Electric Percolators and Cold Brew Makers

Electric Percolators and Cold Brew Makers: 18 Key Factors to Help You Choose

When you think of brewing coffee, do electric percolators and cold brew coffee makers come to mind? They should, as they’re two very popular methods for brewing a delicious cup of joe.

But what exactly are the differences between the two, and which one’s best for you? Understanding these differences can help coffee lovers choose the best brewing method for their preferences.

In this article, we’ll dig into the key differences between electric percolators and cold brew makers. Once you have a better grasp on brewing time, method, ease of use, and more, you’ll be equipped to make the right choice.

1. Brewing Method

Electric Coffee Percolator

It’s helpful to know a bit about how these coffee machines work. Basically, an electric coffee percolator uses pressure and heat to brew coffee.

Presto 02822 6-Cup Stainless-Steel Coffee Percolator
  • Please refer to user guide or user manual or user guide (provided below in PDF) before first use

Water boils in the bottom chamber of the percolator, which then rises up a tube and sprays over the coffee grounds in the top chamber. Then, the brewed coffee drips down into the bottom chamber. The cycle repeats until your coffee is as strong as you like it.

As you can imagine, this process is fast and efficient. However, the coffee is at risk of getting over-extracted and bitter if you let it percolate too long. Also, percolators might leave sediment and oils from the coffee beans in your coffee.

Cold Brew Coffee Maker

So, how do cold brew coffee makers work, and how do they compare to percolators? The secret to cold brew coffee makers is cold water plus time.

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When you steep coffee grounds in cold water for several hours, the coffee slowly infuses into the water. The resulting coffee is perfectly smooth and less acidic than traditional hot-brewed coffee.

The clever cold brew method is less likely to extract oils and sediment from your coffee beans, resulting in a cleaner taste. However, the process takes several hours to complete, which requires planning ahead.

So, electric coffee percolators are ideal if you want a fast and efficient cup of coffee, while cold brew coffee makers are superior if you prefer a smoother and less acidic coffee but don’t mind planning ahead.

2. Brewing Time

Another key difference to note when you compare an electric coffee percolator vs. cold brew coffee maker is the brewing time. Electric coffee percolators have a quick brewing time.

In fact, it only takes a few minutes to brew a pot of coffee. But how? Well, it doesn’t take long to heat up the water and flush it repeatedly through the grounds.

On the other hand, cold brew coffee makers require 12 to 24 hours to brew your coffee. While this longer brewing time may seem inconvenient, many cold brew enthusiasts swear by the resulting flavor and texture.

Further, as long as you plan ahead, you won’t even have to mess with a coffee maker in the morning. You can simply pour your made-ahead cold brew and add whatever creamer or toppings you like.

Farberware Electric Coffee Percolator, FCP240, Stainless Steel Basket, Automatic Keep Warm, No-Drip…
  • Please refer to user guide or user manual or user guide (provided below in PDF) before first use

3. Brewing Temperature

How does brewing temperature stack up for a cold brew coffee maker vs. coffee percolator? There are certainly some key differences to note. Electric coffee percolators heat water using electricity and have just a single brewing mode without temperature options.

The water temperature is around 200°F (93°C), which is slightly below the ideal temperature range for brewing coffee.

On the other hand, of course, cold brew coffee makers don’t use any heat. Instead, they rely on cold water. The lack of heat means the brewing temperature is much lower, usually around 40-50°F (4-10°C).

Some coffee experts are firm in their beliefs that using lower temperatures results in a smoother, less bitter cup of coffee.

Cold Brew Coffee Maker Temperature

  • No heat
  • Brews around 40-50°F (4-10°C)
  • Lower brewing temperature results in a smoother, less acidic cup of coffee

Electric Coffee Percolator Temperature

  • Uses electricity to heat water
  • Brews around 200°F (93°C)
  • Consistently hot brewing temperature
  • Standard, traditional coffee flavor

So, while electric coffee percolators may offer a consistently hot brewing temperature, cold brew coffee makers rely on a much lower temperature that can result in a smoother, less acidic cup of coffee.

