Descaling A Commercial Coffee Brewer

03/27/2017
by DC Coffee

To maintain the long life of your commercial coffee brewer you should regularly descale it to clean out lime deposits that build up in your brewer. If you have hard water its even more important as scale deposits can build up quickly. Common symptoms of a brewer that has excessive scale build up in the tank is spitting and steaming. Regular descaling of your brewer will keep it operating properly and making great coffee.

These instructions are for typical pourover, such as the Bunn VP17-3 and Curtis Café 2 brewers, or automatic with pourover backup commercial coffee brewers, such as the Bunn CWTF-3 or Newco NK-PPAF brewers.

Bunn VP17-3 Inline 3 Warmer Pourover Decanter Coffee Brewer

Bunn VP17-3 Inline 3 Warmer Pourover Decanter Coffee Brewer

Leave the machine plugged in and if automatic leave it connected to the water line. If you have hard water you should consider deliming about every 3 months. A lime scale inhibiting water filter system can reduce the need to delime your brewer.

Slide the empty brew funnel into the machine and place an empty glass carafe or airpot under the brew funnel. Open the lid of the brewer and pour one quart of vinegar into the reservoir and close the lid.

The vinegar will force the water that is already in the brewer out into the carafe. Let the vinegar sit for about 2 hours to dissolve the mineral deposits in the tank.

After two hours, unplug the brewer and remove the brew funnel. Reach underneath the top part of the machine and twist the spray head off in a clockwise direction. Insert your flexible deliming spring into the sprayhead tube as far as it will go and work it back and forth a few times to dislodge any built up lime deposits in the spray head tube. Check the holes of the sprayhead and remove any mineral deposits and white flakes with a toothpick.

Pour a full carafe / airpot of cold water into the top of the machine and close the lid (or start a brew cycle for automatic brewers). The water will then start to flush the vinegar out from within the hot water tank. Put the carafe / airpot underneath to catch the water and vinegar solution. Do this at least ten times until the vinegar smell is gone.

An alternative method to flush the vinegar and water solution out of the brewer is to turn the brewer upside down over a sink (disconnect the water line for automatic brewers first) so the water and vinegar solution comes out of the spray head tube. Leave it upside down in the sink until no more water comes out. Turn it right side up and pour cold water into the top of the machine until water just starts coming out the spray head tube. Repeat turning it upside down and refilling it at least 3 times until the vinegar smell is gone.

Reinstall the spray head by twisting it into place in a counter clockwise direction. Be sure the tank is full of water then replace the brew funnel and plug the machine back in. Allow about a half hour for the water in the tank to heat back up to brewing temperature.

An alternative to vinegar is Urnex Dezcal, a commercial descaling product designed for coffee brewers that works well for heavy lime buildups. Dezcal is a non-toxic, biodegradable and safe descaler specifically formulated to effectively descale hot water tanks and components of coffee and espresso machinery.


To Plumb or Not to Plumb

11/02/2016
by DC Coffee

When buying a commercial coffee maker one important question is do you want a pourover or an automatic brewer? Or perhaps you want to use bottled water. Lets take a look at these types of brewers and see how they might fit in your situation.

Pourover Coffee Brewers

Pourover coffee brewers don’t require connecting the brewer to a water line. They come with a pitcher to measure how much water you need to brew a pot of coffee. You fill the pitcher at a convenient sink or from bottled water and pour the water into the top of the brewer to start brewing. One advantage of this type of brewer, like the Bunn VP17-2 (1U/1L Warmer) 12 Cup Pourover Coffee Brewer with 2 Warmers, is cost. They cost less than other types of brewers and you don’t need to pay a plumber to hook it up to a water line. The biggest downside is that pourover brewers don’t have a hot water faucet for tea, soup, etc. – they just brew coffee. Also, they generally don’t give you much control over the brewing – they usually don’t have options for prewetting and pulse brewing. Of course its also less convenient to fill a pitcher and pour than just pushing a button like with an automatic brewer.

