Air pots are commonly used in catering or at gatherings to serve hot or cold beverages. Air pots are insulating like a thermos. Hot beverages will stay hot for several hours, and cold beverages will stay cold. Air pots have a pump that dispenses a few ounces at a time by using air pressure, hence the name. Air pots are preferred over using a hot plate or percolating dispenser because of their simplicity and insulating capacity, although they do require a little more care.
Rinse out your air pot prior to filling it. Even if it has been cleaned recently, go ahead and give it a little rinse. If the air pot has been sitting closed, it could have retained a slight odor. Rinsing will give your coffee, hot water or half-and-half a fresh start.
Close the lid and adjust so the guest can use the pump feature. With some air pots, you have to physically lift the pumping mechanism that is attached to the lid. Others have a push button that activates the pump with no adjusting necessary.
Refill if necessary. Air pots have a pretty distinctive "empty" sound when someone has pumped out the last of the liquid inside; the customer will usually tell you when you need to refill the pot.
Clean your air pot carefully. These are made with glass insulation that has been vacuum-sealed into the container. You can't just toss them into a dishwasher or a sink full of dishes; if you do so, they may break. The best way to clean air pots is to rinse them well with hot water. Add a teaspoon of baking soda. Fill it back up with hot water; soak the air pot overnight with the lid ajar.
Don't leave milk in your air pot over night. This could cause the inside of your air pot to smell sour, making it difficult to clean. It may then be unusable for anything other than milk in the future.