"Rotpunkt - Dr. Anso Zimmermann" (the full company name) makes an extensive line of vacuum thermal carafes in Germany. The quality is outstanding, and there are many striking styles available. See <http://www.rotpunkt-online.de/english/prod_eng/kat_eng/kat_eng.html> for a sampling from the catalogue.
The model under review was sold in Germany as the model 880/890 and in North America as a Thermos/Nissan model GLA 350 thermal carafe, and was distributed through the Freeport, Illinois, office of Thermos. Thermos has a wide range of vacuum carafes of its own manufacture, and generally uses the Thermos/Nissan brand to distinguish its stainless steel vacuum products from the glass vacuum containers sold under the Thermos brand name. Despite bearing a Thermos/Nissan designation, this carafe is high-impact black plastic using glass vacuum technology.
Rotpunkt is the German word for "red dot," and the signature mark of Rotpunkt carafes is a red dot on the top to designate the side of the stopper that has the orifice for pouring. When the top is screwed in tightly, the red dot faces the rear and handle, and the carafe is fully secure: it may safely be turned upside down with no fear of spilling or leaking a single drop. Turn the dot counterclockwise toward the pouring spout, and the beverage may be poured. When ithe beverage is poured, the spout lip's design makes a very neat pour, cutting off the flow completely when the carafe is brought back to upright, without a drop spilled.
Most of the varied models of Rotpunkt carafes are of one liter capacity, and this model is no exception. We have filled the carafe with a measured liter of coffee and were able to screw the top in completely, but just barely; there is no fudge factor above one liter.
The proof of a thermal carafe is in the heat retention or cold retention, and in this regard, the Rotpunkt is at least as good as any other glass vacuum carafe we have encountered. We primarily use our Rotpunkt as a decanter for coffee brewed in a French press, in order to get the brewed coffee off the grounds immediately, and we generally consume the coffee within an hour. Within that time frame, there is no humanly detectible loss of heat between the first cup and the last. Although we rarely have the carafe in use for more than an hour, just for the sake of science, we filled it with water just off boil one morning and left it overnight. The next morning, the water was still too hot to allow contact with bare skin.
Part of the explanation for this exemplary performance might lie in a secondary seal incorporated into the Rotpunkt's closing mechanism. At the bottom of the screw part of the top. where the top comes closest to the edges of the glass liner, there is a (detachable and washable) soft silicone double seal that gets compressed as the top is screwed in. This makes the pot not only leakproof, but airtight as well. If the space shuttle Challenger had had as high quality an O-ring in 1986, the disaster would not have happened. We haved looked at other Thermos glass vacuum carafes, and none that we have seen has the O-ring that the Rotpunkt features.
When we were growing up, we regularly broke the fragile glass liners of the Thermos bottles we carried to school in our lunch boxes. The glass liner in the Rotpunkt is evidently much better protected than those were. While we have not tempted fate by intentionally trying to see how much physical abuse it can take, we did drop it to the hard floor once while we were washing it in hot soapy water, and it bounced lightly with no harm to the outside or the glass liner.