Best Way To Make Coffee In A Coffee Urn - Making Coffee In A Percolator

Best Way To Make Coffee In A Coffee Urn – Making Coffee In A Percolator

Last updated on October 27th, 2023 at 16:41

Are you trying to figure out what the best way to make coffee in a coffee urn is? If you have a big event coming up where you need to serve a large batch of coffee, then this article is what you are looking for.

Let’s get cracking on a talk about how to make coffee in a large percolator, which is, in all essence, what a coffee urn is.

How To Brew Coffee In A Coffee Urn — How To Make Coffee In A Large Percolator

Let’s get right to it and get you making and brewing a pot of coffee that tastes great and delights your crowd, event or party that you are brewing for.

Note that each coffee urn is slightly different, but most will follow the same or a very similar format.

Please do take the time and effort to read the instructions carefully for your device.

Firstly, open and remove the lid of your urn and locate the coffee grounds basket and the central pole where water comes out at the top (when switched on and in use). You will need to twist the central pole to remove it. No special tool will be needed; twisting by hand should be enough.

Along the inside of your urn, you will see numbers increasing from the bottom to the top indicating the fill level for how much cold water you need to use, to brew the given number of coffee cups indicated by the fill level indicator.

How To Brew Coffee In A Coffee Urn — How To Make Coffee In A Large Percolator
Serve Up Great Coffee.

Read: How does a coffee urn work

Use The Best Possible Water Available

Fill your coffee urn with good clean water, the best you can use. Replace the central pole back and screw it in firmly by hand, ensuring a tight fit. Put the coffee basket / filter basket back in its place.

Pro Tip: To brew fabulous coffee, ensure your water is of top quality and use filtered, spring or mineral water. Bottled water is better than tap water.

Optional: Put a paper coffee filter into the filter basket of your urn. This is optional as your grind size will ensure that no coffee grounds will fall into the coffee solution. By not using a coffee filter in your brewing basket, you will not lose any of the coffee oils and compounds that will make your coffee taste great.

This is an unfortunate fact of filter brewing, regardless of which method.

Carefully measure how much coffee that you need and put it into the coffee basket. Do not use any “rough guides”, “rules of thumb” or guess how much coffee to use.

Weight it! What you measure you can control.

You will need a 1:12 coffee to water ratio. For an 8 ounce (240ml, 240 grams of water) you will need 240 / 12 x the number of cups of coffee you are making. This works out at 20 grams of coffee per 8 ounce cups.

If you are serving 6 ounce cups of coffee, this 6 ounces (180ml, 180 grams) x the number of cups or 15 grams of coffee per cup.

Thus, 30 x 6 ounce cup coffee urn = 30 x 15 grams of coffee = 450 grams.

How To Make Coffee In A Large Percolator
Use The Best Possible Water

Read: How much is a gram scale?

Which Ground Size Should You Use?

The best ground size to be used due to standard brewing time and the entire brewing process a coarse ground is what is required. Look at a size that is about the size of a sea salt grain.

Pro Tip 2: For fab results and the best possible coffee, use coffee grounds that you have freshly ground immediately before making your brew. The fresher your grounds, the better and fresher your brew is.

The next step is to replace the lid on your coffee urn and close it. How long you should brew your coffee for should not be left to guess work. Approximately a calculation is 40 seconds to 50 seconds for each cup that you are brewing.

This means that a 30 cup coffee urn should take approximately 20 minutes to brew. Still, no guessing!

TAFO! Taste And Find Out!

Once your brew is ready, remove the coffee basket to prevent over brewing and bitter tasting coffee.

Best Way To Make Coffee In A Coffee Urn
Great Beans Make Great Coffee

Types of Coffee Urns

There are a number of different types of Coffee Urns available, measured by their capacity. The measurement is in cup sizes with each cup size being 6 ounces.

It is important to know how to avoid a shortfall in your brew. The average coffee cup size these days is 8 ounces. Personally, I count the cup size as half of what is stated to account for people having two cups.

For example, a 30 cup coffee urn, I assume, will serve 15 cups. It is better to have too much than too few and end up with the embarrassment of running out of coffee.  I’ll calculate 30 attendees each having 1.5 cups each.

I’ll need a 30 x 2 x 1.5 = 90 cup coffee urn to serve amply a crowd of 30 people in a standard 8 ounce cup size.

How Much Coffee Do You Put In A Big Urn?

How much coffee you use in your urn will fully depend on how many cups of coffee you are planning to make. You should not do any guess work here and measure.

If you do not get this bit right, you will either end up with a weak and watery brew or an over brewed bitter strong coffee.

1:12 coffee to water ratio. This ratio works out as:

  • 15 x 8 ounce cups: 225 grams.
  • 30 x 8 ounce cups: 450 grams.
  • 45 x 8 ounce cups: 675 grams.
  • 60 x 8 ounce cups: 900 grams.
  • 75 x 8 ounce cups: 1.125 kg.
  • 90 x 8 ounce cups: 1.35 kg.

