What Is The Point of a Coffee Carafe

coffee and carafe

Carafes have come a long way from being the claim of pretentious wine tastings and old-school breakfast tables. While standard carafes have become more mainstream, an off-shoot in the form of coffee carafes has emerged, and its use isn’t the same as the regular carafe.

The point of a coffee carafe is to store a coffee beverage in an easy-to-serve manner. Coffee carafes aren’t like standard glass carafes used for wine; the ones used for coffee are opaque, insulated, and help preserve coffee’s temperature, texture, and taste, for up to 24 hours.

In this article, you will learn more about the different functions of coffee carafes and how they help keep hot coffee hot and cold coffee cold. You will also discover why they’re not the same as vacuum flasks. But first, let’s explore why a coffee carafe can’t be confused with a regular carafe.

Coffee Carafe vs. Carafe

“Carafe” refers to a glass container used to serve wine. Recently, there has been a change in trends, and mocktails alongside other non-alcoholic beverages are also served in carafes at high-end restaurants and lounges. If that’s your introduction to Carafes, you might assume a coffee carafe is also a similar glass container.

A coffee carafe is a container that stores coffee for a long period and preserves its temperature for at least a few hours. Depending on the carafe’s thermal insulation, the coffee can remain hot from three hours to a whole day.

The point of a coffee carafe also varies from the point of a regular carafe. The carafe is a derivative of the Arabic word ‘gharraf’ which means ‘glass,’ in the kitchenware context. Carrafes’ point has always been to store an appealing beverage in a visible and accessible way for a very short period (like over the course of a dinner party).

A coffee carafe’s point is the opposite: to store coffee over a longer period in an opaque and secluded manner. This serves a few purposes, all of which enhance the experience of consuming coffee. Let’s look at the different functions of a coffee carafe.

Uses of a coffee carafe:

Temprature regulation

The first and foremost use of a coffee carafe is that it can be used to keep coffee hot. If you’re not into coffee beyond its utility to wake you up, you still can find coffee carafes useful because you probably don’t want to have room-temperature coffee. Coffee carafes are often vacuum sealed and have double-wall insulation that prevents coffee from becoming cold (or hot).

Let’s suppose you store your coffee in a bottle. The thin wall of the bottle becomes hot by drawing the temperature from the coffee. Next, the air around the bottle becomes hot and draws the temperature away from the bottle wall. 

The bottle wall, in turn, draws more temperature from the coffee, further heating the air. With each cycle, the coffee becomes colder, and the air around becomes hotter. The same process happens in reverse if the coffee is iced; it starts drawing heat from the air via the bottle wall.

A carafe features an inner wall and an outer wall. The space between these walls doesn’t contain air, as air is sucked out of the gap. This process is called vacuum sealing, which is why thermal-regulation flasks are called vacuum flasks. Hot coffee in a coffee carafe remains hot. Cold coffee stays cold.

Reduce brewing frequency

At this point, you might be wondering what’s so different about coffee carafes compared to vacuum flasks. You can have your vacuum flask do the job of a carafe, but the key differentiator in an actual coffee carafe is that it has a higher volume capacity. This allows you to brew a batch once and not have to make coffee repeatedly.

If you have a coffee machine that serves a single cup at a button’s tap and you have it around all the time, a carafe might help you only in reducing the number of times you get off your chair. But if you have to brew a larger quantity, then the container can hold it without losing temperature and essence, which reduces the number of times you have to brew your coffee. This is ideal for individuals who brew coffee for one and have multiple cups in a day.

Shielding coffee from the elements

Coffee is a widely enjoyed beverage which means that it is often consumed the wrong way. In my article on prolonging coffee’s lifespan, I already discussed how the mainstream glass jar coffee storage is problematic for the beans’ longevity. 

Here, the same applies but to a brewed beverage. Coffee isn’t a stable beverage, it is constantly interacting with its environment, and temperature decrease is a very small part of what changes about the beverage.

When coffee interacts with air, it absorbs aromatic elements from the surroundings. As a coffee lover, you can already see why that might be a problem. There’s a reason why coffee enthusiasts don’t swap coffee for an energy drink with an equivalent amount of caffeine: the smell of coffee is irreplaceable.

A coffee carafe prevents the elements like light, air, and airborne aromatic particles from interacting with coffee in a significant way. This is key in preserving the taste and texture of coffee. If you have guests coming over and you want to serve coffee without awkwardly getting up and brewing it while they sit in your absence, you can pre-brew coffee and pour it into a carafe.

Access to coffee

From long-route truckers to remote consultants, coffee carafes unite different collar bands. Blue-collar workers, as well as white-collar workers, might require coffee throughout the day. Coffee carafes come in different sizes, which means you can have access to hot coffee throughout the day wherever you take your carafe, even if there’s no coffee machine or shop around.

Final Thoughts

Coffee carafes are useful serving-and-storage containers for coffee beverages. They’re like vacuum flasks, but bigger and are specialized for keeping multiple servings of coffee warm for an average of 12 hours. You can use a coffee carafe to:

  • Reduce the number of times you brew coffee 
  • Have coffee even when you’re away from a coffee machine
  • Keep your coffee tasting fresh throughout the day.

Tim S.

Tim loves roasting, brewing, and experimenting with coffee. After years of perfecting this craft, working as a barista, and owning a small coffee service in college, he has decided to share his knowledge with the world.

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