How to Keep Coffee Warm for a Party

Coffee is a crowd-pleaser in the morning, but it is also sometimes served at parties. Regardless of the time of day, most people enjoy drinking hot coffee rather than cold coffee. When serving coffee during a party, how can you keep it warm?

Espresso coffee drink with chocolate, marshmallows, and anise on dark wooden table.

Keep coffee warm during a party by putting it in a crockpot, thermal carafe, coffee urn, thermal kettle, or a large thermos. One can also place coffee joulies or an immersion heater in the container holding the coffee. Warm up the thermal carafe, coffee joulies, and thermal kettle beforehand.

Now that you know what you can use various items to keep coffee warm during a party, learn what to pair with coffee as well as how long each device will keep the drink warm. Keep reading to find out!

How to Keep Coffee Warm for a Party

So you want to serve coffee at your party, but don’t know how to keep hot coffee warm for its duration. Luckily for you, there are many devices that you can use to keep coffee warm during a party.

Rows of coffee cups for a party
Rows of coffee cups for a party

What to Use to Keep Coffee Warm During Party:

  • Crockpot
  • Coffee Urn
  • Large Thermos
  • Coffee Carafe (Thermal)
  • Coffee Joulies
  • Steel/Thermal Coffee Pot
  • Thermal Kettle
  • Immersion Heater

Crockpot

You can keep coffee warm during a party in a crockpot. All you need to do is brew the coffee in a separate container, pour the coffee into the crockpot, then set it to warm. Coffee should stay hot and fresh in the crockpot for at least two to three hours.

It is possible to brew coffee in a crockpot, but not everyone enjoys the coffee that results in the process, and it takes some trial and error to perfect.

Crockpots can hold large amounts of coffee; however, how much you should put in it depends on the size of the pot as well as how full you want it to be. A full crockpot is much heavier and more difficult to carry than a partially empty one. If possible, brew the coffee at the location of the party rather than brewing it beforehand at your home. This will make it easier to keep warm and reduce the possibility of spilled coffee on the way to the party.

Coffee Urn

Use a coffee urn to keep coffee warm during a party that you are hosting. Coffee urns are large insulated containers that have a spout on the front so drinks can easily be served directly into cups. Some are electric and will keep the coffee warm for an extended amount of time, but you can decide what kind of coffee urn you get. They come in a variety of sizes, so you can choose the one that suits the size of your party.

Caterers often use coffee urns to keep liquids warm during events. If you don’t want to purchase a coffee urn, you can rent one, although the price will vary depending on the company’s rates and the size of the coffee urn.

Large Thermos

Keep coffee warm in a large thermos during a party. This method works best for smaller parties, but you can get multiple large thermoses and fill them with coffee if you will have more guests at the party.

Thermoses are easy to transport, and many of them have a spout on the lid so the coffee can quickly and easily be served to guests. If you use a thermos to keep coffee warm for a party, you will have to brew the coffee in a different container, then pour the coffee into the thermos since most coffee machines can’t fit a large thermos underneath the brewing spout.

Thermal Coffee Carafe

Use a thermal coffee carafe to keep coffee warm during a party. They fit in coffee machines, and many come with them so you don’t have to purchase one separately. Thermal coffee carafes typically only hold 10-12 cups of coffee, so you may have to keep an eye on the amount of coffee left in the pot, but they are easy to transport and can keep your coffee warm for up to 2 hours.

Before you brew the coffee into the thermal carafe, run hot water on the interior and exterior of the thermal carafe. This will warm up the metal and keep the coffee warm for longer. Thermal coffee carafes are also called thermal coffee pots, although some thermal carafes are taller and look slightly different.

Thermal Kettle

You can use a thermal kettle to keep coffee warm during a party. Warm up the kettle with hot water before pouring the coffee into the container. It will be hard to determine how much coffee is left in the kettle. Keeping the pots full becomes more difficult since they are somewhat small. If you are hosting a party with lots of people in attendance, use several. However, these are best for keeping coffee warm at smaller gatherings.

Coffee Joulies

Coffee joulies are small pieces of metal shaped like coffee beans. Coffee joules absorb excess heat in the coffee, slowly releasing it over time to keep it warm. They cost between $9 and $15.

Some people have found that coffee joulies don’t keep coffee warm because they actually absorb the drink’s heat; however, this can easily be remedied. Before putting the joulies in the container with the coffee, put them in hot water for 15 to 20 minutes. This will warm up the metal of the joulies so they are the same temperature as the coffee. If they are already warm, they will keep the coffee warmer for longer.

Immersion Heater

You can use an immersion heater to keep coffee warm during a party. You may need multiple immersion heaters depending on the size of the container the coffee is in, but one should be enough.

Immersion heaters go directly into liquid and heat it over time. You will have to make sure that the metal needle is in the liquid rather than the cord. Keep the cord out of the liquid by wrapping it around the handle.

While there are plenty of ways to keep coffee warm, some heat devices should never be used with coffee. Don’t use the following items to keep coffee warm during a party:

  • Portable stovetop burner
  • Fondue pot
  • Microwave

The constant heat will likely cause the coffee to burn, even if you stir it periodically, and no one likes coffee reheated in the microwave. Burnt coffee is more bitter than a normal cup. No amount of sugar, milk, creamer, or syrup will mask the flavor of burnt coffee.

