Stainless Steel Carafes
When buying a new or replacement carafe for your coffee maker, there are generally two options available - glass or stainless steel (both with a bit of plastic for the lid and handle). Glass carafes are usually less expensive, but steel carafes have some major benefits.
Glass carafes are break easily. Almost everyone has had the experience of bumping a thin glass carafe against the side of the coffee maker and having it shatter. Cleaning the carafe in the sink can also be a tricky undertaking as it sometimes seems that even the slightest tap against the bottom of the sink or another dish can cause the carafe to break. If the coffee maker is left on too long, glass carafes can crack due to the heat, especially if the coffee boils out.
Glass carafes are not insulated. This means that it is necessary to keep heating the coffee with a heating element to keep it warm. This tends to “over-cook” the coffee and make it increasingly bitter the more it is heated. The coffee also becomes stronger over time as the water evaporates. Lastly, more electricity is used as the heating element must be kept on to keep the coffee warm.
Stainless steel carafes avoid this problem. For obvious reasons, stainless steel carafes are much harder to break than glass carafes. It is not necessary to take special precautions while washing them, and they can be dropped many times (although this isn’t recommended!) without damage. Stainless steel carafes are usually insulated, similar to a thermos. This allows the coffee to retain its original heat from brewing and makes it unnecessary to have the heating element on constantly. They are usually sealed as part of the insulation, so water doesn’t evaporate.
Even though they can be a bit more expensive than a standard glass coffeemaker with a glass carafe, purchasing a coffee maker with a stainless steel carafe is an excellent idea. Even if you only purchase a stainless steel replacement carafe, you are making a purchase that will save you money over time in both replacement and energy costs. As an added benefit, coffee makers that use stainless steel carafes are often more stylish than glass and plastic coffee makers.
All the major appliance companies produce stainless steel coffee makers and there is a wide variety of pricing and features, from the reasonably priced Black & Decker DE790B 8-Cup Thermal Carafe Coffeemaker, with stainless carafe at around $35.00 to the pricy but feature rich BUNN Axiom DV TC - Digital Thermal Carafe Automatic Coffee Brewer priced at over $600.00.
--- Felix Sheffield