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If you’re ever faced with the need to serve coffee to a large group of people then you’ll understand the dilemma of brewing and serving hot coffee in large quantities. It can be very slow and labor-intensive to brew coffee for big groups and it’s rare that the coffee stays hot enough for everyone to enjoy a cup.
A coffee urn can be a real lifesaver in these situations as they are the best coffee maker for brewing and dispensing large volumes of java in a hassle-free manner. These devices work to brew coffee in a similar manner to a coffee percolator so are a hands-off method. They store the coffee, keep it warm and serve it through a spout so people can help themselves with ease.
If this sounds like the solution you need then the next concern is which option is best for you. To help you out we have a condensed, comprehensive list of the best coffee urns available to buy. To start with, our top pick is a high-quality, Hamilton Beach commercial coffee urn and it’s the perfect choice for the majority of your coffee needs.
The Five Best Coffee Urns Reviewed
- Top Choice – Hamilton Beach 45 Cup Coffee Urn and Hot Beverage Dispenser
- Runner Up – Waring Commercial WCU110 Coffee Urn
- Budget Option – Elite Gourmet Stainless Steel Coffee Maker Urn
- Best For Large Groups – West Bend 100 Cup Coffee Urn
- Best All-Purpose Option – HomeCraft CU30SS Quick-Brewing Coffee Urn
1. Top Choice – Hamilton Beach 45 Cup Coffee Urn and Hot Beverage Dispenser
Brand: Hamilton Beach
- Water Level Window
- Dual Heater
- Ready Light
- One Hand Dispensing
- Aluminum Not Stainless Steel
This aluminum coffee urn by Hamilton Beach is a 45 cup coffee maker that ticks every box when it comes to large batch brewing. It’s super fast to brew coffee and can manage a full urn in only 28 minutes as opposed to the usual hour or more these machines take.
It can brew anywhere from 15 to 45 cups of coffee with each cup being around 5 Oz of coffee. The spigot for serving the brewed coffee is designed to allow it to easily be used one-handed which is a great idea as you often need to hold the coffee in your other hand.
There’s a light indicator to tell you when the coffee is ready and dual heaters mean that it can brew the coffee and keep it hot without running the risk of burning it. The water level window on the outside of the carafe tells you how much is left without you needing to open the lid and risk letting all the heat out.
The coffee filter basket is removable and is dishwasher safe so cleans up easily. Another good feature is that the spout is not placed right at the base of the coffee maker so it is easier to position it to allow you to fit a coffee cup at the dispenser. The only downside is that the body is made from aluminum and not stainless steel so is less durable in the long term.
2. Runner Up – Waring Commercial WCU110 Coffee Urn
- Boil Dry Protection
- Cord Storage
- Large Capacity
- Dual Heater System
- Slow to Brew
If you’re looking for a stainless steel coffee urn that can brew extremely large volumes of coffee then Waring has you covered! Our runner-up today is this 110-cup commercial coffee urn. Each cup is measured at around 5 Oz and the minimum brew size is 30 cups of coffee.
It has a dual heater system for brewing coffee and keeping it warm and the automatic temperature control keeps the coffee at an optimal 200F (93C). Boil dry protection means you won’t run the risk of it burning out on you and power cord storage makes it easy to transport.
The downside is that brewing such a large quantity of coffee takes time. It takes an hour to produce a full urn so make sure you set it up well before you need the coffee to be ready. Otherwise, this option is the perfect choice for brewing large batches.
3. Budget Option – Elite Gourmet Stainless Steel Coffee Maker Urn
Brand: Elite Gourmet
- Two-Way Dispenser
- Indicator Light
- Fast Brewing Time
- Cool Touch Handles
If you have a tight budget then this Urn by Elite Gourmet is ideal for you. It may be inexpensive in price but you certainly get plenty more than you pay for. It’s made of durable and hygienic stainless steel but cool touch handles mean you won’t burn yourself moving it.
It can brew 30 cups of coffee in half an hour and there’s boil dry prevention that kicks in if the water boils away. This switches the machine off and allows it to reset rather than breaking. The two-way dispenser allows you to set it so pressing a cup against it releases coffee or you can set it upright to fill a large carafe or travel mug.
