How to Boil Water
January 16, 2014 1:50 PM   Subscribe

Might be the dumbest question ever, but I am unsure. Can I make hot water only using a coffee urn?

This may be a really dumb question but I want to make sure I am doing right thing. I have two coffee urns. The type that has a tube with a basket at top. Something like this:*7501*7880*7926*&lang=en-US and this

I want hot water only. If the basket is removable should I remove the basket? This is kind of last minute and I don't have time to test. Thank you.
posted by Fairchild to Food & Drink (7 answers total)
Yes, but it will taste like coffee if the urn has been used (and not in a particularly pleasant way). I do not recommend this for tea or anything of that nature. Hot chocolate might be bearable, though it will probably still be detectable.

You could try cleaning with some type of caustic cleaner in advance, but it sounds like there isn't time for that.

Yes, remove the basket. If you must, scrub the inside as best as you can.
posted by ssg at 1:54 PM on January 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Try it and see. Won't hurt the urn.
posted by musofire at 1:57 PM on January 16, 2014

It's for hot chocolate. I will scrub. Thank you.
posted by Fairchild at 1:58 PM on January 16, 2014

I think the most coffee-tasting part will be the tube that pushes the water to the top. Pipecleaners may work on that.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 2:00 PM on January 16, 2014

Run a diluted vinegar solution through the machine - it should have come with the instructions of how to do this. Run plain water through to remove the vinegar. Clean any pieces with baking soda. It cleans and deodorizes, and will not kill you. Better idea than filling every nook and cranny with soap bubbles or something so caustic that it damages the machine. Rinse well. Enjoy your chocolate.
posted by Cranberry at 2:26 PM on January 16, 2014 [2 favorites]

Run a couple batches of Puro Caff through them, this stuff is designed to break down coffee oils. I work in a coffee roastery, and this is what we use to get putrid coffee flavors out of equipment we're refurbishing.

It might take a couple soaking and rinses, and possibly an overnight soak, but they'll come out good as new.

They will not however break down the resins in shitty flavored coffee. Nothing gets out that blueberry stank.
posted by furnace.heart at 2:53 PM on January 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Thanks for the replies. It went fine. I removed the baskets, the urns worked, and the water was fine and hot. I did not have time to rinse with vinegar or other solution. I marked best answers for all because I can rinse and use pipe cleaners in the future. Thanks again.
posted by Fairchild at 5:04 PM on January 16, 2014

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