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Companies prefer using a large-scale coffee maker like a coffee urn vs a coffee maker when they cater events. However, you may wonder whether other differences exist between the two. For example, the best coffee maker brews multiple cups of coffee at a time for your enjoyment at home. Meanwhile, a coffee urn brews and warms larger amounts of coffee for crowds, about 30 cups.


  • Many caterers and event companies offer coffee urns for large-group preparation of a pot of coffee.
  • You most likely use a coffee maker that brews up to 12 cups at home since you don’t need to provide as much coffee.
  • Coffee urns provide extended warmth for your coffee through percolation and remain easier to clean and descale than a traditional pot.

These two kitchen appliances offer different heating methods, ease of use, versatility, and taste. Read on to find out more. You may also be interested in a coffee maker with a grinder vs a separate grinder, a drip coffee maker vs pour-over, a coffee maker thermal carafe vs glass, and a coffee maker vs pod coffee.

Differences Between a Coffee Urn and Coffee Machine

Coffee urns make significantly more coffee than a regular coffee machine and even more than a pour-over coffee maker. However, keep in mind that if you just need less than five cups of coffee, you’ll want to find a great 4-cup coffee maker. Additionally, these devices require less effort when descaling your carafe or pot, as well as while cleaning. Meanwhile, coffee machines brew your morning cup of coffee and retain a consistent taste.

Insider Tip

A standard coffee maker remains ideal for families every day, while an urn helps for a crowd.

These differences amount to preferences for a large group and small family coffee makers (like Bunn coffee makers), including capacity, warmth, and ease of cleaning. You may also be interested in the difference in your coffee when you use cold water vs hot water for coffee.

Coffee Capacity

A standard drip coffee product typically brews 12 cups of coffee, even when you don’t want that much at home. However, in some cases, you can find coffee machines that make less coffee per paper filter. These smaller machines are ideal for small families who do not drink a lot of coffee.

On the other hand, coffee urns make 30 cups of coffee on average. Some of these products make up to 100 cups, but these larger models remain primarily for commercial use. Whether you want 30 cups or 100, your kitchen appliance continues to warm the coffee every minute for longer after brewing.

Lasting Warmth

Coffee urns keep your future cup of coffee warm for longer periods than a drip coffee maker. This model brews and warms java through its percolation feature, which cycles your brew through the coffee grounds repeatedly. Then, by circulating the warmer and cooler liquids, the urn eases the temperature difference, maintaining the heat during each minute.

Coffee makers for home use typically brew the coffee into the coffee pot or coffee carafe. For this process, the machine passes hot water through your coffee grounds, extracting flavor. After brewing, the stronger coffee continues to sit without a warming mechanism. Because of this factor, your second or third cup of coffee won’t be as warm.

Quick Cleaning

You may rinse your coffee machine every day with water or soapy water. However, when it comes to descaling your system, you require more effort. Descaling involves a multi-step process that seems a bit repetitious and happens frequently when making your espresso.

For a coffee urn, descaling your coffee pot takes three quick and straightforward steps. First, remove the stem and spring before placing them in a plastic zip bag with plain white vinegar, also remove the baskets. Then, you put the same plain white vinegar in the stainless steel chamber and let both sit for an hour. Finally, rinse with warm soapy water and enjoy your next roast.


Your drip coffee machine probably makes up to 12 cups of coffee at a time, so you need a coffee urn for meetings and gatherings.


Can you use drip-grind coffee in a coffee percolator?

No. A drip grind coffee features finer grounds than those coarse grounds caught in a coffee percolator’s filter feature, so you can find grounds in your cup.

Is drip coffee the same as pour-over?

Drip coffee offers you less control over the coffee than a pour-over does. This factor stems from the fact that you pour the water into a pour-over cup while the machine covers the grounds with water for drip coffee.

Do coffee urns keep coffee hot?

Yes, coffee urns keep coffee warm longer than a standard coffee maker due to the percolation used inside.

STAT: Whether you want something that’s light, dark or somewhere in the middle is up to you – drip machines typically do well with all types of roasts, especially medium roasts. (source)

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