A percolator is a coffee brewing method that is old school in nature, but is loved by coffee fans. It is often confused with a moka pot because it does have a similar process.
In fact, the moka pot originates from the percolator, and is one method of brewing that is “percolating” coffee. This means it is continually cycling coffee and boiling water through a pot until the desired coffee strength is achieved.
Made up of a cylindrical pot and chamber, the percolator works by boiling hot water through a central tube and filtering down through ground coffee, creating a drip coffee effect.
The difference between drip coffee and percolated coffee is that the coffee is continuously brewing and reheating, resulting in a stronger, more intense coffee.
Why Use a Percolator to Brew Coffee?
While there are many methods to brewing coffee, those who are looking for a tried-and-true method of brewing can turn to the percolator. It is a reliable device that has plenty of advantages, such as:
- Produces a stronger brew. When used with the correct roast, a percolator can brew a full-bodied, intense brew, since it’s constantly reheating coffee and can allow it to steep for longer.
- It can be made in large batches. This is a great coffee maker for entertaining, as it can be bought in large sizes, allowing for big batches to be made to share amongst guests.
- They are inexpensive. A percolator is known for being quite inexpensive when compared to other coffee makers, so if you’re on a budget, this is a cost-effective option.
- A nostalgic, classic brewing method. For anyone who is a coffee lover and enjoys the history of coffee, a percolator is a great tool to have in your coffee station. You may remember your parents or grandparents using one growing up, and it evokes a sense of nostalgia for a simpler time. Percolators were popular in use until the 1970s when drip coffee makers went on the market, phasing out this now-old school brewing device.
- It’s versatile and easy to use. This coffee making method can be used anywhere with a heated surface, from a stove top to a campfire, so you can make fresh coffee anywhere you go.
Using a percolator can be tricky at first, but we’ve got five pro tips you need to know before getting started.
1. Fill the Percolator with Water First
While it has a similar brewing method to a moka pot, it’s important to not follow the exact same steps that you would with a moka pot when using a percolator.
To properly brew a cup of coffee with a percolator, fill the vessel with water first. Then, add in your favourite ground coffee after.
2. Don’t Overpack the Coffee
When prepping the percolator, add the desired amount of ground coffee after you’ve filled the pot with water, but make sure not to overpack it.
Too little coffee will result in a weaker brew, but too much coffee means the water won’t pass through the coffee as freely, and will give you an extremely strong cup of coffee.
The ground coffee may absorb too much of the water and leave you with less liquid than you started with.
3. Watch the Stove Heat
The percolator has a tendency to over-extract the coffee, which is why it’s important to keep an eye on the heat. Depending on your stovetop, the heat settings may differ between brews.
Aim for a high heat at first to get the water boiling, then turn the heat down to medium to allow for the water to continue boiling, keeping an even heat without over-extracting the coffee.
4. Brew for the Appropriate Time
The appropriate time for brewing coffee from a percolator depends on the size of the device. Ideally, you should aim for anywhere between 7 to 10 minutes to percolate coffee.
When the water begins to boil and moves up through the coffee grounds, gravity will move the water back down again, through the coffee and into the bottom chamber.
Allow this process to repeat for up to ten minutes to achieve the perfect brew. This does take a bit of finessing, which is where you can really experiment and make your own special brew.
5. Wash and Store Properly After Use
To properly wash and store a percolator coffee device, make sure to wash it immediately after use. These devices aren’t dishwasher safe, so make sure to wash it with hot water and soap in the sink to remove any coffee oils.
Dry the percolator thoroughly to prevent any rust from forming around the bottom and the spout. Store it in a dry place and avoid stacking it with heavy objects.
Clean your percolator regularly to prevent any rust or oils building up and keep it in good working condition.
A Percolator Makes the Perfect Gift
For anyone looking for the best gift for coffee lovers, why not give them a percolator? Some coffee fans have all the gear they need, but they may have yet to try an old-school method like this.
People who enjoy the history of coffee can find some fun in this coffee brewing method, plus it’s often big enough to make enough coffee to share.
While you’re giving your loved one a coffee pot to last a lifetime, why not add some coffee to get them started?
We offer a coffee subscription gift that can be regularly delivered or a one-time delivery. We offer dozens of blends that are customizable in each delivery, so they can try something new.
TIP: Store Coffee Beans In the Right Container
Just as important as how you prepare your coffee in the morning is how you store your coffee beans. In order to keep your coffee as fresh as possible, beans or ground coffee should be stored in a sealed, airtight container.
At Coast to Coast Coffee, our personal pick is the Fellow Atmos Vacuum Canister. The vacuum seal lid contains a vacuum pump that locks the air inside the container and prevents oxidation from spoiling the coffee.
This allows for a longer shelf life, stopping any moisture or odours from seeping into your fresh coffee beans.
Plus, this is a 1.2 L container that holds up to 16 oz of coffee beans, so you can lengthen the shelf life of your regular coffee subscription.
For an authentic coffee experience, the percolator offers it all. A stovetop experience that can be taken beyond the kitchen, to camping grounds on an electric stove or even a campfire.
What’s more, a percolator is built to last, so you’ll have one for years to come. Some people even have a family heirloom percolator passed down from an Italian grandmother.
It’s one of those tools in your kitchen that is not only functional but a timeless keepsake. For anyone looking for a go-to roast, we offer plenty of hand-picked fair trade coffee that can be delivered right to your door on a regular basis!
Check out our coffee subscription plans and get free delivery of your favourite coffees.