2 critical factors when serving high-volume coffee

coffee cups and saucers

Whether you’re offering all-day coffee service as part of a catering package or you’re serving fresh-brewed coffee to hundreds of guests off-premise, you want each cup to be a memorable one.

Memorable in a good way, that is.

Consumers are increasingly well-educated about coffee, and they’ve come to demand a high-quality brew in all settings, says Stephen Schulman, senior vice president of sales for Lacas Coffee Co./Dallis Bros.

“People are recognizing that coffee is culinary,” Schulman says. “It is absolutely a culinary endeavor and experience.”

Brewing and serving large batches of coffee requires attention to two major details that aren’t typically considered when serving a single cup: Time and volume.


Operators must consider the time frame of the coffee service. Will the service last hours? Or will a large volume of coffee be poured in just a few minutes?

For holding multiple gallons of coffee at the proper serving temperature for at least an hour, Schulman recommends an urn with multiple spigots, such as the Curtis RU-300 model. The water in the exterior jacket of these urns helps keep coffee hot.

A thermal pot, such as an airpot, can hold up to about 1.5 gallons of coffee for 90 minutes without a breakdown in flavor. Schulman recommends pre-heating the empty vessel by filling it with hot water and allowing it to sit for a few minutes before filling it with the first batch of coffee. Thermal carafes are also easily transported to offsite meeting rooms.


“The key is understanding your volume,” he says. “If it’s not on the hot plate very long, it’s not an issue.”

Smaller glass carafes warmed by hot plates are best for smaller batches of coffee that will be served quickly.

Always use the appropriate grind for your brewer. Look for coarse “urn grind” for the largest pots and expect brew times of about 6 minutes.

And always buy high-quality coffee.

“Better coffee takes more abuse,” he says, adding that better beans create a brew that can be held a bit longer without flavor breakdown.

No matter the brewer, be sure to use a water-filtration system.

“Coffee is 98% water,” Schulman says. “No matter how good the coffee is, if you don’t have good water, you’re not going to have good coffee. A filter system is going to make your coffee better. It’s also going to protect your machinery and make sure it works properly and lasts longer.”

Investing in the proper brewer or brewers to meet your “time and volume” needs in high-volume coffee service, along with using high-quality beans and filtered water, will ensure that guests leave your operation with a good impression. 

This post is sponsored by Curtis Coffee Equipment


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