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Spec Check: Coffee Brewers

Coffee brewers are offered in different sizes and types for a wide range of applications. When specifying these units, a number of factors come into play.

Volume Requirements

One of the most important considerations in choosing a coffee brewer is how much volume will be needed. Pour-over and automatic models can brew about 50 to 80 cups per hour, while large brewing systems can produce up to 12 gallons of coffee. Banquet halls are best-served by urn systems with auto pumps, which provides 180 gallons of coffee at a time.

Serving Conditions

When choosing a unit, the coffee serving logistics need to be ironed out. Decanters are the traditional method, but airpots, which hold 72 ounces, and thermal servers, which accommodate 1½ gallons, also can be used. While decanters work for shorter holding periods, from one to two hours, thermal servers keep coffee hot for up to two hours.

Electrical Needs

One of the most common mistakes operators make is not considering the electrical requirements when choosing a coffee brewer. If volume is high, greater electrical capability will be necessary to heat water quickly. Generally, brewers require 208 or 240 volts for this task.

Water Pressure

Another factor operators don't consider is the amount of water pressure needed for machines that are plumbed in. Often, water flow is measured from a static condition, but to properly read the pressure, the flow rate should be looked at during the dynamic phase, or when water is running through the machine. If water capacity is inadequate, the feed line may need readjusting or the brewer may need to be moved to an area with greater water capacity.