Coffee and Tea Buying Guide for a Crowd

In keeping with my buying guides for large celebrations… I am including tips for coffee and tea. This is a guide to help you determine the amounts of coffee, tea, cream and sugar to purchase…

I hope you find this helpful.


Tea is, of course, a little easier than coffee. You need to figure on a coffee maker for hot water… and the amount of tea bags to purchase… thankfully, unused tea bags don’t generally go to waste… but it is helpful to consider purchase amounts when figuring your budget.

I tried finding a guide for purchasing tea for large parties (not tea parties) just to see how my amounts compare… and couldn’t find a good resource… so these are my suggestions.

When figuring how much tea to buy…I usually figure ½ the number of guests… unless you know that most of your guests would prefer tea over coffee…tea bags aren’t expensive… I’d rather have a few too many than not enough… the cream and sugar is figured in with the coffee purchase guide below….

Don’t forget to purchase lemon for the tea drinkers…. The easiest solution is to get bottled lemon juice… I never get the one in the green bottle… I always get fresh or frozen… either the one in the produce section that is in a plastic lemon container or the frozen Minute Maid one in the freezer section. You could also serve lemon wedges.

To heat the water for tea…you can usually rent a large coffee urn for $20-25(US) for large parties…. or use a 12-cup coffee maker for smaller parties…or if you have them…. you can also use insulated coffee urns and fill them with hot water …again, depending on the size of the party.

Don’t be afraid of asking friends or relatives to borrow a large coffee maker… many people have them… and it could save you some money.


The following coffee serving guide is from Pillsbury’s Spring Celebrations soft cookbook, Pillsbury Classics 27, 1983.

Amounts to Purchase

Coffee - Serving Size = 1-1 ½ cups

For 25 Servings = ½ to ¾ pound
For 50 Servings = 1- 1 ½ pounds
For 100 Servings = 2-3 pounds

Coffee Cream - Serving Size = 2 teaspoons

For 25 Servings = 1 pint
For 50 Servings = 1quart
For 100 Servings = 2 quarts

Sugar Cubes - Serving Size = 1-2 cubes

For 25 Servings = ¾ pound
For 50 Servings = 1 ½ pounds
For 100 Servings = 3 pounds

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