We have a love-hate relationship with our thermal carafe. When we bought it, it was something we thought we'd use just for big parties or other occasions when we needed to keep a pot of coffee warm. We've ended up using it every day; it's a rather indispensable part of our morning coffee routine. But this particular carafe drives us crazy.
We bought it from Crate & Barrel about a year ago, and while it's very handsome, it simply doesn't work well. When the lid is on and you try to pour out some liquid, depressing the thumb-switch only lets out the merest trickle. Your thumb (and arm!) get sore very fast, just trying to fill up a teacup. So we just leave the lid off, which of course defeats the purpose by letting the coffee get cold much faster.
But we do think that a thermal carafe is a great thing to have. We make our coffee via French press, and it's not good for coffee to sit in a French press on top of the grounds. So we put it in this carafe to keep it fresh and hot throughout the morning. It's great for taking hot drinks along to other people's dinner parties, too; the other night we made a big batch of homemade chai to share and toted it with us in this carafe.
So, we love our thermal carafe, but it's also a royal pain and not well-designed at all. We probably won't buy a new one just now; it seems a little wasteful to go buy a better one just because this one is inconvenient. But we have been having a lot of dinner parties and may need a supplemental carafe at some point, so we are curious: Do you use a thermal carafe? Have you found one that you really love? Do you have any tips or suggestions for us?
Related: Good Question: Perfect French Press Coffee?
(Image: Faith Durand)