Percolator Magic How to Make Coffee in a Percolator

Written by: Raj Jana

Percolator for making coffee

A percolator is a type of coffee maker that has been used for decades to brew a strong and flavorful cup of coffee. It works by cycling hot water through the coffee grounds multiple times, resulting in a rich and robust flavor. Many coffee enthusiasts swear by the percolator method as it produces a different taste and experience compared to other brewing methods.

There are a few different types of percolators available, such as stovetop, electric, and camping percolators. Each one has its unique features and functions, but they all follow the same basic principle of brewing coffee. One of the main benefits of using a percolator is the strong and bold flavor it produces. Here are some other advantages of using a percolator:

  1. Stronger and More Flavorful Coffee: The percolator brewing method results in a stronger and more intense coffee flavor, making it a popular choice for those who prefer their coffee bold.
  2. Versatility in Brewing Methods: You can adjust the strength and flavor of your coffee by controlling the brewing time and the amount of coffee grounds used in a percolator, giving you more control over your coffee.
  3. Easy to Use and Clean: Percolators are relatively simple to use and clean. Once you understand the process, it becomes a straightforward and hassle-free method to brew a delicious cup of coffee.

To make coffee in a percolator, follow these simple steps:

  1. Preparing the Percolator: Before brewing, make sure to clean and dry your percolator thoroughly. This will ensure that there are no leftover coffee grounds or debris in the percolator that could affect the taste of your coffee.
  2. Measuring and Adding Coffee: Use coarsely ground coffee and measure out one tablespoon for every cup of water used.
  3. Adding Water and Assembling the Percolator: Fill the percolator with cold water, ensuring that the water level does not exceed the bottom of the percolator's basket. Assemble the percolator by placing the basket and stem into the pot, making sure it fits securely.
  4. Brewing the Coffee: Place the percolator on the heat source and let it boil until you see the coffee bubbling up into the glass knob or see steam coming out of the percolator's spout. Then, remove it from the heat and let it sit for a few minutes to allow the coffee to settle.
  5. Serving and Enjoying Your Coffee: Pour the coffee into your cup and enjoy. You can also add milk, cream, or your preferred sweetener to enhance the flavor.

Here are a few tips to help you make the best coffee in a percolator:

  • Use freshly ground coffee beans for the best flavor.
  • Adjust the brewing time according to your preference for a stronger or weaker cup of coffee.
  • Keep the percolator clean to prevent any buildup of residue that can affect the taste of your coffee.
  • Experiment with different types of coffee beans and brewing methods to discover your perfect cup of percolator coffee.

 Read: Perfect Timing How Long to Percolate Coffee


What Is a Percolator?

A percolator is a traditional coffee brewing device that features a pot with a chamber located at the bottom. A vertical tube extends from the bottom chamber to the top of the percolator, where a perforated basket holds the coffee grounds. As the water in the lower chamber heats up, it is forced up the tube and over the coffee grounds, extracting their flavor. The brewed coffee then drips back down into the lower chamber, creating a continuous cycle until the desired strength is achieved.

Pro-tip: To achieve the best flavor, make sure that the water temperature stays below 200°F to prevent over-extraction, which can result in a bitter taste.

How Does a Percolator Work?

  • A percolator works by cycling boiling water through coffee grounds multiple times to achieve a strong and robust coffee flavor.
  • First, the water in the bottom chamber boils, creating steam pressure that forces the boiling water up a tube and over the perforated basket containing the coffee grounds.
  • As the water trickles over the coffee grounds, it extracts the flavor and color, then drips back down into the bottom chamber.
  • This process repeats until the desired coffee strength is reached, typically resulting in a rich and intense brew.
  • Ultimately, the percolator's continuous cycling of water through the coffee grounds results in a full-bodied and flavorful cup of coffee.

What Are the Different Types of Percolators?

types of percolator

When it comes to making coffee, there are many methods to choose from. However, for a rich and bold brew, many coffee enthusiasts turn to the classic percolator. But did you know that there are different types of percolators to suit different needs and preferences? In this section, we'll take a closer look at the three main types of percolators: stovetop, electric, and camping. Each type offers its own unique features and benefits, so let's dive in and discover which percolator is right for you.

1. Stovetop Percolators

  1. To make coffee using a stovetop percolator, begin by filling the bottom chamber with water, making sure it does not go above the fill line.
  2. Next, insert the percolator stem and basket, and add your desired amount of ground coffee to the basket.
  3. Assemble the percolator by securely placing the top portion and lid on top.
  4. Place the percolator on a stovetop burner set to medium heat to start the brewing process.
  5. Keep a close eye on the percolation process and adjust the brewing time to your preferred coffee strength.

