An Urn For Every Need
The word “urn” is probably most commonly associated with cremation urns, but most dictionary definitions also include a mention of another very common type of urn – coffee urns.
Coffee urns , like cremation urns, derive their name from the middle English and Latin words that describe the vase-like shape of a container, rather than a specific use. And, also like the cremation urn, today’s coffee urns are, increasingly, straying from the traditional shape. But, aside from those two facts, the history of coffee urns is quite different from that of cremation urns.
Unlike cremation urns, which have been in use for centuries, coffee urns first came of use in about the 18th’ century when British aristocracy used them to serve coffee at their large house parties. Today, they are in common use at restaurants across the globe. Coffee urns are basically a normal coffee pot, but they usually feature a small spout our spigot through which the coffee can be poured (often without having to pick up the entire pot).
One of the world’s most famous coffee urns is on display at the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam National. The beautifully sculpted silver piece was built in 1729 by famous European artist Audele Andeles and was originally used in the service to a number of English royalty before finally being retired in the 1800’s and moved to permanent display in Amsterdam. The piece is called, simply, “Coffee Urn” and is the model for thousands of other urns that have been made since.
But, while a great number of today’s coffee urns still follow Andeles’ classic, elegant design, coffee urns today are designed as much for practical purposes – such as ease of pouring coffee and keeping coffee warm for long periods of times – as for beauty. With today’s technology, coffee urns can be set to brew large amounts of coffee automatically so that owners of, say, a breakfast restaurant, can arrive to open their business each morning to a large batch of already-brewed coffee. The newest coffee urns today also have sophisticated thermostats that assure large amounts of coffee can stay consistently warm for many hours – or in some cases even days.
A few companies have even begun selling miniature coffee urns that brew coffee directly in a single cup, allowing a user to brew and drink from the same piece – which then keeps coffee warm for an entire day if needed. Coffee urns, like their famous counter parts cremation urns, have evolved significantly over the years. For the world’s many coffee aficionados, there is truly an urn to please every taste and need.