Automatic Coffee Brewers

Automatic coffee brewers are more convenient than pourover coffee brewers. Because they are plumbed to a water line they allow you to just push a button to start brewing. Most automatic brewers, like the Newco ACE-AP Automatic Airpot Coffee Brewer, also have a hot water faucet which is great for those people who want a cup of hot water for tea or for instant soup, etc. They do cost quite a bit more than a pourover brewer – around twice the cost – and they require having a plumber to provide a water line for the brewer. This also means that problems with the water line or moving to a new location where a water line isn’t installed yet means you can’t brew coffee with many automatic brewers. Some automatic coffee brewers, like the Bunn CWTF15-3 (2U/1L Warmer) 12 Cup Automatic Coffee Brewer with 3 Warmers, don’t have this problem as they also have a pourover backup option. If the coffee brewer isn’t connected to a water line you can pour water in the top to brew.

Automatic coffee brewers can range from simple timer based brewing to digital brewers that allow you to control water temperature precisely and to utilize prewetting and pulse brewing to optimize flavor extraction. True coffee aficionados will appreciate the capabilities of a digital brewer, like the Curtis D500GT G3 Automatic Airpot Coffee Brewer.

Bottled Water Coffee Brewers

Bottled water coffee brewers give you the convenience of an automatic coffee brewer without the need to have a plumber connect the brewer to a water line. They also allow you to use better quality water than you may get from your tap. Some bottled water coffee brewers, like the Cafejo TE-419 Automatic Thermal Carafe Bottled Water Coffee Brewer, just brew coffee and don’t have a hot water faucet. Others, like the Newco KB-1F Automatic Decanter Bottled Water Coffee Brewer, have a hot water faucet. Only a few models of bottled water coffee brewers are available so you won’t get options like digital brewing with prewetting and pulse brewing. You also won’t find larger volume bottled water brewers.

Bottled Water Pumps

You may need to brew with bottled water but none of the bottled water brewers meet your needs, such as higher volume brewing or digital brewer control. You may need a high volume brewer somewhere water isn’t available, like a trailer or outbuilding for events. In that case, its possible to use a bottled water pump to convert virtually any automatic coffee brewer to use bottled water. Give us a call and we can help you find a bottled water pump that will work with the automatic coffee brewer you have in mind.

Time For A Larger Coffee Brewer? – Part 4: Urn Coffee Brewers

09/26/2016
by DC Coffee

We have been talking about moving up from a small 12 cup decanter style coffee brewer when you need higher volume brewing. We started looking at the major types of brewers to consider:

  • Airpot Coffee Brewers
  • Thermal Server Coffee Brewers
  • Satellite Coffee Brewers
  • Urn Coffee Brewers

So far we have discussed airpot, thermal server and satellite coffee brewers. So now its time for our final installment on urn coffee brewers.

Urn Coffee Brewers

Urn coffee brewers are essentially large boxes full of heated water (called the water jacket) with one or two buckets (called liners) sitting in and surrounded by the water. Coffee is brewed into the liner(s) and the surrounding heated water keeps the coffee hot. The liners are connected to a faucet on the front of the brewer for dispensing coffee. In most urn coffee brewers, Like the Curtis RU150-12 Urn Coffee Brewer, water for brewing is pumped from the water jacket to the spray head. There are some models, like the Grindmaster American Metal Ware 7413E Urn Coffee Brewer, that brew using fresh water by routing brew water from the water inlet through a heat exchange coil that is surrounded by the hot water in the water jacket. This eliminates the pump and ensures that water used for brewing hasn’t sat in the water jacket for hours before brewing.

Urn coffee brewers are different from airpot, thermal server and satellite coffee brewer in that the coffee dispenser is an integral part of the brewer and can’t be moved to a remote location. This means:

  • You can’t easily brew your coffee at one location and dispense it at another location.
  • You can’t use additional dispensers to brew up extra batches for your peak ahead of time
  • The urn liners need to be cleaned in place – they can’t be removed and taken to a sink to clean like thermal servers and satellites
  • Most twin urn coffee brewers can only brew into a single side at a time whereas most twin thermal server and satellite coffee brewers can brew both sides at once.