For optimal results with stovetop percolators, grind coffee beans to a coarser consistency, use fresh and filtered water, and adjust the heat to maintain a gentle percolation. Experiment with different ratios of coffee to water to find your perfect brew.

Read: Stovetop Brewing

2. Electric Percolators

  1. Fill the base of the electric percolator with water according to the manufacturer's guidelines.
  2. Place the coffee basket in the percolator and add the desired amount of coffee grounds.
  3. Assemble the electric percolator by attaching the top and plugging it into a power source.
  4. Turn on the percolator to start the brewing process.
  5. Monitor the percolation process and adjust the brewing time based on your coffee strength preference.
  6. Once the coffee reaches the desired strength, switch off the electric percolator and carefully pour the coffee into cups to enjoy.

3. Camping Percolators

  1. Choose a lightweight and durable camping percolator suitable for outdoor use, such as the GSI Outdoors Enamelware Percolator or the Coleman Stainless Steel Percolator.
  2. Ensure the percolator has a basket and stem assembly, as well as a clear knob at the top to monitor the brewing process.
  3. Measure the coffee grounds according to your taste preference and the percolator's capacity, typically one tablespoon per cup of water.
  4. Add the appropriate amount of water to the camping percolator's reservoir, close the lid, and place it on a heat source such as a camping stove or campfire.
  5. Allow the coffee to percolate for about 5-10 minutes, adjusting the heat level to maintain a gentle percolating action.
  6. Once brewed, remove the camping percolator from the heat source and let it cool slightly before serving the freshly brewed coffee.

What Are the Benefits of Using a Percolator?

benefits of using a Percolator
Are you tired of the same old cup of coffee? Look no further than the percolator. This brewing method may seem outdated, but it offers a unique and delicious way to enjoy your daily dose of caffeine. In this section, we will explore the benefits of using a percolator for your morning cup of joe. From stronger and more flavorful coffee to its versatility in brewing methods, there are plenty of reasons to give the percolator a try. Plus, with its simple and easy-to-clean design, you'll wonder why you haven't made the switch sooner.

1. Stronger and More Flavorful Coffee

  • Achieve a stronger and more flavorful coffee by following these tips:
    1. Use the right grind: Opt for a coarser grind to prevent over-extraction, resulting in a more robust and flavorful cup of coffee.
    2. Monitor brewing time: Keep an eye on the brewing duration to avoid a bitter taste and ensure a well-balanced flavor profile.
    3. Water-to-coffee ratio: Maintain the ideal ratio of 1 tablespoon of coffee for every 6 ounces of water to achieve a stronger and more flavorful coffee.
    4. Quality coffee beans: Enhance the richness and strength of your coffee by selecting high-quality, freshly roasted beans.
    5. Temperature control: For a fuller, bolder flavor, brew your coffee at the appropriate temperature of around 195-200°F.

2. Versatility in Brewing Methods

  • Percolators offer versatility in brewing methods as they allow for control over brewing time and strength of the coffee.
  • Experiment with different grind sizes, such as coarse, medium, or fine, to adjust the strength and flavor profile of the coffee.
  • Adjust the heat source and brewing time to customize the strength and richness of the brew, providing flexibility in meeting varying taste preferences.
  • Utilize different coffee varieties and roasts to explore a wide range of flavors and intensities, enhancing the adaptability of percolators in brewing methods.

3. Easy to Use and Clean

  • Effortless Operation: Percolators are simple to use. After adding water and coffee, just plug in the electric percolator or place the stovetop percolator on the stove.
  • Straightforward Maintenance: Cleaning a percolator involves disassembling its parts, washing with warm soapy water, and air-drying. Regular upkeep ensures continued efficient performance.

When my friend introduced me to his vintage stovetop percolator, he stressed how easy it was to use and maintain. Intrigued, I gave it a try and discovered that not only was the brewing process simple, but cleaning up afterwards was a breeze. The quality of the coffee and the convenient maintenance made it a delightful addition to my morning routine.

Read: The Quick Guide To Moka Pot Safety And Cleaning

How to Make Coffee in a Percolator?

Are you tired of the same old drip coffee and looking to switch up your morning routine? Look no further than the trusty percolator! In this section, we'll walk you through the step-by-step process of making coffee in a percolator. From preparing the percolator to serving up a piping hot cup of joe, we'll cover all the essential tips and tricks to help you perfect your percolator technique. Get ready to experience the magic of percolated coffee!

making coffee using a percolator

1. Preparing the Percolator

  • Begin by thoroughly cleaning the percolator to remove any residues from previous use.
  • Next, inspect all parts to ensure they are in good condition and properly assembled.
  • Then, rinse the percolator with hot water to ensure cleanliness and eliminate any lingering odors.
  • Finally, make sure the percolator basket and stem are securely in place before use.

