This is where the big boys of Thermos Nissan come to play. Everything (except one item) in this lineup holds one litre of liquid, or more. Some are bottles (see previous category) some are gigantic, feed enough coffee to the choir size offerings. Some are items you might very well recognize at your favourite café - the carafes that hold the cold milk. One carafe turned out to be my favourite mainstay for keeping my brewed coffee hot in the Prince Household.
These are also some of the most expensive Thermos Nissan products, after reading all the literature and conducting my tests, I understand why - the thermal capacity of these items is unsurpassed. I have a cheapo thermal carafe (metal inside and out) that I bought from Ikea a few years ago for a friend. It looked cool, anyway, so I bought it. I asked to borrow it for this test, and the first thing I noticed… the exterior got a bit warm. Uh oh, bad sign. Also the downward curve in temperature loss on that product was very fast… it got colder faster than some of the worst performers in Nissan's linup: the tumblers and mugs! Forget about it even coming close to the tests I did with the containers in this section.
Note, all products in this section save the glass lined carafe carry Nissan's 5 year guarantee. Also, as with most pages on this website, clicking an image usually gives you a larger version in a popup window. Try it!
Compact Quart Bottle (FDI1000, avg price $38)
This is a new product to Nissan's lineup, and in a way is meant to replace the FDI series (though I don't think it will with Joe Construction Worker). It's part of Nissan's new mission with some of their products to make them smaller, lighter, but even more temperature efficient with their Thermax technology.
They've achieved it with this bottle - it is about 25, 30% smaller than the NDI series, but holds the same volume of liquids. Not too shabby.
I'm not sure if I like the lid, cap, and pouring/drinking system in this product. On the NDI, you have a beefy twist and pour lid, and an outer cap that's big and solid. On this one the inner lid is a duplicate of what is on the Leakproof Backpack Bottle ( JMW350), but bigger. Nissan calls it a "Superior Sipper Lid", and it is comfortable to sip from, but this bottle is too big to hold comfortably.
| Big version of the Superior Sipper lid, but has pouring problems. |
| Big bottle, good heat retention, but I don't like the cap here. |
Here's the worst part though. It dribbles.
A friend of ours noticed this. She was serving coffee I had in the container for about half a day, but she wasn't paying attention to how she poured it out, and had it at a slight angle (ie, the spout wasn't exactly parallel with the table). The liquid sort of rolled to one side of the wide spout, and curled around the side, and started dripping all over the place, away from the stream of coffee.
And it was such a nice, white tablecloth too…
Mind you, if you pour this with the spout level to the ground (side to side, not front to back), it pours nicely and evenly. But still, it was the first thing our friend noticed, and she wasn't impressed (actually, she was embarrassed, but that's another thing).
Another thing I found a bit of a negative with this model -t the cap.cup. It's just single layer plastic. It's durable enough, no doubt, but not the strong and solid feel of the cup.cap on the bullet bottles or the NCD workman's bottle. It probably is this way because this is part of Nissan's new light and compact philosophy.
Overall, I loved the heat retention ability of this bottle, but I thought that the Superior Sipper Lid was a bit much on this big a capacity item. The cap is a minor thing, but noted none the less.
Stainless Steel Bottle (NCD106, avg. price: $30)
Seen on job sites all across America, this is the thermos product little boys graduate to when they become big beef eating men, working the job, workin' the union, puttin' up with crap from the foreman. This is the quintessential "Joe Workman" thermal product.
It really is. You can see it in the construction. Rugged, huge plastic and rubber portions outside at impact points. A thick and strong handle that folds flat into the body makes it easy to carry. A strap with very beefy quick clips adds another method of carrying. Even the opposide side to the strap and handle has thought designed into it - it features a flattened part so the bottle can sit sideways and not roll around.
After I took photos of the product and ran my temperature tests (note: I cannot test for cold on this; I did, but lost the numbers, and cannot redo), I mailed it out to the biggest, baddest Joe Workman type guy I know: my Father.
| Love the little rubber feet to keep it from rolling on its side! |
| The twist and pour cap is insulated, and the big cap.cup is nice. Handle works well too. |
A month later, I asked him for a report.