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4. Grind Size

Now, let’s take a look at the grind size. As a quick explanation, the grind size for a percolator vs. brewed coffee determines the surface area of the coffee particles. In turn, this affects the extraction rate and the coffee’s flavor.

For electric coffee percolators or French presses, a medium-coarse grind is best. A medium grind is similar to sea salt and extracts flavor slower, resulting in a fuller taste and more potent aroma.

On the other hand, cold brew coffee makers require a coarse grind. To illustrate, this grind size is best compared to coarse sand.

You need a coarse grind for cold brew because the coffee grounds steep for an extended period. A finer grind would be an issue since it could cause over-extraction and a bitter taste.

So, adjust the grind size based on the brewing method and personal preference. Feel free to experiment with different grind sizes to find your perfect balance of flavor!

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5. Flavor Profile

Flavor’s the most critical consideration for many coffee connoisseurs out there. The cold brew  vs. coffee percolator methods result in very distinct flavor profiles. Percolators create a strong, robust coffee that some coffee drinkers prefer.

Conversely, cold brew coffee makers craft smoother and less acidic coffee with a sweeter taste. The cold brew method is ideal for those who prefer a milder and less bitter coffee flavor.

6. Caffeine Content

We can’t overlook the amount of caffeine each technique produces. Generally, electric coffee percolators make coffee with more caffeine than cold brew coffee makers.

  • Cold brew has more caffeine than iced coffee and espresso but less than percolated coffee. Check out the average caffeine content for each method below.
  • Electric Coffee Percolator: 200 mg of Caffeine (per 8-ounce cup)
  • Cold Brew Coffee Maker: 165 mg of Caffeine (per 8-ounce cup)
electric coffee percolator vs. cold brew coffee maker

7. Ease of Use

Electric Coffee Percolator

While electric coffee percolators and cold brew coffee makers are both pretty easy, one may be easier for some users. Electric coffee percolators are fairly simple. Their basic controls and straightforward designs are easy to understand.

All you need to do to use one is fill up the water chamber and add your grounds to the coffee chamber. Then, plug in the percolator, turn it on, and let the percolator handle the rest!

That said, electric coffee percolators can be challenging to clean. The coffee grounds can get stuck in the filter, and the percolator can become stained over time. So, they require frequent maintenance and diligent cleaning.

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Cold Brew Coffee Maker

Cold brew coffee makers are also relatively simple. To use one of them, fill the filter with coffee grounds and add cold water to the pitcher. Put the pitcher in the fridge and let it steep for several hours or overnight.

Also, cold brew coffee makers are easier to clean than electric coffee percolators. They don’t have complicated parts or filters to clean. You can even easily disassemble and wash them in the sink or dishwasher.

8. Ease of Cleaning

Electric Coffee Percolator

Let’s expand a bit on cleaning an electric coffee percolator vs. cold brew coffee maker. Cleaning an electric coffee percolator might feel like a boring chore, but it’s essential for maintaining your coffee’s quality.

Most electric percolators have removable parts you can wash in the sink or dishwasher. Some even have non-stick coatings that make cleaning easier. If yours doesn’t have that non-stick coating, use a brush to remove stains.

Here’s an easy way to clean your percolator: First, unplug it and let it cool down. Then, remove the basket and wash it in the sink with warm, soapy water.

Use baking soda and vinegar to deep-clean the percolator by filling the water chamber with warm water and adding two tablespoons of baking soda or vinegar. Heat the mixture for ten minutes before dumping the water.

Cold Brew Coffee Maker

Cleaning a cold brew coffee maker is easier than cleaning an electric percolator. Most cold brew coffee makers are glass or plastic that you can wash in the sink or dishwasher. Some have removable parts that you can clean separately.

Start by emptying any leftover coffee, then rinse the filter and carafe with warm soapy water. Use a brush or toothbrush to remove leftover grounds from the filter.

If you’re lucky, your cold brew coffee maker may come with a cleaning brush designed for this purpose.

