Understanding the difference between glass and thermal carafes

Apr 3, 2012|

Are you in the market for a new coffee maker and trying to decide what type of carafe to choose, glass or thermal?  Are you a little confused as to the difference ?   To help you decide what type of carafe is right for you we are taking a closer look at glass and thermal carafes. Below are some different variables to consider when deciding on the carafe that is right for your coffee needs!

  • Visible Coffee Brewing
    The first variable to consider is if the visual of coffee brewing is important to your experience.   For most drip coffee makers, including BUNN home brewers, glass carafes are standard.   Glass carafes are composed of clear glass which allows you to easily see fresh coffee streaming into the carafe and how much coffee you have left in the pot.  (So you know when it's time to brew another batch! ) In addition, the open top on a glass carafe allows the aromatics in coffee to fill a room.  The result is a coffee experience complete with visuals and rich, coffee aroma.   Thermal carafes on the other hand are constructed out of opaque, vacuum insulated stainless steel with a closed lid.   The closed lid on a thermal carafe helps slow the evaporation process which helps keep coffee at the ideal serving temperature for a longer period of time.  This moves into our second variable to consider of how quickly you drink coffee.


  • How quickly you drink coffee
    Another important variable to consider when deciding between a glass or thermal carafe is how quickly you usually drink a pot of coffee.    Why?  Coffee should be enjoyed while flavor and aroma are at their peak.  For ideal coffee flavor and maximum freshness the ideal holding time for coffee is approximately 20 minutes in an open top, glass carafe, and approximately 60 minutes in a closed lid, thermal carafe.  If you drink a few cups of coffee in the morning and then are out the door, a glass carafe may be perfect for you.  Others enjoy sipping a pot of coffee for an extended period of time and prefer the thermal carafe.  We have many customers love to entertain and use thermal carafes to serve coffee to their guests. 


  • Pre-Heating
    To keep coffee at the ideal holding temperature after brewing, it is recommended to preheat a thermal carafe as it prevents coffee from losing temperature when it enters the carafe.   To preheat a thermal carafe simply fill the carafe with hot water for about 30 seconds, and then empty before brewing.   Glass carafes require no preheating as a warmer plate is used as a direct heat source on the carafe to keep coffee at the ideal holding temperature.   


  • Clean Up
    Cleaning of glass and thermal carafes is different. BUNN glass carafes can be placed on the top rack of the dishwasher.  Thermal carafes are not dishwasher safe and require a manual cleaning process.  To see an example of the full cleaning instructions for thermal carafes check out thermal carafe cleaning instructions at http://www.bunnathome.com/maintenance/velocity-brew/velocity-brew-cleaning-maintenance.

As you can see, glass and thermal carafes both offer their own advantages. When picking out the perfect carafe consider your coffee needs!



Comparison chart of glass carafes and thermal carafes


Glass Carafe

Thermal Carafe



Vacuum, Insulated Stainless Steel

Visible coffee level



Dishwasher safe



Ideal holding time

20 minutes

1 hour

Additional heat source needed to keep coffee at ideal holding temperature




Pre- Heating of carafe




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