The coffee segment has evolved substantially in the last couple decades, with specialty coffee becoming a staple as well as a number of creative beverages emerging, such as nitro and cold brews.
Coffee brewers remain a staple in foodservice. These systems heat water to between 195 degrees F and 202 degrees F. The hot water also can be used to steep tea. Brewers also have water faucets to supply hot water for different applications, such as producing oatmeal, soup and hot chocolate.
The capacity a foodservice operation requires depends on how many cups of coffee it serves during peak periods.
The three types of coffee brewers operators most commonly use are pour-over, automatic and satellite, which produce American-style coffee by dripping hot water over coffee grounds.
Pour-overs are most often used in home and light commercial applications. These units require water reservoirs to be filled manually. The units dispense the coffee into glass decanters, insulated servers or airpots.
Coffee urns typically come in 1.5-, 3- and 5-gallon sizes and generally feature stainless-steel construction. The shape depends on the type of urn. Variations include electric, soft heat and gel-fuel-driven. Foam-insulated and vacuum-insulated urns keep coffee warm for one to six hours with no hookups required.
Connected to a water line, urn brewers typically produce 1.5 - to 10 -gallon batches in holding liners. Urns with auto pumps, which produce up to 1.5 gallons of coffee, are suitable for high-volume applications, such as large banquet or meeting facilities.
Urns are available that allow for various batch sizes with better holding temperatures and brew techniques to match up with typical cafe-quality coffee profiles.
Shuttle brewers are like urns but use applied heat. These units can brew up to 1.5 gallons of coffee and dispense it into heated shuttles for use in most retail applications where turnover is usually within a 30-minute time from brew to depletion.
Thermal server brewers have a 400-cup capacity, and thermal servers hold up to 1.5 gallons of coffee. These units are suitable for operations that regularly move large amounts of coffee to satellite holding stations and may serve multiple varieties or even flavored coffees. These systems also can hold the coffee for a reasonable period with no applied heat, thus improving flavor profiles.
Depending on the model, coffee brewer options may include intuitive color display panels that guide users through drink selection and preparation; a choice of
programmed specialty coffee beverages, such as latte macchiato; integrated ceramic grinders; specialized frothing systems; and integrated rinsing, cleaning and descaling programs that reduce maintenance.