Urn coffee brewers are popular for high volume coffee brewing for several reasons:

  • Water jacket heating is arguably the best way to keep coffee warm to minimize flavor deterioration over time.
  • Sturdy fixed brewer / dispenser eliminates any chance of knocking dispenser over, dropping dispenser, etc.
  • Large to very large sizes available. Single and twin 3 – 10 gallon sizes are common, and 60 to 160 gallon urn coffee brewers are available.
  • Most urn coffee brewers can be ordered with optional multiple faucets including faucets on both sides of the brewer for more efficient self service dispensing.
  • Some models are available with natural gas or propane heating, like the Curtis RU600-35 Twin 6 Gallon Natural Gas Urn Coffee Brewer, for energy cost savings and/or portable installations.

Urn coffee brewers are popular with very high volume settings, particularly self service locations, such as cafeterias, hotel buffets and banquet halls.

Time For A Larger Coffee Brewer? – Part 3: Satellite Coffee Brewers

09/01/2016
by DC Coffee

We have been talking about moving up from a small 12 cup decanter style coffee brewer when you need higher volume brewing. We started looking at the major types of brewers to consider:

  • Airpot Coffee Brewers
  • Thermal Server Coffee Brewers
  • Satellite Coffee Brewers
  • Urn Coffee Brewers

So far we have discussed airpot and thermal server coffee brewers. Now we’ll move on to satellite coffee brewers.

Satellite Coffee Brewers

Like airpots and thermal servers satellites are portable containers that keep coffee hot for hours. The difference is that satellites require electricity. This means coffee is always kept a fixed piping hot temperature instead of slowing getting colder like with airpots and thermal servers. The downside is that the constant heating of the coffee can give the coffee a burnt taste just like leaving a decanter of coffee on a warmer for a long time. You also need to buy a warming stand and have an electrical outlet available if you move the satellite off the brewer.

Satellites come in two styles. The most common is an externally heated satellite, like the Curtis Gemini GEM-120A Satellite Coffee Brewer, where the satellite brewer or warming stand has a warmer plate just like a decanter brewer and the satellite sits on the warmer plate. The second style is an internally heated satellite, Like the Bunn Soft Heat BrewWISE DBC Satellite Coffee Brewer, where the satellite has a plug on the back to power an internal heater. The brewer or warming stand has a mating plug to power the satellite. The advantage of the internally heated satellite is that the heater can be better controlled and less heat is used to keep the coffee hot staving off that burnt flavor overheated coffee can get.

Most satellites hold 1.5 gallons of coffee. Some lower end satellite coffee brewers will only brew a 1 gallon batch into the 1.5 gallon satellite but most brewers will brew a full 1.5 gallon batch with either half and full batch or 0.5, 1.0 and 1.5 gallon batch settings.

You can get single brew head 1.5 gallon satellite coffee brewers that plug into a standard 120 volt power outlet, like the Bunn GPR Single Satellite Coffee Brewer, but you will be limited to brewing about 5 gallons/hour. This is because you need to wait between brewing full satellites of coffee for the water in the tank to reheat. A 240 volt single head brewer, like the Grindmaster P300E 1.5 Gallon Shuttle Satellite Coffee Brewer, uses more powerful heaters so it greatly reduces the wait time between pots and doubles the capacity to 10 – 11 gallons/hour. A twin brewing head 240 volt satellite brewer, like the Newco GXDF2-15 Dual Satellite Coffee Brewer, will increase capacity to 16 – 19 gallons/hour.

Satellite coffee brewers are popular in convenience stores, other self-service area where customers expect piping hot coffee even during slack times where coffee may sit in the dispenser for longer periods of time. With additional warming stands and satellites its easy to offer multiple varieties and flavors of coffee without worrying about them getting cold.


Time For A Larger Coffee Brewer? – Part 2: Thermal Server Coffee Brewers

08/11/2016
by DC Coffee

In our last post we talked about moving up from a small 12 cup decanter style coffee brewer when you need higher volume brewing. We started looking at the major types of brewers to consider:

  • Airpot Coffee Brewers
  • Thermal Server Coffee Brewers
  • Satellite Coffee Brewers
  • Urn Coffee Brewers

In the last post we discussed airpot coffee brewers. Now we’ll move on to the airpot big brother, the thermal server coffee brewer.

