Product Type: Olympia gadgets
Newest Review: ... and lift the lid, to add the drink you wish to keep hot, and then there is an internal element, a spout that sits firmly on the overhangi... more
A pumping wedding or buffet
Olympia Giant Pump Action Airpot
Member Name: pmcds
Olympia Giant Pump Action Airpot
Advantages: Keeps drink hot, easy to use
Disadvantages: Dribbles, no external volume indicator
Pots of this sort are a really good option to buy if you need to provide hot drinks at locations where it's not so easy to make it and keep it there ready. Often used by mobile catering companies or anyone who provide external catering, they are capable of storing hot drinks for easy dispensing and are actually very efficient at keeping them hot for a decent amount of time.
I've seen a few different types of these airpots, and this Olympia brand is just as good as the rest. It has lasted a few years and manages to maintain its functionality as opposed to others I've used, which can sometimes break easily or just not work as efficiently after excessive use. The pot is basically a large silver cylinder, this one is slightly shorter and dumpier than others, but this doesn't seem to have any impact other than it's wider for storage and usage purposes, something to take into account.
At the top of the cylinder there is a black dispenser unit. A clasp on the side allows you to push it in and lift the lid, to add the drink you wish to keep hot, and then there is an internal element, a spout that sits firmly on the overhanging lip of the dispenser and feeds right down to the bottom of the inside of the pot, where it draws the hot drink from. As you close the lid, the inside of it sits plum to the internal element, where it's activated by a big round disc on the top that you push down. This then sucks the hot drink from the bottom of the pot and dispenses it through the spout and out into whatever receptacle you're using. The dispenser hangs out a decent way in order to make sure you can use a number of different cups, mugs or pots depending on what you need to use it for.
I've used this for various different functions, mainly for a breakfast buffet and for hot drinks at wedding receptions - I wouldn't say it's the sort of thing you'd use at home. It's just a bit of overkill to be honest. It can hold around 5 litres of hot drinks, which should give you well over a dozen cups, and we often find that having two is the best bet, one with coffee in and the other with hot water, a reliable selection of tea bags to the side. This provides instant variety and the chance to get whatever hot drink you need straight away. The biggest benefit is at a breakfast buffet. I find that there are minimal negatives. The first is that there is no way of knowing how much is left inside. The stainless steel exterior is smooth, a rubber base and the black hard plastic top containing the dispenser unit the only change in colour and contour.
What this means is that to find out whether you need topping it up, you have to pick it up and weigh it or open it and have a look. Obviously the latter would release some heat and the contents would cool down slightly, but there is a handle attached that pivots over the top and hangs loosely at the back of the pot while it's in use. This makes it possible to lift for checking, and is also used for carrying, but it still means you have to do this and a visible indicator such as most kettles have would be ideal for knowing when it needs topping up.
The other main issue is that it dribbles. You could probably do a decent sized cup with one push of the plunger at the top, to be honest, but I find that it dribbles substantially just as if you were pouring from a poorly designed pot or kettle. You can wipe the occasional dribble from it if you're doing all the dispensing, but if you put it out on a breakfast buffet then you may find a lot of mess that doesn't look good. It really isn't ideal.
It's big and clumpy, but the dispenser allows you to get your liquid out quickly. This isn't a flask to use for soup or anything like that, it's designed for large quantities of hot (or even cold) drinks that you want to maintain the temperature of. There are plenty of designs, and this seems just as good as others. Other ones can also drip, nor do they have an indicator, just like this one. Ultimately, there are a number of types of devices like this, but this has the quality despite the couple of flaws I'd pointed out. You can get these for anywhere between £20 and £30, depending on where you shop. They're easy to clean, easy to use and get a thumbs up from me. Recommended.
Summary: Decent 5 litre thermos, ideal for weddings and breakfast buffets
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