What is a coffee urn

Brewing coffee is something that dates back to the mid-15th century. There have been many inventions throughout time in relation to brewing coffee. The filter method for making coffee is more than 125 years old and still is one of the most popular methods today. At the inception of coffee’s importance in Britain, beautifully designed silver was used to serve coffee, rather than the machines we are accustomed to today.


Coffee Urn History


The name ‘urn’ comes from the Middle English and Latin words to describe its shape rather than its use. The percolator came in around 1818, followed eventually by the Napier vacuum coffee machine in 1840, and then the first drip coffee maker in 1908. In contemporary society, practicality is largely revered above beauty with regards to coffee.


The Coffee Urn


In the seventeenth century, the traditional spout of a coffee pot changed and the coffee urn was invented. This change was a fixed tap to the main body of the urn which made pouring much easier; some even had multiple taps. They were made from silver, brass, pewter, lacquered tin, and also porcelain. The shape of the coffee urn started out as resembling a pear shape originally, by the eighteen century, this changed to a vase shape which was set by the court of Louis XIV.


Coffee urns are usually large, made from metal, and are generally used for making large quantities of coffee, suitable for serving multiple households. They are designed to keep liquids warm for long periods of time; this can differ depending on the design, however. Some are electric, some heated with propane oil, and others from other internal fuel sources. Some require filters where others do not. Typically servicing between 10-20 people, there are even coffee containers which serve up to 100 people, these are known as samovars. They are valued in large part due to their capacity and ease of use. They act as an all-in-one appliance due to them being both a brewer and a dispenser, making them efficient and cost effective. They are ideal for meetings, banquets, entertainment and hosting industries.


Dirk Westrik Coffee Urn

Dirk Westrik Coffee Urn

Image Courtesy of Rijksmuseum


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Written by

Louise Snowdon

Louise joined AC Silver as a website content editor with a passion for the world of antiquities and jewellery. Louise also assists the marketing team by representing the business on many social media outlets.

Louise is also responsible for assisting the business growth online by effectively using industry specific marketplaces to promote AC Silver's luxury goods.