Thermal Server Coffee Brewers

Curtis 1.5 Gallon Insulated Portable ServerLike airpots, thermal servers are vacuum insulated containers that are portable and keep coffee hot for hours without the need for electricity. Thermal servers are sometimes called gravity dispensers as they sit on a stand that allows you to put a cup under the dispensing spout. Coffee is dispensed by pulling on a handle to let the coffee flow by gravity into the cup rather than pumping the coffee into the cup like an airpot. Zojirushi makes some small 2.5 liter thermal servers but most thermal servers hold 1 – 3 gallons of coffee like the Curtis ThermoPro 1.5 gallon thermal server. The 1.5 gallon thermal server is the most popular size and is a workhorse of the coffee industry as it is a good balance between the amount of coffee it holds vs. the portability – its not overly heavy when full. Like airpots, you can brew many thermal servers full of coffee ahead of time to meet peak demand without the need to buy more or larger brewers. Large thermal servers are a real timesaver when brewing lots of coffee as you don’t need to baby sit the brewer as much.

Curtis ThermoPro Single 1.5 Gallon thermal server coffee brewer

You can get 1.5 gallon thermal server brewers that plug into a standard 120 volt power outlet, like the Curtis ThermoPro Single 1.5 Gallon dual voltage thermal server coffee brewer, but you will be limited to brewing about 5 gallons/hour. The nice thing about this Curtis brewer is that it is dual voltage. You can start out using

a standard 120 volt outlet but as your volume increases it can be switched over to 240 volts more than doubling the amount of coffee it can brew per hour. This Curtis brewer and other 240 volt 1.5 gallon thermal server brewers, like the Fetco CBS-2151XTS 1.5 gallon thermal server coffee brewer, will get you 10 – 11 gallons/hours for a single head brewer or 20 – 26 gallons/hour for a twin or 30 –

40 if you have 3 phase power. 2 and 3 gallon thermal server brewers go even higher.

Fetco CBS-2151XTS 1.5 Gallon thermal server coffee brewer Thermal servers are convenient as you just put a cup underneath pull the handle and the cup fills. They have level indicators, either the time-tested sight glass or the new digital style like on the Fetco L3D-15 1.5 gallon thermal dispenser. Some don’t like the fact that coffee cools off over time in thermal servers but they do keep coffee hot for hours – longer than recommended for best flavor. Thermal server coffee brewers are one of the most popular high volume coffee brewer types due to their great package of convenience, portability and brewing capacity.


Time For A Larger Coffee Brewer? – Part 1: Airpot Brewers

07/21/2016
by DC Coffee

You’ve been using a 12-cup commercial decanter coffee maker, like the Bunn CWTF 15-312950.0213, for years. Now you need more coffee faster as you’re getting tired of baby sitting the brewer to make pot after pot while a line of people wait for coffee. So its time to upgrade to a larger brewer. But with all the options out there which brewer should you buy?

The major types of brewers to look at for a step up are:

  • Airpot Coffee Brewers
  • Thermal Server Coffee Brewers
  • Satellite Coffee Brewers
  • Urn Coffee Brewers

As with anything, which type of brewer is best for you depends on your needs and what you like. Lets take a closer look at each type.

Airpot Coffee Brewers

CBS-2131XTSYou may already have an airpot brewer and are wondering why I am saying its a step up from decanter brewers. Possibly you have a smaller airpot brewer using 2.2L airpots which aren’t much bigger than decanters (1.9L). But there are two reasons airpot brewers are a step up from decanters. First, you can brew many airpots full of coffee ahead of time and not have people waiting. Second, you can get airpot coffee makers for larger airpots like the Fetco CBS-2131XTS or Bunn ICB that brew into 3L or 3.8L / 1 gallon airpots. Since 1 gallon airpots hold twice as much coffee as a single decanter they can be a real timesaver when brewing lots of coffee.

