Coffee Dispenser Buying Guide

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When serving coffee at a catering event, the last thing you want is for the coffee to get cold upon arrival. While brewing coffee on site is the best way to prevent this situation, some venues don’t have a kitchen, forcing you to make coffee beforehand. In cases such as this, portable coffee dispensers like coffee airpots and coffee take out boxes are the best way to keep your beverages warm and ready to serve. To help you decide between these coffee containers, we have put together a guide detailing information about each one.

Coffee Airpots

There are a lot of advantages to using coffee airpots. For instance, coffee airpots have built-in handles that make them easy to carry. Another benefit is that they take up less space than coffee makers because they don’t need a warmer. Plus, they keep coffee warm without the use of electricity. Coffee airpots are commonly used in offices and events, but not many people know how they function. Here are the answers to common questions asked about coffee airpots.

How Does An Airpot Work?

Airpots have two walls to insulate drinks and keep them warm. To fill airpots with coffee, remove the lid and pour in drinks until full and reseal before use. You can serve drinks by placing a cup underneath a spigot and using the button or lever to dispense your drink. Airpots are differentiated by their type of inner wall and dispensing mechanism.


The outer wall of an airpot is typically made from stainless steel or plastic. A stainless steel outer wall is more durable, but a plastic outer wall is cheaper. The inner wall or liner is constructed from stainless steel or glass. The most common liner is glass which is fragile but keeps your beverages warmer than a stainless steel inner wall. A stainless steel liner does not insulate as well as a glass liner, but it is more durable. It's essential to heat a glass liner with warm water before pouring in hot beverages to prevent the glass from breaking due to the temperature change.

Dispensing Mechanisms

Airpots have either a push button or lever mechanism to pump out coffee while reducing the risk of spilling. Both styles of airpot coffee dispensers have the same function, and choosing between the two is only a question of which you prefer.

How Long Do Airpots Keep Coffee Hot?

Depending on the material, airpots can keep beverages warm for about three to four hours. High-quality airpots with vacuum isolated dispensers can last up to seven hours. The hotter your beverage is when you pour it into the airpot, the longer it will stay warm.

How Much Coffee Does An Airpot Hold?

Coffee airpots are designed to hold liters of liquid to serve a group of people. Busy establishments or big events will benefit from large airpots while smaller airpots are better suited for small gatherings or businesses with coffee stations. We offer 2-liter airpots and 3-liter airpots, making them perfect for parties or offices. Take a look at the following list to find out how many cups different-sized airpots can contain:

Conversions From Liters To Cups

  • 1.9 liters equals 8 cups
  • 2 liters equals 8.5 cups
  • 2.2 liters equals 9.3 cups
  • 2.5 liters equals 10.6 cups
  • 3 liters equals 12.7 cups
  • 3.5 liters equals 14.8 cups
  • 3.75 liters equals 15.9 cups
  • 4 liters equals 12.7 cups

How To Clean A Coffee Airpot

Airpots should be hand washed but not cleaned with cleaning products that contain harsh ingredients such as chlorine to prevent damages. Follow these steps to properly clean your airpot and maintain its quality:

  1. Remove the lid and flow pipe.
  2. Scrub the inside of the flow pipe with a small scrub and soak the flow pipe in hot water.
  3. Empty out leftover fluids from the airpot.
  4. Fill the airpot with hot water and mix in a mild soap or an airpot cleaning solution.
  5. Dip a brush in the water and scrub the inside of the airpot.
  6. Clean the outside of the airpot with a sponge.
  7. Place the lid and flow pipe back on the airpot and pump out some of the water mix.
  8. Remove the lid and flow pipe and empty the water mix.
  9. Rinse the decanter, lid, and flow pipe with warm water.
  10. Leave all the parts to dry and re-assemble.

How Often Should You Clean An Airpot?

You should empty the airpot and rinse with soap and water after every use. Even if you’re only serving coffee in the airpot, the coffee oils mixed with water create a solid substance that is difficult to scrub off and may alter the taste of your coffee. Give your airpot a deep clean with an airpot cleaning solution or vinegar at least once a week.

Disposable Coffee Dispensers

Consider purchasing a disposable coffee dispenser if you want to serve coffee at your event but don’t look forward to the cleanup. The body of a disposable coffee container is made out of cardboard and contains a plastic pouch inside to store beverages. Most single-use coffee boxes feature capped openings to securely seal in beverages and prevent spills or spouts for easily serving drinks. If you want to learn more about the benefits of disposable coffee dispensers, check out the video below:

What Is A To Go Coffee Container Called?

Disposable coffee containers are most commonly known as coffee take out boxes. Other names used when referring to this type of container are:

  • On-the-go carafe
  • Coffee to go box
  • Coffee traveler

How Long Do To Go Coffee Containers Keep Coffee Hot?

Since single-use coffee containers are constructed from disposable materials, they do not keep coffee hot as long as airpots. Despite this, carry out coffee boxes do manage to keep beverages warm for one to two hours. Drinks inside containers will stay hot for longer if they are not placed in a chilly environment such as right underneath the air conditioning vent or an outdoor venue during winter.

How Many Ounces Are In A Box Of Coffee?

The ounces a box of coffee can contain depends on the size of the pouch. There are different-sized pouches available and each size is ideal for serving a certain number of guests. Take a look at the list below to see how many cups different-sized coffee take out boxes can contain:

Conversions From Ounces To Cups

  • 96 ounces / 0.75 gallon equals 12 cups
  • 128 ounces / 1 gallon equals 16 cups
  • 160 ounces / 1.25 gallons equals 20 cups
  • 384 ounces / 3 gallons equals 48 cups

How Do You Fill A Coffee Box?

Coffee boxes come with an interior pouch to hold beverages. However, not all coffee boxes are designed the same. Most containers have an opening or spout on the side of the container, which requires you to stand the box with the opening facing up to pour drinks inside the pouch. Some coffee boxes already have a vertical design in which the opening is at the top, meaning the box won’t have to be turned upward to pour drinks inside. Be sure to hold the box with one hand as it might shake when being filled with liquid.

Which Coffee Dispenser Is Right For You?

One of the big deciding factors for picking between a coffee airpot and a coffee to go box is cleanup. A coffee airpot is durable and will keep your coffee warm for hours but does have a thorough cleaning process. On the other hand, a coffee to go box can be thrown away after but only keeps your coffee warm for one to two hours. While each coffee dispenser is excellent for serving coffee to numerous customers, choose the dispenser that best fits your needs.

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