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Jul 11, 2008 01:51 PM

Coffee in a 100 cup coffee maker - Advice?

I am planning for a party this weekend, and I'm renting a 100 cup coffee maker for the first time. I am assuming it will come with some instructions, but I thought I'd ask some advice here too.

How much coffee should I use?

Is it worth investing in some nicer beans (I live in SF, CA, so there are lots of great beans I can buy - but if the taste will be about the same, going cheaper would be good too). Also, how should I have the coffee ground?

How long does it take to brew all the coffee?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.....or even a link to a site that gives some good instructions.

Thanks very much,

Dave MP

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  1. We used to make coffee at church in 100 cup pot. You use the same ratio as a 12 cup pot. I cup of water to a heaping teaspoon of coffee. The pot will have water lines inside to show where to fill. We counted out spoons of coffee into a soup ladle and then measured by the ladle. Saves counting a hundred spoonfuls. The coffee will probably taste like metal, because of the pot. Good coffee will help, but usually it is not great tasting. I seem to remember it would take about 45 minutes to an hour to perk.

    1. Regarding the ground coffee measurement: 1 pound will give you a weak cup; I’d recommend using at least 1-1/2 pounds, preferably 2 for a nice strong cup. 2-1/2 pounds is the upper limit for extra-strong coffee. Most brew-baskets won’t accommodate that much without overflowing during the brew cycle, anyway.

      Find a reliable coffee purveyor and advise them of what you have in mind. Be prepared to tell them whether it’s a drip brewer or percolator, so they can grind the coffee properly for you. You might try a simple Latin-American blend. It needn’t be anything terribly exotic. I’d steer clear of excessively dark roasts.

      Make sure the brewer is clean and RINSED as thoroughly as possible. Also ensure that the machine is fully warmed up before starting to brew – this can take a while. Assuming it’s a drip urn; find out whether it has a bypass feature. This is a small spigot that sends a portion of the brew-water directly into the urn, bypassing the coffee grounds in the brew basket. You can bypass up to half of the brew-water for a batch of this size. Bypassing some of the water will help reduce harsh and bitter flavors caused by overextraction. (Too fine a grind will also contribute to overextraction.) Be prepared to stir the coffee grounds in the (drip) brew basket a little, while the water is spraying over them, to make sure they are completely wetted through and do not bubble up and foam over. A wooden spoon or spatula can easily accomplish this, but be careful not to poke a hole in the filter.

      Brew the coffee as close to serving time as possible and enjoy it while it’s fresh. It won’t keep well in a heated vessel. Transfer some if it to (preheated) insulated serving carafes if you’d like to hold it for a while.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Luwak

        Thanks so much for the info - super helpful. I felt like I was reading a coffee maker manual - except more well-written!

        The bean advice sounds perfect - I'll get two pounds of a simple Latin American blend, not too dark.

        The biggest concern I have is that I'm going to be pressed for time. If I can't plug anything in until 1 PM, how fast will it be done?

        I think I'll probably do a test run before the real event so I can try it out. I'll report back!

        Thanks again

        Dave MP

      2. Having volunteered at way too many church suppers in my youth, here is the other key. Remove the basket once the light comes on that indicates the perking is done. These machines tend to keep the coffee very hot and caused condensation inside. When the steam cools and drips off the lid it will make the coffee progressively stronger (and more bitter) if it passes the grounds again.

        You may also need to add hot water if it sits for too long.

        If you have time to run a weak vinegar and water solution through and then rinse it might remove some of the residue from the hundreds of previous uses.

        1 Reply
        1. re: pengcast

          Thanks everyone for the advice.....I made a test round of 15 cups last night. The coffee maker is pretty clean, so that wasn't an issue I don't think, though it certainly wasn't the best tasting coffee ever.

          I used 1 cup of ground coffee per 10 cups of water....this was a bit weak, so for the main event we're gonna use a bit more - about 14 cups of coffee for 100 cups of water. 14 cups = 2 lbs of coffee.

          I will definitely remove the basket - I read this online too, makes sense.

          Thanks again everyone,

          Dave MP