4 Helpful Tips For how to use a coffee percolator

When it's time to get your day started, nothing is better than a good cup of coffee early in the morning. But, how many times do we actually take the time out to think about the technology that is used to make that great cup of Joe?

Before we had automatic drip coffee makers and coffee machines, there was the coffee percolator. These simple coffee makers are still quite popular today because the distinctive taste of coffee that they brew is irresistible to those who truly love coffee.

How Does A Percolator Work?

There are different types of percolators and they are distinguished by their heating mechanisms. For example, some percolators are electrical, while some can be used on the stove top or a campfire. In addition, although most percolators were made out of stainless steel in the past, today many of them utilize glass lids so that users can see the percolation process.

No matter the type of percolator, they all follow the same basic process. Percolators work by using boiling water to extract the coffee from coarsely ground coffee beans.

A percolator has two chambers that are stacked one on top of another. The chamber at the bottom is filled with boiling water and this water rises through a small tube to get to the chamber at the top that contains the ground up coffee beans.

The water builds up in the top and causes the pressure to rise as more water is pumped through the tube. When the pressure is high enough, the water is pushed back down over the coffee grounds where it extracts the coffee.

The water will heat at the bottom again and the process is repeated over and over again until the preferred flavor intensity is achieved. Electric percolators will stop on their own but their manual counterparts must be checked to make sure.

During this process, you will hear the infamous gurgling sound that the percolator is known for. When this sound stops, it indicates that the coffee making process is complete.

Determining How Much Coffee You Should Be Using In A Percolator

As with other brewing methods. Percolators generally utilize one tablespoon of ground coffee for every cup or 5 ounces of water. The only difference is that you will be using a coarse grind. If you grind it too finely, you will get grinds in your coffee. In addition, since the percolator used a steel filter basket, you will never have to worry about buying paper filters or plastic reusable filters.

Increasing or decreasing the amount of coffee grounds that you use will change the strength of the finished product. Divide the amount of water you will put into the percolator by five in order to determine the number of servings. For instance if your percolator holds 25 ounce of coffee, you will be able to make 5 servings.

Use half of a standard coffee measure cup if you want light, three quarters for medium, and a whole standard coffee measure if you want your coffee to be strong. For a better idea of what this means, check out the following chart. It is important to note however, the amounts below will brew mild to medium strength coffee, which is what most people prefer but, it can be adjusted to fit your own personal preference.

Use half of a standard coffee measure cup if you want light, three quarters for medium, and a whole standard coffee measure if you want your coffee to be strong. For a better idea of what this means, check out the following chart. It is important to note however, the amounts below will brew mild to medium strength coffee, which is what most people prefer but, it can be adjusted to fit your own personal preference.


12 – 18 Cups Coffee = 1 – 1 1/4 Cups Grounds

20 – 25 Cups Coffee = 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 Cups Grounds

28 – 36 Cups Coffee = 1 1/2 – 2 Cups Grounds

40 – 45 Cups Coffee = 2 – 2 1/2 Cups Grounds

50 – 60 Cups Coffee = 3 – 4 Cups Grounds

70 – 80 Cups Coffee = 4 1/2 – 5 Cups Grounds

90 – 100 Cups Coffee = 5 1/2 – 6 1/4 Cups Grounds

Tips When Using a Stove Top Coffee Percolator

Stove top percolators are manual but they represent simplicity in itself i.e. there are no fancy parts. Its made up simple of a pot, stem, basket, the basket lid, and a lid with a small glass globe that allows you to see the coffee and the water as it is being percolated.

The key to making a decent cup of coffee on a stove top percolator is that you must raise the temperature of the water slowly and the reduce the heat once the pot starts to percolate. In other words, percolated coffee takes longer than the typical drip brewer. Still, it is extraordinarily simple to use. All stainless steel, no fancy lights or tubing, and nothing that can break.

