I'm wondering about the difference between brew mode and keep warm mode in drip coffee makers. After my Black and Decker 2020B finishes brewing, it keeps the heating element warm for 2 hours. Is that different than if it had simply continued to brew for 2 hours?

If I want to reheat my coffee after the keep warm period has ended, is there anything wrong with simply turning it on to brew? Would that be the same as the keep warm period and thus be fine, or would it cause the heating element to behave differently and possibly burn the coffee or cause a fire hazard?


  • 1
    I don't understand the close vote. The question does mention a brand, but this is about a feature that does exist. I do not know the answer, but I would guess it has to do with there being 2 heating systems. One for the burner and one to heat the water before dispensing it over the grounds.
    – Justin C
    Apr 13, 2015 at 0:24
  • I guess I'm more interested in the keep warm feature in drip machines in general, not just this particular model. I could be wrong, but I believe it's just 1 heating system, and as far as I know, there's no sensor to determine when the reservoir's out of water.
    – user643
    Apr 13, 2015 at 11:29

1 Answer 1


Normally in a drip coffee machine the 'brew' mode is where the water in the reservoir is boiled/heated and dripped over the ground coffee, before passing through the filter and into the jug. The 'keep warm' part is usually a hot plate under the jug which heats the jug from below, keeping the coffee warm.

My drip coffee machine doesn't allow you to switch it to one mode or the other, you just switch it on and it pumps the water through the filter until its empty - there is a floating switch in the bottom so it knows when there is no more water left, and the hot plate is always on.

I assume that your drip coffee machine works in the same way but has separate controls for the brew and keep warm features. Switching the 'keep warm' feature back on isn't going to harm anything - I'd question the quality of the coffee after 2+ hours sitting on a hot plate though.

  • Perfect - exactly the sort of answer I was looking for. This makes sense. Thanks!
    – user643
    Apr 13, 2015 at 22:17

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