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Malawry

Large Quantity Coffee

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I'm catering a wedding this afternoon. I'm terrible at figuring out making coffee in large quantities. The groom is bringing a large urn his mother owns and some coffee, and I'm expected to turn them into a hot urnful of goodness. I've Googled and not succeeded in finding guidance on this sort of thing. Can you help?

No, I don't know how big the urn is yet, but I will later this morning.

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I can not remember proportions at the moment of coffee to water in bulk (but you can figure that out by using the general rule for coffee with minor adjustment depending how strong you'd like it to be) - but two notes: Allow a cup and a half per person if you can portion-wise and allow one minute brewing time per cup with those urns. If it is a 50C urn allow 50 minutes from when you plug it in for it to be ready.


Edited by Carrot Top (log)

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I'm catering a wedding this afternoon. I'm terrible at figuring out making coffee in large quantities. The groom is bringing a large urn his mother owns and some coffee, and I'm expected to turn them into a hot urnful of goodness. I've Googled and not succeeded in finding guidance on this sort of thing. Can you help?

No, I don't know how big the urn is yet, but I will later this morning.

In making "regular" coffee by the gallon a standard measurement for upper scale caterers is 1 pound Coffee for a Gallon of Water dripped thru a filter.

This will provide about 17/19 six ounce cups as some water is absorbed by the grounds.

If you prefer a stronger more after dinner type of coffee then you should use additional Coffee or less water.

If your urn doesn't have the capacity then start the brewing earlier keeping the finished Coffee simmering in a double boiler set up or improvised. Keeping the water temperature about 150/165 degrees will keep the Coffee tasting good for about 45/55 minutes, make sure to cover the simmering Coffee with a plate or pot cover.

If the urn is large enough, make sure that it has a holding temperature after brewing as some brands may keep the brewed coffee to hot, giving it a burnt taste if allowed to stand to long.

Many urns sold for home use actually have lower capacity then advertised. It would be prudent to make sure about the actual capacity measuring the liquid to the actual size of the serving cups. Figure that you will need 1 1/2 cups per person plus some water for tea and tea bags.

Hope this puts everything under control so you can enjoy the desert and a slice of the wedding cake.

Irwin


I don't say that I do. But don't let it get around that I don't.

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Thanks for the reply, Irwin. My sous-chef swam in at the last moment and made the coffee for me, and it looked right (nobody complained), but I'll keep this in mind for the next job.

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Or you could take a cue from the page of the guys in a hotel kitchen i n Cozumel Mexico. An online friend of mine (with whom I was discussing the deplorable state of coffee in Cozumel) recalled walking by the open door of the kitchen and watching these fellows hoist up a pot of boiling water to pour across the grounds that were in the basket of the big urn style percolator.

No one had clued them in to the fact that it actually perked - it wasn't just a device to keep coffee warm. They were using it as a giant manual pour-over brewer! Sadly... it was probably no worse than most of the other coffee served on the island.

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Ewww.

I thought I had these proportions figured out at the first wedding I catered, a month ago. Apparently the decaf was weak though. So now I'm kinda nervous about getting it right. I hate crap coffee.

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Sorry for the double. Does anybody have recommendations for large quantity coffee urns? I am considering buying two or three (caf/decaf/hot water) rather than renting for the next time somebody wants coffee at an event.

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I would appreciate info about both coffee urns, and how to make coffee in them. I'd like to buy a somewhat inexpensive urn, and I have no clue as to how much water and coffee to use.

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West Bend makes an aluminum cheapie that seems to work about as well as any of the other brands out there but for a real investment I'd check to see if Farberware still makes the stainless steel models.

Aluminum does not retain heat well and it gets a bit funky on the inside eventually. You can run Urnex through it to clean but when it comes to hot beverages I always look to stainless steel as the durable and neutral surface.

The West Bend 30 cupper retails at $30 - $35 - ideal for that newly formed AA group on a budget ! (just kidding - sort of :wink:

The Farberware is a 55 cupper and sells for about $150. It's actually fairly stylish and can be left out where the public can see it without fear of your gear looking cheesy.

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The urn I borrowed for the wedding Saturday was a Farberware, and I thought it was pretty attractive. Plus the coffee didn't suck, but that was more a function of my sous-chef than any actual skill on my part or excellence on the part of the urn.

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I have two of these Delonghi and a faberware. (No, it's not necessary to ask why I have so many).

Both brands perform well, although I find the Delonghi just a bit faster.

