Stainless Steel vs. Glass Carafes
You have probably experienced the unfortunate experience of breaking a coffee carafe. Likewise, at some point you have found it necessary to buy a replacement. There are two main types of replacement carafes, glass and stainless steel. Stainless steel carafes are generally insulated and glass carafes are not. Both styles have benefits, but many people feel that stainless steel thermal types are the best bet for a replacement carafe.
There are a wide variety of different types of coffee carafes from simple glass containers that rest on a heating element to insulated thermal carafes that use an insulated container to keep the coffee warm. If you are drinking your coffee right after brewing, it doesn’t really matter what type of carafe you use. If you brew your coffee and refresh your cup throughout the day, a thermal coffee carafe is the best replacement carafe for you.
When you brew coffee, it starts out hot. As one would expect, over time the coffee cools down. If you are using a glass carafe, it is necessary to continue heating the coffee to keep it warm. Eventually, the coffee becomes “over-cooked” and as time passes the water slowly evaporates. Eventually, the coffee takes on a distinctive and unpleasant “burnt” flavor. The water content also decreases, making the coffee stronger and bitter.
Thermal carafes take care of this problem by using insulation to maintain the initial temperature rather than constantly reheating the coffee. Similar to a thermos, layers of insulation prevent heat from leaving the container. A thermal carafe also usually has a tightly fitting lid that aids in preventing both heat loss and evaporation.
In addition to keeping coffee warm without the necessity of constantly heating the coffee, most thermal carafes are made of metal, usually stainless steel. This helps prevent the breakage that is so common with thin glass carafes. Even though purchasing a thermal replacement carafe may be more expensive than a standard glass carafe, it will last longer and save money in the long run.
An added benefit of thermal carafes is that once the coffee has been brewed, the coffee machine turns off automatically, unlike the standard machine in which the heating element stays on until manually turned off. Although the energy saved each time isn’t a huge amount, over time it can add up significantly, especially if you drink coffee every day.