Bunn ICB Airpot Coffee BrewerTo take full advantage of airpots you need a 240 volt brewer because the longer wait for the water tank to reheat between pots with a 120 volt brewer slows things down. A 120 volt decanter brewer is rated to brew about 3.9 gallons/hour. A 120 volt 1 gallon airpot brewer is rated to brew 5.1 – 5.8 gallons/hour with less effort changing filters and grounds. A 240 volt airpot brewer is rated for 11+ gallons/hour – more than twice the coffee in the same time.

Many people like airpots because coffee is dispensed into the cup without needing to pick up a pot full of hot coffee possibly dropping it or spilling it. On the other hand, some people dislike airpots as they don’t have sight gauges to let you know how much coffee is left in them at a glance. Others don’t like thermally insulated dispensers like airpots and thermal servers because the coffee cools off over time even though a good quality airpot will keep coffee hot for several hours. But because the airpots themselves are a lot cheaper than the thermal servers and satellites used in other high volume solutions an airpot coffee brewer is the most economical step up to higher volume brewing.

Bunn Velocity Brew & Phase Brew Home Coffee Brewers

12/11/2013
by DC Coffee

Every day, people just like you are learning that the coffee maker you use makes a difference in how your coffee tastes. We love Bunn because they have been making high quality coffee brewers for a long time.

There are two major Bunn home coffee brewer lines – the Velocity Brew and the Phase Brew.

The Velocity Brew models have a water tank that keeps water hot and ready to brew like your home water heater. So they can brew a pot of coffee in 3 – 4 minutes. They brew a 10-cup pot. Within this line you have glass carafe models with a warmer plate (GR / BX /NH models) and thermal carafe models without a warmer (BT / ST models). Other than that, the differences are all styling. So choose by looks.

Bunn Velocity Brew BXB

Bunn Velocity Brew BXB

The Phase Brew models (note: these models have been discontinued - the new Heat N' Brew is similar) don’t have a tank to keep the water heated, just a tank big enough for one pot of coffee that is heated when you start brewing. They take longer to brew because they need to heat the water prior to brewing so they take about 10 minutes to brew a pot of coffee. They also use less energy because they aren’t keeping a tank of water hot all the time. But they only brew an 8 cup pot of coffee. They also take up less space on the counter top because they don’t have the big tank. I personally love the styling of the Phase brew models. They come in either a glass carafe with a warmer (HG) and thermal carafe without a warmer (HT).

Bunn Phase Brew HG

Bunn Phase Brew HG

Bunn Phase Brew HT

Bunn Phase Brew HT


Bunn also makes a couple of single cup type home coffee brewers. The My Cafe can use K-Cups, ground coffee, soft pods, or dispense hot water – probably the most versatile single cup brewer on the market. If you are a real coffee aficionado the Trifecta is a sort of automated French press that has lots of settings to allow you to customize your brew.

Coffee Pod Brewers

10/29/2013
by DC Coffee

What is a coffee pod?

Coffee pods are pre-measured for single-cup brewing, which means no grinding, no measuring and no mess. One pod makes one perfect cup of coffee. Single-cup brewing was developed as a solution to varying coffee tastes in the office environment. Coffee pods evolved from single-cup brewing systems that have been used in Europe for the past 30 years.

Why coffee pods?

Coffee pod brewing gives you the convenience of making just one cup or many different types of coffee for other members of your home. If mom only drinks decaffeinated coffee and dad likes his fully leaded and extra dark, having a pod brewer solves the problem. And the coffee pods come in so many flavors and types of coffee now that it’s like having a personal barista on your kitchen counter.

The best part about using pods is that the pods have no plastic or aluminum foil to put in the trash. Coffee grounds, filters and the coffee pods used by the Bunn My Café Brewers are 100% biodegradable. Composting used coffee grounds and pods is a great way to return valuable nutrients to garden soil. And you don’t need to worry about chemicals released from heated plastic containers that other single cup systems use.

And unlike other single cup systems, like K-Cups, pods come in different sizes so you can brew a cup of tea or coffee from 4 ounces to 12 ounces or brew a stronger gourmet cup of coffee. That means pods allow more personalization of your beverage choice than other single cup systems. Even with coffee, you can’t please all the people all of the time but with coffee pod brewers you can. And the pods aren’t limited to coffee only, they also come with tea.