Tips For Using An Electric coffee percolator

Electric percolators automate the process because they control the temperature of the water and the length of the percolating process. If you love, strong dark coffee, you will love an electric coffee percolator. To get the most out of this type coffee maker, take heed of the following considerations:

1. Clean and rinse the equipment with mild dish soap and warm water before use, this includes the basket lid, the filter basket, the inside of the pot, the percolator lid and the water pipe. This will make sure that you remove any coffee residue which could alter the taste of your coffee in a negative manner.

2. Grind the coffee beans coarsely to prevent over-extraction. If this is your first time using a percolator be sure check the bottom of the pot once the coffee has finished brewing. If you are left with residue at the bottom, then you are grinding the beans too finely.

3. After you plug in the percolator, the coffee will begin brewing immediately and it will take about 5 or six minutes to complete the cycle. Some electric percolators come with a light that lets you know when the coffee's ready.

4. Once the process is completed, be sure to unplug the percolator so that it can cool down. Once it has cooled down sufficiently, remove all the parts and clean them. It is important to note however, you must not submerge your electric coffee percolator in the water to clean it. Doing so mean that you will be risking damage to the electrical parts. Instead, use a washcloth or a wet sponge to clean inside of the pot.

How to Use Coffee Percolator When Camping

There's nothing like having a cup of coffee while you are relaxing in the woods. Something about this idyllic setting just seems to make the coffee taste better than it would at home. Using a percolator to brew that perfect cup of coffee isn't hard at all and there are three ways to go about doing it; grill, camping stove, over a campfire. Regardless of the method that you utilize, you can be sure that it will be strong, dark, rich, and delicious.

The process is similar to that of the stove top percolator, no matter which option that you utilize. However, it is important to note that, typically you will be letting the percolator simmer for ten minutes, instead of the usual five. In addition, you can lower the heat by shifting the coals around when utilizing a campfire.

Popular Percolator Brands

If you are a percolator purist, then you will love the stove top models. These can be used over a campfire and there are a ton of models to choose from. For example, the Coleman Enamelware Coffee Percolator is a lightweight camping percolator that can be used both at home and while you are camping. The enamel makes it ideal for camping but it also makes it very hot to handle.

For your home, a stainless steel percolator like the Metro Stainless Stove top percolator would be best. This is made out of high quality stainless steel and has phenolic handles that will stay cool to the touch. It comes with no extra gadgets and is truly simplicity at its best

For your home, a stainless steel percolator like the Metro Stainless Stove top percolator would be best. This is made out of high quality stainless steel and has phenolic handles that will stay cool to the touch. It comes with no extra gadgets and is truly simplicity at is best

If you don’t have time to watch your percolator closely, an electric coffee percolator will be best for your needs. A great choice is the Farberware Percolator.

Farberware is a well recognized brand so you can be sure of the quality of the device. Also, its stylish design will make a great addition to any kitchen. This stainless steel percolator has a stay cool handle, a keep warm function, and a detachable cord that makes for easy serving. It also allows you to adjust the brewing time to your desired taste.

Another good choice is the Hamilton Beach percolator, which is perfect for impatient types. It utilizes a quick brewing system and allows you to brew up to 12 cups of coffee in just a few minutes. 

This stainless steel percolator has a shiny chrome finish, drip free spout, detachable cord, ready to serve indicator light, stainless steel permanent filter baskets, keep warm setting, and more. Its very easy to use and is perfect for those who want the percolator taste but who don't want to wait for it.

Important Considerations

1. It is important to note that water temperature is very important. Ideally, when you are making coffee with a percolator, the temperature should be between 195 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. When you use a percolator choose a coffee that is very smooth and that it lower in acidity. In addition, don't let it perk for more than three minutes.

Where to Find Affordable Percolators

To be honest, coffee percolators have a bad reputation among gourmet coffee lovers because they say that the water temperature gets too high which results in an overly bitter brew. On the other hand, there are those that swear by these machines. These coffee drinkers love the deep, rich taste that percolator create.

If you are interested in trying out a percolator for yourself, they are available in the housewares section of most department stores but you can also find them online on sites like eBay and Amazon.

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