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Whenever you need more than a carafe or a few pots of coffee, then a full-sized coffee urn might be the answer. Coffee urns are stylish and functional, providing coffee for lots of people without the need to brew pot after pot. You’ll see them at weddings, office meetings, buffet receptions, and they’re a staple on Sunday mornings at churches.
While it is entirely possible to purchase coffee boxes – you know, those cardboard boxes full of coffee from your favorite coffee shop or bagel stop – when you know you need to have a lot of coffee for a meeting or function then you should invest in a coffee urn so that you can save money and time by having the coffee at the ready whenever you need it.
Some coffee urns feature a percolator brewing system that allows coffee to be brewed fresh, with a reusable filter that makes brewing new pots of coffee easy. This is a great feature when you have an event that lasts throughout the day, as it provides guests with hot coffee all day long. Other coffee urns are simply made to serve large quantities of hot coffee, and that’s it.
You should also consider whether you need a basic coffee urn or one that has been optimized for commercial use, which is ideal for caterers. If you plan on using the urn on a daily basis, then you should definitely look for a coffee urn that is made to last.
Best Coffee Urn Reviews: Top Picks
The Hamilton Beach 45 Coffee Urn is your traditional choice for coffee urns. Utilitarian and dedicated to function, this coffee urn is everything you need for parties. You can either brew coffee inside the urn or pour coffee inside to be dispensed.
- Fast brewing capability that produces a cup of coffee in about a minute
- Large capacity allows for 15 to 45 cups of coffee at one time
- Two-way dispenser can pour one cup or provide a continuous pour, depending on need
- Water levels are clearly marked to make measuring water easy
- Percolator coffee machine, so no extra filters are required
- Indicator light reveals that the coffee is ready
- Large capacity is perfect for large events or office meetings
- Easy to measure, allowing users to brew a new pot quickly
- Brews coffee as well as dispenses it, making it an all-in-one machine
- Not insulated to keep the coffee hot for extended periods of time
- Works well for instant coffee needs, such as before or after meetings or events, but won’t keep coffee hot through long meetings or ceremonies
- Coffee can be brewed in advance and then transported, but for best results it should be plugged in while serving.
- Does not keep coffee heated after brewing, so coffee should be brewed and used quickly
- The 45-cup capacity is misleading in that it produces up to 45 small cups of coffee. For anyone hoping for larger, 12 ounce cups of coffee it will not make as many cups
- Great for other hot beverages, like tea and hot chocolate.
The Airpot Thermal Coffee Carafe Urn is much smaller than the competition, but the benefit is that it’s easier to transport, it keeps the temperature regulated much longer and it doesn’t require electricity or chafing fuel, which means it’s the easiest urn to work with in an outdoor setting or when you need to move around.
- 3L (101 ounce) capacity
- Keeps drinks hot for 12 hours and cold for 24 hours with vacuum insulation
- 18/8 stainless double walled steel construction is durable and made to last
- Pump pour spout
- Large mouth opening for ease of cleaning
- Stays cool to the touch
- Maintains temperature better than other urns
- Multiple urns can be used to provide hot water, iced tea, coffee and other beverages that will stay hot and cold for extended periods
- Small capacity won’t serve large numbers of people
- Does not brew coffee
- Keeps water hot long after 12 hours, even on cold winter days
- Great customer service when there was an issue with the urn, and now it works beautifully
- Good value for the money
- Great for offices, nice that it doesn’t need to be plugged in but still has a large capacity
Of all the urns reviewed, the SYBO urn features a very distinct design that immediately elevates any buffet table or office meeting. It keeps coffee hot and also brews coffee, making it a very functional piece to add to your collection. It would also be ideal for churches and community groups.
- Commercial grade 8L/40-cup capacity
- Stylish urn works for catering or private use
- Stainless steel construction with metal spigot
- Auto shut-off prevents dry boiling
- Beautiful design looks great in any setting
- Brews coffee and features an auto shut-off, which is incredibly helpful for when you need to brew coffee and step away to attend a meeting
- Pricier than other designs
- Great for large parties, very reliable urn
- Auto shut-off features keeps coffee from over cooking
- Stable temperature control keeps coffee nice and hot during events and functions
The ChefMaid urn is a heavy duty model that is the most traditional catering option of the five urns being reviewed in this article. It uses chafing fuel, which is something that caterers traditionally have in their vans already so if you need a coffee urn for a catering venture, then this is the urn for you.
- 3 gallon capacity produces approximately 48 cups
- Chafer urn uses canned heat, or chafing fuel, to keep the coffee hot
- Unique design, with shiny stainless finish, will look attractive at any meeting or event
- Great to keep hot water hot for tea and other hot beverages
- Doesn’t require electricity to keep coffee warm, making it a great option for outdoor functions
- Easily integrates with other catering supplies, so the need for chafing fuel isn’t a problem when you are using chafing dishes already.
- Doesn’t brew coffee, so if you are using it outside then the coffee must be added later or beforehand
- Used without sterno chafing fuel and the urn kept fuel hot for 2 hours
- Holds thirty 12-ounce cups
- Very elegant design
The Hamilton Beach Brew Station is the perfect coffee urn for everyday use. Whether you need a coffee urn for the office, at school or for events, it will do everything you need including brewing coffee with ease.
- Large 40-cup capacity
- Updated design features one-hand dispensing
- No paper filters needs, with a coffee filter that can be easily removed and is dishwasher safe
- Easy to use, with clear water level markings and a design that is easy to clean
- Indicator light shows when coffee is ready
- Dual heater system keeps coffee hot and fresh without the risk of overcooking it
- Offers everything you need, from brewing to keeping drinks hot for extended periods of time
- Large capacity works for big function or all-day use
- One-hand dispensing is great for buffets and meetings where people have their hands full
- The one-handed dispensing option may not be needed for all situations, and since you can’t use styrofoam cups then it might not be the best option
- Don’t use with styrofoam cups, because they don’t work with the one-hand pour design
- Brews great coffee, every single time
- Works well with Alexa system
- Provides hot coffee, or hot water, for large numbers of people
All five of the best coffee urns offer their own benefits, so in this case it’s important to consider your needs and what you need the urn for. Think of desired capacity, where you plan to use it, whether you need it to brew coffee or not, and if you plan on using it frequently.
The ChefMaid is a beautiful urn with a very unique design, and it’s also the priciest compared to the other models. In terms of price, the ChefMaid is the most expensive, followed by the SYBO urn, the Hamilton Beach Brew Station, the Airpot and then the Hamilton Beach Coffee Urn.
The Airpot does not need to be plugged in and can keep drinks hot and cold longer than any of the other urns, but it has a much smaller capacity. The ChefMaid uses chafing fuel, which means that you don’t need electricity (making it great for outdoor functions) but you will need a steady supply of fuel for all day events, and once it runs out of coffee you will need to brew more. The best coffee urn for the value is the Hamilton Beach Brew Station. Coming in at a reasonable cost, this coffee urn brews coffee, it’s easy to clean and it provides a quality cup of coffee each and every time. The one-hand pour feature is also very convenient, especially if you’re serving coffee in a buffet line where guests might be holding plates in their other hand. It’s a great urn that does everything you need it to do without being too complicated, making it a great general use coffee urn.