A carafe coffee maker brews coffee directly into a thermal carafe, which keeps the coffee hot longer than a traditional coffee maker with a glass pot. The carafe can be removed from the machine and transferred to the table, counter, or wherever coffee is served. Using the carafe to keep the coffee hot keeps it hotter and fresher tasting than a glass pot kept on the machine's burner plate, which can cause the coffee to burn or taste stale. A thermal carafe is insulated to keep coffee warm, whereas a glass pot offers no insulation or means of keeping the coffee from getting cold.
There are several different makes, models, and styles of carafe coffee makers, and many are made by the same well known companies that make traditional coffee makers. The most popular colors for carafes are black, white, red, and stainless steel. The coffee maker portion, however, is usually black, though some models are a combination of black and stainless steel. Carafe coffee makers are available in department stores and stores that sell kitchen items or home goods. Prices fluctuate, depending on how much coffee the unit makes, the style of the machine, the manufacturer, and the additional features.
Options vary from model to model. Some deluxe styles of carafe coffee maker include all of the available bonus features, while others may offer only one or two. Programmability, auto shut-off, and brew pause are a few of the bonus features that are often found on carafe coffee makers. Brew pause allows the user to pour a cup of coffee without waiting for the entire pot to brew. Other features, offered on some models, are a drip free spout, an alert that beeps when the coffee is finished brewing, and a water level indicator.
A 12 cup capacity is the most common size for a carafe coffee maker, though most models will allow you to make less than 12 cups if desired. There are some smaller models that can make eight cups and others that make ten cups. Some machines have a basket-style, reusable filter, though others work with a traditional paper style filter.
The thermal carafe portion of a carafe coffee maker is not dishwasher safe. The outside of the carafe can be wiped with a damp cloth, and the inside can be rinsed with hot water between uses. For a more thorough cleaning, the manufacturer's instructions should be followed.