Overall, cleaning a cold brew coffee maker is more straightforward than cleaning an electric percolator. Yet, both machines need continuous maintenance, so they keep crafting high-quality coffee.

9. Cost

Assessing cost is necessary when choosing between a cold brew coffee maker vs. coffee percolator. Usually, electric coffee percolators are less pricey than cold brew coffee makers.

On average, electric coffee percolators sell for $50, while cold brew coffee makers range from $20 to $200 or more, depending on the brand and features.

However, with an electric coffee percolator, you have to keep buying coffee grounds. In contrast, you can use coarsely ground coffee beans to make a concentrate that lasts up to two weeks with a cold brew coffee maker.

So, the upfront cost of a cold brew coffee maker may be higher, but you may save money in the long run by purchasing fewer coffee grounds.

10. Durability

Generally, electric coffee percolators are tougher than cold brew coffee makers. Electric percolators have sturdy materials like stainless steel and aluminum, making them more wear and tear-resistant.

Plus, they’re less likely to break compared to glass or plastic cold brew coffee makers.

Notably, maintenance also affects durability. You must regularly clean electric percolators to prevent mineral deposit build-up, affecting their performance and lifespan.

Cold brew coffee makers, in contrast, require less maintenance. However, they’re more prone to cracking or breaking if you mishandle or drop them.

So, what about longevity? How long do these machines last? Well, electric percolators last several years with the right care and maintenance routine. Conversely, cold brew coffee makers may need more frequent replacement due to wear and tear or accidental damage.

electric coffee percolators and cold brew coffee makers

Cold Brew Coffee Maker Durability

  • Often made of glass or plastic
  • Require less maintenance
  • May need more frequent replacement

Electric Coffee Percolator Durability

  • Made of sturdy materials (stainless steel and aluminum)
  • Require regular cleaning and descaling
  • Last several years, with proper care
11. Portability

What if you’re traveling or moving and need to transport your coffee machine? When it comes to portability, cold brew coffee makers take the win in the cold brew vs. coffee percolator battle.

Most cold-brew coffee makers are compact and lightweight, so they’re easy to transport. They’re perfect for outdoor activities like camping, hiking, and picnics, where access to electricity is limited or non-existent.

On the flip side, electric coffee percolators are bulkier and heavier. Of course, you also need a power source for them. Considering these things, they’re less portable than cold brew coffee makers.

However, some electric coffee percolators are more portable than others. For instance, the Farberware 2-4-Cup Percolator is compact with a stainless steel exterior. It even has a quick brew time and a keep-warm function, making it a solid choice if you want to make coffee on the go.

12. Brewing Capacity

Generally, electric coffee percolators have a bigger capacity than cold brew coffee makers. Electric percolators brew up to 12 cups of coffee at once, making them excellent for larger households or offices.

Now, cold brew coffee makers usually have smaller capacities, ranging from 1 to 2 liters (4 to 8 cups of coffee).

However, cold brew coffee is usually more concentrated than regular coffee. So, a small amount can go a long way. For instance, a 32-ounce cold brew batch can be diluted with water or milk to make up to 8 cups of coffee.

Electric Coffee Percolator Brewing Capacity

  • Brews up to 12 cups of coffee at once
  • Brews a full pot of coffee in just a few minutes

Cold Brew Coffee Maker Brewing Capacity

  • Capacity ranges from 1 to 2 liters (4 to 8 cups)
  • Requires a longer brewing time of 12 to 24 hours
13. Brewing Consistency

You want to know what to expect out of your brewed coffee, and it’s understandable! So, how do electric coffee percolators and cold brew coffee makers stack up when it comes to consistency?

Electric coffee percolators can be inconsistent due to water temperature and coffee amount. On the other hand, cold brew coffee makers deliver a smooth, mellow flavor with a consistent taste.

Remember factors like coffee bean quality, grind size, and water temperature can affect both methods. But overall, cold brew coffee makers win this category.

14. Material

Material is another key factor to look at, as it affects a few things, including durability. Electric coffee percolators and cold brew coffee makers have different materials. Percolators usually feature stainless steel or aluminum.