2. Measuring and Adding Coffee

  1. Measure the coffee: For a standard 8-cup percolator, a good starting point is 1 tablespoon of coffee for every 6 ounces of water.
  2. Add the coffee: Use coarsely ground coffee to prevent grounds from passing through the percolator basket.

When adding the coffee, make sure to evenly distribute it and avoid overflowing the basket. Gently pat the grounds to create a level surface for an even extraction.

3. Adding Water and Assembling the Percolator

  1. To begin, fill the bottom chamber of the percolator with water, making sure not to exceed the fill line. This will prevent any overflow during the brewing process.
  2. Next, assemble the percolator by placing the stem and filter basket on top of the water chamber. Be sure to properly position and secure the filter basket.
  3. Once assembled, add the desired amount of ground coffee to the filter basket. For the best flavor, use the recommended coffee grind for a percolator.
  4. After adding the coffee grounds, carefully place the top portion of the percolator onto the base, ensuring a tight seal to prevent any grounds from escaping during brewing.
  5. Double-check that the percolator is securely assembled before placing it on the heat source to begin the brewing process.

4. Brewing the Coffee

  1. Fill the bottom chamber of the percolator with water, being careful not to exceed the fill line.
  2. Insert the stem and basket assembly into the percolator, then add the desired amount of coffee grounds to the basket.
  3. Place the lid on top of the basket, ensuring a secure fit, and assemble the percolator according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  4. Set the percolator on the heat source and let it brew for 5-10 minutes, depending on the desired strength and type of coffee.
  5. Once the coffee is brewed, carefully remove the percolator from the heat source and pour the coffee gently to avoid disrupting the grounds.

My friend, a camping enthusiast, shared a story about brewing coffee in a percolator during a chilly morning in the mountains. As the aroma of freshly brewed coffee filled the air, it added an extra layer of enjoyment to the outdoor escapade, setting the perfect tone for a memorable day of hiking and adventure.

5. Serving and Enjoying Your Coffee

  1. Prepare your favorite coffee mug or cup, making sure it's clean and ready to be used.
  2. Pour the freshly brewed coffee from the percolator into the mug or cup slowly and carefully to avoid any spills or splashes.
  3. You may also want to add any desired sweeteners, cream, or milk to personalize your coffee to your liking.
  4. Take a moment to savor the aroma and appreciate the rich flavor of the freshly brewed coffee.
  5. Find a comfortable spot to sit down and enjoy your coffee, whether it's at the breakfast table, on the porch, or in your favorite chair.

What Are Some Tips for Making the Best Coffee in a Percolator?

tips for making a delicious coffee using a percolator

To achieve the best coffee using a percolator, consider the following tips:

  1. Grind size: Utilize a coarse grind to prevent over-extraction and bitterness, ensuring optimal flavor.
  2. Water temperature: Maintain the water temperature between 195-200°F for ideal extraction without scorching the coffee.
  3. Brewing time: Aim for a brewing time of 5-7 minutes to extract the desired coffee richness and aroma.
  4. Use the right amount of coffee: Measure approximately 1 tablespoon of coffee per 6 ounces of water to achieve a balanced and flavorful brew.
  5. Clean equipment: Regularly clean the percolator to prevent any residue buildup that could affect the flavor of the coffee.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is a percolator and how does it work?

A percolator is a method of making coffee that involves circulating boiling water through coffee grounds until the desired strength is achieved. It works by having two chambers, one for water and one for coffee grounds, and heating the water until it boils and drips through the grounds.

Why have percolators become less popular?

Percolators have become less popular due to the rise of electric drip machines and other brewing technology. According to a Twitter poll, only 6% of people still use percolators, with many citing their grandparents or camping trips as their primary exposure to the method.

What are the steps for making coffee in a percolator?

To make coffee in a percolator, water is added to the bottom chamber and then placed over a heat source. Once the water begins to boil, coarsely-ground coffee is added to the internal metal filter basket. The heat is then reduced and the coffee is left to brew for about six or seven minutes.

Can a percolator be used for camping?

Yes, percolators are great for camping as they are simple to use and provide a deep extraction of flavor from the coffee beans. They are usually heated on a stove or open flame and can be easily disassembled for cleaning.

How can I ensure the perfect cup of coffee from a percolator?

To make the perfect cup, it is important to start with a clean percolator and use coarse ground coffee to avoid it falling through the basket. The water level can be measured by eye, with a general rule of two cups of water for one cup of coffee. Let it percolate for 7-10 minutes depending on desired strength, and remove from heat to rest for a few minutes before serving.

What are the benefits of using a percolator for coffee?

The benefit of using a percolator is that it allows for a fresh cup of coffee no matter where one's travels take them. They are also great for camping and provide a deep and rich flavor in each cup. However, it is important to clean the percolator before use to avoid any lingering flavors.