Coffee pods are made by many companies and offer a dizzying array of choices. But you can also buy empty pod containers and fill them with your own special favorite blend of tea or coffee. Here are some popular brands of pods: Donut Shop Classics, JavaOne, Lacas Pods, Marley Coffee Pods, Organa Tea, Wolfgang Puck Pods and even Chai tea ! I happen to love African Red Rooibos tea so I make my personal tea pods with it.

Bunn My Café Pod Brewers

Bunn pod coffee brewers are perfect for your kitchen. Some can be plumbed to a waterline for extra convenience. The hot water can also be used for cappuccino, cocoa and soups. They all make great coffee in about 30 seconds and can brew tea in less than a minute with a button that provides the steeping action.

The My Café Pourover and the My Café Automatic pod coffee brewers are good choices. With the My Café Pourover you pour water in to start brewing while the My Café Automatic is plumbed to a waterline so you just push a button to brew. Both take coffee pods of varying sizes so you aren’t limited to one maker or cup size. These two are commercial grade so they are built to last.

There is also the Bunn MC Home which is less expensive than the commercial grades. Not only that it has the flexibility to use pods, standard tea bags, ground coffee, loose teas and even K-Cups!

No matter which you choose you can’t go wrong because you’ll always be able to have the coffee or tea you just happen to be in the mood for.

Bunn My Cafe Commercial Pod Brewer

Bunn My Cafe Commercial Pod Brewer

Bunn My Cafe Home Pod Brewer

Bunn My Cafe Home Pod Brewer

Bunn BrewWISE Programmable Coffee Brewers For Consistently Great Coffee

10/11/2013
by DC Coffee

Create custom recipe cards for your coffee recipes with the Bunn BrewWISE Recipe Writer. Then program your Bunn BrewWISE programmable coffee brewer by passing the card under the reader. Use the same card to program each BrewWISE brewer quickly and easily. This will assure your coffee’s quality and lets you make consistently good coffee from machine to machine, location to location.

The Bunn BrewWISE Recipe Writer allows you to create custom coffee recipe cards and messages that display on the brewer LCD. The messages can tell you what kind of coffee it is (Sumatra, Kona, etc.) and it can be used for advertising purposes. You can make recipe cards for specific coffee names or no-name coffee. No-name could be called House Blend. Your wish is it’s command. Bunn takes the worry out of providing great coffee to your customers. A single glance at your Bunn coffee makers can tell you if the coffee’s hot, fresh and ready to go. You don’t have to waste time brewing multiple pots before you get it right. Bunn will get it right for you. This means that you’ll be able to make sure your customers start their day off right with a great cup of coffee

The Bunn Axiom DV-3 BrewWISE with RFID Coffee Brewer

10/07/2013
by DC Coffee

The Bunn Axiom DV-3 BrewWISE® with RFID coffee brewer was a CSP 2013 Retailer Choice Best new Product Finalist and once you find out how easy it makes quality coffee for your customers a given, you’ll wonder why it didn’t win first place.

We all know good cup of coffee is important to getting the day started right for many people. Give your customers coffee they come back for and you will nab some new repeat customers.

The Technology Behind a Bunn Cup of Coffee

Bunn has devised their coffee brewers to be as easy to use as possible so that you can get your coffee going and walk away to let the coffeemaker take care of the rest. These Bunn coffee brewers provide you with an LCD display that allows you to get your coffee settings just where you want them. They self-adjust to accommodate changing water pressure and even change the flow rate and brew time to account for high lime areas.

Get the Bunn carafes equipped with an RFID chip that’s in the handle of the decanter so that your machine can track how long the coffee has been in that particular pot. This way you know when it’s time to dump it and make a fresh pot. Everyone loves fresh coffee.

Whether you need a single cup of coffee or you need to be ready to serve a full house with lots of refills, Bunn will keep the coffee coming and keep it fresh, hot and to the specifications that your customers expect.