Etching temperature and time are important parameters in the etching of SiC single crystals in molten KOH for defect studies. However, comparison of results of different research groups is difficult because of the way temperature measurements are being carried out. Until now the temperature of the melt has been measured indirectly with a temperature sensor placed outside the melt on the outer walls of the crucible of the etching furnace, resulting in varying etching conditions for varying setup designs. In this paper we developed an etching furnace with the capability of measuring the absolute temperature in-situ directly in the KOH melt. A new thermoelement, resistant to hot molten KOH was developed. Temperature profile measurements of the molten KOH were carried out and a calibration curve of the furnace was obtained. Based on our temperature measurements, we found that etching at 530 °C for 5 minutes was optimal for defect characterisation, both for defect statistics and for distinguishing between the etch pit morphologies. At 550 °C the etch pits become too large, overlap each other and the etching is no longer defect selective.