"It's fine. Hasn't broke yet".
Trust me, that's singularly high praise.
I asked him to expand on his comments a bit, you know, for the readers. I have to censor the reply. Hey, that's my pops. :)
To be serious for a moment, this really is a durable bottle. I've heard tell that these bottles can survive 10, 20 story drops, and routinely do. It can easily handle being thrown in the back of a tools-laden truck, be buried, and still come out, scuffed, dirty, but 100% functioning. The lid is solid, the cap is solid, it just works. And if my Dad says "Hasn't broke yet", that’s saying something - his last thermal product lasted just over a week. He hasn't bought one since, until I sent him this one.
Lastly, on the temperature tests - this one seemed to hold steady with the results I got from the Bullet Bottle for the first few hours, but then stayed hotter than the bullet bottle past 5 hours. Weird. Maybe the higher volume played a role. 79C after 8 hours is seriously impressive.
|NCD "Workman's Bottle" Temperature Tests|
Stainless Steel Insulated Pump Pot (TAC3400, avg price: $75)
This is the largest item in my test group, and also the most expensive, outside of the TiBottle. It's huge, and vacuum insulated and stainless steel inside and out. And it retains heat better than any other product in my test group (though by 24 hours, the workman's bottle, reviewed above, closes up to this product's performance). After 12 hours, the liquid inside is still an amazing 82C (starting at 98.4C).
This is a huge product designed for large volume use - church meetings, staff meetings, baseball club meetings, basically any time many people get together and "meet", this thing would serve well. You can also brew directly into it, either with a commercial coffee brewer designed for pump pots, or with Thermos' large manual cone filter (though you'll have to use it 3 times to get full strength coffee). 3.4 litres is a lot of liquid.
After doing my photos and temperature tests, I passed this product off to a music teacher I know, who intended to use it for hot water for tea. She would boil 3 kettles' worth of water in the morning, then trudge it out to the studio. The handle makes the job easy.
Here's her comments on the 3.4 litre pump pot, which she christened the "pump dragon".
So, the pump dragon is great. It works so much better than my old glass lined thermal pump thing (made by Zojirushi), and has eliminated my desire to purchase the plug-in hot water pump for my piano studio, for now at least. Because it holds so much hot water, it means I don’t have to trudge back and forth to the mini-kitchen for more hot water every time my cup is empty. I just “pump pump”… Gee, I sound like that lotion commercial from the 80’s!
(ed.note: what commercial?)
The only concern I would had was the fact that I have so many kids that run in and out of the studio. If I don’t keep a sharp eye out, someone testing the temperature with a bare hand. This reminds me of the time when my father was testing a different Nissan thermos pump by pouring hot boiling water into the reservoir, and immediately testing it by putting his hand under the spout as he give it a quick pump. Hmmmm… Despite the urges for this particular test (I think it’s in my genes), I always stop, think, and grab a cup.
Temperature-wise… I dump out the previous day’s water in the sink before refilling it with fresh hot water, and have had minor hot splashes that have surprised me. The more hot water it holds, the hotter the temperature will hold.
Note: slow pours may help avoid splashes… especially in the board room!
|TAC3400 "Pump Dragon" Pump Pot Temperatures|
Glass Vacuum Insulated Carafe (TH1000B, avg price: $59)
(addendum to the price point - since writing this, I've seen this as low as $40, making it a much better value - shop around).
This is a unique product in this test group - it's the only product we have (save the milk foamer, a late addition) that isn't double wall steel insulated, inside and out. This uses the old standby for the Thermos part of Thermos Nissan - glass inner chamber.
Let's deal with the looks first. It's gorgeous. It's also a serious PITA (Pain in the Donkey) to clean for the same reason why it's beautiful - that polished steel outer shell picks up fingerprints and marks and stains very easily and because of the finish, even the smallest blemish is noticeable (I won't bother telling you how much of a pain it is to photograph a mirror :)).
