In our last post we talked about moving up from a small 12 cup decanter style coffee brewer when you need higher volume brewing. We started looking at the major types of brewers to consider:
- Airpot Coffee Brewers
- Thermal Server Coffee Brewers
- Satellite Coffee Brewers
- Urn Coffee Brewers
In the last post we discussed airpot coffee brewers. Now we’ll move on to the airpot big brother, the thermal server coffee brewer.
Thermal Server Coffee Brewers
Like airpots, thermal servers are vacuum insulated containers that are portable and keep coffee hot for hours without the need for electricity. Thermal servers are sometimes called gravity dispensers as they sit on a stand that allows you to put a cup under the dispensing spout. Coffee is dispensed by pulling on a handle to let the coffee flow by gravity into the cup rather than pumping the coffee into the cup like an airpot. Zojirushi makes some small 2.5 liter thermal servers but most thermal servers hold 1 – 3 gallons of coffee like the Curtis ThermoPro 1.5 gallon thermal server. The 1.5 gallon thermal server is the most popular size and is a workhorse of the coffee industry as it is a good balance between the amount of coffee it holds vs. the portability – its not overly heavy when full. Like airpots, you can brew many thermal servers full of coffee ahead of time to meet peak demand without the need to buy more or larger brewers. Large thermal servers are a real timesaver when brewing lots of coffee as you don’t need to baby sit the brewer as much.
You can get 1.5 gallon thermal server brewers that plug into a standard 120 volt power outlet, like the Curtis ThermoPro Single 1.5 Gallon dual voltage thermal server coffee brewer, but you will be limited to brewing about 5 gallons/hour. The nice thing about this Curtis brewer is that it is dual voltage. You can start out using
a standard 120 volt outlet but as your volume increases it can be switched over to 240 volts more than doubling the amount of coffee it can brew per hour. This Curtis brewer and other 240 volt 1.5 gallon thermal server brewers, like the Fetco CBS-2151XTS 1.5 gallon thermal server coffee brewer, will get you 10 – 11 gallons/hours for a single head brewer or 20 – 26 gallons/hour for a twin or 30 –
40 if you have 3 phase power. 2 and 3 gallon thermal server brewers go even higher.
Thermal servers are convenient as you just put a cup underneath pull the handle and the cup fills. They have level indicators, either the time-tested sight glass or the new digital style like on the Fetco L3D-15 1.5 gallon thermal dispenser. Some don’t like the fact that coffee cools off over time in thermal servers but they do keep coffee hot for hours – longer than recommended for best flavor. Thermal server coffee brewers are one of the most popular high volume coffee brewer types due to their great package of convenience, portability and brewing capacity.