The Difference Between a Carafe & a Decanter

Written by melissa poulsen
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The Difference Between a Carafe & a Decanter
Serving beverages (water bottle image by Daria Miroshnikova from

There is a wide variety of beverage containers that can be difficult to distinguish. Yet each container is traditionally designed to perform a specific function. For serving and storing beverages, carafes and decanters are two beverage containers that are often confused, but they are used for distinct purposes.

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Carafe Features

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a carafe is a glass bottle used to store and serve a variety of liquids such as water and wine. Carafes are typically insulated and are often integral parts of coffee- and tea-making apparatuses.

The Difference Between a Carafe & a Decanter
A carafe and glass set (Silver plate image by Dumitrescu Ciprian from

Decanter Features

In contrast to a carafe, a decanter is a glass vessel with a stopper usually used for decanting liquors, which means pouring off the liquid so as to leave the sediment behind, or serving decanted liquors. Wine, for example, may be poured from its bottle into a decanter, brought to the table and then served to guests from the decanter.

The Difference Between a Carafe & a Decanter
A decanter (Alcohol decanters image by MAXFX from

Carafe and Decanter Function

While both carafes and decanters are used to hold liquids, their different features make them suited for quite specific functions. Because a carafe is insulated, it can be used for serving both hot and cold beverages, as well as for storing such beverages. In contrast, a decanter is typically used only for serving alcoholic beverages.

The Difference Between a Carafe & a Decanter
A decanter (nn5690 image by edom from

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