Advantages of thermal coffee makers
All coffee machines make coffee, that’s the only reason they were created. Of course, not all coffee makers are created equal. The older style usually includes a glass carafe that sits on a heated plate, which is meant to keep the coffee hot. The downside of these machines is that the plate essentially continues to cook the coffee, altering the taste in a rather negative way. After a while, the coffee has a burned flavor that no one wants to drink.
A thermal coffee maker, like the Cuisinart DCC-3400, includes a special carafe that keeps the coffee hot all on its own, eliminating the need for the heated plate. This not only maintains the coffee’s temperature, but it also keeps the flavor delicious for hours.
Another benefit of these machines is that they include a whole host of features, like programmable timers, auto-stop, brewing pause functions, and much more. Sure, they may not have all the fancy features that something like a latte machine or semi-automatic espresso maker would, but this means you can make your coffee however you want, whenever you want, and as much as you want at any time.
Features to consider while choosing a thermal coffee maker
Coffee makers are meant to make coffee but many of them come with a bunch of features you may want to consider before you buy one. In order to help you decide which one is the perfect thermal coffee machine for you, check out the following sections, so you know you’re getting the right machine to meet your needs.
When looking at the capacity of the best drip coffee maker with a thermal carafe, what you really need to watch for is the maximum number of cups the machine can produce. This can vary, from small eight-cup machines like the Technivorm Moccamaster KBTS 79212 to a large twelve-cup model like the BLACK+DECKER CM2035B. If you only plan on making coffee for yourself, you likely won’t need the larger carafe. Those making coffee for a few adults in their home or at a workplace may need the bigger models, though, to keep everyone happy and well-caffeinated.
Another thing to consider is what type of cup the machine is referring to. European cups are smaller than American cups, so be sure to check out the actual size of the cups being used to ensure you’re getting the size you’re expecting.
If it’s programmable
There’s nothing like waking up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee but if you don’t have someone that gets up early and makes it for you, a programmable thermal coffee maker is the way to go. This feature allows you to fill the water tank and the coffee grounds in advance, then set a timer for the coffee to brew whenever you need it to. This way, it will make itself while you wake up, shower, get dressed, or do anything else in your normal daily routine. Then, when you’re ready for the perfect cup of coffee, it is already made for you.
If there’s an inbuilt grinder
Pre-ground coffee is easy to find but nothing beats a cup of coffee made with freshly ground quality beans. This is why some coffee maker brands add a built-in grinder into the makeup of their machines, like the one in the Cuisinart DGB-900BC. This allows you to add your favorite beans to the machine, grind the amount you want for the size of the pot you`re brewing and the strength you prefer, and make your coffee exactly the way you like it.
This feature does require a bit of extra cleaning time as the grinding process can be a bit messy but coffee connoisseurs will likely be up for the challenge. The built-in grinder also takes up less space since you don`t need to have a separate grinder sitting next to your coffee maker on your counter.
Brew settings take a lot of the guesswork out of making coffee. There are a few types of brew settings to choose from. One is the amount of coffee you want to make. For instance, just because the BLACK+DECKER CM2035B can make a full twelve cups of coffee, it doesn`t mean you want that much brewed every time. Brew settings allow you to choose the amount of coffee you want to drink and then brew the pot accordingly.
Another handy setting is the coffee strength. Some coffee makers allow the water to steep the coffee grounds for longer, pulling out more of the flavor for a stronger cup. They also have faster brewing options for those who like their coffee taste a bit weaker.
The dimensions of your thermal coffee maker matter more than you may think, especially if you have limited counter space to use it on. Most people leave their coffee makers out all the time, so it is ready for them in the mornings when a good cup of coffee is needed. If the coffee maker is huge, it may not fit well in the space you have available, taking space away from your other appliances or limiting your prep area for mealtimes.
You should also focus as much on the height as you do the length and depth of the machine. If you are trying to squeeze it under a cupboard, there should be a bit of space to spare. This way, you`ll have some room to fill the water tank and the brew basket. Otherwise, you`ll have to pull it out from under your cupboards every time you need to make a pot of coffee, which will become a hassle over time.
When you buy a new thermal coffee maker, your expectation is that it`s going to last for years. Unfortunately, this isn`t always the case. There could be all kinds of issues that pop up when you`re least expecting them, usually due to faulty parts or manufacturing errors. A good warranty covers you for any of these issues.
Short one-year warranties are fine if any problems with the machine show up right away. Longer warranties, like the five-year limited one on the Technivorm Moccamaster KBTS 79212, give you a bit more piece of mind if any faulty pieces don`t break down until the machine has been through a thorough testing period in your home.
Though the ability to make coffee and keep it hot is the main reason to buy the best automatic drip coffee maker with a thermal carafe, there are a few features that make using them a bit easier. One is a removable water tank, which lets you take the tank to the sink to fill it up. Water level indicators on the tank also make it easier to make the amount of coffee you want. These usually have markings in cups, too, which helps when making smaller pots.
If you don`t keep your coffee maker plugged in all the time or you plan to take it with you while you travel, cord storage is a handy thing to have. It keeps the cord out of the way rather than keeping it draped over your counter or hanging down as you try to move it. An LCD display is another handy addition to your thermal coffee maker. This lets you see all of the settings you have chosen, including the strength, amount of coffee brewing, and the time you`ve programmed in for the brewing process to start. It also likely has a clock, so you can keep track of your time if you`re getting ready for work.
How to clean your thermal coffee maker
When cleaning your thermal coffee maker, you need to be careful to make sure you do so properly. Some of the machine parts may be dishwasher friendly so that you can put them in there during your regular loads. You can also wash them in the sink with warm soapy water, making sure to dry them well before putting them back together.
The carafe is a different story, though. These are not always dishwasher safe due to the vacuum insulation. To get rid of coffee stains in the pot, try the following:
- Add 1 cup of baking soda to the coffee pot
- Fill the pot with warm water
- Scrub the inside of the pot with a dish brush
- Dump out the water and rinse
- If stains remain, add another 2 tablespoons and a ½ cup of hydrogen peroxide to the pot
- Swirl the mixture around for 1 minute to coat the inside then let sit for half an hour
- Dump out the mixture and rinse with hot water