Most coffee machines have heaters under the coffee pot to keep coffee warm for up to 2 hours, and if you are hosting a small party you can just use that heater and not worry about using another device or vessel.

How to Brew Large Amounts of Coffee

Group Of Friends Having Coffee at a Dinner Party
Group Of Friends Having Coffee at a Dinner Party

If you don’t want to spend half of the party brewing coffee, you need to brew a large amount of coffee before the party starts. You may just need to brew multiple pots of coffee and keep an eye on how much has been consumed; however, you can make a large amount of coffee in a crockpot. You might consider testing this method beforehand to see if it creates the taste you desire. This method is not suggested for making iced coffee.

How to Brew a Large Amount of Coffee in a Crockpot:

  1. Bring 5 quarts of water to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Pour the desired amount of coffee grinds into the water. Use coarsely ground coffee.
  3. Let the coffee beans sit for 4 minutes.
  4. Pour the coffee into another container through a large filter. You can use a coffee filter, but any filter will work as long as it will catch all coffee grounds.
  5. Pour back into crockpot and set to warm. Taste and enjoy!

Unfortunately, it is somewhat difficult to brew coffee in a crockpot simply because you have to lift the heavy crockpot and make sure that you don’t spill any coffee while you strain out the coffee grounds. You may need another person to help you do this. Before you decide to serve the crockpot coffee at your party, do a taste test.

If you don’t want to brew a large amount of coffee in a crockpot, you can simply brew multiple pots of coffee shortly before the party according to the instructions of your coffee maker and coffee grounds.

How Much Coffee Should I Make for a Party?

During a party, people typically drink between 2-3 cups of coffee, so before you determine how much coffee you should make, get a headcount of the number of people who will be attending.

The amount of coffee that people will drink at your party will vary depending on the time of day, their sleep schedule, and their caffeine tolerance. If your party is in the morning, people will drink more coffee than if the party was held at night.

What to Serve Coffee In During a Party

During the party, you can serve coffee in mugs or paper cups, depending on how many mugs you own and are willing to use and the number of people who will be attending your party.

It is easiest to serve coffee in disposable, heat-resistant paper cups because they have lids, which will help keep the coffee warm, and you won’t have to wash them after the party.

Don’t use plastic cups to serve coffee. The plastic will melt, and people will get burned.

Other Items to Serve with Coffee During a Party

Coffee in a white cup with saucer with festive breakfast or dinner on rustic wooden table border.
Coffee in a white cup with saucer with festive breakfast or dinner on rustic wooden table border.

Most people don’t enjoy drinking black coffee, so you should serve other items alongside the coffee at your party so people can add items to their preferences. Create a coffee bar for your party where it can be seen, but people won’t be in the way while standing near it.

Items to Include in Coffee Bar for Party

  • Electric Frother
  • Milk (Multiple Types)
  • Flavored Creamer (or Unflavored)
  • Cup Sleeves
  • Flavored Syrups
  • Stirring Sticks
  • Splenda
  • Sugar

You can keep the milk and creamer cold in large tubs of ice.

Place the cup sleeves next to the paper cups, and place permanent markers next to them so if people want to they can label their cups.

If your guests are over 21 years old, you can also serve booze to go along with the coffee. Bailey’s Irish Cream and various liquors work well with coffee.

If you want to serve other drink options with the coffee, you can also serve hot chocolate and tea. You can keep them warm in similar ways to the coffee, but make sure you label each container so people don’t accidentally get the wrong drink.

You can serve a variety of food items with coffee. Some foods you might consider serving include chocolate, coffee-flavored treats, cake (especially coffee cake), donuts, waffles, tiramisu, muffins, biscotti, or cheese. The food you choose to serve with your coffee will likely be influenced by the time of day and the theme of the party.

What to Do With Excess Coffee After a Party

Happy friends talking and drinking coffee and tea sitting on a couch at home
Happy friends talking and drinking coffee and tea sitting on a couch at home

If there is leftover coffee after the party, you don’t have to throw it away. Instead, use it. You can do the following with leftover coffee:

  • Make Iced Coffee
  • Freeze in an Ice Tray
  • Use to Make Whipped Coffee
  • Add to Frosting
  • Use in Baked Goods
  • Make Ice Cream
  • Make Tiramisu
  • Add to Hot Chocolate
  • Pour in Garden

Not sure why you’d need coffee ice cubes? Use these ice cubes to make iced coffee without watering down the drink as they melt!

Although you can reheat old coffee, it usually becomes very bitter, especially if it is reheated in the microwave. Additionally, the coffee will lose most of its flavor, unless it is kept in an airtight container.

There are many different ways to keep coffee warming at parties. Before choosing a method, consider how much coffee you will be serving, what it will be served with, and where it will be served. Following these guidelines, your guests are guaranteed to enjoy warm coffee for the entire duration of the party.

Anna Silver

Anna Silver is the principal creator of CookForFolks.com, a website dedicated to new go-to original recipes. Inspired by her grandmother’s love of cooking, Anna has a passion for treating the people in her life to delicious homemade food and loves to share her family recipes with the rest of the world.

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