The handle is very sturdy but elegant. I had worries that it might be the weak part of the carafe, but it can handle swinging around with a full load inside, no worries at all.
The lid is a screw cap that firmly stops in a specific place, always ensuring that the thumb push button is lined up with the handle for one handed operation.
Now for some of the negatives I experienced with this carafe. First up for me is that this model pours slowly. I haven't measured the flow rate (still trying to figure out an accurate way to do this with a wide variety of things like espresso machines, drip brewers, etc), but I can tell you to fill a 12 ounce cup with water, this carafe takes a long, long time.
| The spout is functional and offers one handed operating. Too bad it pours slow. |
| The finish on this product is first rate. |
Second up - well, it's glass. This is just a personal thing, but one my Mom can attest to - glass thermal products and I don't get along - I've broken a fair amount of glass thermal jugs in my youth, but to be fair to Thermos, theirs seemed to put up with more of my abuse than the cheaper brands my Mom would buy. I think I held on to my Scotty Thermos for almost an entire school year once!
That said, I was worried that such an expensive carafe ($100 Cdn dollars is a lot for a carafe!) would be just a shelf decoration if I treated it unkindly. Fortunately, Thermos knows this, and readily stocks and sells parts for this model, including the liner and other parts. I don't know what the prices would be, but this gives a bit of peace of mind should you be thinking about buying it.
Third, the temperature retention ability of this product is good by many standards, but it doesn't quite stack up to the other steel vacuum carafes I have tested in this review.
So who should buy this? This product screams to me "office, meeting room, important clients!" This is a show piece more than function piece, although it does function. The one touch lid is nice and makes for easy (albeit slow) pouring. This, probably more than any other product in Thermos Nissan's lineup (save one, see below) is a showpiece product. If I was running a million dollar a year biz with clients in and out of the office every week, this would be my water jug of choice. :)
(nb, after finishing this portion of the review, I was pointed to Nissan's TGX1100 model - another showpiece carafe that has a steel liner inside as well as a mirror steel finish outside. Surprisingly, it ranks lower in the temp tests compared to the glass lined insulated carafe reviewed here. It's also more expensive: the list price is $100.)
|TH1000B "Pretty Glass and Steel" Carafe Temp Tests|
Stainless Steel Carafe, (TGB1000, avg price $50)
You recognize this carafe, don't you. This is the mainstay in many a café and restaurant around the world, but especially in N. America. And there are several good reasons for this.
First, it's NSF approved. This may not be important to Joe and Jane Consumer (close relations to Joe Workman, who was so helpful in my NCD review), but it is very important to commercial food service businesses. It means that it is food safe.
Second, you see it in many cafes because it works. Plain and simple. Hot or cold, it does the job - put ice cold milk (3C, 37.5F) in one of these, and 24 hours later it is still under 9C (48F). Put hot coffee in this, and after a 12 hour day, it's still above 70C.
These products are not the slimmest Nissan products, nor are they the most beautiful. They don't feature a lot of gimmicks. They just work. Even though we haven't had a lot of time to test this carafe (it was one of the very late additions), I could tell from my initial testing that this product is a star and now I totally get why cafes use it.
Another thing I learned from my testing. I don't know about you, but when I run into these carafes in a café, I'm a bit worried when I use the twist and pour lid - when I untwist it, it seems loose and shaky, and I worry that it may fall out when I'm pouring cream into my coffee, so I hold the lid in place.
This is 100% unnecessary. These twist and pour lids are long, and require many revolutions to be removed. The lid may seem loose and jiggly, but there is no worry that as you're trying to pour out the last bits of cream (it always seems to me that when I grab one of these, they are almost empty!), the lid will come off and splash milk all over you. It won't happen.