I had a Westbend, and chucked it. It sucked.


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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And sometimes you get what you pay for. :biggrin: Both the Farberware and the Delonghi automatically switch to keep warm. The Westbend didn't have that feature, so like regular coffee makers, the coffee continued to "cook" in the Urn. Aluminum is just not as good as stainless steel for insulation.

The added benefit of the Delonghi is that it has an adjustable "keep warm" thermostat so you can set what temp you want your coffee to hold at. In addition, it has a series of green lights that light up to tell you how many hours your coffee has been keeping warm.


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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The westbend would probably be fine for water, but I honestly wouldn't buy it for coffee service. Not if you want good coffee! Also, it depends on how attractive you want your coffee/tea service to look. The Westbend isn't all that attractive, but it is serviceable for water.


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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I'll probably need three urns, ultimately: caf, decaf and water. Maybe I should just buy the West Bend for the water.

OK, I'm going out on a limb with this one as I am actually unfamiliar with these urns; but based on what marlene said, I wouldn't use the West bend at all.

Anything put in aluminum is going to taste like aluminum (unless, of course, it's lined). That includes water for tea, and CERTAINLY coffee as well.

:raz:

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In making "regular" coffee by the gallon a standard measurement for upper scale caterers is 1 pound Coffee for a Gallon of Water dripped thru a filter.

Oh my God...

It's 3-gallons per pound, not one.

I hope nobody chipped a tooth on that coffee!

OOOOOOPS:

My mistake I thought I had written [2] TWO GALLONS water per pound.

Thank you "murkycoffee" for noticing. If anyone tried it at one gallon per pound, consider it as Coffee Essence or something like a syrup base. I'm sorry for not editing my post.

The 3 gallons per pound ratios are for fast food places and heartland/Midwest locations using brands as awful as Farmer Brothers where Coffee is generally served thruout the meal, breakfast, lunch or dinner.

On both coasts at many Restaurants we encouraged advising customers that the Coffee being served was richer, stronger and more of a after dinner type of Coffee then they may have been accustomed to drinking.

Often the next day we were told. "You were right" it seems that the stronger brew keeps us up at night, not like what we drink at home.

It used to be 3 gallons water to 1 pound for the large urns until the 1970's when it was reduced to 2 1/2 gallons of water to 1 pound and in the 80's starting with Communion Breakfasts it became 2 gallons of water to a pound as a standard used in most better places. This was also at the time customers were becoming more Coffee conscious. Prior to the 80's and 90's it was just something you dished out with the Urns, Filters and Coffee being provided by your supplier with only 1 choice for your Blend. In 2005 it more upscale with every Roaster providing multiple Blends of Coffee.

Irwin :wub:


I don't say that I do. But don't let it get around that I don't.

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you guys and your gallons...

1 pound for 2 gallons converts to about 60g per litre, meeting the SCAA standard of 50-60 grams per Litre. I suggest 60-65g.


Alistair Durie

Elysian Coffee

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you guys and your gallons...

1 pound for 2 gallons converts to about 60g per litre, meeting the SCAA standard of 50-60 grams per Litre.  I suggest 60-65g.

Why can't we just go back to Imperial Gallons and further muddy the waters? :raz::laugh:

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Have you considered using presspots? I brew the coffee in my favorite brewer so that it is exactly the way I like it and then put it in presspots (airpots) and people just pump themselves a cup.

I find that sitting in a presspot, coffee stays fresher because the temperature is very constant, gradually cooling. Seems to take 6 hours before it is not "hot" any more, if it's a good quality pot. I buy my presspots at Asian grocery stores whenever possible, got a decent one that holds 16 cups for $13.50 the other day. The bigger ones are usually anywhere from $40 to $80. The nice thing about the small ones is that you can do a decaf and regular and you don't need two urns, just a second press pot. I keep the backups for the presspots in giant thermoses (thermi?), $10.00 from Super88.

Some other nice things about presspots is they don't need proximity to an electrical outlet and the coffee can be made before arriving at the event (which might actually not be an advantage I guess, depending on who is making it).


There is so much wonderful coffee in the world, and so little time to drink it.

www.trung-nguyen-online.com

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Len, I'm glad you posted that, because I'm considering my coffee service options again right now. I'm tired of renting urns and think I'm ready to invest. Now I'm considering 1 urn and 2 airpots--the regular stays in the urn, while the pots hold decaf and hot water.

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