Do You Need A Filter For A Coffee Urn?


a filter is not required for a coffee urn, although you can if you so wish to. By not using one, you get a fuller and better tasting coffee. The metal coffee basket acts as a filter to prevent the grounds from entering your brew.

How Long Do You Perk Coffee For?

How long your percolate, which is essentially how a coffee urn works, varies depending on how much coffee you are brewing. Taste your brew while brewing and find out if it is ready.

Approximately your brew time will be 20 min per 30 cups that you are brewing. Again, taste it frequently to get your coffee spot on and then remove the coffee basket once it is ready.

How Long Do Coffee Urns Stay Hot?

A coffee urn can keep your coffee hot for a few hours and maintain a reasonable heat. Some manufacturers claim their urns can keep the coffee warm for up to 12 hours.


some urns have a thermostat that will automatically turn on and off and thus, for as long as you have it plugged in, your coffee can be kept hot indefinitely.

How Hot Is A Coffee Urn?

A coffee urn has the capacity to heat and almost boil water. They can reach up to 200F (93C) which is a perfect brewing temperature for brewing coffee as it is not too hot nor too cold.

Frequently Asked Questions About Best Way To Make Coffee In A Coffee Urn

How Much Coffee Do You Put In A 60 Cup Urn?

Assuming the cup size is 8 ounces (240 ml), and you are using a 1:12 coffee to water ratio, you will need to use 1.2 kg, (40 ounces) of coffee.

If your urn uses a 6 ounce (180 ml) cup size, and you are using a standard 1:12 coffee to water ratio, you will need to use 30 ounces (900 grams) of coffee.

The cup size of each brand may vary; check your owners manual for details.

How Long Does Coffee Last In Coffee Urn?

Your coffee will stay fresh for only approximately half an hour after you brew it. If you store it in an airtight thermos, it will stay fresh for longer. This is because your coffee will continue the oxidization after brewing.

How much coffee you put in an urn will depend on the size of your coffee urn. A very general rule of thumb is to use 1/3 of a cup of ground coffee to brew 5 cups of coffee.


I strongly advise that you measure your coffee grounds more accurately by sticking to the coffee to water ratio of 1:12 for a much better cup of coffee.

The best coffee to water ratio for percolator coffee, which is essentially what a coffee urn is. To make the best coffee, the best ratio for the brewing method is 1 part coffee and 12 parts water expressed as 1:12

The perfect brewing temperature for brewing coffee is 92C to 96c (195F to 205F). When you brew coffee outside of the range you start to get coffee that does not taste right.

Below 92C (195F) your coffee will start to become under extracted and taste sour. Above 96C (205F) your coffee will start to taste over-extracted and too bitter.

If you want to brew the perfect coffee, stick to this temperature range.

How Much Water Do You Put In A Coffee Urn?

The best coffee to water ratio for a coffee urn is 1:12; that’s 1 part coffee and 12 parts water, which means you must use the following amounts of water for the amount of coffee made:

  • Making 10 cups of coffee, use 10 cups of water and 0.83 cups of coffee grounds (3.33 Oz).
  • Making 15 cups of coffee, use 15 cups of water and 1.25 cups of ground coffee (5 Oz).
  • Making 20 cups of coffee, use 20 cups of water and 1.66 cups of ground coffee (6.66 Oz).
  • 25 cups of coffee use, 25 cups of water and 2.075 cups of ground coffee (8.3 Oz of coffee).

Do Coffee Urns Need Filters?

No, it is not necessary for you to use a paper or cloth filter with your coffee urn. The use of a filter in your coffee urn is optional.

How Can You Tell If The Coffee In The Coffee Urn Is Ready?

Your coffee urn should have a light that indicates when brewing has finished. It will switch to a low heat mode to maintain your coffee hot.

Frappé-ing It All Up — Best Way To Make Coffee In A Coffee Urn

Without a doubt, the best way to make coffee in a coffee urn is to use the best water possible, a coarse grind size, freshly grind your own beans and use the best possible beans. Also, do not use a paper filter and let the coffee oils mix in, and you will get much better coffee in terms of taste and quality.

Have you used a coffee urn?

If you have your own super special and “secret” techniques for making great coffee with it join our online coffee community on Facebook/Meta and share them with us all!

We’d love to hear from you.

Derek Marshall, a certified barista by the Specialty Coffee Association possesses over two decades of experience in specialty coffee shops. He holds professional certifications for coffee brewing and barista skills. Derek is also an author with authoritative books covering various coffee topics including specialty coffee, sustainability and coffee, coffee brewing, coffee recipes, coffee cocktails and books focusing on Brazilian coffee, Vietnamese coffee, Indonesian coffee and Malaysian coffee. As a barista for over two decades, Derek Marshall has worked in specialty coffee shops across the United Kingdom, Spain, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. His expertise extends to the distinct coffee cultures, specialty beverages, and brewing techniques of each nation. Functioning as a coffee consultant, Derek charges US$50 per hour. To learn more about Derek Marshall and Latte Love Brew, visit his About Me Page. For coffee inquiries, contact him at +34-639-410-375 or, mentioning your name and location

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