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| As you can see, the screw cap is long and it is also insulated. |
| Nissan sells rebranded products that can show what cold milk type is inside. |
| NSF Certified, right on the can. Means a lot for commercial use, and one reason why you see these in use. |
| The twist and pour cap may seem loose and ready to fall out, but it isn't - it still has many revolutions to go. |
| Carafe with shipping box, which contains details about the carafe and the NSF certification. |
Back to the NSF thing for a minute. Here's what it means for commercial businesses: there's no sharp angles in the product where the liquid goes, which means bacteria and other nasties can't hide, and it's relatively easy to clean; the interior has an extra smooth polished surface, again to help cleaning and prevent little hiding spots for bacteria; all the plastic that comes in touch with liquids is a special NSF certified type; the gaskets are pigment free silicone which again goes to keeping bacteria away and preventing some of the nasty odors you get from lower grade rubber gaskets.
All of this is good for you in the home too. The question is, is $50 worth it? I'm going to say no, but only because of the next product I'm reviewing. I like it even better than this one, for both home and commercial use! However, this is one super solid, very thought out carafe, and would give you many years of quality use. It's too bad for Nissan that another product of theirs has impressed me even more. :)
|TGB1000 "Commercial" Carafe Temperature Tests|
Stainless Steel NSF Carafe (TGS1000, avg price $43)
The TGS series of carafes from Thermos Nissan are new to their lineup, and are also directly targeted at commercial and consumer use. This, to me at least, is the ultimate carafe you can buy today, showing that Nissan is right on the ball, and never content to just sit and be comfortable with their previous successes (re the TGB reviewed above).
Here's the main reasons why I, as a consumer, like this carafe:
- The outside finish is awesome. Nissan says it is fingerprint resistant. It has a semi-gloss coating over the steel that really does keep it shiny and fingerprint free. It makes the steel a bit darker, almost towards a Titanium colour, and it works well. Looks great too.
- It uses Thermax. This means it's lighter, thinner, smaller for the same capacities as other carafes. It also insulates very very well. (nb the TGB series uses Thermax as well, but cutout images of both units show the TGB is thicker than this series).
- One touch operation. I've grown to appreciate the ease of "twist and pour" but nothing compares with a well designed single touch lid system. This one's got it.
- Costs less. This unit is $8 cheaper than the TGB series pots.
| The cap is complex, but features insulation and fairly good flow rate. |
| The mouth of the carafe is wide for easy cleaning and ice cubes for cold drinks. |
| NSF Certified. |
In addition, commercial businesses will like this pot more too, for a variety of reasons:
- It's dishwasher safe
- It's NSF certified (just like the TGB series)
- Optional brew through lids are available for direct use in commercial coffee brewers (up to a 1.9 litre size!)
- Lighter weight than other carafes, making it easier for employees to handle
NSF certification means a lot to cafes and restaurants. It's good for consumers as well. The only downside I can see to the commercial use is the lid and the one touch push - another thing to break is how a café owner might think. I haven't managed to break mine yet, not that I tried much, but this may be a concern for some - you can't beat the simplicity and durability of a simple screw in cap.
I came to really appreciate this product and its heat retention abilities. I use it every day now as my main carafe for brewed coffee. I make a 1.3 litre batch of brew, fill this thing up, and pour a cup. For the next six or eight hours, if I want a hot cup of coffee, I go back to the carafe. Even after 8 hours, properly made coffee is still around 73C! There's many coffee brewers on the market that can't even brew coffee at that temperature! Fortunately, my choice of brewers can and do, and when I add 88-92C coffee to this carafe, I know that six, eight hours later, it's still going to be hot enough to enjoy.
Does coffee still taste good after 6 or 8 hours? That's another story. But the NSF stuff built into this carafe must be doing something right - because while the 8 hour cuppa brew isn't very palatable, I can say with honesty that even 5 hours later, I had a great cuppa from this carafe. I cannot say that for any other product in this test group, save for one - the TGB carafe has the same ability to lock in flavours.
Here's a tip though - just before pouring a long-sitting carafe of coffee, shake it up a bit.
|TGS1000 "Mark Loves It!" Carafe Temperature Tests|