Whew, that title is a mouthful.
It’s been almost two years since I last mentioned an airpot on Gibberish in my insulated coffee mug shoot-out. I had a Thermos-branded glass-lined airpot back then, too. It was $15 before tax at Target. In the years that followed the write-up, the plunger started to wear on the old Thermos. I expected to find another easily — but not so fast.
Target has apparently stopped stocking the airpot in stores and instead offers one that is about $60. I searched Amazon.com and a few other coffee sites (including where my conical burr grinder was purchased), and $60 turned out to be about the bottom of the price range for “real” airpots. There were some that looked like my old Thermos airpot for about $35, but I’d be dammed to pay and extra $20 for something that gave up the ghost on me.
Leave it to the guy who’s made a career on the Web and e-commerce to look at Target.com dead last. Sure enough, there’s the 2-quart glass-lined airpot for sale. It’s still $15, and the lid was updated a little bit. I bought three: one for home, one for the office, and one for the attic — just in case I couldn’t find them again.
How does it stand up to the original? Pretty damn well so far.
This is the updated Thermos airpot. Like its predecessor, it has glass on the inside. While fragile, the glass liner keeps things warm for up to about five hours. I prefer my coffee on the warm side, so my preference range is four hours — however my friends that don’t mind slightly cooler coffee can dip deep for another sixty minutes.
The exterior is plastic, as is the plunger on the top of the lid, the lid latch, and the pump nozzle. The pump stem is metal, and then there’s a rubber doohicky at the bottom of the stem. No idea what that’s for, but I try not to lose it.
The lid has been redesigned. The locking mechanism is different. I’m pretty happy about the change, as I had to explain how the old one worked to just about everyone. The mechanics are the same: you turn the plunger to the right to unlock it; left locks the plunger in place. The new version has a divot in the lid, with LOCK and UNLOCK on the top. The divot helps to illustrate the spine, which in turn points towards LOCK or UNLOCK. It’s a lot more user-friendly.
Perhaps more importantly to the longevity of the airpot, the internal workings of the plunger appear to have been redesigned. I’m not sure how, as I have not taken the unit apart, but it just feels different. The tolerances are tighter, and the lid springs back into place with more authority than the original. Time will tell if it stands up as long — or longer — as my first Thermos vacuum carafe, but this one at least feels better built.
All in all, the Thermos vacuum-insulated glass-lined airpot is a great value at $15 plus shipping from Target.com. Due to shipping costs I recommend buying more than one. You may break the glass liner or decide you want to give one as a gift to a fellow coffee snob, so throw another one in the cart. At a 2-to-1 price differential to the nearest competitor, why not?