Stainless steel is best as it’s tough, easy to clean, and rust-resistant. Aluminum percolators are lightweight and heat up quickly, but they’re not as long-lasting as stainless steel.

In comparison, cold brew coffee makers are normally made of glass, plastic, or stainless steel. Glass and plastic are the most common. Glass is best since it doesn’t affect your coffee taste. Plus, it’s easy to clean.

Now, plastic is lightweight and durable, but it’s not as long-lasting as glass. You might be able to snag a stainless steel cold brew coffee maker, but it’ll probably cost you more.

15. Brand

As you’re probably aware, there’s no shortage of coffee maker brands out there! Some popular brands of electric coffee percolators are Cuisinart, Hamilton Beach, and Presto.

These offer different sizes and styles, from small 4-cup percolators to larger 12-cup models. Some even have additional features like automatic shut-off and keep-warm functions.

Toddy, OXO, and Hario are a few of the most popular cold brew coffee maker brands. They also offer different sizes and styles. You can get a small personal-sized maker or a larger model for making batches of cold brew. Some have features like built-in filters or easy-to-use spouts for pouring.

16. Accessories

Regarding accessories, electric coffee percolators and cold brew coffee makers have unique sets of tools to enhance the brewing experience.

Accessories like coffee filters, coffee grinders, and measuring cups enhance the electric percolator experience. Coffee filters help remove sediment from the brewed coffee, while coffee grinders allow you to use fresh beans. Measuring cups ensure you brew just the right amount of coffee.

In contrast, cold brew coffee makers come with filters and carafes. As a bonus, some models have extra accessories like reusable stainless steel filters, glass bottles for storing cold brew, and recipe books with ideas for making exceptional cold brew blends.

17. Warranty

You should always think about warranty and customer service when buying a coffee maker. Electric percolators warranties depend on the brand and model. Cold brew makers usually have a one-year warranty. Check warranty details and research customer service before purchasing.

Electric Coffee Percolator Warranties

  • Warranty varies depending on brand and model
  • Read warranty information carefully to understand coverage
  • Consider customer service offered by manufacturer

Cold Brew Coffee Maker Warranties

  • Usually comes with a one-year warranty
  • Read warranty information carefully to understand coverage
  • Consider customer service offered by manufacturer
Hamilton Beach 12 Cup Electric Percolator Coffee Maker with Cool Touch Handle, Easy Pour Spout,…
  • BREW GREAT-TASTING COFFEE: The percolator automatically brews rich, flavorful coffee that makes for a perfect morning….
18. Customer Reviews

When comparing the differences between electric coffee percolators and cold brew coffee makers, it helps to read customer reviews. Using these reviews, you can understand what people like and dislike about each type of device.

Take these with a grain of salt, though, because your preferences might be different than the average reviewer’s.

Many customers appreciate the speed and convenience of electric percolators. One customer on Amazon writes, “I love this percolator! It makes coffee quickly and easily, and the stainless steel design looks great on my countertop.”

However, some customers complain that the coffee’s too strong or bitter for their taste. Another Amazon reviewer writes, “I found that the coffee from the percolator was too strong for me, even when I used less coffee than recommended.”

So, what about cold-brew coffee makers? They’re often praised for creating smooth, flavorful coffee with low acidity. One reviewer on the Bed Bath & Beyond website noted, “I love this cold brew coffee maker!

It’s so easy to use, and the coffee tastes amazing. Plus, it’s much less acidic than regular coffee.” Some customers don’t like that cold brew coffee takes a long time to make and isn’t as convenient as other brewing techniques.

One Amazon reviewer says, “While I love the taste of cold brew, it does take a long time to make, and I have to plan ahead if I want to have it in the morning.”


In summary, when you compare electric coffee percolators and cold brew coffee makers, each has pros and cons. Looking for a quick, strong cup of coffee in smaller batches? Then, the percolator could be right for you.

Do you prefer a smooth, less acidic cup that you can brew in large batches? If so, a cold brew maker might be your top choice. Ultimately, the type of coffee maker you choose depends on your personal preference and needs.

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