatrello. “It features stainless steel, flat burrs with six grind settings. It’s fully programmable and allows you to brew directly into a mug, the thermal carafe, or a travel mug.” 

On top of its versatility, Calatrello says the Grind Control really does deliver on its promise of quality, noting that the machine “delivers a consistently delicious cup.”

We found the same to be true during our tests, and while the Breville doesn’t come cheap, it’s a great choice if you prefer to grind your own beans but don’t want to deal with a grinder as a separate unit. Factor in its programming capabilities — its burr grinder is fully adjustable for any type of coffee extraction with Breville's "Steep and Release" technology, which adjusts brew temperature — and generous 12-cup capacity, and this is easily our pick for the best thermal carafe coffee maker with grinder. 

Price at time of publish: $350

  • Dimensions: 8.5 x 12.5 x 16.3 inches
  • Brew Capacity: 12 cups
  • Programmable: Yes
  • Warranty: 1 year

Our Favorite Thermal Carafe Coffee Maker

The Café Speciality Drip Coffee Maker is our pick for best overall thanks to its sleek design, reasonable price point, and high-quality brewing capability. 

How We Tested Thermal Carafe Coffee Makers

Over the years, we've tested countless coffee makers to determine our favorites. In general, we pay attention to ease of use, design, performance, ease of cleaning, and durability when determining which ones are superior.

To test drip coffee makers, we first evaluated the design and ease of use and the coffee maker’s performance in brewing freshly ground, medium roast coffee. During the brewing process, we used a stopwatch to record the time the coffee began brewing and recorded the maximum temperature of the mixture of coffee grounds and water in the brew basket. We observed whether any coffee grinds ended up in the carafe and performed a taste test with each pot. We performed this test a few more times, using different water and grounds each time. We then used pre-ground beans to evaluate design, ease of use, and the coffee maker’s performance brewing pre-ground coffee, performing similar tests as the ones mentioned above.

Throughout testing, we always pay attention to design, describing the body of the coffee maker, including the materials and whether the construction seems well-made and sturdy or cheap and flimsy. We also evaluate the carafe, including the lid and the handle. We take note of the coffee maker’s footprint. Is it large and bulky (likely meant to live permanently on a counter) or smaller and more compact (something that can be conveniently taken in and out of a cabinet)?

A coffee maker's ease of use is also important to us, so we pay attention to how helpful the instruction manual and other included materials are and if they include a recommended coffee grind, a coffee-to-water ratio, directions for descaling, etc.

If the coffee maker is particularly difficult to set up, including adding water to the reservoir, we note that as well. While the coffee was hot, we tested how easy it was to use the carafe, including securing the lid and pouring, and whether it got hot to the touch. 

When it comes to tasting the coffee, we look for attributes like if the flavor becomes bitter, astringent, burnt-tasting, or flat after sitting for 30 to 60 minutes. We also look to see if any grinds or sediment end up in the coffee carafe. We then opened up to filter to see if the coffee was fully brewed. Finally, we note how easy the coffee carafe and brew basket were to clean and if the carafe held onto strong coffee odors after washing.

To test French presses, we assessed everything from design and ease of use to brewing quality. We also took note of the insulation, additional special features, and how easy it is to clean. During the testing, each French press was tested for performance and quality of taste.

Factors to Consider

Size and capacity

As with any other small kitchen appliance, you’ll need to be mindful of your available counter space and shop accordingly. Likewise, if you’re caffeinating a crowd, a large-capacity coffee maker will be a more efficient choice than a single-serve machine.

Brew type

Do you prefer to push a button and walk away, or would you rather pull shots of espresso? Do you like the low-tech performance of a French press? Consider how you’d most like to brew your coffee each day as you select your ideal thermal carafe coffee maker.


If you value nothing more than waking up each more to an already-brewed pot of coffee, you’ll want to be sure to choose a programmable coffee maker. You might also be mindful of a machine’s ability to change brew strengths or pour from a carafe versus a single serving.

Ease of cleaning

Machines with a removable water reservoir are generally easier to clean than those without. Drip trays and automatic flow stoppages are also useful in avoiding coffee-related messes. You'll also want to pay attention to the shape of the carafe. Also, be sure to check the manufacturer's instructions on how best to wash the carafe. Most will recommend you hand-wash it so as not to disrupt the integrity of the insulation. In general, you'll want a carafe and filter that you feel comfortable cleaning day in and day out.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What is a thermal carafe and how does it work?

    Generally, thermal carafes are insulated stainless steel. They keep hot things hot and cold things cold.

    “A thermal carafe uses the coffee’s initial heat to keep it warm, rather than relying on an external heat source (such as a hot plate),” explains Calatrello. “Coffee in a thermal carafe will taste fresher than coffee in a glass carafe on a hot plate or coffee that has been reheated in the microwave.”

  • How long does coffee stay hot in a thermal carafe?

    This depends on the construction of the carafe. Some are well-insulated enough to keep coffee hot for several hours, while others may only maintain temperature for an hour or so. 

  • How do you clean a thermal carafe coffee maker?

    As with a glass carafe coffee maker, you’ll want to rinse the components after use and allow them to dry thoroughly. Once per month, descaling your coffee maker will remove residual oils from coffee grounds and mineral buildup from hard water to help keep your machine performing at its best.

  • How should coffee be stored?

    “Coffee storage is a key component in achieving the perfect brew,” says Calatrello. “There are two factors that influence coffee oxidation: light and air. In general, coffee should be stored away from these elements.” 

    Calatrello recommends buying whole-bean coffee and storing the beans in an airtight, stainless steel container, then grinding them right before brewing for optimal freshness.

    “Ground coffee is already stale when you bring it home,” she advises. “This is because coffee begins to oxidize only seconds after the roasting process is complete. This is why roasters package their beans in lined, vacuum sealed bags to protect beans from additional exposure to light and air.”

    But if you do prefer the convenience of ground coffee, “we get it,” Calatrello says. “Simply store the ground coffee just as you would store whole beans. Use an airtight canister and avoid exposure to light.”

Other Thermal Carafe Coffee Makers We Tested

Strong Contenders

Ratio Six Coffee Maker ($340 at Amazon)
We found this coffee machine easy to set up and use. It also looks beautiful sitting on the countertop. That said, we didn't love the tasting notes of the actual coffee, and at this splurge-y price, it didn't wow us enough to make our list.

Bonavita Enthusiast 8-Cup Coffee Brewer with Thermal Carafe ($250 at Williams Sonoma)
The carafe is double-walled, insulated, and felt durable while testing. While the setup was easy and left no grinds or sediment behind while brewing, the resulting coffee wasn't as good as its competitors.

What Didn't Make the List

We also tested a few models from Cuisinart and Bonavita Connoisseur. In both models, we weren't thrilled with the taste of the coffee, noting overly burnt and bitter, over-extracted, or muddy flavors. In the case of the Cuisinart, we were also simply underwhelmed with the brewing experience compared to the others.

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Our Expertise

This article was written by Summer Rylander, a food and travel journalist who has written about food, beverage, and cooking products for Food & Wine, Allrecipes, Serious Eats, and The Kitchn. She wrote this piece based on our product tests and conversations with a coffee expert.

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