In some situations such as a party or a large gathering, you’ll need a large coffee maker capable of brewing 30 or more cups in one go.
Here, even the biggest capacity 12-cup drip coffee maker won’t cut it. You have a lot of people to get coffee to, so why not brew it all in one shot? To know more, let’s check out some of the best coffee urns.
Coffee urns are rather rare and very few people make them, but the ones that are available can be found in a variety of capacities: 30 cups, 40 cups, 50 cups, and 60 cups.
First, we’ll take a look at the best large coffee makers and coffee urns, and then we’ll talk about how to brew the best possible coffee in these machines.
4 Best coffee urns: the best coffee maker for a crowd
1. West Bend 30 cup coffee urn
For a machine that brews 30 cups of coffee, the West Bend machine has a pretty small footprint. It’s just 16 inches tall and about 12 inches at its base.
These large coffee makers are essentially percolators. You fill the filter basket with coffee, and water will drip through the filter basket(which is permanent – you don’t need paper filters), through the coffee grounds, and into the urn below.
This machine is capable of brewing 1 cup per minute, which is quite fast. Once the coffee has been brewed, you can dispense it using the spigot at the bottom of the urn.
The power cord is detachable and there are two heat resistant handles that you can grip the machine with for moving it around easily.
Inside the urn, you’ll find water level markings that indicate how many cups are going to be brewed, which is a nice touch.
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Some people have complained about the machine not working well after a very short time. Often, these issues can be solved by properly taking care of the coffee maker. Remember to clean it as soon as possible, and store it with the lid off, especially if the insides are wet.
This coffee maker is great for small crowds like meetings and gatherings.
2. Hamilton Beach Brew Station 40 cup coffee urn
Next up on our list is the Hamilton Beach Brew Station. This bad boy is capable of brewing 40 cups at a time. Essentially, it’s the same machine as the West Bend one above, except it has a larger capacity.
There are a few additional bells and whistles that make this a better, more well thought out machine.
First off, the dispensing system can be operated with just one hand. You don’t need to pull on a spigot or anything. Simply press your cup against the dispenser, and coffee will flow out.
This is great if you’re using glass mugs, but if you’re using paper or styrofoam cups, you may find that the cup collapses between your hand and the dispenser tab.
The Brew Station has a dual heating system that heats up to brew the coffee, then stays warm at a lower temperature once the coffee is brewed to keep it nice and hot until it is served.
Similar to how thermal carafes work, keeping coffee evenly heated does a lot for maintaining the taste and freshness. There’s a ready light that indicates when your coffee has finished brewing, and insulted handles for easily carrying the urn around.
3. Nesco CU-50 Coffee Urn: 50 cup capacity
As our coffee urns are getting progressively bigger, we’re now at the 50 cup mark with the Nesco CU-50 urn. At its very basics, this coffee urn is like the others. It brews about 1 cup per minute so you’ll have 50 cups ready in about 45 to 50 minutes.
There’s a little indicator light that tells you once the coffee is ready, and you can see the level of coffee remaining through the side of the urn. Like the other machines, the Nesco urn can keep coffee evenly heated for a long time.
The filter basket is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. Just rinse out the large clumps of coffee grounds and pop the filter basket in the dishwasher.
To clean the whole machine, use warm, soapy water and clean by hand. Dump out the excess water and wipe dry.
A really interesting and useful design touch is the drip tray. The other two machines did not have any drip trays and that can cause a bit of a mess, especially when a few drops of coffee go here and there.
The drip tray on the Nesco will catch any rogue coffee droplets and help contain the mess, which is especially useful in large gatherings where these urns are most used!
4. Hamilton Beach Stainless Steel 60 cup coffee urn
Last but not least, we have the king of coffee urns with the Hamilton Beach 60 cup coffee urn. Great for large parties and gatherings, this is one way to make sure you don’t run out of coffee!
Like the other Hamilton Beach machine above, you can dispense coffee with just one hand. This machine has a spigot mechanism but it can be operated by pushing on it with your cup.
There’s a water window to see how much water or coffee you have filled in, and one light indicates power and the other indicates whether the coffee is ready or not.
If it’s a big group you’re catering for, then this is undoubtedly the best coffee maker for a crowd. You can brew 60 cups in a single go, which should be quite a bit of caffeine!
How to make coffee in a coffee urn(effectively a large percolator)
You can think of coffee percolator urns as large reverse moka pots. In a moka pot, water rises up through a cake of coffee grounds, goes through a pipe and drips out into the reservoir.
In a coffee urn, to save space, a similar principle is used.
There will be a large metal pipe that fits into a groove on the bottom of the inside of the coffee maker. Next, fill up the urn with water to your desired level, and fit the filter basket on the pipe. It will sit very near the top of the machine.
Fill the entire filter basket with grounds – if you are making fewer cups, try to distribute the grounds even all around the basket and not just in one spot.
When you switch the machine on, the water will heat up and rise through the metal pipe. From the pipe, it will flow onto the grounds and slowly percolate back down.
The workings of the machine are quite brilliant, really. The amount of water getting sucked up and the amount of coffee raining down has to be proportional otherwise you’ll risk diluting your fresh coffee with water or rebrewing your existing coffee!
In around 30 minutes, a 30 cup machine will have finished brewing. At this point, you’re ready to drink.
Make sure to wait until all the coffee has been brewed!
Use fresh beans
More than the brew method, the key to great coffee is the kind of beans you use. Try to use freshly roasted, freshly ground coffee beans and you’ll notice that the coffee tastes a LOT LOT better.
The grind you’re looking for here is a medium grind.
How much coffee should I use for
Since we’re talking such high numbers here, it’s useful to head over to the coffee calculator to see how much coffee is needed! This is essentially drip brewing, so that’s the method you want to select.
For 30 cups, you’ll need 420 grams of coffee. One tablespoon is roughly 12 grams, so if you’re measuring in tablespoons, you’ll need 35 tablespoons or 2 1/4 cups.
For 40 cups, you’ll need 560 grams of coffee. If you’re measuring in tablespoons, you’ll need 46.5 tablespoons or just a little under 3 cups.
For 50 cups, you’ll need 700 grams of coffee. If you’re measuring in tablespoons, you’ll need 58 tablespoons or 3 3/4 cups.
For 50 cups, you’ll need 840 grams of coffee. If you’re measuring in tablespoons, you’ll need 70 tablespoons or 4 1/2 cups.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do coffee urns need filters?
Coffee urns have built in filters, so you don’t need a separate paper filter.
How long does a coffee urn take to brew?
Coffee urns usually take anywhere between 30-45 minutes to brew all of their coffee.
What’s the largest coffee urn available?
Wayfair stocks 100 cup coffee urns.
Last update on 2020-11-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API