There’s a twist locking lid to prevent spills and splashes and the on/off switch has an indicator light to let you know at a quick glance whether or not it’s switched on. The only downside with this option is that it’s pretty noisy as it brews coffee.
4. Best For Large Groups – West Bend 100 Cup Coffee Urn
Brand: West Bend
- Indicator Light and Coffee Level Gauge
- 100 Cup Large Capacity
- Two-Way Dripless Faucet
- Heat-Resistant Handles
- Aluminum Not Stainless Steel
If you need to brew coffee for 100 people then sourcing the right equipment can be a headache. It has a coffee level gauge so you can quickly see how much you have left and interior water level markings make it easy to fill up.
An indicator light switches on to show you the brewing cycle is complete which is handy as it takes a minute to brew a single cup of coffee so 100 cups will take well over an hour to brew. It has automatic temperature control that keeps the coffee really hot for hours.
Heat resistant handles and base avoids scalds and the two way dripless faucet gives you the option of small cup servings or filling a carafe. The downside with the larger option of this brand of coffee urns is that this one is made from aluminum rather than stainless steel.
5. Best All-Purpose Option – HomeCraft CU30SS Quick-Brewing Coffee Urn
- 2 Way Dripless Faucet
- Keep Warm Function
- Dishwasher Safe Coffee Filter
- Fast Brewing
- Not Insulated
If you’re not sure exactly what you need from your coffee urn then this is a great one-size-fits-all option. This urn can brew up to 30 cups of coffee at 5 ounces per cup. It can brew a full urn in half an hour and the keep warm function means your coffee stays hot as long as you need it to.
A 2-way dripless faucet allows versatility when it comes to serving and the dishwasher safe reusable filter is easy to keep clean. The handles remain cool to touch and the twist secure lid makes it safe to transport.
The pedestal base raises the faucet and is heatproof to prevent damage to surfaces. The LED indicator light shows you when the coffee has finished brewing. It has internal water level markers so you can top it up precisely but the walls are not insulated so this option works using power to keep the coffee warm.
Coffee Urn Buying Guide
Is a Coffee Urn Right for You?
A coffee urn is typically a large-capacity coffee brewer and dispenser. Some options act only to keep coffee warm using double wall insulation so you need an alternative coffee brewer as well.
The benefit of a coffee urn is it can be used as a commercial coffee maker. Regular coffee machines can usually only make up to 12 cups at most whereas a coffee urn can brew up to 100 cups in one go.
Coffee urns work a bit like coffee percolators to brew coffee by boiling water up through coffee grounds sitting in a brew basket. Some models have a keep warm function that keeps the coffee hot and ready for serving for as long as you like.
The downside with coffee urns is that they are big, bulky, and can take a long time to brew a batch of coffee. If you only need a few cups of coffee and you want it fast then stick to a drip coffee maker or espresso machine. If you need a large amount of coffee to serve a crowd and you want a hassle-free brewing process then a coffee urn is the best choice for you.
Size/How Many Cups?
The cup capacity listed on each machine gives you a good idea of how much coffee your machine will brew. The consideration has to be, what size does the manufacturer consider to be a single cup? A cup can vary a lot in size and may not match up to the amount you’re used to drinking so make sure you check this before you buy.
A coffee urn will keep your coffee hot in one of two ways. Some use power to actively warm the liquid whereas other options use passive insulation to stop the heat from escaping. Some urns also have a dual heating system where they use a boiler to heat the water to brew the coffee and another heater to keep the coffee hot.
Consider the volume of coffee you need and how long you expect it to stay hot. If you need it piping hot all day then a machine with an electric keep warm function is best. If it’s only for a few hours then an insulated one will do. If you’re serving the coffee immediately then you don’t need to worry about a heating system at all.
Coffee Urn Filters
Most coffee urns come with reusable filters so you don’t need to worry about finding specialized paper ones. Finding an option that is dishwasher safe can really help with cleanup and ease of use. Consider the material used for the filter basket as well. Some options will be stainless steel whereas others are made from plastic which can hold onto odors.
What Kind of Coffee Should Be Used?
Coffee urns do not use paper filters so you need to use coarsely ground coffee to prevent small particles from escaping into your cup of coffee. Make sure you buy coffee that’s intended for a percolator, french press, or cold brew as these brew methods require coarse coffee grounds. If you’re using whole coffee beans then make sure you set the coffee grinder to a very coarse setting.
