A carafe is an elegant glass vessel used for serving alcoholic beverages and wine. Unlike the more plain decanter, carafe glasses don’t have stoppers. The term “carafe” comes from Latin “cara”, meaning cup, and “fait”, another word for tea. In the 17th century, carafe glasses became very popular, especially in fashionable social circles, and were often used by Royal courts and wealthy families to serve their beverages. It was only in the latter half of the nineteenth century that carafe glasses came into their own as they were made to be used for more general purposes and not just for drinking. In today’s world, carafe glasses are generally made of clear glass, but depending on what you’re looking for, there are different types available.
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A carafe can come in many shapes and sizes, including: small carafe for everyday drinking, larger carafe for larger parties and social gatherings, and even carafe with tall stems for tall drink such as a scotch. They can also be made of different materials, including: crystal, enamel, glass, stainless steel, and others. Many people prefer the traditional glass carafe but these can be expensive if you are looking for a really nice model. If you are just serving water or your favorite sparkling wine then a simple plastic carafe or decanter should be sufficient.
One style of carafe that is growing in popularity is the French “bistro-style” carafe. These are very similar to the average decanter in that they hold a liquid, usually water, and a sediment of some type – this is usually either white wine or red wines, though not always. A French carafe can be used to serve champagne and white wines alike, and sometimes even black wines. Some people use a French carafe for preparing meals, not only as a drink with wine, but for roasting marshmallows, or melting chocolate truffles.