Furthermore, it’s really difficult to know what’s being referred to, especially when you’re not familiar with the terms–coffee urn, percolators, automatic drip coffeemakers etc.
Some people call them percolators. Others refer to percolators as coffee urns and vice versa.
But is there a way to tell the difference?
Because at the end of the day, these machines still do the same job.
They prepare and serve coffee.
So, what is the difference between a coffee urn and a percolator?
Well, according to the coffee maker guide online, a coffee urn is simply a large coffeemaker which is capable of brewing a large amount of coffee and serves it as well.
A simple coffeemaker will prepare a small amount of coffee for a few people to drink.
However, coffee urns have a spigot at the bottom of the urn, letting people to easily self-serve their coffee into their own cups.
Coffee urns are a real time saver because they can prepare and serve a large group of people, usually between 10 to 100 people. It’s ideal for camping purposes.
On the other hand, percolators look like carafes and consist of a cover knob.
Now, the cover knob is usually made of plastic or glass and is usually translucent. Manufacturers intentionally design them this way so that users can see through as the coffee perks.
So in terms of outwards appearance, urns and percolators are different but on the inside the process is for all intents and purposes the same
Percolators still exist in both electric and non-electric form. It’s also considered one of the most popular brewing methods in America.
Some years ago, percolators, especially the non-electric ones were most preferred because they could be used on top of any heating source, such as stoves and campfires.
Today, the stove-top percolators have been replaced by the electric ones.
And essentially that’s what a coffee urn is a giant electric percolator with a tap attachment
How do coffee urns and percolators work?
The principles under which they all work are all relatively the same.
As for the coffee urns, one needs to fill the machine with the required amount of water, return the metal stem and basket back into place, add ground coffee into the basket and place the lid before plugging the machine onto the socket.
When the water turns hot, it will be driven up through the stem, where it hits the inside of the lid and back to the pot.
The cycle continues until there’s no more ”chugging” of the coffee. Your drink should be ready to serve at this point.
Sound familiar? It should do.
It’s basically what electric percolators do.
Bubbles are forces continuously through the pumping system and into the top of the percolator.
The bubbling water will filter back to the bottom of the machine and distribute throughout the cover of the basket.
This process tends to extract more coffee oil and caffeine to make the end product richer and stronger.
Lastly, the brewing time for coffee urns is longer than that of percolators.
So depending on the number of people you want to serve, the period for brewing may vary slightly compared to when you use a household percolator.
Why? Simply, the amount of coffee you are percolating. The more liquid you use, the longer it takes to percolate.
This is why we promote coffeemakers called both percolators and urns here at Percolator Coffee Pot.org.