Caffeinating the Masses: How to Make Coffee for Large Groups

If you are looking to make coffee for a large group of people, a commercial-grade coffee maker that can brew and hold over a hundred cups at a time is your best bet. It will keep the coffee hot and ready to serve, no matter how many people you need to accommodate. 

If you are planning to make a large volume of coffee for any size group whether it’s a few people, a gathering of family, or an entire wedding party, you need to know how much coffee you should make, when to brew, and how to keep it hot (or cold!). 

In this article, we will review some handy tips and tricks for making coffee for different-sized groups of people. We will cover the coffee-making devices that work best, what kinds of coffee are most appropriate, and how to handle additions like milk and sugar. 

How Do I Make Coffee for a Large Group of People?

If you need to plan a wedding or a large family reunion with over twenty people in attendance, it is worth investing in a large commercial coffee maker. Drip coffee is the way to go for large groups. Taking special orders for each individual is untenable – you might as well hire a barista. 

With the large coffee makers, you can brew and hold at least a hundred cups of coffee at once. The insulated machines will keep the coffee hot in addition to the electric warmers. You can easily set up a few sides by side if you need options like regular and decaf or if you want to offer different flavors such as hazelnut or French vanilla.

To help you understand better what type of coffee maker I’m talking about, here’s a great option that you can start with:

Zulay Premium Commercial Coffee Urn

Plan In Advance

Since you’re brewing up such a large amount of coffee, you will need to plan in advance. Give the coffee at least an hour to make a hundred cups of coffee. To optimize your coffee flavor and avoid it tasting burnt, use fresh coarsely ground coffee. Your guests will thank you! 

Another advantage to the large coffee urns is the measuring gauge which lets you know how low your coffee is getting. If your urn gets down to a quarter of the tank, you may want to start brewing another batch so that the partygoers don’t start to get drowsy.

What About Milk and Sugar?

In terms of serving milk and sugar for such a large group, purchasing individual serving size milk cups and sugar packets will be far easier to maintain than putting out a pitcher of milk and a jar of sugar.

You can purchase a few bottles of milk, but it really hard to calculate how many of these you will actually need because each person prefers a different amount of milk in their coffee.

Regarding the people that do not drink regular milk, and prefer other types of milk, it’s always a great idea to purchase a few bottles of vegan milk, like almond milk or coconut milk.

The guests will appreciate the variety.

What’s the Best Way to Make Coffee for a Medium-Sized Group?

First, let’s define what is a medium-sized group.

Perhaps you’re throwing a dinner party or hosting Thanksgiving this year and can expect at least ten to twenty people. There are a few great options for brewing enough coffee to keep everyone happy. A large coffee pot can make eight to twelve cups at a time and can brew coffee fast enough to appease your guests – about ten minutes.

An excellent choice for this group of people will be the Hamilton Beach 2-Way Brewer Coffee Maker – check out the latest price on Amazon by clicking here or the picture below.

An alternative to the electric coffee pot is the classy French press. There are French presses large enough to make twelve cups of coffee at a time. The brewing time for a French press is even less than four minutes. With a smaller amount of people, you can splurge on a higher quality coffee that will impress even the pickiest coffee drinker.

This also is the cheaper option, and there are a lot of great companies that you can choose from, I will list 2 of my favorite options above.

The first one – BAYKA French Press Coffee Maker

And the second option – Homeleader French Press Coffee Maker

Both of these will be excellent because they are super easy to use, they are made of glass and you can always track the amount of coffee that is left in the pot.

Setting up the milk and sugar station should be a breeze as well. Select a medium to the large pitcher to hold the milk and consider keeping it in an ice bath if you’re going to leave it on the table. If not, make sure to refrigerate once everyone has fixed their coffee. 

You can also set out a medium-sized bowl of sugar with a spoon for everyone to dish out their desired amount of sweetener.

How Do I Make Coffee for a Small Group of People?

For more intimate affairs of less than ten people say for your monthly book club or inviting your next-door neighbors over for dinner, you have many options for coffee brewing. Like the medium-sized group, you can use an electric coffee pot or a French press to fulfill your coffee needs. You may even be able to get away with smaller versions,

The options offered in the Medium-sized section will be a great fit for a small group too.

Alternatively, if your group consists of only a handful of coffee drinkers, individual serving coffee makers like a Keurig or Nespresso machine might be the way to go. That way you can offer a wider selection and you will be less likely to waste coffee. Individual coffee machines only take a few minutes to brew a cup.

With milk and sugar, you can put out a pitcher and bowl as with the medium-sized group, again making sure to keep the milk cold so that it doesn’t spoil.

Final Thoughts

Planning an event, small or big, is never an easy task. In this article, I covered the most important aspects that you need to know about making coffee for a large group of people.

Before I will let you go and start working on your coffee, I’ll add another small and final tip – you always can use your espresso machine, buy a bunch of different coffee capsules, and leave it on a small table.

And then you pass the coffee-making process responsibility to the guests! They will go to this table by themselves, and choose the capsule of their choice!

This option is the easiest one, but not the cheapest, and also probably will not work great for large groups.

I hope this article was helpful for you, and don’t forget to pour a cup for yourself!