Do coffee urns keep coffee hot?
Coffee urns do keep coffee hot by either actively heating the coffee using a powered heating element or passively heating the coffee using double wall insulation.
How long do coffee urns keep coffee hot?
A coffee urn can keep coffee hot for several hours to 1-2 days potentially. An insulated pot will keep coffee hot for up to 12 hours (depending on the level of insulation) and a powered urn can keep warming the coffee for as long as it’s switched on. It’s recommended to discard old coffee after 24 hours as it starts to taste stale and bitter anyway.
Do coffee urns need filters?
Coffee urns come with removable filter baskets that can be washed and used repeatedly. They do not need paper filters alongside this.
What is the capacity of a coffee urn?
Coffee urns can range in capacity from around 30-110 cups of coffee. This equates to roughly 150-550 Oz of coffee (4.2-16.2 liters).
What is the difference between a coffee urn and a coffee pot?
A coffee pot stores your coffee and allows you to pour it but it doesn’t keep the coffee warm. An urn can brew the coffee, store it, and even works to keep it warm using a heating element.
What is the best coffee urn?
Our top pick for coffee urns is the Hamilton Beach 45 Cup Coffee Urn and Hot Beverage Dispenser.
More Coffee Urns Reviewed
Amazon Commercial Coffee Urn
- Brews Coffee in Less Than 1 Minute
- 1 or 2 Spout Option
- Reusable Coffee Filter
- Boil Dry Protection
- Not the Best Quality
The Amazon Basic range can be a surprisingly good option if you’re on a tight budget. This commercial coffee urn comes with all the necessary features such as quick brewing, a reusable coffee filter, and boil dry protection. It can brew one cup of coffee per minute which is pretty typical for these kinds of urns and its maximum capacity is 60 cups or 9 liters.
It has the option of choosing one or two spouts to dispense the coffee which can be very useful depending on how many people you are hosting. It has interior water level markings as well as an exterior water level window so it’s easy to monitor how much is left.
The downside with this option is it’s made of pretty flimsy aluminum so it’s not likely to last you a lifetime. This can be a bit annoying but as with anything, you get what you pay for.
SYBO Commercial Grade Stainless Steel Coffee Maker Hot Water Urn
- BPA-Free, Non-Drip Tap
- Keep Warm Function
- Perfect for Large Gatherings
- No Paper Filters Needed
This Urn by Sybo is a large capacity option built with durable, food-grade 304 stainless steel. It can brew up to 8 liters which can make around 50-60 cups of coffee and the automated keep warm function makes this a really functional option.
The water spout is tough and designed for heavy use. It’s all BPA-free, food safe, and also anti-drip so won’t make a mess as people use it to serve coffee. The reusable filter basket is also made from high-grade stainless steel.
This option comes with a 2-year new replacement warranty. This starts off with a 30-day refund if you’re unhappy with the product and after this time, if you experience any issues with parts of this machine, simply contact the company and receive a new replacement.
Nesco CU-25 Professional Coffee Urn
- Twist Lock Lid
- Cool Touch Handles
- Water Level Markings
- Dishwasher Safe Filter Basket
- Exterior Gets Very Hot
To finish up, we have this simple yet effective option by Nesco. It’s a smaller capacity option as it brews 25 cups at a time or 4.5 liters. The dispenser is easy to control and can be set to continuous pour for filling larger carafes.
The filter basket is dishwasher safe but it is plastic rather than metal. The downside of this option is the exterior can get extremely hot when brewing coffee but the cool touch handles help protect you from potential burns. Just be cautious if you have children around.
The twist lock lid is another good safety feature that allows the urn to be transported without spills or splashes and the slip-proof rubber feet ensure it stands securely. This option is a good choice for a low budget if you don’t need huge quantities of coffee in one go.
So that’s it for coffee urns. These handy devices brew very large quantities of coffee in a hassle-free manner. They even store the brewed java and keep it piping hot ready to serve. They are a great solution for parties, gatherings, meetings, and for a busy office. Just make sure you choose one that’s big enough for your needs and sit back as it does all the hard work for you.
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